• Lead

    Today’s Telegraph frontpage (detail)

Advertising

Designing London 2012: The clash of the commercial titans features in our ad round-up

Posted by Rob Alderson,

Last night Team GB’s gold-medal-winning boxer Nicola Evans said the main thing she wanted to do after her triumph was “to go to Nando’s.” The quote spread like wildfire and bastion of British conservatism The Daily Telegraph even carried it on their front page this morning. One commentator suggested it was worth as much as McDonald’s multi-million pound sponsorship of the games and it brought into sharp relief the commercial competition being waged alongside the sporting action.

The official sponsors clearly have the run on their rivals, allowed to use the images, words and phrases the hugely strict rules restrict only to the chosen few, Wieden + Kennedy’s The Best Job for Proctor & Gamble is sickly sweet but undoubtedly has a broadbrush appeal, Adidas and Sid Lee ticked the right boxes with their spine-tingling Take the Stage campaign and TBWA\Chiat\Day brought in Morgan Freeman to narrate Visa’s golden-tinged effort.

  • Adidas_olympics_2012_phase1_6sheets_fa_7june_v1_1750x11852_2

    Sid Lee: Adidas Take the Stage

  • Adidas_olympics_2012_phase2_6sheets_fa_13june_v1_1750x1185_0

    Sid Lee: Adidas Take the Stage

  • Adidas_olympics_2012_phase2_6sheets_fa_13june_v1_1750x11852_0

    Sid Lee: Adidas Take the Stage

  • Adidas_olympics_2012_phase2_6sheets_fa_13june_v1_1750x11853_0

    Sid Lee: Adidas Take the Stage

  • Adidas_olympics_2012_phase2_6sheets_fa_13june_v1_1750x11854_0

    Sid Lee: Adidas Take the Stage

Coca Cola, another of the official sponsors, deserve great credit for a long-running collaboration with Mark Ronson, who they commissioned to create a track based around the sounds of various Olympic sports. With all the conversations around branded content, Coke have tapped into the not-so-secret way of doing it properly – make it good. Both the track and Kim Gehrig’s accompanying film are really impressive and seemingly unconstrained by paranoid, constantly hindering branding concerns. The whole thing is brought together at Pernilla and Asif’s Beatbox pavilion at the Olympic Park.

  • Coca-cola-beatbox---getty-5

    Pernilla and Asif: Coca Cola Beatbox

Another Coke brand, Ice Dew water is responsible for one of the more memorably silly ads with a well-executed pastiche of tiny Olympians and huge kudos must go to SpecSavers for their razor-sharp next-day response to the embarrassing South Korea/North Korea flag mix up in the women’s football. A mention too for Leg/Eurostar’s gently ribbing ads featuring overweight statues of British Olympians like snooker and darts players although one suspects a quick glance at the medal table might stifle some of those cross Channel giggles.

  • Koreanspecsavers_1

    Specsavers: North/South Korea flag advert

  • Eurostarolympicsstatuecue_0

    Leg: Eurostar Olympic Adverts

  • Eurostarolympicsstatuedart_0

    Leg: Eurostar Olympic Adverts

For sheer chutzpah Wieden’s Nike’s ambush ad featuring sporting action at different Londons around the world was a massive success and got a lot of online attention, but it was part of a wider, cohesive campaign about greatness not being confined to major events which I think struck a chord.

On television the BBC coverage may have been near-faultless but the animated titles were a bit uninspiring, particularly when you compare their approach to the Chanel 4 Paralympic advert, a thumping, intense spot that could help revolutionise our attitudes to what has previously been rather a bridesmaid to the games. Certainly the ad of these Olympics and maybe the ad of the year, although Mark Zibert’s single-take brilliance for the Canadian Paralympic Association runs it very close and it’s so refreshing to see such creative excellence being applied to this event.

Oh, and this Omega ad really got me going too, if only for its great use of one of the best openings in music history…

Ra

Posted by Rob Alderson

Editor-in-Chief Rob oversees editorial across all three It’s Nice That platforms; online, print and events. He has a background in newspaper journalism and a particular interest in art, advertising and photography. He is the main host of the Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: Advertising View Archive

  1. List

    Is there nothing Tim and Eric can touch without turning it into a gleaming hunk of gold? I’d have imagined that homeware would be simply too dry for their unique brand of slapstick, but somehow the American comedy duo have succeeded in making an ad for GE Link lightbulbs, dreamt up by BBDO New York, which is pant-wettingly funny and super slick without undermining their usual offerings on American channel Adult Swim.

  2. Main

    Spectacular promo film here from Reebok, inviting you to “give me your classics and I’ll show you the future.” As well as taking you swerving around northern A-roads in a BMW E28 M5 (dream car) stopping briefly on the way to pick up a blonde girl in the leafy suburbs (dream babe) this short film perfectly promotes the nostalgia associated with the Reebok Classics.

  3. List

    Like police officers getting younger, feeling estranged from Radio 1 is a sure sign that you’re getting on a bit. But even I – from the rarefied perch of my early 30s – can appreciate the brilliance of this promo for the station’s Even More Music Month. They had the good sense to commission animation duo Nicos Livesey and Tom Bunker, who created 30 seconds of trippy music-themed madness complete with gurning lollipops, bopping pineapples and an infernal rock-band playing on a spooling tongue. It’s fun, it looks great and it gets its message across in a half-minute energy burst, even if disappearing into Fearne Cotton’s mouth is slightly terrifying.

  4. Main

    It’s time to play Spot the Creative here in this fantastic video from Rotterdam design studio From Form. I was going to say that it was an animation, but that’s the beauty of this film – it’s totally not. By using clever, olde worlde-style fairground aesthetics they’ve conjured up a mechanical set with which to promote the annual Reasons to Create conference.

  5. Glazer-list

    Fresh off the press trail from Under The Skin, Jonathan Glazer has just finished work on an intensely physical advert for Canon. The spot, called Gladiator Football, focuses on the annual Florentine game of Calcio Storico, a brutal combination of cage fighting and football that sees two teams pitted against each other in a sandy ring, beating the crap out of each other in order to win a cow.

  6. List

    If I’m being completely honest for the first ten seconds of this new Guardian ad, I thought it was going to be frustratingly saccharine. But what starts out seeming like just another cutesy, family-orientated spot packed full of adorable little children making a mess of their middle-class parents’ homes, quickly develops into a beautifully structured bit of film, suggesting that we’re all influenced by The Guardian’s weekend offerings, as person after person engages uniquely with their cultural and culinary content; attending the same shows, cooking the same Nigel Slater recipe and even having a crack at making the same bird house. Which sums up the weekend I’m about to have perfectly. Fetch me my tools!

  7. List

    Film4 has been one of the UK’s foremost production companies since its inception in 1982, responsible for titles like Trainspotting, Paris, Texas, Hunger and This Is England among many others. They’re also the UK’s number one film channel, screening films for free since 2010. But we’ve always just liked them for their weird TV spots. When they launched their free service four years ago they had Lucy Liu, Ewan McGregor, Gael Garcia Bernal and Judi Dench dressed up in all manner of strange outfits making fools of themselves. Now they’ve grown up a bit and have a new look to show off, but the ads are no less enjoyable.

  8. List

    It’s been nearly a year now since Breaking Bad ended although its die-hard fans remain evangelical in explaining to literally anybody how they really should have seen it by now. Maybe this will distract them for a while, as Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul have reunited for this super six-minute promo to mark Audi’s sponsorship of Monday’s Emmy Awards. We find the duo running a slightly creepy pawn shop where they encounter Veep star Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who is trying to pawn her Emmy statuette after drunkenly buying an island because she was jealous of Celine Dion. There are lots of nicely sly nods to the pair’s previous incarnation, the merits of supporting actors and comedy vs drama, and there are (so I am told) a few neat Breaking Bad in-jokes too. The high-production values help of course but it’s the script that sets this apart.

  9. Scclist

    If Quentin Tarantino made ads, they’d look like this. The scene is a dark, chintzy bar. Our protagonist wears a studded denim jacket and glitzy gold earrings. There’s a song in the background about Little Red Riding Hood, and I think we all know who’s the Big Bad Wolf.

  10. List

    There has been a lot of discussion about brand stories recently, but it’s important to differentiate between vaguely extrapolated marketing gimmicks and genuine humdingers of revolution and exile, fire and earthquakes. BACARDÍ boasts a heritage that includes an astonishing array of interesting tales, and they’ve drawn on this rich reserve to create their very own graphic novel.

  11. List

    There was a time when it was all about fitting in, running with the in-crowd and following the masses. But over recent years we’ve all come to realise that it’s much more interesting to dare to be different and that weird and unusual can be so much more exciting.

  12. Main

    The word “sumptuous” shouldn’t be thrown around willy nilly, but in the context of a new Johnnie Walker whisky ad featuring Jude Law lounging on what could be the world’s most expensive antique boat, lolling about on the sapphire Mediterranean, it’s totally acceptable. You may well have seen the Johnnie Walker ad in collaboration with Mr Porter going around the web last week, a 6-minute visual feast that is infused with style and money and a Talented Mr Ripley-vibe. Tom Cockram, a photographer we hold very dear to our hearts, has put all the behind-the-scenes shots from this ad that was directed by Jake Scott up on his site, and I’m tempted to say that I’m enjoying these even more than the ad itself.

  13. Ifvlist

    Do I love this ad campaign more because it’s French? Probably. It’d be super cool from anywhere though. Intermarché – a big supermarket chain in France – decided it was time to save an endangered species from the rubbish bin; ugly duckling fruit and veg. In the UK a whopping 40% of greens don’t reach our shelves simply for being a bit unfortunate looking and globally we waste $750 billion worth of food each year. Ouch.