Five of our favourite campaigns

by: Sam Hennig
Creative Strategist

Ah, favourites! Unlike children when it comes to advertising you are allowed to have ‘em but boiling that list down to just the top five, now that’s a challenge. However, it’s a challenge that for the purposes of this blog I am willing to undertake.
So, where to start? Well, it’s probably not a bad idea to go back to the birth of modern advertising, the days of Mad Men sipping Whiskeys in the morning and writing outrageously off-colour ads in the afternoons. Despite this somewhat antiquated way of looking at things, they did still manage to come up with some true gems that today still offer us some key learnings. So here it is, an ad that feels obvious for this list and that’s because ‘well it is one of the best’ and the best are bound to be well known…otherwise they haven’t really done their job have they?

This ad and the others in its highly successful series were truly ground-breaking. Using ad space in a new way; arresting attention by using negative space and then asking the viewer to spend time with the ad, to really get to grips with what it is saying. Whilst it is minimal in aesthetic, the body copy is so important, getting across key product benefits and having fun with language. This ad is so aware of how it will be viewed; within the pages of magazines and newspapers where the viewer is willing to sit and read but where getting cut through is hard amongst a sea of information and content. This is an ad that has more than stood the test of time and a format that VW and indeed many other brands have revisited time and time again.

Okay, so that is one ad down…where to go next? I know, let’s go for a McDonalds! Even better than that, let’s have one delivered straight to us! When this ad came out a year or two ago it really made me stop in my tracks. It is simply magnificent in its simplicity; in a modern world where we are consuming information (and McNuggets) in bitesize chunks. This ad uses our desire for ease and our hatred of grey rainy days and pitches it to absolute perfection. Not one word is needed, just the McDelivery logo and a beautiful, arresting image that hits at an absolute truth; that when you’re hungry and it’s miserable outside having warm chips and a Coca-Cola delivered directly to your door really can put a big Ronald McDonald smile all over your face.

I don’t know about you, but once I have stuffed my face with far too much fast food, I am filled with a guilt that can only be quelled by getting my *Nike* running shoes out, putting them on and watching other people be really good at sport so that I am therefore inspired enough to also buy *Nike* shorts and a *Nike* T-shirt and get out there and be not quite so good. Well, if there is one ad which sums this up better than nearly any other it is this absolute masterpiece:

To whoever the people are that spent, what must have been absolutely months sourcing and editing that footage, you have my endless admiration. This piece is a true triumph, in terms of its copy, art direction and just about everything else in between. Now, where is my *Nike* headband?

Ah that’s good, the hair is out my eyes and I can take a really good look at this next piece of advertising gold. The reason I have put it next is because it is doing something quite similar to the Nike ad you have just watched, but this time in one static visual, and boy, oh boy is it powerful. The copy and message are simple, as too is the imagery, but the clever way in which the two images interact tell such a clear story that it surely makes us all want to do our bit to help save this beautiful planet.

So…where do we go from there? Well, just as we started with a car ad and I would like to finish with one too. I have seen much debate in the past few years about inclusivity and diversity in advertising, and for good reason too. Advertising behind the scenes is by no means diverse enough and so it is absolutely no surprise that much of what is seen on screen shares a similarly disappointing fate. However, this ad by Renault really helps to pave a way for inclusivity to actually be, well, inclusive. This is not an ad that is plastered with Pride flags but instead it is just an ad that tells a beautiful story and makes you love the product. Oh, and the central couple happen to be gay, because guess what, some people are gay. What I am saying is that no matter what sex the two protagonists are here, the ad is: lovely, incredibly well written, well directed, the cinematography is to die for. What is not to love? Bravo Renault.

So, there is my whistle stop tour of five of my faves. It won’t be the last time I review ads here so keep your beady eyes peeled for more from the world of marketing.