Great Guns US managing director Oliver Fuselier kicks off the first of our regular roundups of the best recent creativity to come out of the States
High Five has been a regular part of LBB’s UK coverage, serving as a monthly roundup of the five best campaigns to launch. Moving into 2021, High Five is going global and we’ll be bringing you the best work from across the globe packaged into these neat, beautiful and super useful packages.
To kick off High Five in the US, Great Guns US managing director Oliver Fuselier is taking the reins. In the spirit of Christmas, the fact that he’s the first to undertake the challenge AND it’s the end of the most tumultuous year, we’ve offered him the benefit of bigging up some ‘honourable mentions’ on top of his High Five.
- - - -
I am honoured that LBB chose me to lead the first ever ‘High Five’ series for the US. But I have to tell you the truth, this was a hard assignment. Choosing the top five spots from the past month in the US was a daunting task. I will not lie, you would think that with all the unrest in the middle of a pandemic, the unstable political climate we are in and the uncertainty of our future that we would not have seen any good work other than PSAs that tell us to ‘social distance, wash your hands and wear a mask’. Ok we’ve seen that, but I’ve also seen so many great ads that cover a wide spectrum of topics, produced on a variety of platforms, a few internet stars emerged and, although I hate the phrase ‘think out of the box’, I saw a lot of that.
So below you will find my top five ads from the US. Enjoy and don’t forget to think about the little guy, the one that is struggling in your neighbourhood. Support them, shop at those stores and contribute to the struggle they are having to just stay alive day-to-day.
Beats By Dre - You Love Me
Translation / Prettybird’s Melina Matsoukas
I AM SHOUTING THIS! This one is ‘real-real’. It really ‘f’s’ me up emotionally - in a positive way, I have to add. Such a great tribute to a proud, creative, smart, passionate, supportive culture. This spot to me shows how the Black community is laser sharp aware of how their voices are most of the time muted when it comes to opportunities, equality and respect. Every scene has a Black superstar staring straight into the camera as if to dare the world to challenge them to NOT be considered for their contributions to the world. It also shows me that the Black community is sharply aware of how important it is that the next generation understands how vital it is for them to know that they are seen, heard and enough. Towards the end of the spot, I love the way that the director and creatives chose to break the ‘staring’ pose and showed us how real, how loving, how we are the same if we just acknowledge it, accept it and own it. Sports stars like NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace and tennis pro Naomi Osaka, artists such as rapper Lil Baby, and activists and community figures like Janaya Future Khan and the Compton Cowboys are all a part of this great spot and are powerful voices that are helping to change the way white people view black people in America. The spot/poem was written by Lena Waithe and stands as a beacon of light to shine on the black community as a reminder that we are all equal and we should come together as a community now and forever.
Match.com - Match Made In Hell
Ryan Reynolds’ Agency: Maximum Effort
In this Ryan Reynolds written ad, I am conflicted in that it is so spot on, hitting the negative emotional situations we all went through this year only to be celebrated in this way, finding the perfect match seems not right. I mean from the time his phone vibrates, then to the ‘rainy’ park first meeting to the lady in the background pulling her dog in the opposite direction of the devil, the squirrel being struck by lightning, and all this in the first 39 seconds. Wow! Can it get any worse or can it get any better I ask? Yep, both happen. He has Taylor Swift’s ‘Love Story’ song leading the story throughout. I have to say, I love it and as an ad I feel that I will never forget this brand because of it. Ryan Reynolds! I ask you, does this guy have the Midas touch or what? I mean, a movie star, movie star wife, great acting career, MINT, and now an agency with Match.com as its client. In my opinion a great first ad for Match at that. Kudos to the company that created the devil. Really great craft. Match Made In Hell… winner! But loses me a bit with a touch of bleakness and abandon...
Cartoon Network - The Crystal Gems Say Be Anti-Racist
Is it too late to teach an old dog new tricks? Can that old dog teach the next generation about racial equality? I think so and so does the Cartoon Network and Mullen Lowe NY. I have to admit that I am new to Steven Universe and the Crystal Gems but I think this spot is a great PSA on anti-racism from the Cartoon Network. It uses the inventor of the light bulb, Thomas Edison, to shed light on the man who actually played a major role in the discovery of the light bulb, inventor Lewis Howard Latimer, a black American inventor who developed the filament inside the bulb. See, we need to hear the whole story, the whole truth. Cartoon Network certainly has no problem doing that. They tell the kids and adults alike that the history books are incomplete! That there were Black knights, Black classical musicians and so on and so on. Keep in mind who is telling the stories they say. I applaud the Cartoon Network for taking a stand on this issue of systemic racism in this fun and educational piece that hundreds of thousands of kids and adults will see. Because of this ad I’ve become a fan. They fight to address many issues including LGBTQ issues. HIGH FIVE to the Cartoon Network. Keep 'em coming I say.
TikTok - Ocean Spray - Fleetwood Max
I thought if ever a global campaign could show how far reaching a social networking service could impact a brand, this social media platform did it three times in one viral video, not to mention made an overnight star of 420dogface208. The first winner is TikTok of course in that it was seen by millions of viewers that most likely didn’t know much about the social network, creating hundreds of knock off ads. Then Cranberry hit the jackpot with Nathan skating along a road singing the Dreams song and drinking Ocean Spray cranberry juice. Finally to bring Fleetwood Mac’s song ‘Dreams’ back to the top of the charts, well they were all winners. Oh yes, let’s not forget the man himself, Nathan Apodaca who starred in the video, who was a winner as well. I am sure he feels the same after receiving a truck from a major brand not to mention the exposure he received from major networks all of which had him on to interview him as he calmly talked about his life as a TikTok celebrity! And by the way, really I was thinking about doing that very video, but he beat me to it. To be clear, I was going to use Tropicana OJ not cranberry juice!
Frida Mom - PSA: Postpartum Service Announcement
Maximum Effort / Ryan Reynolds' agency strikes again! HIGH FIVE it!
In this just breaking PSA about avoiding bad things after giving birth, one topic rises to the top of the conversation: “dicks”. Now I am not a woman, and needless to say, I have not had a baby, but this sounds like a conversation that if I was and I had, I would want to have it! So thanks to the clever creatives at Maximum Effort, here it is for all to witness. I have not watched too many instructional videos, but this one is clever. We see what appears to be two real medical professionals in scrubs talking to camera about women that just had a baby and what the body goes through after the ‘miracle’ happens. But when they blurt out the a key piece of advice, “avoid dicks”, as we say in America, “everything goes to hell in a hand basket”. I mean, I had to shake my head twice just to get my wits about myself. They tell you about all kinds of dicks! The “thoughtless” dicks, the “professional dicks” and the “I’ve been there dicks”! Don’t be shy, understand what kind of dicks are out there. Be ready for them, so check it out. This is a great way to get valuable information to moms who are NOT in the know. Think about how far we’ve come as consumers that we can talk about postpartum and dicks on TV. That’s a BIG ‘HIGH FIVE’. Grownups and maybe some teens should watch this too! Just sayin'.
Coors Light - Holiday Beerman
DDB Chicago / Arts & Sciences’ Mike Warzin
From first sight we think to ourselves, this snowman does not look quite like the rest! He’s old, sad and seems burnt out. I mean he has a Coors Light beer can stuck in his shoulder. The house lights go out and things start to happen. The sign at his base displaying BEERMAN falls to the snow as he moves toward the paint. Beerman knocks the reindeer off his bench, grabbing the Coors Light from his shoulder, opens it and starts to play the piano. Is that what he needed? A can of Coors Light to play like that? Look out cuz I am heading to the fridge now! Holy moly! He starts to sing now! Yes that is what I said, he starts to sing Bostons’ ‘More than a feeling’. Is it a play on the ‘Piano Man’? The band is revealed with the nutcracker on drums and the abominable snowman on lead guitar. I mean the house lights up, the choir sings but to who?! It’s the middle of a pandemic, not to mention it is cold and snowy outside. Then we see something appear in the frame! It’s that lone guy with his dog who every night at the same time walks his dog, surprised and a bit confused by the private show he and his dog are witnessing. Drinking is usually a social event and in this case it’s socially safe! The chill is out there! Coors Light putting a spin on old songs, a beloved holiday season and what you might see if you take a walk with your dog at night in your neighbourhood. DDB Chicago executive creative director Colin Selikow says: “In some ways, The Beerman represents us all. A little shabby from a hard year, and just wants to let loose this holiday season.”
Reddit - 2020 Year in Review
In this end of the year wrap-up from Reddit, they’ve jumped in on Spotify’s turf as maybe becoming the ‘can’t wait to see the next thing they do’ brand each year! They showed us, or sang to us, about how this year had some good in it and that it was not all bad… I mean, when you watch this you can’t help but smile and think back at a year that was unimaginable to most Americans. Some of the things we take for granted like trying to blow out your birthday candles with a mask on and seeing cardboard fans instead of people became the norm - the good news is that we still got the cake and finally we got to see sports back on TV. Anyway it’s a funny way to wrap up the year! Thank you for the smile, Reddit. In full disclosure I don’t frequent Reddit or I have not in the past. So here’s to possibilities! #toobadspotify I think you might have lost your place in line!
Microsoft - Find Your Joy, A Dog’s Dream
McCann NY / Biscuit’s Noam Murro
Directed by Noam Murro of Biscuit, Microsoft brings all of its products into one commercial and capitalises on the puppy-dog craze that has spread across America since the pandemic, emptying animal shelters. HIGH FIVE! No doubt Microsoft is a great company, developing and manufacturing consumer electronics, selling computer software, all of which is on display in this great and fun spot. Due to the game Minecraft, I think a few million gamers checked this spot out as well. As part of the campaign, Microsoft actually built the doggie world in Minecraft. The team at Blockworks has released ‘Dogtopia’ as a free download available from Minecraft Marketplace and for Java. In it, you can run through a colourful bone-shaped forest where bacon grows on trees, ride in doggie hot air balloons, pee on a fire hydrant fountain and visit a canine Mount Rushmore. "This year more the ever, we felt that it was important to give people a little lift, to remind them that while we are facing a lot of challenges, there are many ways we can connect, be productive and enjoy the time we have at home,” commented Kathleen Hall, VP of brand, advertising and research.
Miller Lite - Farewell, Work Holiday Parties
DDB Chicago / Alex Prager
The clever folks at DDB Chicago have been churning out interesting work for Miller Lite and they continue with one where art and commerce merge in this nod to getting rid of the ‘work holiday parties’ so that you can spend more time with your friends. OK, so Covid has put a stop to office parties for now, but when we return to a ‘new normal’, we will look back on this great art installation turned ad that was mounted at LACMA in Los Angeles by artist Alex Prager and think hum, “do you remember when we had office parties and thank God that we don’t have them anymore?" Yes there is a touch of depression that emerges from the spot, but that does play into the sentiment that we are all feeling right now. It’s real!I also have to say the choice of Andy Williams’ ‘Happy Holidays’ song adds to the cringe worthy moments making this ad so memorable. Again, clever creative thinking here by producing a smart use of an artist and a brand to make an exhibit that we can see in our local museum and a fun ad we can watch on TV.
And finally, honourable mentions for earlier in the year, as it’s Christmas and almost a New Year!