The chief production officer at Craft EMEA / McCann Worldgroup delves into an impressive selection of his all-time favourite ads
What a tricky, but entirely enjoyable task it has been to select five pieces of work from the thousands of amazing things created by the brilliant people we have in our incredible industry! I could have easily picked another fifty for this list, but have thoroughly enjoyed looking back at some amazing work, so I hope you enjoy my choices...
The Guardian - 'Point of View'
Production: Paul Weiland Film Company
This commercial was used as an example of 'The power of film in advertising' during my time at film school, and played a part in inspiring me to get into the industry. I think it is an exemplary example of brand storytelling and employing cultural observation and connection to drive a conversation. Drawing on the negative public perception of the skinhead sub-culture, this spot superbly written by the legendary Frank Budgen and John Webster really lands the Guardian’s insight that "Only when you get the whole picture can you fully understand what’s going on." This brilliant insight lives on and was reinvigorated expertly 26 years later by the supremely talented Ringan Ledwidge with the '3 Little Pigs' spot in 2012.
Honda - 'Cog'
Agency: Wieden + Kennedy
Director: Antione Bardou Jacquet
Post: The Mill
'The Power of Dreams' communicates the very essence of Honda’s engineering raison d’etre, so if you’re going to create a TV spot that demonstrates that, then the execution needs to be exceptional. Honda's 'Cog' is exactly that; mesmerisingly brilliant and perfectly crafted through the wonderful choreography, cinematography, the incredible sound design, the perfect choice of voiceover and the inspired introduction of 'Rappers Delight'...but not until the very end. The team at Wieden + Kennedy along with the brilliant Antione Bardou Jacquet at Partizan, managed to communicate the culture of a brand through a groundbreaking advertising idea that resonated perfectly within wider culture to set a new standard within the field of automotive advertising.
Volvo - 'Trucks'
Agency: Forsman & Bodenfors
Production: Folke Film
The inaugural Creative B2B category was a long overdue but entirely appropriate addition at Cannes this year. Had this category existed in 2014, then Volvo's 'Trucks' would have made an impact in this category, along with the multiple film awards that they picked up that year. 'Epic Split' was the 6th in a series of 'live tests' demonstrating the features of a new range of Volvo trucks. The inclusion of Jean Claude Van Damme and Enya’s 'Only Time' sent the film (that was designed to demonstrate the 'new dynamic steering system') into an entirely different stratosphere. This groundbreaking example of content marketing had a huge cultural impact and generated a reported $170 million in additional revenue for Volvo, so transformative business results. I’m not currently in the market for an articulated truck, but should that time come, it will definitely be a Volvo one.
Metro Trains Melbourne - 'Dumb Ways to Die'
The terrifying British public safety films that I grew up on did nothing more than give me nightmares and dissuade me from ever wanting to watch 'Peter' being electrocuted by overhead powerlines whilst flying kites, or 'Janet' being maimed for returning to an unlit firework. The super talented bunch at McCann, where I now work, managed to address the issue of engaging a hard to reach audience through the wonderful integrated campaign, 'Dumb Ways to Die'. The team took a boring topic and made it interesting; the combination of the charming animated characters, the beautifully insightful lyrics and catchy musical arrangement - which made the billboard charts in numerous countries - made it something that the target audience wanted to engage with, and importantly, to share. The campaign permeated culture and went viral, racking up hundreds of millions of hits. The accompanying video game was played four billion+ times, all of which led to Metro Trains reporting a significant reduction in train station incidents. Culturally impactful, meaningful creative work at its best.
Cadbury - 'Gorilla'
Director: Juan Cabral
I remember the moment I saw this masterpiece for the first time. It was the final of 'Big Brother' in 2007, and immediately afterwards, my Nokia 2110 blew up with texts from industry (and non-industry) friends asking if I’d seen what they had just seen. Cadbury's 'Gorilla' was a genuine game-changing piece of branded entertainment that captured the public psyche and went truly viral. The story of the client’s conviction to support the creative and convince his leadership team that the idea of a gorilla drumming to Phil Collins' 'In the Air' would shift chocolate bars is legendary, and a great example of how great agency and client relationships lead to great work. He was proved very right with considerable sales increases, three times the normal ROI and a 20% increase in brand favourability - so outstanding business results! The gorilla was spoofed multiple times and achieved massive results online with a relatively modest media spend. There was speculation that Phil Collins was actually in the gorilla suit, which I’m still pretty convinced is true...