I’ve been really drawn to work on the lighter side of the spectrum lately. And by 'lately', I mean always. It's a good thing there's a lot of great work coming out of Canada at the moment that genuinely makes me want to show my teeth (definitely the wrong way to describe a smile). Inspiring design, funny scripts and quirky innovations are just a couple of the things that have me grinning right now...
Nabs - 'This Job Can Break You'
Production: Skin & Bones
Director: Edward Andrews
Edit: Outsider Editorial
Sound: Pirate Toronto
You may think it’s odd I kick off my High Five ‘list of work that makes me smile’ with a spot highlighting the pitfalls of our pressure-packed industry. It’s hard to smile when the burnout is real, but hear me out. While it does hit close to home, what I love is the optimism it incites. A woman working late in her office is greeted by a magical talking cracker that encourages her to go home and stop pushing herself too hard. We’ve all been there before: stressed, exhausted and getting schooled by inanimate objects at 2am. But what this eccentric spot illustrates is the collective demand for work-life balance and more importantly a grasp on the change that needs to happen to get us there. The most 'advertising' thing you could do is make an advertisement about working too hard in advertising and make it very good by advertising standards...I tip my tiny bowler hat to you Cossette.
No Frills - 'Aisles of Glory: Banana Controller'
Agency: john st.
Production: wonderMakr x Relish Interactive
Okay, which one of you sold through the idea of using bananas as controllers for the No Frills video game? And how can we be friends? But seriously, all puns aside, this idea is bananas. I don’t know if I love you or hate you, genius creatives at john st., but I do know that giving bananas purpose beyond being stuck in the back of my freezer waiting for the inescapable certainty of not becoming banana bread is truly smile-worthy. What else can I say? It merges innovative tech with just the right amount of ridiculousness and playfully builds on an already super fun campaign.
Wendy’s - 'Hey Wendy Voice Assistant'
Agency: McCann Canada
Building a literal phone for a client - I would have loved to be a fly on the wall during the meeting that sold this idea
. Well, however they did it, McCann has my eternal thanks for bringing an idea to life that makes people named Wendy feel the same pain that people named Alexa feel. I’m a goblin for branded swag that helps me in my everyday life, so obviously I’d be into something that lets me order many bacon double cheeseburgers free from judgement. And by including this in my High Five, Wendy’s is legally obligated to give me one of these neat little phones (please and thank you, my DMs are open).
A&W - 'The Beyond Bait Experiment'
Production: Nova Film
What better way to convince meat-lovers that the new A&W vegan nuggets taste just like the real thing than pulling the wool over the eyes of a carnivorous plant!? This ironically blind plant will only close its mouth on meaty prey, thus proving that if these mock-meat bites can fool tiny plants, they can fool us. Shout out to my fellow Rethinkers who brought this super fun idea to life. You managed to merge together the two things that will always warm my heart: small adorable things and a plant-based future.
Internova Travel Group - 'Book Human'
Agency: Broken Heart Love Affair
Production: Frank Content
Director: Rodrigo Garcia Saiz
Post: Black Ginger x SuperDuper
Music: OSO Audio
It wouldn’t be fair to close out this list without touching on something that made me smile for complicated reasons. Let’s finish strong with the violently weird that is this ad by Broken Heart Love Affair. The spot follows a sinister looking humanoid robot who I oddly want to be friends with. He's designed to illustrate the drawbacks of AI tech booking your vacation over real humans. It made me smile, but in like a nervously-pulling-down-my-bottom-eyelid-in-the-mirror-to-make-sure-I’m-totally-real-and-not-a-machine kind of way. It was perfectly dark and really well executed. My only question is, if the hypothetical people who dressed this travel-loving cyborg went to the trouble of putting him in a five-piece suit, why didn’t they hide buddy's exposed robo-brain? It’s all hanging out there for, like, debris to fly in. I know he’s probably not going to give anyone the best deal on a flight but you didn’t have to do him dirty like that.