The best uses of music and sound from ad-land in May. Headphones on!
1. Strongbow – G.O.A.T
Creative Agency: Otherway
Production Company: The Mill
Every trip to the pub I find myself in a brief period of lament because I devastatingly can’t stand beer. Oh, to avoid the moment of panic when you finally reach the bar counter but are then faced with the overwhelming decision of what to order. It’s 5pm on a Friday, the pub is packed and the barperson’s fixing you with a steely glare because you’re umming and ahhing over said decision for a few seconds too long. How much easier life would be if one could simply waltz up to the counter and order a pint of Peroni without giving it a second thought! But then… a gorgeous silver lining appears in the form of cider. And I really do love a cider. That first sip of Aspalls after a long day - heaven. I am also a fan of low calorie beverages (luv u diet coke x) after all, tank three ciders and you’ve essentially undone your morning 5k and then some.
One thing I simply cannot abide by, however, is Strongbow dark fruit. Flashbacks to my teen years at Reading Festival (please say nothing) when I would stumble out of my dank tent (probably into a puddle of stranger’s piss) hanging out of my arse the morning after a night of activities I shan’t repeat… and how would I ritualistically begin the new day? By joining my mates in the cracking open of a can of Strongbow dark fruit, of course. The horror!!! I shudder just to think of it. Luckily I am much (much) older now, and definitely at least 5% wiser. Thus, the only hangover drinks I will accept these days are a Bloody Mary or a mimosa because I have CLASS thank you.
That being said, I fully support this ad because it’s bonkers and the track is an absolute face melter. Filthy bassline. The UK garage renaissance continues and we love to see it!
I will not be drinking Strongbow Dark Fruit any time soon but please Strongbow, keep doing you and continue to make fun ads for me to enjoy ☺
2. Star Alliance – Better Together
Creative Agency: Atomic London
Production Company: The Armoury
Director: William Williamson
This six-and-a-half-minute documentary style film for Star Alliance follows Northern Ballet’s esteemed choreographer Kenneth Tindall’s remote work with dancers Amanda Assucena, Alexei Orlenco and Ayami Miyata, following their process as they rehearse via Zoom – complete with the challenges this brings. It serves as a reminder of the struggles faced by the creative industries during the pandemic and how beautiful it was when we were all finally able to connect in person.
The campaign and subsequent film was created to celebrate 25 years of Star Alliance connecting people around the Globe.
It just goes to show how inspiring campaigns can be when brands aren’t afraid to make bold creative choices – seen here especially through the choice to commission composer Venus Ex-Machina, who uses innovative digital technology to create the brilliant composition. The films narrative arc culminates in a beautiful final performance of 'Better Together'.
Ex-Machina uses Mi.Mu gloves (Imogen Heap stans rise up!) to digitally track the dancers movements. The gloves are connected to specialised third-party music software which turns the dancer’s movements into a completely unique composition. Preeeeetty spectacular. To sum up my thoughts on this, I refer to the words of another boundary breaking icon… talented, brilliant, incredible, amazing, show stopping, spectacular, never the same, totally unique, completely not ever been done before etc etc.
Snaps, props, kudos to all involved. Amazing work!
3. Just Eat & Katy Perry - Did Somebody Say
Creative Agency: McCann London
Production Company: Radical Media
Director: David Myers
Could this be Katy Perry’s most iconic food moment since JLo walked past and uttered a perplexed ‘hi babe' whilst KP was putting her deranged burger costume back on in the bathroom of the 2019 Met Gala?
After all, this is a woman with many iconic food-associated moments. The whipped cream can bra. The insane promo video where she shocked audiences by appearing as a floating head on a plate of fruit and then proceeded to tell them to buy her latest single. Said single, ‘Bon Appetit’ itself. I could go on.
But this new Just Eat ad is taking Katy Perry’s food associated status to new heights.
I’m sure it will come as no big surprise to anyone who reads this silly ad round-up that I am, indeed, a KatyCat. I was at the barriers during the O2 show of her Prismatic Tour (I also saw Demi Lovato at Heaven that night in case you had any doubts as to the elite status of my music tastes). I know the deep cuts. I’ve delivered intensely powerful and emotional renditions of ‘Thinking of You’ to my mirror alone more times than I’m comfortable admitting. I firmly believe Teenage Dream is one of the best pop albums ever written. Undoubtedly a perfect album. Not a single miss. And, of course, the album that lead to Katy becoming the first female artist ever to achieve five No.1 singles from a single album. The stats don’t lie, folks!
Katy Perry is a pop legend. And now she’s succeeded her California Gurls counter-part, Snoop Dogg, as the new face of Just Eat. And though, at first, I was surprised by this seemingly random partnership, the more I think about it, the more it makes total, harmonious sense. Just Eats’ brand positioning is fun, bright, entirely non-self-serious... all the things KP is known for. And this ad is unafraid to take advantage of that fact - playing upon on all the best parts of Perry’s eccentric persona, resulting in this incredibly entertaining, over-the-top film.
Just Eats’ infamous brand track ‘Did Somebody Say’ (the number one sonic identity in the UK dontcha know) gets a special KP refresh, utilising Perry’s talent in the form of lyrical food-based puns, hooky melodies and sprinklings of vocal moments that echo Perry’s original material. A match made in heaven, tbh.
I have to say, I do find it funny that Just Eat consistently has such incredible brand marketing, truly leagues ahead of the rest of the food delivery apps, and yet the only time I will use that app is when I want cheap McDo breakfast delivery. Sorry babes but you just don’t have what Deliveroo has!
I would also like to take this opportunity to say that ‘Never Really Over’ was one of the best pop songs of 2020 and did NOT get it’s due. Justice for KP!!!
4. BT – BT Means Business
Creative Agency: NOW
Production Company: Merman
Director: Michel & Nico
BT really said happy pride LGBTs!!!
5. Three – Jeff
Creative Agency: Boys + Girls
Production Company: Ponder
Director: Tomas Jonsgården
We’ve seen a tortoise rollerblading through multiple terrains for Aventi. Now we have an iguana riding a robovac through a city for Three.
Ok, so this song choice isn’t necessarily breaking new ground, it may be a little on the nose but hey, what song to better soundtrack a mischievous iguana’s solo robovac adventure than Bonnie Tyler’s ‘Holding out for a hero’? As long as it isn’t ‘We are the champions’ I don’t care tbh (this is my plea to agencies and brands everywhere; I beg of you - stop putting Queen songs in adverts).
The track is entirely fit for purpose. Injecting drama and humour. It communicates to us that this iguana has got a point - she’s an icon, she’s a legend and she IS the moment… now come on now.
It’s quirky, it’s joyful, it’s just a bit of fun at the end of the day!