Ending with the best commercial ever.
I want to be Ed Nadalin.
Ending with the best commercial ever.
I want to be Ed Nadalin.
We’ve all told lies, or at least tinkered with the truth either for our own sake or for someone else’s. A new tongue-in-cheek print campaign for Volkswagen’s used cars sees parents’ white lies recast as a metaphor for untrustworthy sellers. “If they lie to their kids, what will they tell you when they sell you their car?” the adverts read. The simple blue and red visuals show parents and children in varying situations, lying about a dead fish, a particularly ugly drawing or a ridiculous hat. “It’s not ugly, it’s called fashion,” a mother says, shoving a bobble hat on her unwitting son’s little head.
Luxury department store Harvey Nichols’ publicity team has proven its shame game is on point this week, with a new advert incorporating animated cartoon characters in real CCTV footage of theft, taken from cameras inside the store. Dennis the Menace-style heads created by animation duo the Layzell Brothers have been added to the grainy black and white footage of shoplifters filling their pockets with goods – whistling and looking around shiftily all the while, and then being caught legging it out of the store.
A former nightclub and current church in south London’s Brixton isn’t the most likely location for an art school. But for the School of Communication Arts, it’s the perfect fit. “I like the churches for their space – they’re nice and open so ideas can flow around the studio,” says Marc Lewis, the school’s Dean. “Our space used to be MASS Nightclub, my office used to be the DJ booth.”
First we had the John Smiths ad that proved a very ordinary bloke could be a dab hand at rhythmic gymnastics, now we bring you a surreal ad that shows that two less ordinary, but very beardy blokes are a veritable Scandi Torvill and Dean. The spot for Rekorlderlig cider by Saatchi & Saatchi documents two very talented figure skaters training under the watchful eye of their devoted, less hirsute coach. It’s infused with grace and oddball humour, and was “born out of the thought that there is something beautifully invigorating and refreshing about seeing someone skating on ice on a sunny day when the sky is blue,” according to the agency. Brilliantly bizarre and, as the streamline goes, “beautifully Swedish.”
Whether or not you loved or hated that John Lewis Christmas ad with the sweet little penguin, there’s no denying that it got people talking. From the same agency – Adam&Eve/DDB – is an ad that’s made us laugh, smile and “awww” til the metaphorical cows come home, in the shape of this spot for John Smith’s. In it, we meet dairy farmer Keith Beasley, who turns out to use his muddy daily existence as a springboard for something rather more graceful. The Channel 4 documentary-style voiceover and the casting are spot on, with brilliant direction from creative studio Somesuch. We won’t spoil the surprise, just watch it. You won’t be disappointed.
As the creative world digests last night’s big D&AD winners (those that scooped Black and White Pencils), there was a host of interesting work recognised in the 44 Yellow Pencils given out at the London awards bash. In total, the D&AD juries considered 847 projects this year and so less than one in 20 made the prestigious Yellow Pencil cut. Here’s our rundown of those winners that caught our eye for one reason or another – you can see the full list of winners over on the D&AD site here.
A few years ago there was a great deal of interest in Artangel’s A Room for London project, which saw Fiona Banner and David Kohn Architects build a boat you could stay in high above the South Bank. Today Airbnb has twisted that idea round for its own stunt, floating a 70-tonne house down the River Thames. Designed by Steve and Nick Tidball, creative directors of the TBWA agency, it includes two bedrooms, a working bathroom and a garden with real grass and an apple tree. It will meander up and down the river throughout the week, hosting various events and even some sleepovers.
OgilvyOne UK and Framestore have made a sweet, scruffy little dog called Barley on a billboard seem to follow people around, looking them in the eye and wagging his tail in response to the movements of passers-by. The campaign for Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, called #LookingForYou sees billboards at east London’s Westfield Stratford City shopping centre “come to life” when people take a leaflet about the charity. Each leaflet contains an RFID tag which activates Barley – a former Battersea dog – to follow them as they walk past the billboards and interact with them. It’s a sweet campaign that goes hard on the emotional pull, perhaps likely to affect those in the strange dystopia of a huge shopping centre more than most. Aside from the cuteness, the tech is very impressive, and it’s worth noting that Framestore was also behind one of the most heart-string-tugging films of the past few years, Paddington.
There used to be a comedy on British TV called Goodness Gracious Me which had a sketch where an Indian father would tell his son that every public figure you could possibly think of – from the Queen to David Beckham – was in fact Indian. There was something very funny about his claiming credit for anyone and everyone, and I was reminded of that idea when I saw Scott King’s new campaign for the Pop-Kultur festival.
The impending general election in Britain is encouraging a spurt of striking advertising campaigns and creative efforts to encourage potential voters, not least Pentagram’s “Give an X” campaign, and this new offering by Saatchi & Saatchi for Operation Black Vote is particularly powerful. The campaign is intended to boost the numbers of black, Asian and ethnic minority voters, in order to attain greater representation of Britain’s diverse population in government. Featuring Paralympic athlete Ade Adepitan, actor David Harewood, rapper Tinie Tempah and footballer Sol Campbell with their faces painted white, the campaign reasserts the quotation “If you don’t register to vote, you’re taking the colour out of Britain.”
If you’re a luddite like me you’ll find that most technology needs careful and thorough explanation – ideally some kind of video infomercial that leads me step-by-step through the device at hand. Now that I think about it I’d also like the instructions to be given by an attractive female presenter with an overdubbed male voice; she should be smoking occasionally and if possible exude an air of insouciance. The guys at Impossible and Stark Films have been kind enough to meet all these stringent requirements in their latest promotion for Instant Lab, a product which prints polaroids directly from your phone, showing off all the gadget’s new features. They’re also offering 10% off the Instant Lab to our readers by using the discount code “itsnicethat” in their online shop. What a friendly bunch!
The US Masters is arguably the most anticipated event in the golfing world, and as Thursday’s tee-off draws ever nearer all eyes are on British hopeful Rory McIlroy. But as ever there’s also a lot of attention on Tiger Woods, whose scintillating talent can’t be ignored despite his much-publicised personal problems. With a lot made of the showdown between the two, it’s interesting to think that for years Rory idolised Tiger and this journey from fanboy to rival is played out with typical aplomb in Wieden + Kennedy’s new Nike spot.
Ricky Gervais is a figure who splits opinion and for every acolyte who hails him as the saviour of contemporary comedy, there’s plenty more who just can’t stand that laugh. I happen to be in the former camp and I am also a fan of postmodern advertising, so these new spots for Optus push pretty much all of my buttons. Commissioned to promote the Australian telecoms company bringing Netflix Down Under, Gervais is on typically obtuse form, whingeing about the expectations put on him, shamelessly plugging his own successes and revelling in his own unprofessionalism. Your views on Gervais will dictate your reaction to these, but if like me you enjoy his posturing then there’s plenty here to enjoy.