For the past five years, High Five has celebrated the best the British advertising landscape has to offer in a regular monthly showcase on The Beak Street Bugle. We’re proud to announce its new home at Little Black Book, in partnership with the Advertising Producers Association. And we’re also excited to welcome High Five curator, Alex Reeves.
People who work in advertising all think they’re cool. But our pick of this month’s best UK advertising proves that quite a few of them actually know what cool looks like. These ads are in touch with culture and that’s why they’re doing the job for their clients.
Absolut - 'Equal Love'
Agency: BBH London
If Aoife McArdle’s reputation for enchanting coolness wasn’t already cemented, it certainly is now. Right on time for Pride season, her film for Absolut
- the first for the brand from their new agency BBH - is the most stylish make-out sesh you’ve ever seen, featuring a cast representing the many diverse faces of love. It’s a smart idea (albeit eerily reminiscent of an old Maccabees video
), and it’s put together with total precision. Every aspect from the casting to the lighting hits the spot.
KFC - 'Lunchtime is Coming…'
Agency: BBH London
Brands sloppily co-opting treasured cultural properties is a particular pet peeve of mine, so when I saw a fast food restaurant buying their way into one of the world’s most beloved TV franchises, I was ready to unleash my righteous outrage. Imagine my relief when it turns out BBH have written a genuinely funny Game of Thrones gag
that MindsEye’s Ben Taylor has brought to life with gusto. Kristian Nairn (better known as Hodor) proves he has the acting chops to deliver not just the same one-word line over and over, but a hefty three-worder. His performance even provoked one commenter to ask: "Is there an Emmy for adverts?” Well, we do have a lot of awards...
Vauxhall - 'Pyjama Mamas'
Mother’s first script for Vauxhall
is right on the money, throwing some serious side-eye at the UK headteacher who last year criticised parents for dropping their children off at school while wearing pyjamas. The mini music video celebrates the power of comfort wear in style, with promo specialist Jake Nava bringing a level of glamour to the comfy girl gang few could have predicted. The music is great too. The bespoke song sounds vaguely like a 2 Chainz track - impressive cultural relevance for a mass-market automotive brand.
Volkswagen - 'The Button'
It’s satisfying to see an agency take a product feature and weave a compelling idea around it. It’s even more satisfying to see that idea brought to life in such a slick manner
. Gary Freedman pours all his film-buff passion into this series of cinematic homages and the result is glorious, evoking the glee of good old-fashioned supervillainy without feeling hackneyed.
Wavey Garms - 'The Long Grass'
Production: Wavey Garms / The Rig Out / BRF
It’s always encouraging to see brands acting as patrons of the arts, creating actual culture rather than some limp imitation of it. Granted, Wavey Garms is less a brand, more an online fashion community, so maybe that allows them to take this less conventional marketing route. But for them to swing founder of The Rig Out, Glenn Kitson, as the director is impressive. He’s created a brooding short film
for them to intrigue and fascinate. Shot on 16mm film, it looks super smooth and drips with cool. If you want authenticity, look no further than the casting. Sephton Henry, who plays Tyrell, is a former gang member who now works as part of a government scheme helping gang members leave their gangs and Sean Brookes, who plays Patrick, is a graffiti writer who goes by the name Kistra.