Advertising Archive

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    Alexey Lyapunov and Lena Erlich are People Too, a pair of Russian illustrators who have taken paper sculpture as their medium of choice, and made it entirely their own. Their deceptively delicate and very intricate creations for Amnesty International’s Fan the Flame campaign, which are fashioned entirely from white paper. Depicting acts of violence and brutality with a quiet poignancy that is hard to match is any other medium, the detailed sculptures all the more impressive for their impermanence. Their portfolio is full to the brim with incredible paper sculpture of the more colourful and naive variety, much of which looks more like it has been crafted with clay than with several sheets of humble A4.

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    I can’t remember who turned me onto the Brilliant Ads Twitter feed last year but a thousand thank yous to whoever it was. It describes itself as: “The most creative, unique, remarkable and powerful advertisements, signs and marketing-related things from around the world,” and that pretty much sums it up nicely. What I really like about it is the scope; from DIY shop signs to big brands’ most innovative offerings from all over the world (and some historical gems as well), it’s a great way to get a daily hit of creative inspiration away from the mainstream and increasingly same-same advertising resources. They’ve just done a top 100 countdown of 2013 and safe to say it included some absolute pearlers; here’s some of our favourites…

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    Did you know that if your home lacks a fireplace – and that can be a real problem at this festive time of year – then you can get a realistic-looking film of one courtesy of online video platform Netflix? You didn’t did you? No you’re right it’s a bit weird, but the Netflix chaps have embraced this absurdity with this terrifically tongue-in-cheek trailer for said fireplace. Over-the-top voice-over? Check! Silly quotes that make little sense? Check! An inflated sense of its own importance? Check! Clearly these guys see a lot of trailers, which allows them to lampoon the genre with consummate skill. Well played Netflix, well played indeed.

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    Sometimes the best way to challenge injustice and inequality is through humour, an idea that Mother London have again explored in their new project. Horrified by the treatment of the LGBT community in Russia, where homosexuality has been classed as a mental illness since 1999, Mother have worked with The Kaleidoscope Trust charity to create something silly that has a serious point to make. To Russia With Love is a limited edition set of hand-painted Russian dolls but in place of bonneted matrons, the sets feature prominent British LGBT figures, namely Sir Elton John, George Michael, Stephen Fry, Graham Norton and Tom Daley (presumably a late addition). The dolls are being auctioned off on eBay to raise funds for the charity and sets are being delivered to both The Kremlin and the Russian Embassy in London.

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    Corporate calendars tend to be as dull as post-Christmas-lunch-washing-up dishwater but super-hip US hotel chain The Standard have produced an exception to prove the rule. Under the direction of Erik Kessels and photographer Thomas Mailaender, their 2014 calendar takes inspiration from the strangest letters, suggestions or complaints they’ve received from guests. Starting points include, “My girlfriend and I spent lots of money at the bar and on room service. Any compensation would be greatly appreciated,” and the terrifically odd, “I lost my kush. Where’s my kush?”

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    Forgive us for two things this afternoon. Firstly for shamelessly nicking this off The Fox is Black and secondly for posting something that was made back in 2008. Yep, that’s right. This utterly perfect promo for Kubrick Season on Channel 4 was created back when the Hollywood writers strike and the sudden death of much-loved actor Heath Ledger was taking effect on the film industry. Nevertheless, popular agency 4Creative took it upon themselves to make a minute-long paean to Kubrick’s infamous The Shining by shooting a fictional, one-take, behind-the-scenes film. Really though, has any promo ever come anywhere near being this good? I doubt it.

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    Whether we admit or not, jealousy plays a not insignificant role in the creative industries. In fact D&AD is honest enough to address this head on; when it comes to choosing pencil-winning work judges are asked to consider whether the entry stokes their creative envy and make them wish they’d done that piece.

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    It’s fair to say that Christmas marketing campaigns are – on the overwhelming whole – pretty cheesy. Kudos then to Daniel Fisher and Richard Brim of adam&eveDBB who managed to persuade Harvey Nichols to subvert the spirit of the season with their Sorry, I Spent It On Myself range. It constitutes a series of rubbish presents (think a bag of gravel or some toothpicks) with an explanatory apology that the giver had splurged their Christmas cash on the person who really matters at this time of year – themselves.

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    Oh Volvo Trucks where have you been all my life?! From impinging very little on my cultural compass until a few short months ago, the Swedish manufacturer has dazzled and delighted us with a series of funny, unexpected and powerfully communicative adverts over recent weeks. Back in September we sung the praises of a spot which saw the company’s president perched precariously on a truck suspended over Gothenburg harbour and now they’ve topped that with the help of the Muscles from Brussels.

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    BOOM! That’s the sound of Sainsbury’s smashing their competition out of the park in the Christmas department. They’ve enlisted Oscar-winning, Last King of Scotland director Kevin McDonald to make a 50 minute long film celebrating the honest joys of the festive season. By using real people in real families as the cast and shot in a home-video style, this film genuinely stirs up joy and excitement in your belly. Also, this film isn’t sugar coating Christmas by making everyone good-looking and eating expensive canapés, and there’s no weepy cover of an 80s song to get stuck in your head for the next two weeks. Big plus. Judging by the trailer (which made me cry even though I PROMISED MYSELF I would not) this is going to be a true celebration of British christmas, and an absolute corker of a festive film.

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    Last year D&AD broke new ground by releasing this behind-the-scenes video of the judges’ discussion around which work should be awarded the coveted Black Pencils. This year they’ve done it again and it remains an interesting insight into one of the industry’s most respected prizes.

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    Love it or hate it, it’s been nigh on impossible to escape John Lewis’s new Christmas ad over the past few days. The pressure was on Adam&Eve/DDB to follow up their much-talked-about offerings from the past couple of years, and early indications suggest that whatever the cynics may say, the public have been charmed anew. But regardless of whether The Bear & The Hare makes you feel nicely festive or a bit nauseous, this “making of” is really interesting. Elliot Dear and Yves Geleyn of Blinkink/Hornet were the duo charged with bringing the ideas to life and you get a nice sense of the painstaking stop-motion process they went through over a period of several months. The song will be stuck in your head all day though.

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    Get your eyeballs comfortable in their little red, gooey sockets and strap them in safely because Sony are back and they’ve brought out the big guns. By big guns we’re actually referring to 8 million flowers that were used in the production of this stunning advert for their new camera which boasts an 8 million pixel display. In true Sony fashion the flowers are taken and dumped over a beautiful landscape, put into slow-mo and soundtracked by a man with a guitar who may or may not have been dumped by his girlfriend only minutes before recording the track. Regardless, this is a stunning advert for a gadget that could otherwise easily be advertised in a pretty drab way. Hoorah!

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    We’ve already seen Google’s predictive search function used in a charming creative way this year but now that same technology has been harnessed to socio-political ends, with blisteringly powerful results.

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    This year has been great for car adverts, we’ve had hilarious examples in the shape of dancing chickens Mercedes-Benz and the death-defying company president for Volvo. To complete the corporate hat-trick, we are pleased to present Ron Burgundy’s series of adverts for the Dodge Durango, whatever that is, in which he does what he does best: says mundane things and makes them hilarious. Watch him argue with a mute horse, attack ballroom dancers and rant about glove boxes in this seemingly endless series of mini ads that will make your day you worthless idiot. Oh I’m sorry, I didn’t see you had a child with you.

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    It’s no massive surprise that this video has had 13 million views (and counting) in just two days, because this is how to pull-off a publicity stunt. Ahead of the release of the upcoming Carrie film, a New York coffee shop was tricked out with moving tables and jumping books, filled with actors and a stuntman and then opened as normal. What unfolds is freaky, funny and very, very well-executed; proof that if a trick’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right. Also check out the terrified young woman still intent on filming the goings-on on her phone; a great comment on our social-media-obsessed culture. A tip of the hat to all involved here.

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    Just when you thought Paul Smith couldn’t get any cooler, here’s the new advert promoting his A/W 13 underwear collection. Just having hunky but kindly men flaunting their crotch at a camera clearly wasn’t enough for director Sébastien Montaz-Rosset, and so off they went to the mountains with two (still hunky) flat liners, Antoine Moineville and Tancrède Melet.

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    Hey gang, you know how I’m always going on about how brilliant insurance companies’ PR stunts are? Ok fine I don’t but that’s because there’s never been one worth mentioning… until now! The clever clogs at M&C Saatchi Milano came up with this astonishing stunt for Europ Assist IT’s Protect Your Life campaign, getting people to rethink how well covered they are by gate-crashing a submarine into the middle of a Milan street.

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    Alright, alright, we’re all totally “over” ads that feature cute animals doing hilarious things. Definitely. 100%. Oh wait, no we’re not! This is hilarious. Creative directors Lucasz Brzozowsk and Robert Herter from Stuttgart agency Jung von Matt have mustered up the guts to make a car advert that doesn’t actually feature a car, a beautiful woman or a swooping shot of a road somewhere near Montenegro. Instead they’ve opted to choreograph a dance for some chickens set to a simply smashing Diana Ross song. No more needs to be said, get your headphones in, you’re about to see chickens in a whole new and glorious light.

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    KesselsKramer have been handling the promotional material for Amsterdam’s Hans Brinker Budget Hotel for over a decade now; in fact they were one of the agency’s first clients. The hotel prides itself on being one of the city’s plainest, dirtiest and budget-est available, offering no more than the bare minimum to their guests. That means broken showers, doors that don’t close and bunk beds without ladders according to TripAdvisor. Nice!

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    This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a clever take-off of the breathless tone and linguistic dexterity so beloved by big technology brands (these spots for Mintacular gum and Somersby Cider both spring to mind) but this new work by JWT for KitKat stands out for a couple of reasons.

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    If you you have that weird tummy-flipping thing when it comes to heights, I suggest you skip over this video, but for the rest of you, read on. To demonstrate just how hardy the Volvo truck towing hook is, the Swedish car giant followed the whole maxim of show rather than tell. And lo they suspended a 15 tonne Volvo Truck 20 metres above the water in Gothenburg harbour, and to ratchet up the tension they plonked Claes Nilsson, the company’s actual president (and coincidentally the man with the coolest accent on Planet Earth) on top of the truck’s cab. It’s the first teaser in a campaign (which also includes the buttock-clenching video about ground clearance below) which promises a series of similarly daring stunts.

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    It’s not the first time a technology ad has been parodied brilliantly but College Humor’s latest spoof, Every Tech Commercial has got the tone of modern technology advertising down to an absolute tee. It’s scripted to perfection, timed with skill and absolutely nails the way ‘family friendly’ communications companies like to patronise us in their online and television promotions. Take note Apple, IBM and Vodafone, College Humor have got your number. Might be time to modify the template a little.

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    Never one to follow the crowd that Miuccia Prada. On first watch, Real Fantasies, a short produced with long-term collaborator AMO to advertise the Fall Winter 2013 collection, looks like nothing short of a bad dream about a dystopian society which has been thrown into a time-warp and then emerged the other side only to be cut into tiny pieces and stuck back together again. What’s more, it’s oddly transfixing. The disjointed music, two-dimensionality and surrealist influence all come together with an absurd kind of harmony which shows the collection in its absolute best light.

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    Well this is an utterly tremendous blog and one of the most genuinely interesting creative resources we’ve come across for some time. It’s all very well young practitioners comparing their work against advertising’s great and good, but surely it’s far more relevant to see what some of the industry’s top names were producing when they were studying? That’s exactly what Before They Were Famous does, an initiative launched by a creative team at the Beattie McGuinness Bungay agency. They contacted a host of well-known figures both from within their company and without and asked them to submit their student portfolios to demonstrate how their creative thinking first started to develop.

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    When we interviewed him a couple of months back Ryan Hopkinson alluded to an (at that stage top secret) project he was working on with Sony, and now we can all enjoy the fruits of those labours. It’s no surprise to see something so impressive coming from a creative we are well used to being wowed by, but this new work sees him push his practice in a captivating new direction. Collaborating with Hirsch & Mann and featuring Christopher Raeburn’s S/S 14 collection, Ryan used 100 Sony Experia Z smartphones to create a spiral catwalk sculpture for his piece which “crosses the boundaries of art, fashion and technology exploring the process of photography and film creation utilising custom software, bespoke apps and a wireless control system.”

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    Can we please give a round of applause for Michael Birch who, after years of having the piss taken out of his early social networking site and puberty wagon Bebo, is back with maybe the best comeback video we’ve ever seen. The fact that the actual founder is narrating the video in person is so old school and perfect and the fact that they’ve taken something so genuinely hilarious – and possibly the only positive thing that Bebo harvested – and used it to make them appear cool again is so perfect it gives me goosebumps. Unfortunately it’s so good that after watching this you may find yourself immediately signing back up to Bebo, back on the puberty wagon. But don’t worry, I’ve saved you a space next to me and it’s going to be a sweet, sweet ride.

  28. Opinion-list

    This week, assistant editor Liv Siddall asks why there were so many complaints over the new Marmite advert when it is, essentially, just a good advert. What do you think? Love it or hate it? Comments welcome.

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    Do you have a sticky pot of Marmite in your cupboard that hasn’t been opened since 1982? Personally I get through a jar a week so I couldn’t entirely relate to this new advert, but it’s very funny nonetheless. Marmite have launched a new campaign based around the fact that 1 in 10 Brits admit they “haven’t opened their jar in three months” and have created a series of videos that will hopefully eradicate this kind of ludicrous behaviour. In this Animal Rescue-esque ad, a team of experts invade suburban homes and rescue the poor little jars of neglected Marmite to give them caring new families. As well as the main advert above, there are lots of spin-off stories you’ll find on YouTube, including this Interview with a Shocked Neighbour. Lovely.

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    This very smart set of posters was created by the Aesop agency for an event in London last weekend which saw a corner of Soho turned into Little Italy for a couple of days. Sponsored by Birra Moretti, Italy Live included cooking demonstrations and even a live satellite link-up with the San Gimignano Piazza in Tuscany, and Aesop produced this striking set of visuals to help inform visitors and spread the brand message across the weekend. We like.

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    This feisty little girl’s just started surfing the crimson wave of puberty at her summer camp. Luckily for her, she’s the first girl at camp to get her period, so she becomes something of a coach, nay dictator, among her naive peers as they all start their periods too. “For these campers, I was their Joan of Arc…I’m Joan, and their vaj is the Arc…”

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    The contribution of plastic bags to my emotional development has been limited at best. Oh, sure, I got a bit misty-eyed about that one blowing around the empty street in American Beauty (who didn’t?) but other than that they’ve been a largely pragmatic part of my life… until now. Back in 2005, creative agency Mother launched a range of Uncarriable Bags adorned with embarrassing motifs and they’ve just launched a second range “to make people think about plastic bags in 2013.”

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    Last autumn we sung the praises of Sam Hofman – pointing in particular to his eclectic personal work – but as with most photographers, Sam’s portfolio is a mixture of these kinds of projects with commissioned work. Recently Sam collaborated with food stylist Iain Graham (who worked on this great shoot for The Gourmand) and set designer Linnea Apelqvistto to create this series for Ted Baker’s Tasetfully Ted campaign. What I really like about this is that while it’s got a recognisably commercial aesthetic, there’s also a sense of fun running throughout; a combination which raises this above your run-of-the-mill advertising shoot.

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    Move aside Carly Rae Jepsen, the Brummy grandfathers of heavy metal are back in town and they’ve got a devastatingly effective ad campaign in tow that tears right through the heart of modern music and puts Ozzy, Tony, and Geezer back in the limelight they left 35 years ago. For their latest album, 13, Black Sabbath have employed McCann Copenhagen to dig through generations of fly posters back to their infamous logotype used in their heyday (before Ozzy got fired). The result looks like the rediscovery of some pristine vintage posters underneath layers of pop-song detritus which, for my money, makes this one of the best billboard campaigns in a long, long while.

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    I’ve railed before about “science’s” disappointing tardiness in providing robots to cater to our every whim, but I will generously forgive our egghead chums if they keep doing things like this. For their new spot promoting the European Golf Tour, Saatchi & Saatchi London decided to test Rory McIlroy’s skills against a robot on a driving range. So far so good. But where this spot really soars is in the personality of the robot – he’s a snidey wind-up merchant with a great line in put-downs and folksy sayings. There’s also a nice element of Rory not quite knowing what’s going to happen next, which adds a certain authenticity to the slightly surreal proceedings. This is the latest in Saatchi’s Every Shot Imaginable series; a consistently interesting and super-playful way of promoting the tour which has previously featured players driving golfballs into a boat and the clay pigeon golf shot. Nice.

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    Ever wondered what pigs eat? Or what they do when they hang out together? Or if they dream? Well the answer to this conundrum is…apples! And they snuffle into each others bellies, and yes, they dream a lot. In fact, they’re really just huge snuffly pink balls of niceness, as Compassion in World Farming, or CIWF, are trying to prove with their latest campaign to reduce cruelty to farm animals and encourage people to eat free range.

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    Every once in a while an ad campaign comes along which manages to convey a really powerful message in a beautifully simple way. That certainly applies to this project by Publicis Singapore for the country’s Samaritans and their suicide prevention work. Under the strap line "The signs are there if you read them, " creative director Erik Vervroegen and his team created this series of graffitied ambigrams which read either as simple platitudes or desperate cries for help depending which way round you read them. At a time when the usual debates around the annual ad junket to Cannes are in full flow, it’s nice to be reminded of the potentially life-changing – in this case life-saving – power of a great idea.

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    Last night the great and good of the advertising and design industries assembled in London for the D&AD Awards, with all eyes on who would walk away with the coveted Black Pencils. McCann Erickson Melbourne was the big winner for their utterly charming Dumb Ways To Die metro safety animation which won five yellow pencils – art direction, earned media campaigns, digital advertising, TV and cinema advertising and writing for film as well as one of four Black Pencils.

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    If your Twitter feed’s anything like mine, last night it would have been dominated with breathless reactions to Apple’s iOS7 launch. That’s not to say it was all positive; Apple’s way of talking about its products can split opinion and we’ve previously posted two very good spoofs in the form of this cider promo and this chewing gum spot.

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    New signage popping up all over National Trust properties across the east of England is making a mockery of the stuffy reputation of country houses. Nature’s Playground, the new campaign by The Click Design Consultants, sees a series of nine brightly-coloured notices dotted about the grounds, which are designed to encourage exactly the behaviour which they initially seem to inhibit. Resembling restrictions and warning notices, the signs actually encourage tree-hugging, flower-sniffing, photo-snapping and general fun, undermining the conservative reputation of informative notices. Not so stuffy now, eh?