This month’s best UK advertising is helping to lift the national mood, writes LBB’s Alex Reeves – in association with the APA
In the UK, things can get a bit miserable at this time of year. So we need a bit of perking up (even if we do now have the thrilling prospect of another general election to buoy our spirits). Advertising in the past month has tapped into that seasonal mood with gusto. Mental Health Awareness Week hit at the start of October, just when the nation’s collective wellbeing most needed it. Some brands engaged with that cause brilliantly. Others took another track, delivering pure entertainment to keep spirits high. I love both. Here are some of the campaigns that offered a particularly effective antidote to the incessant drizzle.
CALM / Topshop and Topman - Let What’s Inside Out
As taboos around discussing mental health gradually begin to dissolve, Mental Health Awareness Week feels like it resonated more loudly than ever this year. One highlight for me was this innovative, yet elegantly simple, collaboration between mental health charity the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) and ubiquitous fashion retailer Topshop and Topman. Prompted by the fact that all clothing has a care label inside with instructions on how to look after it, Havas London designed an oversized care label to be stitched to the outside of clothing, encouraging people to instead look after themselves. With this messaging getting out there on practically every UK high street, I have no doubt that it will change views and save lives.
Domino’s - The Official Food of JOMO
I may be overrating this campaign because it personally resonates with me, but I’m pretty sure almost everybody can understand the hitherto undefined concept of JOMO - the joy of missing out. Especially at this time of year, as Britain’s weather reaches new depths of dreariness. This isn’t complicated advertising. It’s about Domino’s identifying a feeling that a lot of people have (a feeling that goes hand in hand with takeaway pizza, neatly) and then absolutely owning it as a brand. With the right combination of believable copywriting delivered in Simon Bird’s sardonic tones, with Bart Timmer’s deft comic directing skills thrown in, it really does the job. Just like a fat slice of pizza in front of the telly does.
ITV - Get Britain Talking
ITV’s launch of its mental wellness campaign ‘Get Britain Talking’ was another moment that made Mental Health Awareness Week a memorable one this year. UK culture doesn’t get more mainstream than Saturday night entertainment giant Britain’s Got Talent, so presenters Ant & Dec kicking off the channel’s call for healthy conversation with a minute-long break in programming was huge. An impressive feat from Uncommon Creative Studio, this is messaging for the masses, not advertising made for our industry bubble. Again, I know it will have an impact.
Surfers Against Sewage - Undiscovered Creatures
Radio campaigns rarely get the praise they deserve in the adland chatter-sphere, but with the popularity of podcasts still on the rise, paired with the right idea for the media, they can be potent stuff. This series of audio executions for marine conservation charity Surfers Against Sewage is exactly that. Pairing the unfamiliar, eerie sounds of unknown creatures under the sea with precise, powerful copywriting, the spots from M&C Saatchi London drive home the fact that there is so much more to discover about our oceans. Unfortunately, we may not have the chance to before we destroy the mysterious life of the deep sea. Unless we clean up our act, that is.
Volkswagen - Movie Star Confidence
As I wrote in my behind-the-scenes interview with art director Matt Gay and director David Shane, TV movie sponsorship deals are fertile ground. There’s an abundance of cultural touchstones to play around with. So in many ways, Volkswagen’s sponsorship of ITV Movies is a dream brief. But you still have to get it right. And in this series, adam&eveDDB team and the O Positive director have got it so, so right. The attention to detail makes every scene seem cinematic beyond its “not huge” budget and the casting and performances are spot on, meaning the subtle gags land every time.