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.

High Five: March

March 9, 2015 / High Five

By Alex Reeves

The best ads of the month, hammering home the lessons we all need reminding of.

Advertising is full of truisms. A new technique is not a new idea. A good idea is nothing without good execution. Simplicity is smarter than complexity. We won’t go on. We’ve heard it all before. But looking at the best stuff the industry turns out is a great way to remind ourselves of these things. This month’s cream of the crop contains quite a few lessons. Get ready to be schooled.

 

Brand: BMW
Title: The Road to Twickenham
Production Company: Stink
Director: CD Morrish
Production Company Producer: Tom Knight
Ad Agency: FCB Inferno
Creative Director: Owen Lee
Art Director: Neil Durber
Copywriter: Nick O’Bryan-Tear
Agency Producer: Tom Collbeck
Editor: Vid Price
Music Company: Felt Music
Sound Company: Angell Sound
Sound Designer: Dave Robinson
Post Production Company: MPC

BMW – The Road to Twickenham

Arguably the biggest battle in advertising is to stand out from other advertising. This ad is certainly different from the others. While other brands shout at you with bright colours and folksy covers of second-rate power ballads, this film carries itself with a quiet dignity and simplicity. Just a series of roadside vistas accompanied by the surging roar of rugby fans. BMW deserve applause for signing off an ad without a single shot of one of their cars in it – that takes some courage. It’s more of an ad for rugby than cars, but BMW have clearly paid for that right and they’ve made the most of it here.

 

Brand: Fairtrade
Title: Fairtrade Matters
Production Company: HLA
Director: Will Robson-Scott
Production Company Producer: Tim Daukes
Executive Producer: Mike Wells
Ad Agency: Good Agency
Editor: Adam Biskupski
Music Companies: Elsham Music, Fox Music
Post Production Company: The Mill

Fairtrade – Fairtrade Matters

This 90-second film demonstrates the power Fairtrade has to change the lives of those it protects, as well as to enrich the communities those people live in. It’s a simple, honest approach reminding us of an initiative we should all support but many forget about. It doesn’t take much to check for a logo on your box of tea bags, but it has a profound effect on the lives of farmers and workers who bring us that produce. HLA also produced a 12-minute documentary available to view online.

 

Brand: Honda
Title: Keep Up
Production Company: FRIEND
Director: ManvsMachine
Production Company Producer: Luke Jacobs
Ad Agency: Wieden+Kennedy London
Creative Directors: Scott Dungate, Graeme Douglas
Creatives: Bertie Scrase, Christen Brestrup, Caleb Al-Jorani
Agency Producer: Jo Charlesworth
Music Company: Wah Wah
Sound Company: Factory
Sound Designer: Anthony Moore
Post Production Company: Analog

Honda – Keep Up

This ad is firing on all cylinders. A sharp brand insight translated into an idea that cleverly illustrates it, envisioned and shot beautifully, accompanied by sound design and music that only amplifies its potency. We’d be more surprised if Honda and Wieden+Kennedy came up with a dud than this – their usual high standard – but that doesn’t diminish its power. Certainly the sort of commercial advertising people like. But will the public talk about it too?

 

Brand: Department of Transport
Title: Lights
Production Company: Academy Films
Director: Frederic Planchon
Production Company Producer: Medb Riordan
Ad Agency: AMV BBDO
Creative Directors: Steve Jones and Martin Loraine
Art Director: Rob Messeter
Copywriter: Mike Crowe
Agency Producer: Nick Godden
Editing Company: The Assembly Rooms
Editor: Sam Rice-Edwards
Sound Company: 750mph
Sound Desginer: Sam Ashwell
Post Production Company: MPC

Department of Transport - Lights

If the government are trying to scare drug users off the roads then this film might serve its purpose well. Frederic Planchon knows how to create an atmosphere, and there’s certainly a powerful sense of dread here (maybe they got Super Hans from Peep Show to compose the music). It’s a sinister-feeling piece and whether or not this tactic makes the roads safer, it’s undeniably thought provoking.

 

Brand: Volkswagen
Title: Boss
Production Company: Rattling Stick
Director: Pete Riski
Production Company Producer: James Hatcher
Ad Agency: adam&eveDDB
Creative Directors: Steve Wioland, Matt Woolner
Creatives: James Gillham, Graham Cappi
Agency Producer: Catherine Cullen
Editing Company: Cut+Run
Editor: Eve Ashwell
Sound Company: Clearcut Sound
Post Production Company: Framestore

Volkswagen – Boss

We think this bloke might be one of those rare “ordinary working people” the likes of David Cameron always bang on about. A successful small business owner, working hard to feed his family and those of the people he employs, doing stuff for charity in his spare time. He seems like a stand-up guy – the acceptable face of Capitalism. Pete Riski has done a fine job of getting us to like this model citizen and of course his friends at VW treat him with the respect he deserves. A reassuring little film, showing a surprisingly human side to a multinational motor corporation.

High Five: February

February 9, 2015 / High Five

By Alex Reeves

It's out with the old, in with the new in this month’s best advertising.

Advertisers love talking about the future, but they’re often more bark than bite. They trot out the same old clichés and archetypes – the ones that are ‘tried and tested’ and the result is bland and, ultimately, ineffective for the client. Not so for our pick of the month’s best advertising. Our first High Five selections of 2015 demonstrate exactly how the ad industry should grasp tomorrow – by embracing change and taking ambitious approaches to clients’ problems.

Brand: Ikea
Title: The Joy of Storage
Production Company: Blink
Director: Dougal Wilson
Production Company Producer: Ewen Brown
Director of Photography: Lasse Frank
Ad Agency: Mother London
Creative Directors: Freddy Mandy, Tim McNaughton
Creatives: Pilar Santos, Rich Tahmesebi
Editing Company: Final Cut
Editor: Joe Guest
Sound Company: 750mph
Sound Design: Sam Ashwell
Post Production Company: MPC

Ikea – The Joy of Storage

It’s been evident for some years that Ikea really care about their advertising. Their partnership with Mother has delivered impressive work for and this epic is one of their most extraordinary yet. Considering they’re flogging wardrobes, you could argue their approach is over-the-top. But they were ambitious enough to go for it and with ingenious execution, including puppeteering and heaps of VFX magic, it’s ended up a beautiful piece of storytelling. Who thought more space for your T-shirt collection could be so invigorating?

 

Brand: Kia
Title: You Make Us Make Better Cars
Production Company: Bare Films
Director: Joanna Bailey
Production Company Producer: Sue Caldwell
Executive Producer: Helen Hadfield
Director of Photography: Ben Smithard
Ad Agency: Innocean Worldwide UK
Creative Directors: John Crozier, Dom Sweeney
Agency Producer: Emma Smalley, Alister Campbell
Editing Company: Speade
Editor: Melanie Ann Oliver

Kia – You Make Us Make Better Cars

The genius of this ad lies in the casting. Finding the perfect combination of likeable, charismatic people, Joanna Bailey has managed to create a car commercial about people rather than technology; warm and friendly rather than cold and aspirational. It fits Kia perfectly. They’re not advertising to petrolheads after a new toy to show off at their next track day, just to people who need a car to help them live their lives. The edit is intriguing, cutting off at sometimes unexpected times, but it adds welcome texture to an otherwise straightforward concept.

 

Brand: MoneySuperMarket
Title:  Dave’s Epic Strut
Production Company: Sonny
Director: Fredrik Bond
Production Company Producer: Shelley Urik
Director of Photography: Roman Vasyanov
Ad Agency: Mother London
Editing Company: Marshall Street Editors
Editor: Tim Thornton-Allen
Sound Company: 750mph
Sound Design: Sam Robson
Post Production Company: MPC

MoneySuperMarket – Dave’s Epic Strut

Pure silliness is a tried and tested tactic in today’s advertising and Mother show they know exactly how to pull it off here, but in a way most of us weren’t prepared for. We just got through 2014, “The Year of the Booty” according to the more trivial corners of the media, and there’s something quite in key with the Zeitgeist about subverting that with Dave’s remarkable posterior. The Sharon Osbourne cameo seems a little unnecessary, but they make it work. This campaign continues to deliver the goods in surprising new ways.

 

Brand: Prince’s Trust
Title: Learn The Heard Way
Production Company: Academy Films
Director: Seb Edwards
Production Company Producer: Dominic Thomas
Director of Photography: Patrick Duroux
Ad Agency: CHI London
Creative Directors: Gavin Torrance, Danny Hunt
Art Director: William Cottam
Copywriter: James Crosby
Agency Producer: David Jones
Editing Company: The Assembly Rooms
Editor: Sam Rice-Edwards
Sound Company: Wave Studios
Post Production Company: MPC

Prince’s Trust – Learn The Hard Way

Our society is far from the meritocracy the establishment would have you believe it is. And this film powerfully reminds us of the hardships some face to make their way in the world. The link between what you see and what you hear is smart, clearly illustrating the strength of character and workplace skills that the least privileged possess, even if it’s hard for them to get the opportunities to demonstrate them. Hopefully this will help the Prince's Trust bridge the opportunity gap, as well as reminding the ad industry to make sure they’re offering opportunities to people from all backgrounds, not just those who grew up in the right households.

 

Brand: Sport England
Title: This Girl Can
Production Company: Somesuch
Director: Kim Gehrig
Production Company Producer: Lee Groombridge
Director of Photography: David Procter
Ad Agency: FCB Inferno
Creative Director: Bryn Attewell
Art Director: Raymond Chan
Copywriter: Simon Cenamor
Agency Producer: Ally Mee
Editing Company: Trim
Editor: Tom Lindsay
Post Production Company: Framestore

Sport England – This Girl Can

In answer to the problem that 2 million less women than men exercise in the UK, with fear and judgement cited as the main barrier, Sport England have rolled out this punchy campaign. Perfectly underscored by Missy Elliot’s Get Ur Freak On, women of all ages, stages and sizes get active and embrace exercise without worrying about what others think. It’s got to be good for body confidence in women as a whole, although has received various criticisms from feminists. It’s worth noting that it came from an all-male creative team (there should be more female creatives), but with Kim Gehrig helming the film it depicts a version of femininity that’s far healthier and more exciting than what we’re used to seeing on our screens.

 

High Five: December

December 5, 2014 / High Five

By Alex Reeves

Are you ready for Winter Consumerfest 2014? The best ads of the month might help.

Ding dong merrily on high! It’s that time of year again when capitalism goes into overdrive, with companies splurging huge chunks of their marketing budgets on schmaltzy nonsense to try to convince us to open our wallets for them. And all thanks to the birth of a Middle Eastern baby who may or may not have existed around two millennia ago. Cheers, Jesus.

We’ve certainly got a lot more yuletide marketing come yet, but here’s our rundown of the best efforts the ad industry made in November. Thankfully this year’s Christmas advertising isn’t all schmaltzy nonsense. Some of it’s just schmaltzy.

Brand: Freeview
Title: Left Behinds
Production Company: Rogue
Director: Sam Brown
Production Company Producer:  Kate Hitchings
Ad Agency: Leo Burnett London
Creative Directors: Richard Robinson, Graham Lakeland
Creatives: Rob Tenconi, Mark Franklin
Agency Producer: Becky O’Sullivan
Editing Company: Final Cut
Editor: James Rosen
Sound Company: Wave
Sound Designer: Aaron Reynolds
Post Production Company: Electric Theatre Collective

Freeview – Left Behinds

We’re quite used to this kind of advertising. Cuteness, everyday setting, clever CGI and a corker of a power ballad to burrow into your brain for the rest of the day. There’s certainly a formula at work here, but we shouldn’t let that fool us into thinking it’s bad. With some of the very best craftsmen realising the script, it’s ended up more than the sum of its parts – a charming film that warms the soul. And a nice Christmas present for Foreigner, without whose track the whole thing would be undermined. A masterstroke of licensing.

 

Brand: John Lewis
Title: Monty the Penguin
Production Company: Blink
Director: Dougal Wilson
Production Company Producer: Ewen Brown
Director of Photography: Joost Van Gelder
Ad Agency: adam&eveDDB
Creative Directors: Ben Priest, Emer Stamp Ben Tollett
Creatives: Daniel Fisher, Richard Brim
Agency Producers: Matt Craigie, Cave Ellson
Editing Company: Final Cut
Editor: Joe Guest
Sound Company: Factory
Sound Designers: Anthony Moore, Neil Johnson
Post Production Company: MPC

John Lewis – Monty the Penguin

The John Lewis Christmas Advert. Somehow, a fairly ordinary department store has managed to carve out a slice of Christmas tradition in Britain.  There are probably people who say “my Christmas starts with the John Lewis ad” (mercifully we haven’t met those people). This year’s offering delivers on so many levels. A wintery tearjerker in which a cute boy buys his cute penguin a cute mail-order bride. It’s heart-warming for the softies and easy to lampoon for the cynics, as the many parody responses have proven. Beautifully written and expertly made, it’s everything John Lewis asked for.

 

Brand: Maille
Title: Memorable Guest
Production Company: Outsider
Director: James Rouse
Ad Agency: adam&eveDDB
Creative Directors: Richard Brim, Daniel Fisher
Creatives: Alex Lucas, Jon Farley
Agency Producer: Jack Bayley
Editing Company: Work
Editor: Bill Smedley
Sound Company: Factory
Sound Designer: Anthony Moore
Post Production Company: Finish

Maille – Memorable Guest

It’s unclear whether many people will see this online film, which is a shame because it’s funny. Made very much to the old template of a ‘viral video’, its success will depend on the right people sharing it online (and how much seeding Maille pay for). James Rouse made his name doing willy jokes on the internet and he’s still one of the best at this art form, delivering his unmistakable brand of nuanced comic performance. Respect to Maille for buying this filth. For a mustard brand with heritage, it’s a leftfield strategy.

 

Brand: Sainsbury’s
Title: Christmas is for Sharing
Production Company: Rattling Stick
Director: Ringan Ledwidge
Production Company Producer: James Hatcher
Director of Photography: Alwin Kuchler
Ad Agency: AMV BBDO
Creative Directors: Alex Grieve, Adrian Rossi, Michael Durban, Tony Strong
Creative: Tim Riley
Agency Producers: Rebecca Scharf, Nikki Holbrow, Kate O’Mulloy
Editing Company: Work
Editor: Rich Orrick
Music Company: Woodwork Music
Sound Company: Wave
Sound Designer: Aaron Reynolds
Post Production Company: The Mill

Sainsbury’s – Christmas is for Sharing

As if people weren’t talking about the Christmas ads enough already, Sainsbury’s go and throw some controversy into the mix. We’ve all heard both sides of the argument over whether it’s in good taste or not, but it’s hard to deny that it’s a rousing piece of film about one of the most heartening moments in human history, set against a backdrop of one of the most horrifying moments in human history. Take the Sainsbury’s logo off the end we’d be united in support for this excellent piece of storytelling.

 

Brand: Think!
Title: Don’t Drink and Drive 50th Anniversary
Production Company: Rogue
Director: Mark Zilbert
Production Company Producer: James Howland
Director of Photography: Jaime Feliu-Torres
Ad Agency: AMV BBDO
Creative Directors: Steve Jones, Martin Loraine
Creatives: Mike Sutherland, Martin Loraine
Agency Producer: Nick Godden
Editing Company: Final Cut
Editor: James Rosen
Sound Company: Wave
Post Production Company: The Mill

Think! - Don’t Drink and Drive 50th Anniversary

This one’s definitely no schmaltzy nonsense, but’s still emotional. Christmas is all about tradition. Sadly, road accidents caused by drink driving are one seasonal custom that we’ve found hard to shake off, proven by the fact that the government have needed PSAs like this for 50 years. The idea here is actually very smart. It manages to get across a message we’ve heard too many times in a compelling way, and reminds us that for the emergency services, it’s not necessarily the most wonderful time of the year.

 

High Five: November

November 11, 2014 / High Five

By Alex Reeves

Style and theatricality were used to their full in this month’s best advertising.

We know everyone’s getting their baubles in a twist over the Christmas ads already, but we’re saving our festive spirit for now. There’s only so much to go around and it’s important to pace yourself. We’re easing ourselves into it with just one Christmas cracker this month, alongside a handful of other delights of advertising.

Brand: Google
Title: Through Glass
Production Companies: Academy / A+, Decon
Director: FKA twigs
Production Company Producers: Morgan Clement, Anton Mallie
Director of Photography: Jackson Hunt
Ad Agency:  Anomaly
Creative Director: FKA twigs
Creatives: John Downing, Matt Knapp
Editing Company: Final Cut
Editor: Sarah Iben
Sound Company: Factory
Post Production Companies: Framestore, Finish

Google – FKA twigs

Brands have done music videos before, but usually they’re either irrelevant because the music is terrible or they’re little more than product placement in a popular artist’s next promo. This is a different approach – a commercial that splices bits of songs from Mercury prize nominee FKA twigs with a powerful and creative visual demonstration of the Google Glass product. Directed and performed by the artist herself, it feels like a true creative collaboration, and while the cuts between the two tracks are a little jarring, it’s undeniably cool.

 

Brand: H&M
Title: You Vs
Production Company: Good Egg
Director: Tell No One
Production Company Producer: Adam Smith
Director of Photography: Alex Barber
Ad Agency: H&M Red Room
Creative Director: Donald Schneider
Art Director: Sandberg & Timonen
Agency Producers: Anna Granditsky, Strange Cargo
Editing Company: Final Cut
Editor: James Rosen
Post Production Company: MPC

H&M – You Vs

We’ve all seen those long, languorous fashion films full of pouty models mincing around over-art-directed locations, usually with no decipherable message or story. This isn’t a million miles away – it’s still recognisably a fashion commercial for Alexander Wang’s collection at H&M and the people in it are definitely a little pouty, but there’s a dynamism here that this category rarely sees. While maintaining a sleek, health goth aesthetic, mysterious directing collective Tell No One have made a film with both guts and glamour.

 

Brand: Halfords
Title: Street Rider
Production Company: Somesuch
Director: Aoife McArdle
Production Company Producer: Dougal Meese
Director of Photography: Andre Chemetoff
Ad Agency: Mother London
Editing Company: Final Cut
Editor: Dan Sherwen
Sound Company: 750mph
Sound Designer: Sam Robson
Post Production Company: Finish

Halfords – Street Rider

One of the first Christmas ads to hit our screens, this charmer from Halfords isn’t out to grab any headlines. It’s just a straightforward ad made with the utmost expertise at every level. Built on the pure idea that there are few childhood joys greater than riding a new bike down your street, everyone involved has proceeded to make a top-quality film. It’s fun, beautifully shot and edited, accompanied by a great track and its bright, frosty grade will help it to stand out from all the cosy warmth we’re going to be smothered in by Christmas Day.

 

Brand: Honda
Title: The Other Side
Production Company: Somesuch (and Digital Production Company: StinkDigital)
Director: Daniel Wolfe
Production Company Producer: Dougal Meese  
Director of Photography: Robbie Ryan
Ad Agency: Wieden + Kennedy London
Creative Directors: Scott Dungate, Graeme Douglas
Creatives: Scott Dungate, Graeme Douglas, Paul Knott, Tim Vance
Agency Producer: Lou Hake
Editing Company: Trim
Editor: Tom Lindsey
Music Company: Wake the Town
Composer: Bobby Krlic
Sound Company: Factory
Sound Designers: Anthony Moore, Tom Joyce
Post Production Companies: The Mill, Framestore

Honda – The Other Side (Click for the full interactive film

This triumph of interactivity works so well because of its elegant simplicity. The idea is easy to get your head around – two opposing versions of a driving sequence, one of which shows whenever you hold the ‘R’ key – but the result is utterly compelling. A brilliant way to capture the contrasting spirits of their Civic range, the impression it ultimately leaves is of a film engineered to the highest quality.

 

Brand: Woolmark
Title: Lost & Found
Production Company: Neon
Directors: Tom Bridges, Roland Woolner
Production Company Producer:  Rebecca Vine
Directors of Photography: Paul O’Callagahan, Simon Hammond
Ad Agency: Neon
Creative Directors: Roland Woolner, Charlie Cassidy
Editing Company: Neon
Editor: Tom Bridges
Music Company: Box of Toys
Sound Company: Box of Toys
Post Production Company: Neon

Woolmark – Lost & Found

A brilliant example of the transformative nature of good filmmaking, the folks at Neon have made something as prosaic as a piece of wool into the star of its own textile odyssey. Close-ups and slow motion follow it on its journey from fleece to finished garment, turning the processes involved into epic clashes and trials, creating something faintly mythological. Considering hairs and fibres were once the nemesis of 3D animation, the mixed-medium approach here is very impressive, too.