High Five: November

November 11, 2015 / High Five

By Alex Reeves

Laugh or cry before you buy.

We are living in an age of emotional advertising. The industry figured out a while ago that the key to memorable brand messaging is making us laugh or cry. Our pick of the best ads from the past month have the potential to do either of these (although one is more likely to make you sweat). That’s why they’re so good.

Brand: Acura
Title: The Test
Production Company: The Corner Shop
Director: Peter Thwaites (UK Representation: Outsider)
Production Company Producer: Jay Shapiro
Director of Photography: Joost Van Gelder
Ad Agency: Mullen Lowe
Creative Director: Margaret Keene
Creatives: Paul Foulkes, Chris Ford
Agency Producer: Dustin Oliver
Editing Company: Work
Editor: Bill Smedley
Sound Company: 740 Sound
Sound Designers: Chris Pinkston, Rob Marshall
Post Production Company: Electric Theatre Collective

Acura – The Test

They may not make the most exhilarating cars on the road, so Acura have made a smart move selling themselves on safety in this campaign. It’s a simple, smart idea and the execution makes its emotional impact really poignant. Peter Thwaites’ subtle directorial touch paired with the gentle, futuristic music creates a powerful effect – one that stands out starkly from the usual noise of the commercial break.


Brand: Freeview
Title: Set Yourself Free
Production Companies: Rogue, Electric Theatre Collective
Directors: Sam Brown (Rogue), Sam Taylor & Bjorn-Erik Aschim (The Line)
Production Company Producers: Kate Hitchings (Rogue), Serena Noorani (Electric Theatre Collective)
Ad Agency: Leo Burnett London
Creative Directors: Matt Collier, Wayne Robinson
Creatives: Phillip Meyler, Barren Keff
Agency Producer: Becks O’Sullivan
Editing Company: Final Cut
Editor: Amanda James
Sound Company: 750mph
Sound Designers: Sam Ashwell, Sam Robson, Mark Hellaby
Post Production Company: Electric Theatre Collective

Freeview – Set Yourself Free

The choice of song in this ad is brilliant. While the rendition of Les Miserables classic I Dreamed A Dream may not be the most rousing we’ve heard, its message is a strong one, particularly paired with the Orwellian visuals. What are they trying to say with their song choice? That having to pay for TV channels is a miserable existence, comparable to the plight of peasants in pre-revolutionary France? Maybe that’s a bit much, but why the heck not? We’re being presented with a society of conscious, humanoid televisions and the protagonist is somehow actually quite cute. It’s a wildly excessive idea, but it’s a lot of fun for it.


Brand: Lotto
Title: Please Not Them (Vinnie Jones)
Production Company: Biscuit Filmworks
Director: Jeff Low
Production Company Producer: Dougal Meese
Director of Photography: Mattias Nyberg
Ad Agency: Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO
Creative Directors: Alex Grieve, Adrian Rossi
Creatives: Clark Edwards, Tim Riley, Jeremy Tribe
Agency Producer: Matt Towell
Editing Company: Work
Editor: Saam Hodivala
Sound Company: 750mph
Sound Designers: Sam Ashwell, Sam Robson
Post Production Company: The Mill

Lotto – Please Not Them (Vinnie Jones)

This whole series has been absolute gold and Vinnie Jones’ instalment is a particularly good one. Even when he’s evangelising about the virtues of anger, he’s somehow totally charming. The script is ridiculous and witty and it’s all drawn together by director Jeff Low’s comic chops, which must be world-renowned by now. 100 seconds usually seems an indulgent running time for a piece of advertising, but in this case it’s only just long enough.


Brand: Nike
Title: Last
Production Company: Park Pictures
Director: Lance Acord
Production Company Producer: Caroline Kousidonis
Ad Agency: Wieden+Kennedy Portland
Creative Directors: Alberto Ponte, Ryan O’Rourke
Creatives: Heather Ryder, Darcie Burrell, Patty Orlando
Agency Producer: Shelley Eisner
Editing Company: Rock Paper Scissors
Editor: Angus Wall
Music Company: Walker Music
Sound Company: Barking Owl
Sound Designer: Michael Anastasi
Post Production Company: A52

Nike – Last

It’s tempting to draw parallels between this ad and Nike’s 2012 Jogger spot, which was also directed by Lance Accord and also focused on one not particularly proficient runner, but this is more than a replication of that good idea. It’s an antidote to the tone other sports brands often land on, where young people with flawless bodies and tight-fitting sports gear effortlessly glide through some athletic pursuit, leaving us mere mortals feeling flabby and incompetent. With only two shots and a simple, classic endline, the story of this woman is clear and its effect is an inspiration for all.


Brand: Wrigley
Title: Sarah & Juan
Production Company: Rattling Stick
Director: Pete Riski
Production Company Producer: Tessa Mitchell
Ad Agency: Energy BBDO
Creative Director: Pedro Pérez
Creatives: Andrés Ordoñéz, Josejuan Toledo, Jesús Díaz, Pedro Pérez, Sofía González
Agency Producer: John Pratt
Editing Company: Cut+Run
Editor: Eve Ashwell
Music Company: ole Media Management L.P.
Sound Company: STIR Post
Sound Designer: Matt Holmes
Post Production Company: The Mill

Wrigley – Sarah & Juan

It’s easy to criticise schmaltzy commercials like this one and it definitely has more than a whiff of cheese to it (despite the cool minty flavour of the gum it advertises). But what’s wrong with that? Emotional storytelling is one of the most powerful tools advertisers have at their disposal and the amount of attention this ad has received from the public (over 12 million views on YouTube and counting) and the press (the Daily Mail, The Mirror and Buzzfeed, to name just a few) proves that it’s moving people around the world. Not all ads can rely on sardonic British comedy. Global brands like this have to speak to many audiences and, luckily for them, love is a language we all speak.

High Five: October

October 8, 2015 / High Five

By Alex Reeves

Context is key to making this month’s best advertising.

All the ads that have made it into our choice cuts of this month’s advertising have something in common: they’re acutely aware of other advertising. Whether it’s building on what people loved about previous ads or making sure they stand out from the competition, each idea has been though through in context, not in a vacuum. That, along with expert craft, is what makes them so good.

Brand: Ballantine’s
Title: Space Glass
Production Company: Partizan
Director: Thomas Hilland
Production Company Producer: Ella Sanderson
Director of Photography: Ben Davies
Ad Agency: Havas Work Club
Creative Director: Ben Mooge
Creative: Anna Rose Kerr
Agency Producer: Tom Hoad
Editing Company: Tenthree
Editor: Charlie Roberts
Post Production Company: The Mill

Ballantine’s – Space Glass

There are plenty of clichés around whiskey advertising. Scottish manor houses by picturesque lochs, grizzly bearded men strolling between racks of old oak barrels, cobbled streets and horse-carts. In that light, Work Club have taken Ballantine’s tone in the best possible direction here, looking to the future of a spacefaring, but still whisky-drinking, human race. They’ve followed the trend of inventing something for marketing reasons. It’s a trend we approve of. Lexus made a hoverboard; Ballantine’s made a glass that works in microgravity. And Thomas Hilland has directed a beautifully space-age ad to convey this.


Brand: Beats by Dre
Title: McCaw
Production Companies: RESET, The Sweet Shop
Director: TWiN (UK Representation: Academy)
Production Company Producers: Nicole Crozier, Andy Mauger
Director of Photography: Lachlan Milne
Ad Agency: R/GA/Hustle
Creatives: Edwin Latchford, Ciaran McCarthy
Agency Producer: Davis Priestley
Editing Company: Arcade Edit
Editor: Brad Waskewich

Beats by Dre - McCaw

The All-Blacks’ haka is one of the most powerful images in sport, so it’s amazing it hasn’t been used more often in advertising. This year’s Rugby World Cup seems to be particularly brand-heavy, but this ad stands out. Firstly, it features a team who are likely to actually do well in and possibly win the tournament (the shot of the car with the Union Flag on being crushed could well turn out to be an apt metaphor). Secondly, it’s following a winning formula that Beats have used to make themselves one of the top brands advertising around sporting events. In the footsteps of Nike, they haven’t sponsored the event, but have spent that money elsewhere, like on this brilliantly crafted commercial. They certainly feel like they’re coming out of it ahead of Samsung – the RFU’s official electronics sponsor.


Brand: EA Sports
Production Company: Traktor
Director: Traktor (UK Representation: Rattling Stick)
Ad Agency: Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam
Creative Directors: Craig Williams, Alvaro Sotomayor, David Smith
Creatives: Vasco Vicente, Andrew Dobbie
Agency Producers: Elissa Singstock, Joe Togneri
Editing Company: Final Cut
Editor: Edward Line
Music Company: Massive Music
Sound Company: GCRS
Sound Designer: Raja Sehgal, assisted by Aaron Taffel
Post Production Company: MPC


As if EA actually need to advertise that there’s a new FIFA game out every autumn. Anyone who’s ever owned a pair of football boots or an Xbox knows that. It does give them an excuse to make a big advertising extravaganza each year though, and this one goes all out with some of the sport’s biggest superstars, crazy visual effects and even a song with lyrics that are quite witty if you manage to make them out. A camped-up insight into how the game is made is a great way of showcasing it and the introduction of women’s teams for the first time is an exciting new addition too. They’ve tried to do everything at once here. It’s uncompromising and exciting.


Brand: Heineken
Title: The Chase
Production Company: MJZ
Director: Tom Kuntz
Production Company Producer: Chris McBride
Director of Photography: Benoit Debie
Ad Agency: Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam
Creative Directors: Eric Quennoy, Mark Bernath
Creatives: Thierry Albert, Faustin Claverie
Editing Company: Whitehouse Post
Editor: Russell Icke
Sound Company: 750mph
Sound Designer: Sam Ashwell
Post Production Company: MPC

Heineken – The Chase

The creatives at Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam clearly wanted to make the most of Heineken’s relationship with the 24th Bond film and they’ve done a top job cramming in as many references to the franchise as they can. Heienken ads have been far too smug and smarmy in the past, but this one comes off rather well. Focusing on the ad’s own Bond girl Zara Prassinot may have been motivated by Daniel Craig’s lack of availability (he’s only in a couple of shots), but it she’s charming and funny, creating that tone that is exactly what people love about James Bond.


Brand: Honda
Title: Paper
Production Company: RESET
Director: PES (UK Representation: Academy)
Production Company Producer: Stan Sawicki
Director of Photography: Erik Adkins
Ad Agency: RPA
Creative Directors: Ken Pappanduros, Chuck Blackwell
Creatives: Laura Crigler, Josh Hepburn
Agency Producer: Matt Magsaysay
Editing Company: Rock Paper Scissors
Editor: Stewart Reeves
Sound Company: Factory
Sound Designer: Phil Bolland
Post Production Company: A52

Honda – Paper

Everyone’s favourite Japanese advertisers are at it again, making brand advertising showcasing their illustrious history with an admirable focus on craft. We’ve heard this all before – the idea is basically a rehash of their 2013 Hands commercial – but it’s so beautifully made we have no problem with that. The execution is fresh enough to make the idea new again. The whole thing gives off the impression that Honda are extremely proud of their history, even as they do some of the most futuristic engineering on the planet.


High Five: September

September 10, 2015 / High Five

By Alex Reeves

There’s more than one way to skin an advertising client.

This month our selection of the best five pieces of advertising demonstrates the many different routes advertising can take. Whether it’s conveying a feeling about a brand through a shiny film, demonstrating the talents of a company through an engineering project or cashing in on a topical joke, each of these pieces of advertising chose the right approach for their client.

Brand: Honda
Title: Ignition
Production Company: Somesuch
Director: Aoife McArdle
Production Company Producer: James Waters
Director of Photography: John Lynch
Ad Agency: Wieden+Kennedy London
Creative Directors: Kim Papworth, Scott Dungate
Agency Producer: James Laughton
Editing Company: Final Cut
Editor: Dan Sherwen
Music Company: Siren
Sound Company: Factory
Sound Designer: Anthony Moore
Post Production Company: The Mill

Honda - Ignition

Every time we see the word Honda appear in our press release mailbox, our High Five senses start to tingle. Alongside their trusted agency partners Wieden+Kennedy, they do brand advertising like no one else. This film is a celebration of the technological excellence they have demonstrated this year, in which the brand has returned to Formula 1 racing, made its first commercial flight and refreshed every model in its range of cars. The raw power of the film also proves director Aoife McArdle’s mighty talents are here to stay. We’ll take note whenever she appears in our inbox too.


Brand: Hostelworld
Title: Youth Hostelling With Chris Eubank
Production Company: Motion Picture House (MPH)
Director: Kelvin Hutchins
Director of Photography: Matthew Beecroft
Ad Agency: Lucky Generals
Sound Company: 750mph
Sound Designer: Jeff Smith
Post Production Company: Absolute

Hostelworld – Youth Hostelling With Chris Eubank

It’s 18 years since Alan Partridge desperately cobbled together his TV pitch for ‘Youth Hostelling With Chris Eubank’ and it’s finally become a reality. Well, maybe. We don’t know if it will ever become the full travelogue we’ve dreamed of for so long, but this film is gratifying enough for now. What’s amazing is the speed at which agency Lucky Generals made it all happen. On 11th August Twitter buzzed with hilarity as it realised Chris Eubank still didn’t get Coogan’s joke. Within days they agency had got Chris himself on board, as well as Hostelworld and director Kelvin Hutchins of Motion Picture House. It was on YouTube by the 19th. That’s marketing in 2015.


Brand: John Lewis
Title: Tiny Dancer
Production Company: Blink
Director: Dougal Wilson
Ad Agency: adam&eveDDB
Creative Directors: Ben Tollett, Richard Brim
Creatives: Jo Cresswell, Sian Coole
Agency Producer: Jack Bayley
Editing Company: Final Cut
Editor: Joe Guest
Sound Company: Factory
Sound Designers: Anthony Moore, Jon Clarke
Post Production Company: MPC

John Lewis – Tiny Dancer

If this was a bad ad, everyone in advertising would have to reassess what they know. It was made by the people who win the awards these days. From Client to Colourist, everyone on the credit list is at the top of their game. It’s predictably charming, exactly as warm as we expected and full of humanity. It’s also bang on the message for insurance. This particular tiny dancer looks likely to do some damage sooner or later, but who’d want to be the killjoy to stop her?


Brand: Lexus
Title: Slide
Production Company: Smuggler
Director: Henry-Alex Rubin
Production Company Producers: Gordon Mackinnon, Ray Leakey
Director of Photography: Ken Seng
Ad Agency: CHI & Partners
Creative Director: Monty Verdi
Creatives: Brad Woolf, Dan Bailey
Agency Producers: Zoe Barlow, Nikki Cramphorn, Nicola Ridley, Matt Cresswell, Lindsay Hughes
Editing Company: Marshall Street Editors
Editor: Spencer Ferszt
Sound Company: Wave Studios
Sound Designer: Parv Thind
Post Production Company: MPC

Lexus – Slide

When Lexus revealed this, the internet’s nit-pickers came out in force, voicing their disappointment that their hoverboard needed a special skatepark to work. They barely stopped to appreciate the fact that Lexus have made an actual hoverboard that levitates (even over water!) enough for pro skater Ross McGouran to star in this brilliant skate video style ad, deftly captured by action specialist Henry-Alex Rubin. An exhilarating film that tells an impressive story of engineering.


Brand: Pot Noodle
Title: You Can Make It
Production Company: Blink
Director: Nick Ball
Production Company Producer: Toby Courlander
Director of Photography: Chris Sabogal
Ad Agency: Lucky Generals
Creative Director: Danny Brooke-Taylor
Creatives: George Allen, Lizzie Moore
Agency Producer: Sophie Jones
Editing Company: Work Post
Editor: Mark Edinoff
Sound Company: Wave Studios
Sound Designer: Jack Sedgewick
Post Production Company: Electric Theatre Collective

Pot Noodle – You Can Make It

Pot Noodle’s advertising has always been brilliantly comfortable with the fact that they’re trashy but delicious and their advertising has celebrated this guilty pleasure status to varying degrees of success over the years. This time round they’ve got the tone exactly right, perfectly parodying the try-hard, aspirational voice of so many commercials we have to stomach these days. It’s a great laugh.

High Five: August

August 6, 2015 / High Five

By Alex Reeves

Have a giggle, paid for by these big brands.

Our pick of the best ads of this month are fun pieces of film that you might actually enjoy watching. The brands who paid for them want your money and they’re happy to pay for your amusement if it means you’re more likely to give you their custom. As consumers we’re the kings and queens that the court jester brands are desperate to please. What an ego trip that is.

Brand: Foster’s
Title: Cheerleader
Production Company: Independent
Director: Gary Freedman (The Glue Society)
Production Company Producer: Jason Kemp
Director of Photography: Ryley Brown
Ad Agency: adam&eveDDB
Creative Director: Ben Priest
Creatives: Colin Booth, Ben Stilitz
Agency Producer: Louise Richardson
Editing Company: Playroom
Editor: Adam Spivey
Post Production Company: The Mill

Foster’s - Cheerleader

So this is what post-blokey Foster’s advertising looks like. They may have got rid of the Aussie stereotypes a bit, but they’ve still got the right tone of humour in this mockumentary ad. Clever casting has made sure the hero looks totally out of place and the dialogue is well timed. It may not have been the most socially progressive campaign, but Brad and Dan’s bro-down of a call centre won the IPA Effectiveness Grand Prix last year. Will this new, less conventionally masculine approach deliver the same value for the client?


Brand: Harvey Nichols
Title: Shoplifters
Production Company: Blinkink
Executive Producer: Bart Yates
Director: Layzell Bros
Ad Agency: adam&eveDDB
Creative Directors: Ben Tollett, Richard Brim
Creatives: Colin Booth, Ben Stilitz
Editing Company: Work
Editor: Anne Perri
Sound Company: Wave
Post Production Company: Blinkink Studio

Harvey Nichols – Shoplifters

This is a neat little idea that amazingly, after 60 years of TV advertising, hasn’t been done yet. It’s compelling in the sadistic, guilty-pleasure way that shows like Road Wars and Cop Squad are. The animations the Layzell Bros have used to protect the identities of these rapscallions are a fun touch too and give the whole idea a cheeky charm. And it’s true, who hasn’t fallen in love with a £770 butterfly T-shirt while perusing Harvey Nicks and considered stuffing it into their haversack? The advertised rewards might just allow you to afford it.


Brand: Lotto
Title: Please Not Them
Production Company: Biscuit Filmworks
Director: Jeff Low
Production Company Producer: Kwok Yau
Ad Agency: AMV BBDO
Creative Directors: Alex Grieve, Adrian Rossi 
Creatives: Tim Riley, Charlotte Adorjan, Michael Jones
Agency Producer: Matt Towell
Editing Company: Work
Editor: Saam Hodivala
Sound Company: 750mph
Sound Designer: Sam Ashwell
Post Production Company: The Mill

Lotto – Please Not Them (Katie Price)

This series is a good laugh and its widely despised subjects (Piers Morgan and Laurence Llewelyn Bowen complete the set) are surprisingly good sports. Jeff Low has done an admirable job getting them to caricature themselves, accentuating the bits we all love to hate. The idea has some logic to it – if you don’t play the Lotto you can be sure some self-obsessed arse clown will – although it’s hard to believe any of these particular idiots are struggling for money. They’ve managed to con people into paying them for behaving like this.


Brand: MoneySuperMarket
Title: Colin
Production Company: Biscuit Filmworks
Director: Noam Murro
Production Company Producer: Andrew Denyer
Director of Photography: Eric Schmidt
Ad Agency: Mother
Editing Company: Work
Editor:  Neil Smith
Sound Company: 750mph
Sound Designer: Sam Robson
Post Production Company: MPC

MoneySuperMarket – Colin

Advertisers seem well into dismantling norms of masculinity at the moment. It’s cool. And understandable – it’s the sort of strategy that wins awards. It may well also reflect the metamorphosis the modern man is going through in the 21st Century. We’ve broken free of the age of Nuts and Zoo. Men can eat salads in public now. Dave’s ample booty went down very well last year, so Colin’s steamy routine, amusingly caught on camera, is probably going to be popular too.


Brand: Samsung
Title: Surf
Production Company: Stink
Director: Eliot Rausch
Production Company Producer: Jennifer Barrons
Directors of Photography: Alexis Zabe, Daren Crawford
Ad Agency: 72andSunny
Editing Company: Whitehouse Post
Editor: Russell Icke
Creative Director: Paulo Martins
Creatives: Yann Corlay, Patric Franz
Agency Producers: Peter Williams, Eline Bakker
Post Production Company: Glassworks

Samsung – Surf

It’s as bold move to make an ad about surfing. Comparisons against the official best ad ever are usually best avoided. But this is just a stunningly good-looking film about a particularly cinematic sport. The script is a little cheesy but powerfully conveys the passion surfers feel for their way of life. Working with the World Surf League, they’ve got it just right. Credit to Eliot Rausch, this sort of film lives or dies on how its directed and he’s filled it with humanity and beauty.

High Five: July

July 9, 2015 / High Five

By Alex Reeves

The best advertising is strange but true.

Some of the best advertising is absolutely bizarre, from Tango, Orange Man to Hamlet, Photo Booth. And as long as advertising’s job is to stand out from the noise that surrounds us the weirdness is set to keep on coming. This month’s round-up of the best advertising is weirder than most and, we would argue, all the better for it.

Brand: AA
Title: We’ve Seen It All
Production Company: Outsider
Director: Scott Lyon
Ad Agency: adam&eveDDB
Creative Directors: Aidan McClure, Laurent Simon
Creatives: Rory Hall, Steph Ellis
Editing Company: Work
Editor: Art Jones
Sound Company: Factory
Sound Designers: Anthony Moore, Tom Joyce
Post Production Company: The Mill

AA – We’ve Seen It All

It’s a cliché to say that great advertising comes from finding ‘nugget of truth’ and building on it, but clichés are often true. The idea here is based on a feeling everyone who’s ever broken down at an awkward time can relate to, particularly if you grew up on on our neurotic little island: What will the breakdown people think of me? Well rest assured, implies this ad with warm British humour, because the AA have seen much worse and will fix your vehicle without (an unprofessional amount of) judgement.


Brand: Finlandia
Title: 1000 Years
Production Company: Knucklehead
Director: Siri Bunford
Production Company Producer: Anandi Peiris
Director of Photography: Ben Smithard
Ad Agency: Wieden+Kennedy London
Creative Directors: Graeme Douglas, Scott Dungate
Creatives: Mark Shanley, Paddy Treacy
Agency Producer: Michelle Brough
Editing Companies: Whitehouse Post, Lucky Cat
Editors: Adam Marshall, Xavier Perkins
Sound Company: Factory
Sound Designers: Anthony Moore, Phil Bollard
Post Production Company: MPC
Grade: Matthieu Toullet

Finlandia – 1000 Years

Admittedly, we’ve seen quite few ads like this for alcohol brands. As the youth becomes more and more obsessed with being unique, just like everyone else, we get more and more brands appealing to their free spirit tendencies with films like this. But when it’s done well it’s quite convincing. The people it profiles are an interesting mix of people, and some of them are even old enough to be offering sage advice. Director Siri Bunford has done a solid job, applying her deft touch to a straightforward idea and bringing out the inspirational message at its core.


Brand: Rekorderlig
Title: Silver Skaters
Production Company: Biscuit Filmworks
Director: Andreas Nilsson
Production Company Producer: Charlotte Woodhead
Director of Photography: Stephen Keith Roach
Ad Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi London
Creative Directors: Rob Potts, Andy Jex
Creative: Adam Chiappe
Agency Producer: Josh Sanders
Editing Company: Cut+Run
Editor: Ben Campbell
Music Company: Major Tom
Sound Company: GCRS
Sound Designer: Munzie Thind
Post Production Company:  Electric Theatre Collective

Rekorderlig – Silver Skaters

This is brilliant for the same reason Cadbury’s Gorilla was – you can’t quite explain why, but it makes you happy. “Beautifully Swedish” reads the ad’s crisp couplet of copy. Whether the bizarre antics of these beardy gentlemen are particularly Swedish isn’t clear to our British minds, but we’ll have to trust director Andreas Nilsson knows what he’s doing – he did win the Film Grand Prix at Cannes Lions last year for his work for Volvo after all. What we can attest to is the film’s beauty. It’s weird, but it’s definitely wonderful too.


Brand: Southern Comfort
Title: Spray Tan
Production Company: Biscuit Filmworks
Director: Andreas Nilsson
Production Company Producers: Jay Veal, Mirka Taylor
Director of Photography: Sebastian Winterø
Ad Agency: Wieden+Kennedy New York
Creative Directors: Mike Giepert, Caleb Jensen, Jimm Lasser
Creatives: Rajeev Basu, Laddie Peterson
Agency Producer: Cheryl Warbrook
Editing Company: Arcade
Editor: Geoff Hounsell
Sound Company: Heard City
Post Production Company: The Mill

Southern Comfort – Spray Tan

Andreas Nilsson and Wieden+Kennedy strike again with another perplexing-yet-compelling piece of film. Southern Comfort have been spinning their web of weirdness for a while now, but nothing has quite matched that first high of their Beach commercial in 2012. This comes in as a close second, we think. Focusing again on men who lack conventional good looks but feel like rock stars anyway, it’s the antidote the smug, sharply dressed, dead-behind-the-eyes models other alcohol brands seem to prefer.


Brand: Veterans for Peace
Title: Battlefield Casualties
Production Company: Agile Films
Director: Price James
Production Company Producer: Micki Pearlman
Director of Photography:  John Miguel King
Editors: Rob Simpkins, Amy Beton
Music Composer: Darren Cullen
Sound Company: Tom Deane Sound
Sound Designer: Tom Deane
Post Production Company: Gramercy Park Studios

Veterans for Peace – Battlefield Casualties

The best charity ads don’t need to douse you in misery to be effective, even if their subject matter is justifiably miserable. Veterans for Peace and Director Price James have pulled off a much more effective technique here – they’ve dared to joke about the horrors of life after war. Astonishingly, their parodies of Action Man commercials are actually funny. What’s more astonishing is that while the comedy is black, the laughter they provoke is a compassionate kind, targeted at the absurdity of war rather than the suffering of its victims.


High Five: June

June 8, 2015 / High Five

By Alex Reeves

Proof of the incredible image making that goes into advertising.

We think these five ads are the best of last month. There’s a smart idea at the core of each of them, but what makes this lot particularly special is the amazing film craft. They’re visually stunning – testament to the skills of the people who made them.

Brand: Cravendale
Title: The Milk Drinker
Production Company: Riff Raff, Canada London
Director: Canada
Production Company Producer: Cathy Hood
Director of Photography: Arnaud Potier
Ad Agency: Wieden + Kennedy London
Creative Directors: Larry Seftel, David Day
Creatives: Thom Whitaker, Danielle Noel
Agency Producers: Emily Rudge, Helen Whileley
Editing Company: Trim
Editor: Dominic Leung
Music Company: Woodwork Music
Sound Company: 750mph
Sound Designer: Sam Ashwell
Post Production Company: MPC

Cravendale – The Milk Drinker

Remember the Southern Comfort beach guy? Here’s his non-alcoholic counterpart who looks like he just stepped off of Wes Anderson set. Wieden + Kennedy have been taking Cravendale to some pretty weird places in recent years and this film continues that record while introducing the particular flavour of nonchalant, charming cool the East London agency seems to do so well.


Brand: Coco De Mer
Title: X
Production Company: Rankin Film
Directors: Rankin, Damien Fry & Jo Hunt, Trisha Ward, Bronwen Parker-Rhodes, David Allain, Vicky Lawton
Production Company Producers: Clark Jackson, Lauren Havard, Ada Almeida
Directors of Photography: Eric Zimmerman, Matthew Taylor, Marcus Autelli
Ad Agency: TBWA\London
Creative Director: Walter Campbell
Creative: Sean Doyle
Agency Producer: Natalie Spooner
Editor: Nick Gilberg
Music Company: Platinum Rye
Sound Company: Wave
Sound Designers: Simon Carroll, Peter Salmang
Post Production Company: MPG

Coco De Mer – X

If sex sells, you’d think advertising luxury lingerie and sex toy boutique Coco De Mer would be an easy job. That said, consider how bad this film could have been if it was done poorly. Huge cringe potential. Thankfully, TBWA have enlisted the vision of Rankin, an expert in sexy image-making. But it’s more than just sexy. It’s weird, intriguing and arty (some might say pretentious, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing for such a brand), a vibrant, exciting piece of film.


Brand: Greenpeace
Title: A Song of Oil, Ice, and Fire
Production Company: Partizan
Director: Martin Stirling
Production Company Producer: Ella More O’Ferrall
Ad Agency: Don’t Panic
Creative Director: Richard Beer
Editing Company: Final Cut
Editor: Steve Ackroyd
Sound Company: Pure Soho
Sound Designer: Jason Peacock
Post Production Company: Smoke & Mirrors

Greenpeace – A Song of Oil, Ice and Fire

Greenpeace never pull any punches in their advertising. In response to Shell’s imminent threats to drill for oil in the Alaskan Arctic, this film highlights the horrific effects such actions could have. Director Martin Stirling has taken classic paintings and corrupted them with the dystopian scenes of pollution and destruction that companies like Shell leave in their wale. Paired with the right soundtrack these images communicate a poignant message. Hopefully it will change minds and help protect the unique environment and wildlife of the Arctic for a little longer.


Brand: Honda
Title: Feeling
Production Company: RSA Films
Director: Johnny Hardstaff
Production Company Producer: Annabel Ridley
Director of Photography: Martin Ruhe
Ad Agency: Wieden + Kennedy London
Creative Director: Scott Dungate
Creatives: Ben Shaffery, Max Batten
Agency Producer: Michelle Brough
Editing Company: Work
Editor: Art Jones
Music Company: Nate Connolly
Sound Company: 750mph
Sound Designer: Sam Ashwell
Post Production Company: MPC

Honda – Feeling

We all know everything looks better in slow motion. Wieden + Kennedy and director Johnny Hardstaff have taken this idea to its logical conclusion in their latest ad for the new Honda Civic and they’ve pulled it off with flair. The idea is focusing on the minute details in ideal moments of driving pleasure. They could have done it in simple freeze-frames, but this incredible super slow-mo approach, paired with exquisite visual effects from MPC, makes it a visual feast that improves with repeat viewing. A unique commercial that chimes harmoniously with Honda’s usual tone.


Brand: John Smith’s
Title: Cow Master
Production Company: Somesuch
Director: Nick Gordon
Ad Agency: adam&eveDDB
Creative Directors: Aidan McClure, Laurent Simon
Creatives: Ben Stilitz, Colin Booth
Agency Producer: Cara Geraghty
Editing Company: Trim
Editor: Dominic Leung
Music Company: Soundtree
Sound Company: Factory
Sound Designers: Anthony Moore, Jon Clarke
Post Production Company: MPC

John Smith’s – Cow Master

It’s been a while since John Smith’s last took to our ad breaks with Peter Kay’s perfectly judged endorsements and they’re back with their new agency adam&eveDDB and a completely different tone. This mockumentary style is a little bit more intriguing than their simple pub gags of their past, but the underlying honesty and humour is still there. It’s an absurd idea, but Nick Gordon’s realisation of the script makes it almost believable.

High Five: May

May 11, 2015 / High Five

By Alex Reeves

Variety is the spice of life… and advertising.

This month’s selection of the five best ads shows just how diverse advertising strategy can be. From the quiet and subtle, to the bold and explosive, to the philosophical or even just plain weird, there’s room for all kinds of messaging in advertising. Watch these prime examples and be thankful that ads are so varied these days.

Brand: Audi
Title: Birth
Production Company: Mill+
Director: Andrew Proctor
Production Company Producer: Adriane Scott-Kemp
Ad Agency: BBH
Creative Director: Ian Heartfield
Creatives: Dominic Goldman, Ian Heartfield
Agency Producer: Davud Karbassioun
Editor: Victor Jory
Sound Company: Strings & Tins
Sound Designer: Will Cohen
Post Production Company: The Mill

Audi – Birth

There’s something deeply troubling about watching a car give birth to another car. Maybe it’s a premonition of the dark future we face once the machines learn to self-replicate and rise up against their former masters. But despite it’s disturbing nature, this is such an unusual idea that it’s utterly compelling. Amazingly, the whole thing is computer generated, so no cars were harmed in its making. It’s the sort of ad you want to ask everyone’s opinion about because it’s just so weird.


Brand: Finish
Title: Dishes
Production Company: Riff Raff
Director: Megaforce
Production Company Producer: Jane Tredget
Director of Photography: David Ungaro
Ad Agency: Wieden + Kennedy London
Creative Directors: Carlos Alija, Laura Sampedro
Creatives: Erin Swanson, Cal AlJorani
Agency Producer: Genevieve Sheppard
Editing Company: Final Cut
Editor: Joe Guest
Music Company: Siren
Music Company Producer: Sian Rogers
Sound Company: Factory
Sound Designers: Jon Clarke, Neil Johnson, Anthony Moore 
Post Production Company: The Mill

Finish - Dishes

Those of us who own a dishwasher probably take it for granted just how much it improves our lives. And that’s why this commercial works so well. It reminds us of exactly how many dishes there are to be washed up in life. So maybe we should treat our dishwashers to something better than the supermarket own-brand tablets. The series of vignettes is packed full of all the warm humanity you’d expect of Wieden + Kennedy and shot with the panache you’d expect of Megaforce, who somehow manage to make even burnt-on pasta bake look poetic.


Brand: The Guardian
Title: Fun Run, Two Men, Kids Party
Production Company: Outsider
Director: James Rouse
Production Company Producer: Benji Howell
Director of Photography: Alex Melman
Ad Agency: BBH
Creative Director: Joakim Borgstrom
Creatives: Jack Smedley, George Hackforth-Jones
Agency Producer: Natalie Parish
Editing Company: Work
Editor: Bill Smedley
Sound Company: Factory
Sound Designers: Anthony Moore, Tom Joyce
Post Production Company: MPC

The Guardian – Fun Run

BBH have been lavishing the Guardian account with some rather epic comedy ads recently and while they’ve been fun, it’s good to see James Rouse’s characteristically understated style shine in this trio (completed by Dinner Party and Kids Party) of well-observed commercials about the disappointing weekends you’re doomed to have if you don’t buy the Guardian and Observer. They’re simple gags, but as usual Rouse gets the casting and performances absolutely right.


Brand: Honda
Title: Endless Road
Production Company: Gorgeous
Director: Chris Palmer
Production Company Producer: Rupert Smythe
Director of Photography: Steve Keith Roach
Ad Agency: McGarryBowen
Creative Directors: Angus Macadan and Paul Jordan
Creatives: Charlotte Warmough, Holly Fallows
Agency Producer: Sian Parker
Editing Company: Scot Crane
Editor: The Quarry
Sound Company: GCRS
Sound Designer: Munzie Thind
Post Production Companies: Glassworks, Fatiboo

Honda – Endless Road

If you’ve seen much of their advertising you’ll know that Honda love a bit of visual cleverness. In fact, director Chris Palmer directed a very impressive optical illusion-based ad for them a couple of years ago. But this goes way beyond that. Static optical illusions like the Penrose Steps or M.C. Escher’s experiments are hard enough to comprehend, but add to that a moving car that never leaves the frame, a moving camera and lighting that changes and it becomes hard to keep your brain inside your skull.


Brand: Warburtons
Title: The Deliverers
Production Company: Another Film Company
Director: Declan Lowney
Production Company Producer: Simon Monhemius
Director of Photography: Haris Zambarloukos
Ad Agency: WCRS
Creative Director: Billy Faithfull
Creatives: Andy Lee, Jonny Porthouse
Agency Producer: Sally Lipsius
Editing Company: Stitch
Editor: Leo King
Sound Company: GCRS
Sound Designer: Ben Leeves
Post Production Company: Finish

Warburtons – The Deliverers

The combined price tags of Sylvester Stallone and the rights to Eye of the Tiger must have been hefty, so the pressure to deliver on this ad was probably huge. Thankfully director Declan Lowney knows how to work with star talent and get them at their funniest. He proved this when he recently helped Alan Partidge make the move to the big screen and he’s brought out the best in his talent here. Sly’s not exactly known for his comedy chops, but it’s actually pretty funny – well-written gags delivered with good timing. Money well spent, we reckon.


High Five: April

April 9, 2015 / High Five

By Alex Reeves

Five films to restore your faith in advertising.

We were encouraged by the quantity of great advertising that came out over the past month. It made choosing the five best pieces of video advertising even harder than usual, but it’s a good sign. As always, our picks of the month are packed full of talent, wit and finesse. Inspiring stuff.

Brand: Channel 4
Title: The Outsider
Production Company: Nexus
Directors: Smith & Foulkes
Production Company Producer: Tracey Cooper
Ad Agency: 4Creative
Creative Directors: Chris Bovill, John Allison
Creatives: Jack Croft, Stacey Bird
Agency Producer: Shananne Lane
Music Company: SIREN
Composer: Alex Baranowski
Sound Company: Factory
Sound Designers: Anthony Moore, Philip Bolland

Channel 4 – The Outsider

Advertising doesn’t always get animation right, but when animators bring a script to life with flair the results can be iconic. Smith & Foulkes can do iconic. We’ve seen that in their work for Honda over the years and more recently in their Stand Up To Cancer ad. Combined with a classic underdog narrative, the master craftsmanship here goes a long way to promoting The Grand National, one of Channel 4’s flagship sporting events. It should appeal to the My Little Pony crowd, especially if the festival can make it through their third year without a horse death.


Brand: Dulux
Title: Colourless Future
Production Company: Somesuch
Director: Daniel Wolfe
Production Company Producer: Dougal Meese
Director of Photography: Robbie Ryan
Ad Agency: BBH London
Creative Directors: Martha Riley, Nick Allsop
Creatives: Richard Hooley, Victoria Jagger
Agency Producer: Kirsty Dye
Editing Company: Trim
Editor: Dominic Leung
Sound Company: Wave Studios
Sound Designers: Andy Shelley, Stephen Griffiths
Post Production Companies: Framestore (Grading), Glassworks (VFX)

Dulux – Colourless Future

For the past year or so Dulux ads have taken us to dark, dystopian alternate realities of colour prohibition. It’s a slightly ridiculous idea but it’s always been delivered in a tongue-in-cheek way with a beautiful filmic quality. This sci-fi romp could well be the best one yet. Daniel Wolfe’s artful direction combined with brilliant visual effects bring the idea alive. Respect to colourist Simon Bourne too for the striking grade. This must've been an interesting job for a man whose livelihood depends on an understanding of colour. Together they've created a visual feast fit for the big screen.


Brand: TENA
Title: Control
Production Company: Biscuit Filmworks
Director: Jeff Low
Production Company Producer: Toby Courlander
Director of Photography: Alex Melman
Ad Agency: AMV BBDO
Creative Directors: Toby Allen, Jim Hilson
Art Director: Jeremy Tribe
Copywriter: Prabs Wignarajah
Agency Producer: Polly Lowles
Editing Company: Work
Editor: Saam Hodivala
Sound Company: Wave Studios
Sound Designer: Aaron Reynolds
Post Production Company: The Mill

TENA – Control

Taking a page out of the Old Spice book of macho advertising, this montage of bizarre vignettes nails a very American brand of humour – an impressive feat considering the awkward nature of the product. Stirling Gravitas, our hero, is perfectly cast and delivers great comic timing under Jeff Low’s skilful direction. It’s funny, but whether it’s right for the audience is something only time will tell. The planners at AMV BBDO probably know what they’re doing, so we can only give them the benefit of the doubt for now.


Brand: Volvo
Title: Life Paint
Production Company: Caviar
Director: Andrew Telling
Production Company Producer: Adam Smith
Director of Photography: Jeremy Valender
Ad Agency: Grey London
Creative Director: Hollie Newton
Creatives: Jonas Roth, Rasmus Smith Bech
Agency Producer: Francesca Mair
Editing Company: GreyWorks
Editor: Matt Newman
Music Company: Wake The Town
Composer: Adam Halogen
Sound Company: GCRS
Sound Designer: Munzie Thind
Post Production Companies: Finish, Gramercy Park Studios

Volvo – Life Paint

We’ll be shocked if this doesn’t win awards. Completely in key with the current spirit of the ad industry, the Life Paint campaign actually makes the world a better place rather than just trotting out rhetoric. Safety and innovation are at the heart of what Volvo is respected for so it works perfectly for them. But more importantly, this new product will likely save lives. The film’s great too. Directed by Andrew Telling, who we featured back when he was still unsigned a couple of years ago, it gets the idea across clearly and with a visual panache that any Scandinavian brand would be proud of.


Brand: Weedol
Title: I’m Weeding Right Now
Production Companies: dummy., Outsider
Director: Harold Einstein
Executive Producers: Richard Packer, Eric Liney
Director of Photography: Jonathan Freeman
Ad Agency: McGarryBowen
Creative Directors: Remco Graham, Richard Holmes
Agency Producer: Abbi Tarrant
Editing Company: Work
Editor: Mark Edinoff
Sound Company: Wave Studios
Sound Designer: Aaron Reynolds
Post Production Company: The Mill

Weedol – I’m Weeding Right Now

Talk about no frills. This ad is a single, simple joke making a persuasive point about a product. It’s sort of old school in that way, but that’s why it stands out. They’ve cut the fat and everyone involved has delivered to the best of their abilities for what was almost certianly a slim budget. You don’t often see good commercials for weed killer either, making it all the more impressive.