• Advertising

    Review of the Year 2011, Advertising

  • Brain

    We are Pi: TEDx Amsterdam

  • Brain2

    We are Pi: TEDx Amsterdam

  • Brain4

    We are Pi: TEDx Amsterdam

  • Ext-the-love---the-black-diamond

    Punchdrunk for Stella Black

  • The-coward---the-black-diamond

    Punchdrunk for Stella Black

  • The-thief---the-black-diamond

    Punchdrunk for Stella Black

  • Tumblr_lmuegyoaze1ql85fno1_500

    Nick Ballon: 140 Characters at Mother

  • Tumblr_lmvpqv91l41ql85fno1_500

    Nick Ballon: 140 Characters at Mother

  • Tumblr_lmxrx9oyfm1ql85fno1_500

    Nick Ballon: 140 Characters at Mother

  • Tumblr_lmxu9kse6s1ql85fno1_500

    Nick Ballon: 140 Characters at Mother


Review of the Year 2011: Advertising

Posted by Rob Alderson,

I know what you’re thinking – why is It’s Nice That even bothering with an advertising category? Surely the continued triumph/flogging to death of the Go Compare opera singer overshadows literally anything else in 2011? Well, maybe, but actually we found some other interesting stuff that floated our boat too…

There’s quite a lot of things that we cover which could potentially come under this category, having as their end goal promoting/selling a particular brand or product (and you’ll find in fashion, animation and graphic design top picks that could have found their way onto this list). We tried to draw a line between work that only really worked as part of a campaign and that which could stand on its on merits, but admit the approach was far from scientific. Honourable mentions to the continued emergence of Lisa Zeitlhuber, and to the most-watched advert on YouTube, Saatchi & Saatchi’s Royal Wedding for T-Mobile (more than 24 million and counting…)


Oddly when we sat down to discuss this list we found we had two entries on the shortlist aimed at making people think about their drinking. It’s a tricky balancing act to make something effective which doesn’t feel prim or patronising but both these efforts pull it off with aplomb and in the end we found it impossible to separate them. Clemenger BBDO’s approach to tackling drink driving is the Be a Bloody Legend effort which manages to be funny, memorable and surprising in its concept rather than in the usual shock-factor way.

Meanwhile the discrepancy between how people think they are after a few jars, and how they actually are is nailed with a stylish interactive approach for a German night-bus company. Two very different approaches, two very slick results.

We are Pi for TEDx Amsterdam

Sometimes on a Friday afternoon we find that articles don’t quite get the attention they deserve, lost in the maelstrom of the headlong rush to towards the weekend. But when we first saw We Are Pi’s campaign for TEDx Amsterdam, we couldn’t help but get it up asap, so impressed were we by the sheer ingenuity of it. Oh and you clearly agreed, with some 2,000 hits over that first weekend – a beautifully simple idea carried off with verve and flair.

Mother (for Nick Ballon 140 characters, Stella Punchdrunk, Psychic Tees)

Our final pick is not an individual campaign but rather an agency which we feel contributed an awful lot to the industry during 2011 with their inventive campaigns. From using the ever-immersive, ever-impressive street-theatre of Punchdrunk for Stella Black, to having the brilliant Nick Ballon capture 140 characters at the agency itself, to most recently launching a series of psychic t-shirts in a bid to raise money and awareness of Age UK, our near-neighbours have demonstrated a breadth of imagination which has appeared to be sadly lacking at times as advertisers struggle to keep up with the ever-changing media landscape.


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

    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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. List

    If you watched any of this year’s World Cup you’ll most likely have noticed all the players strutting about in pairs of weightless neon boots. If, like me, you don’t really pay attention to that kind of thing, then you may not have known what they were. Luckily this stunning spot from ManvsMachine grabbed my attention for long enough to inform me that they were Nike’s latest Mercurial Superfly boot, capable of eviscerating a giant marble army of footballing warriors with their superhuman speed. But more important than my education in high-performance footwear was my appreciation of the phenomenal skill of Mike Alderson and his team at ManvsMachine whose ability to turn pure fiction into a believable, 3D-rendered reality is nothing short of breathtaking.

  8. List

    Remember the Speedo-clad old dude strolling casually through beach-bronzed beautiful people in Wieden + Kennedy’s hugely popular Southern Comfort spot a few years back? Course you do (and it’s still worth a watch in case you were wondering). Anyway Young Gun is the latest spot in the campaign and we think it’s another winner. If you’ve ever stood incandescent with rage as a barman holds up the entire queue showing off their “moves,” then you’ll enjoy this.

  9. List

    You and I dear reader look at a beret and see what? A GCSE textbook staple; an affectation, an effortless shorthand stereotype (often teamed up with a stripey Breton top and a string of onions)? But directorial team Tenis looked at a beret and realised it could be repurposed into a perfect record player. This charming short spot has been released to promote the new collaboration between peSeta and Marc Jacobs, although the espadrilles themselves don’t make an appearance until quite late in the day.

  10. List

    According to the new Stella Artois campaign, “There are no rules,” and “Continuity is clearly overrated.” These mysterious instructions actually come from the great Wim Wenders, who stars in the new Stella promotional short titled Wim Wenders’ Rules of Cinema Perfection.

  11. List

    This advertising world descended on Cannes last week for the annual sun-kissed celebration of some of the best work created during the past 12 months. With multiple winners across the 16 categories you’d be forgiven for struggling to keep up with who won what, but the excellent official winners’ website is the best place to get acquainted with the big picture. Here we’ve picked out a few examples of winners that caught our eye; some bits we’d championed on the site before and some we came across for the first time via the Lions.

  12. List

    Whenever Tom Darracott and Carl Burgess join forces the results are spectacular. The two directors and digital specialists are experts at creating polished 3D-generated worlds that feel part computer game, part hyper-real dream – every element a slightly altered version of a recognisable, real-world object. Even when they’re advertising clothes the pair produce unconventional results that delight and disorientate your eyes with their effortless surrealism. Their latest campaign for Loft is no exception, showing the brand’s brightly coloured collection folding itself into a state of geometric order.

  13. List

    Parties thrown to celebrate getting your first period aren’t really a thing, but if they were then uterus piñatas, “pin the pad on the period”, bobbing for ovaries and vagicians should be 100% obligatory. Created by the same absolute geniuses who dreamed up Camp Gyno last time around, Jamie T. McCelland and Pete Marquis, this brilliant advert for monthly sanitary care packages by Hello Flo is just as hilarious as the last one, but with more one-liners – see “your Grandpa is bobbing for ovaries like a champ!” – than you can shake a big, unadvertisable sanitary towel at. I’ll stop now for fear of ruining the fun, but this might be the best advert we’ve seen this year.