High Five: March

March 1, 2013 / High Five

By Alex Reeves

Ads that make you want to postpone your well-deserved pee break.

There have been quite a lot of good commercials for beer over the years; the same goes for charities and cars. They are the sort of products that traditionally allow space for a good idea without too much detailed selling. But all these products have their clichés too, and what this month’s selection of the best ads do is defy these clichés to get your attention.

Product: McLaren
Title: Courage
Production Company: A+
Director: Marcus Söderlund
Production Company Producer: James Cunningham
Director of Photography: Ula Pontikos
Ad Agency: VCCP
Executive Creative Director: Darren Bailes
Creatives: Thierry Albert & Faustin Claverie
Agency Producer: Larissa Miola
Editing Company: Assembly Rooms
Editor: Sam Rice-Edwards
Post Production House: MPC
Post Production House: Finish

McLaren, Courage
Directed by Marcus Söderlund, A+

When it comes to telling a brand story (a buzzword we all know and love) the inspiring personal tale of a company’s founder is one of the most powerful routes to take. McLaren have the incredible story of Bruce McLaren’s life and tragic death. 50 years since their founding, it’s surprising they haven’t used it before. The film, helmed by Marcus Söderlund, uses understated visuals that slowly unite with the voiceover to tell a poetic tale.

Product: Kronenbourg
Title: A Taste Suprême
Production Company: Stink
Director: Ivan Zachariás
Production Company Producer: Nick Landon
Director of Photography: Jan Velicky
Ad Agency: Ogilvy & Mather
Art Director: Mark Harrison
Copywriter: Paul Mason
Agency Producer: Ruth Darsow
Editing Company: tenthree
Editor: Filip Malasek
Sound Company: Wave
Post Production House: Framestore

Kronenbourg, A Taste Suprême
Directed by Ivan Zachariás, Stink

This is a clever idea and bang on the money for the brand, managing to squeeze footballers, subtle comedy, supercars and the charming Gallic countryside all in without any awkward shoehorning. It’s a good job they got Eric Cantona on board, because we can’t think of anyone else that could have made this idea really work. He’s just a lovable guy.

Product: Foster’s
Title: Anticipation
Production Company: Rattling Stick
Director: Daniel Kleinman
Production Company Producer: Johnnie Frankel
Ad Agency: adam&eveDDB
Creative Director: Ben, Ben & Emer
Creatives: Aidan & Laurent
Agency Producer: Matt Craigie
Editing Company: Cut+Run
Editor: Eve Ashwell
Sound Company: 750mph
Post Production House: Framestore

Fosters, Anticipation
Directed by Daniel Kleinman, Rattling Stick

There’s not a lot to the script of this commercial. It’s basically just some old-fashioned Aussie blokes standing around in the heat waiting to hear if another bloke likes their new beer. But when you take into account that the heritage aspect is secondary to the idea of waiting for refreshment you can see the inspired direction of Daniel Kleinman doing its job. It might just make you thirsty.

Product: Marie Curie
Title: Symmetry
Production Company: Blink
Director: Tom Tagholm
Production Company Producer: Gwilym Gwillim
Director of Photography: Luke Scott
Ad Agency: DLKW Lowe
Creative Director: Matt Lever
Art Director: Ben McCarthy
Copywriter: Seb Housden
Agency Producer: Gill Loftus
Editing Company: Stitch
Editor: Tim Hardy
Music Company: Envy
Post Production House: MPC

Marie Curie, Symmetry
Directed by Tom Tagholm, Blink

Cancer care charities have a default format that they almost always fall back on – showing the grim effects of cancer on people and their loved ones. And fair enough. It’s tried and tested and it strikes an emotion chord with almost everyone that might lead to them donating to help others. This one takes that default and puts an interesting spin on it with the first/last format. Sensitively handled by Tom Tagholm, it’s a touching film.

Product: Citroën
Title: Baby
Production Company: MJZ
Director: Tom Kuntz
Director of Photography: Chris Soos
Ad Agency: H
Creative Directors: Luca Cinquepalmi & Marco Venturelli
Art Director: Luca Cinquepalmi
Copywriter: Marco Venturelli
Agency Producer: Sarah Bouadjera
Editing Company: MacKenzie Cutler
Sound Company: Kouz
Post Production House: Eight

Citroën, Baby
Directed by Tom Kuntz, MJZ

A baby. With ridiculously long hair. On a white stallion. On a beach. Soundtracked by Spandou Ballet. No, that wasn’t a dream. You just saw that. Where this idea came from is a mystery that should probably remain inside that creative’s head. The fact that Citroën let them make it is pretty incredible though. Just imagine reading the script for this. Like Spandau Ballet, it’s crap, but you still enjoy it when it comes on.

High Five: February

February 15, 2013 / High Five

By Alex Reeves

Our favourite commercials this month are a bit cinematic. Grab some popcorn.

We’ve made it out of January feeling all shiny and new, obviously having stuck to our New Years’ resolutions to the letter. The advertising is upbeat and positive and we’re generally feeling like 2013 is going to be the year it all comes together. We’ve been spoilt for choice when it comes to quality advertising too – the industry seems to be starting the year as they mean to go on. It’s all very inspiring. We’re just hoping clients have some money left for the rest of the year.

Product: Virgin Atlantic
Title: Flying the Face of Ordinary
Production Company: Partizan
Director: Antoine Bardou-Jacquet
Production Company Producer: David Stewart
Directors of Photography: Andre Chemetoff, Damian Morisot
Ad Agency: RKCR/Y&R
Agency Producer: Jody Allison
Editing Company: Work
Editor: Bill Smedley
Sound Company: Wave Studios
Post Production House: MPC

Virgin Atlantic, Flying in the Face of Ordinary
Directed by Antoine Bardou-Jacquet, Partizan

It’s hard to pull off glossy without seeming pompous, but somehow Virgin Atlantic ads manage it every time. As the travel sector cashes in on the dreariness of January we’ve been swamped by cut-price holiday commercials with breathy voiceovers; we don’t normally get slick two-minute X-Men trailers that turn out to be advertising flights. So when a brand has the audacity to put one out, we pay attention.

Product: MoneySupermarket
Title: Astronaut
Production Company: Independent
Director: The Glue Society
Production Company Producer: Jason Kemp
Director of Photography: Don Burgess
Ad Agency: Mother
Editing Company: The Playroom
Editor: Adam Spivey
Sound Company: 750MPH
Post Production House: The Mill

MoneySupermarket, Astronaut
Directed by The Glue Society, Independent

It’s all too easy to compare this campaign to its catchy-yet-infuriating competitors – the meerkats and their comrades. But not only is this less annoying, it’s also built on the clever promise of making us feel “epic”, which roughly translates as “smug”. The Glue Society have completely nailed that The Top Gun/Apollo 13 feel here, too, rounding off a neat piece of work that ticks a lot of boxes.

Product: Lynx
Title: Fireman
Production Company: Biscuit Filmworks
Director: Tim Godsall
Production Company Producer: Rick Jarjoura
Director of Photography: Jess Hall
Ad Agency: BBH
Creative Director: David Kolbusz
Creative Team: Wesley Hawes, Gary McCreadie, Diego Oliveira and Caio Giannella
Agency Producer: George Ancock
Editing Company: Work
Editor: Richard Orrick
Sound Company: Phaze
Post Production House: Framestore

Lynx, Fireman
Directed by Tim Godsall, Biscuit Filmworks

Astronauts seem to be in vogue. Like the MoneySupermarket commercial, this ad is just so Hollywood. Explosions and Die Hard-grade action all over the place. Lynx have a pretty impressive track record for delivering both visual spectacles and blokey comedy and this ad justifies their reputation. Its tone is spot on. Gone are the beer-and-pizza, Nuts magazine days of lad culture. These days Lynx’s alpha male has a PhD in astrophysics and a radiation-proof suit.

Product: Guardian
Title: Own the Weekend
Production Company: Biscuit Filmworks
Director: Tim Godsall
Production Company Producer: Kwok Yau
Director of Photography: Daniel Bronks
Ad Agency: BBH
Creative Director: David Kolbusz
Creative Team: Wesley Hawes, Gary McCreadie
Agency Producer: Chris Watling
Editing Company: Work
Editor: Bill Smedley
Sound Company: Factory
Post Production House: The Mill

Guardian, Own the Weekend
Directed by Tim Godsall, Biscuit Filmworks

Another gem from the BBH/Biscuit Filmworks partnership and another ad that borrows from the Hollywood we know and (occasionally) love to get laughs. It’s good to know that the Guardian can take the piss out of themselves (that couple are well-observed caricatures of the paper’s readership) although the dystopian future it shows us does have a worrying hint of prophecy to it. Hugh Grant might be an unnecessary evil, but we suppose he’s relatively harmless.

Product: Diet Coke
Title: Gardener
Production Company: MJZ
Director: Rocky Morton
Production Company Producer: Chris McBride
Director of Photography: Nicholaj Bruel
Ad Agency: BETC
Executive Creative Director: Neil Dawson
Art Director: Neil Dawson
Copywriter: Clive Pickering
Agency Producer: Karen Egan
Editing Company: Final Cut
Editor: Joe Guest
Sound Company: Wave Studios
Post Production House: Finish

Diet Coke, Gardener
Directed by Rocky Morton, MJ

The women in the office have confirmed that this works for them. This gent’s not quite an astronaut (in fact, on the basis of this little sketch, he seems a bit of a dullard) but he’s certainly easy on the eye. It’s a resurrected classic with all the ready-made hype that comes with that and with Rocky Morton directing it’s a suitably vivid objectification of the male form. And what a form it is.

High Five: December

December 3, 2012 / High Five

By Alex Reeves

The (brandy) cream of the advertising crop.

We’re just entering the arse-on-the-photocopier humiliation season. So, naturally, the season of having jolly festive clichés rammed down our throats in three-minute blocks has now been in full swing for a couple of weeks. Thankfully, some of the kind-hearted people of Adland have punctuated this torture by putting some thought and effort into their commercials. Here’s our selection of some of the best aforementioned goodwill.

Product: John Lewis
Title: The Journey
Production Company: Blink
Director: Dougal Wilson
Production Company Producer: Ben Link
Director of Photography: Eduard Grau
Ad Agency: adam&eveDDB
Creative Director: Ben Priest
Art Director: Andy Kelly
Creatives: Frank Ginger, Shay Reading
Agency Producer: Lucie Georgeson
Editing Company: Final Cut
Editor: Joe Guest
Music Company: Leland Music
Post Production House: MPC

John Lewis, The Journey
Directed by Dougal Wilson, Blink

This commercial combines the potency of two cultural events to devastating effect. People tend to get a bit excited when a new John Lewis ad airs. And rightly so, considering their recent track record. Combine that with all the consumerist hullaballoo that Christmas whips up and you’ve got about as close to mass hysteria as a department store is ever likely to generate. It manages to be a cinematic festive feast whilst standing out from the sea of cosy dining rooms.


Product: Morrisons
Title: For Your Christmas
Production Company: Academy
Director: Si & Ad
Production Company Producer: Lucy Gossage
Director of Photography: Alex Barber
Ad Agency: DLKW Lowe
Creative Directors: Dave Henderson, Richard Denney, Tom Hudson 
Creatives: Matt Lever, Helen Rhodes
Agency Producer: Abbi Tarrant
Editing Company: Final Cut
Editor: Joe Guest
Sound Company: Grand Central
Post Production House: The Mill

Morrisons, For Your Christmas
Directed by Si & Ad, Academy

The Christmas kitchen sink ad is definitely a thing. Every other commercial you see this time of year features the cosy interior of someone’s inexplicably well decorated and maintained home. In that sense, there’s nothing much new about this ad. But the visual gags that run through it are brilliantly envisioned. Plus, in times of festivity, it’s always nice to have a good old-fashioned British whinge.


Product: BGH
Title: Summer Hater
Production Company: MJZ
Director: Juan Cabral
Production Company Producer: Natalia Mussolana
Director of Photography: Bárbara Álvarez
Ad Agency: Del Campo Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi
Creative Director: Ignacio Ferioli
Art Directors: Ammiel Fazzari, Ezequiel De Luca
Copywriters: Matias Eusebi, Nicolas Diaco
Agency Producers: Adrian Aspani, Lucila D’amico, Felipe Calvino
Editor: Emiliano Fardaus
Music Company: Circle of Sound
Sound Company: La Casa Post
Post Production House: Bitt Animation & VFX

BGH, Summer Hater
Directed by Juan Cabral, MJZ

Bizarrely, it’s summer in Argentina at the moment. And, as much as it pains us to say it, they’re probably having a great time eating steaks and frolicking on the golden beaches. We would never begrudge them that. But this man does. The idea of advertising an air conditioning company with a Hitchcockian sociopath was a masterstroke of originality. Max respect to the client for going through with it.


Product: Canvas
Title: Tourguide
Production Company: CZAR
Director: Kristoffer Borgli
Production Company Producer: Pias Semb
Director of Photography: Daniel Voldheim
Ad Agencies: Make Lemonade, Bacon
Creative Director: Willem Van den Hoof
Creatives: Willem Van den Hoof, Frederick Feyfer, Thomas Renders, Dirk Domen, Johan Van Oeckel
Editor: Øystein Dyb
Post Production House: Postmenn

Canvas, Tourguide
Directed by Kristoffer Borgli, CZAR

For one week only Belgian TV Network Canvas celebrated Norse culture by dedicating their broadcasting to Scandinavian films. What better way to celebrate it than with a mini documentary about a Norwegian who hates the cold mountains and wants to open a bar in Spain?  The jokes are subtle, the dialogue minimalist and the visuals breath-taking. A very clever idea, executed with all the attention to detail you expect from a Scandinavian director.


Product: GE
Title: Ancient Invention
Production Company: ACNE
Director: Andreas Ohman
Production Company Producer: Olle Lindgren
Ad Agency: TBWA
Creative Director: Dwayne Koh
Art Director: Jimmy Wang
Copywriter: Haiyang Yu
Agency Producer: Allen Chen
Music Company: Red Pipe
Post Production House: Naive

GE, Ancient Invention
Directed by Andreas Öhman, ACNE

There are two sides to most coins. For example, when General Electric aren’t filling the world with toxic waste and acrid smoke they’re working on diagnosing people’s illnesses through innovation and computing. It’s not particularly clear what the advertised gadget does, but that is largely eclipsed by the powerful animated visuals on show here. It’s striking imagery, smoothly executed by the skilful people at ACNE.


High Five: November

November 2, 2012 / High Five

By Alex Reeves

Five new ads that stand out from the month's masses.

There are some great commercials on at the moment. So when you’re trying to catch up on three weeks of missed Downton Abbey and you’re tempted by that 20x fast forward button, there’s a chance one of these will come on and make you think twice. Watch our pick of the month’s five top ads and see if you still want to hit that button. There’s a bit of testosterone this month, so prepare for some action.


Product: HP Sauce
Title: HP Sauce of Manliness
Production Company: Smith and Jones
Director: Ulf Johansson
Director of Photography: Stephen Keith-Roach
Ad Agency: M&C Saatchi
Creative Director: Mark Goodwin
Creative Team: Joe Miller, Tristan Cornelius
Agency Producer: Cabell Hopkins
Editing Company: The Whitehouse
Editor: Russell Icke
Sound Company: The Jungle Group
Post Production House: MPC

HP Sauce, HP Sauce of Manliness
Directed by Ulf Johansson, Smith & Jones

Following in the wake of Yorkie becoming a man-centric brand some years back, here’s a reassuring collection of blokey truths, destined to provoke a smile and maybe a grunt of approval from the hairier, less subtle half of humanity. The facial hair comment is brilliantly timed to coincide with Movember, in which many young men – this reporter included – will be craving applause and charitable donations for their laughable attempts at lip fluff. Mantastic.


Product: Oddsen
Title: Hooligans
Production Company: Motion Blur
Director: Henrik Sander
Production Company Producer: Espen Horn, Ane Stubberud
Ad Agency: Dinamo
Creative Team: Geir Florhaug, Frank Standal Dybhavn
Agency Producer: Tonje Østbye

Oddsen, Hooligans
Directed by Hanrik Sander, Motion Blur

Norwegian betting company Oddsen decided to set their film about football hooliganism in England – the spiritual home of that proud tradition. Thankfully, the English lost out in the thuggery stakes to other nationalities many years ago, so this witty repartee between two street-level pundits is probably more likely now than the brutal pitched battle the opening shots predict. Still, it’s an entertaining idea, shot well in a brilliant “grim north” location.


Product: Ikea
Title: Playin’ With My Friends
Production Company: Blink
Director: Dougal Wilson
Production Company Producer: Ewen Brown
Director of Photography: Stephen Keith-Roach
Ad Agency: Mother
Editing Company: Final Cut
Editor: Ed Cheesman
Sound Company: 750mph
Post Production House: MPC

Ikea, Playin’ With My Friends
Directed by Dougal Wilson, Blink

We all know what Dougal Wilson does – sweet, cosy films with adorable children being cute. But by the beard of Zeus he does it well. For those pure of heart and mind, what could be more fun than “playin’ with your friends”? Particularly if those friends are giant kids’ toys. With those guys hanging around, this ad could have got creepy all too easily. Thankfully, Dougal’s got the balance, as usual, just right.

Product: PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royale
Title: The All-Star
Production Company: Imperial Woodpecker
Director: Simon McQuoid
Production Company Producer: Anita Wetterstedt
Ad Agency: Deutsch
Creative Directors: Jason Elm, Sam Bergen
Art Director: Stephen Lum
Copywriter: Liz Cartwright
Agency Producer: Paul Roy
Editing Company: Cut + Run
Editor: Steve Gandolfi
Music Company: Stimmung Music
Sound Company: 740 Sound
Post Production House: The Mill

PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royale, The All-Star
Directed by Simon McQuoid, Imperial Woodpecker

Following his triumphal Michael commercial a year ago, Simon McQuoid returns to the PlayStation campaign with another epic battle. This game appears to be about chucking the protagonists of all the most popular PlayStation game franchises in together and watching them rip each other apart, so this ad runs with that idea, providing a well-choreographed action scene. It’s not complicated, but not every fight scene needs to be interwoven with Matrix-esque postmodernist theory.


Product: Sony
Title: Cat and Mouse
Production Company: RSA Films
Director: Baillie Walsh
Production Company Producer: Carla Poole
Director of Photography: John Mathieson
Ad Agency: Wieden + Kennedy
Creative Directors:  Chris Mitton, Danielle Flagg
Art Director: Jimm Lasser
Copywriter: Charlie Gschwend
Agency Producer: Jessica Staples
Editing Company: Rock Paper Scissors
Editor: Angus Wall
Sound Company: Mit Out Sound
Post Production House: MPC

Sony, Cat and Mouse
Directed by Baillie Walsh, RSA Films

Sony have so much product placement in the latest Bond film that they could have just used any scene from Skyfall as their TV commercial. They haven’t though. They’ve shot this new scene with lots of flashy, nonsensical gadgetry and incidental music as Daniel Craig races towards this woman’s techie lair. They’re certainly making the most of their association with the film. Daniel Craig’s face paired with such slick execution is a winning move.

High Five: October

October 1, 2012 / High Five

By Alex Reeves

The tastiest morsels served up by the ad industry this month.

The days are getting shorter, darker and wetter as autumn takes its hold. But don’t get down because our pick of the month’s best ads are here to make you laugh, smile and, hopefully, buy stuff.

Product: Carlton Draught
Title: Beer Chase
Production Company: The Sweet Shop
Director: Steve Ayson
Production Company Producer: Cindy Kavanagh
Director of Photography: Greig Fraser
Ad Agency: Clemenger BBDO
Creative Director: Ant Keogh
Art Director: Anthony Phillips
Copywriter: Richard Williams
Agency Producer: Sonia von Bibra
Editing Company: The Butchery
Editor: Jack Hutchings
Music Company: Level Two Music

Carlton Draught, Beer Chase
Directed by Steve Ayson, The Sweet Shop

You know that déjà vu you get every time a new lager ad airs? There’s always some smug sartorial bastard showing off and/or fulfilling all the dreams you will never achieve. In this Australian beer commercial we have scruffy, bearded criminals that are not only more believable, but infinitely more interesting and likeable. A masterful piss-take backed by triumphal Eighties power chords. Bonza!

Product: Pot Noodle
Title: Contain Your Excitement
Production Company: Mind’s Eye Media
Director: Charlie P
Production Company Producer: Charlotte Larsen
Director of Photography: Phil Barthropp
Ad Agency: Billington Cartmell
Creative Team: Tom Genower, Rob Butcher
Agency Producer: Alex Michael
Editor: Tristram Giff

Pot Noodle, Contain Your Excitement
Directed by Charlie P, Mind’s Eye Media

Pot Noodle continue with their unusual brand message here, following their classic “slag of all snacks” line. This time “you’re all wankers and we know it” just about sums up the message. It might offend some people, but those people probably aren’t the customers Pot Noodle are chasing. A daring idea that will get people talking. A forking good ad.

Product: John Lewis
Title: The Other Half
Production Company: Rattling Stick
Director: Ringan Ledwidge
Production Company Producer: Sally Humphries
Director of Photography: Ben Seresin
Ad Agency: adam&eveDDB
Creative Team: Ben Tollett, Shay Reading, Emer Stamp, Aiden Mcclure, Laurent Simon, Frank Ginger
Agency Producers: Matt Craigie, Victoria Keenan
Editing Company: Work
Editor: Richard Orrick
Post Production House: The Mill

John Lewis, The Other Half
Directed by Ringan Ledwidge, Rattling Stick

Well isn’t this nice? It’s basically a chick flick in commercial form. But there’s no Hugh Grant in sight, which is a plus. It’s just the sort of thing we all need as the dinge of autumn descends – warm, fuzzy nostalgia that reassures you that despite all the wars, economic crises and problems with your internet browser, the world’s generally a lovely place because John Lewis are still here and they’ve still got that same grammatically-perplexing slogan.

Product: Volkswagen
Title: Smiles
Production Company: Epoch Films
Director: Everynone
Ad Agency: Deutsch
Creative Director: Michael Kadin
Art Director: Mike Palese
Copywriter: Amir Farhang
Agency Producer: Jim Haight
Editor: Haines Hall

Volkswagen, Smiles
Directed by Everynone, Epoch Films

Granted, there’s not much to this idea. It’s shots of people laughing, put together in age order. But what’s wrong with simplicity? Just look at how much fun they’re having. This ad is bang on trend, as Gok Wan might say, making people feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It proves that a smile is contagious. And with 1.8 million views on YouTube, these smiles are spreading like an airborne virus.

Product: Talk Talk
Title: Model Britain
Production Company: Rattling Stick
Director: Daniel Kleinman
Production Company Producer: Johnnie Frankel
Ad Agency: CHI & Partners
Creative Team: Monty Verdi, Micky Tudor
Agency Producer: Rosie Evatt
Editing Company: Cut + Run
Editor: Eve Ashwell
Sound Company: 750mph
Post Production House: Glassworks

Talk Talk, Model Britain
Directed by Daniel Kleinman, Rattling Stick

You don’t need expert knowledge to see that this is a well-made piece of filmmaking. Following Adam Berg’s cosy Homes Within Homes commercial, we’ve got more miniature people “connecting”. This time they’re coming home to their stress-free, loving households after a hard day’s work. Expert craftsmanship brings a warmth and humanity to these little plastic people and the music fits perfectly. Surely one of the most memorable ads of the season.

High Five: September

August 31, 2012 / High Five

By Alex Reeves

When it comes to films trying to sell you stuff, this month we’ve pretty much seen the lot. Here’s our pick of the bunch.

After a rigorous selection process that almost led to blows in Beak Street Bugle Towers, we’ve settled on our five favourite advertisements of the month. There’s some compelling human drama this time round, so be prepared for an emotional journey.

Product: Orange
Title: The Sweeney
Production Company: Smuggler
Director: Guy Shelmerdine
Production Company Producer: Chris Barrett
Ad Agency: Fallon
Executive Creative Director: Santiago Lucero
Creative Team: Sam Hibbard, Dan Watts, Avril Furness, Milo Carter
Agency Producer: Tracy Stokes
Sound Company: Wave
Post Production House: MPC

Orange, The Sweeney
Directed by Guy Shelmerdine, Smuggler

Orange have a pretty decent record when it comes to making genuinely entertaining ads. This success largely stems from their very un-marketing-like ability to take the piss out of themselves. “We know, nobody likes being sold to,” scream their commercials, as they try and flog you their latest 24-month contract. This ad is suitably creepy, turning the familiar discomfort of the not-so-soft sell into a quite tangible fear.

Product: Little Baby’s Ice Cream
Title: This is a Special Time
Director: Doug Garth Williams

Little Baby’s Ice Cream, This is a Special Time
Directed by Doug Garth Williams, In-house

There are probably lots of subtle brand messages that Philadelphian gourmet ice cream company Little Baby’s wanted to get across with this in-house production. They probably wanted to prove how passionate they are about their tasty produce, how wholesome and lovingly made it is, but nobody noticed because this is just weird. It’s bizarre, abnormal, batshit crazy – exactly the sort of thing that gets people talking.

Product: Guinness
Title: Paint the Town Black
Production Company: Somesuch & Co
Director: Daniel Wolfe
Production Company Producer: Dougal Meese
Ad Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi
Executive Creative Directors: Kate Stanners, Paul Silburn
Art Director: Danny Hunt
Copywriter: Gavin Torrance
Agency Producer: Rebecca Williams
Editing Company: Trim
Editor: Dominic Leung
Sound Company: Wave
Post Production House: Framestore

Guinness, Paint the Town Black
Directed by Daniel Wolfe, Somesuch & Co

Doesn’t this just look like a lot of fun? A remote Romanian village daubs their town with black paint, reclaiming the colour from its tired associations with the sombre and the morbid and using it to celebrate Arthur Guinness – the founder of the famous Irish brewery. These revellers are getting messy in a very literal, as well as chemical, sense and Daniel Wolfe has captured some beautiful shots of the party.

Product: Acer Aspire
Title: Bake It
Production Company: Stink
Director: Ivan Zachariás
Producer: Nick Landon
Ad Agency: Mother
Editor: Richard Orrick
Sound Company: Jungle
Post Production House: The Mill

Acer, Bake It
Directed by Ivan Zachariás, Stink

Coming fresh from AXE’s brilliant Susan Glenn commercial, Kiefer Sutherland makes another ad appearance. Maybe everyone’s already got the complete 24 boxed set and he needs a new source of income, but he’s stimulating some good ideas in the industry. Kiefer’s in his default action-hero-dad mode here, just how we like him, blowing stuff up and intimidating innocent bystanders. And all in search of the fluffy cupcake of his dreams. You’ve got to admire a man with vision.

Product: Ballantine’s
Title: tshirtOS
Production Company: Somesuch & Co
Director: Kim Gehrig
Production Company Producer: Lee Groombridge
Ad Agency: Work Club
Creative Directors: Andy Sandoz, Ben Mooge
Creative Team: Joe Corcoran, Julie Barnes
Agency Producer: Tom Gardner
Editing Company: Trim
Editor: Tom Lindsay
Music Company: Portasound
Sound Company: Factory
Post Production House: MPC

Ballantine’s, tshirtOS
Directed by Kim Gehrig, Somesuch & Co

This is an ad. It’s trying to sell you Ballantine’s whiskey. But it’s a bit nonchalant about that goal, focusing more on telling a hungover shaggy dog story about some nerdy blokes who took their high-tech t-shirt out for a test drive in. This is a real t-shirt, designed by London fashion designers CuteCircuit, and the chances are you will want one after seeing this film, and you’ll have to visit Ballantine’s Facebook page for that. Instantly shareable and geek-friendly, it’s sharply executed marketing for the digital generation.

High Five: August

July 31, 2012 / High Five

By Alex Reeves

The cream of the past month's commercial film crop, in our humble opinion.

We know it doesn't feel like it but it's August already. But what we've missed out of in the sun stakes, we've gained in great advertising. Here's our pick of the past month's best commercial film offerings. They're a shocking bunch this month, so prepare to be outraged.

Client: Refuge
Title: Lauren Luke
Production Company: Lauren Luke
Director: Wesley Hawes, Gary McCreadie
Ad Agency: BBH
Creative Director: Pablo Marques
Creative Team:  Jack Smedley, George Hackforth-Jones, Stephen Noble
Agency Producers: Jeremy Gleeson, Bryony Dellow
Editing Company: The Mill
Sound Company: Factory

Refuge, Lauren Luke
Directed by Wesley Hawes and Gary McCreadie, Lauren Luke (UK)

Collaborating with make up artist and YouTube entrepreneur Lauren Luke, BBH created this viral film teaching women how to cover up the telltale signs of domestic violence. Far more affecting than a traditional charity campaign, the film was posted on Luke’s own YouTube video feed, giving it a convincing air. With so many films calling themselves “viral” before they’re even uploaded, this one has earned its title with over 800,000 views in less than a month.

Client: Nike+
Title: Game On, World
Production Company: SMUGGLER
Director: Adam Berg
Executive Production Producers: Patrick Milling Smith, Brian Carmody, Lisa Rich, Allison Kunzman, Laura Thoel
Production Campany Producer: Karen O'Brien
Ad Agency: Wieden + Kennedy Portland
Creative Director: Ryan O'Rourke (GCD), Alberto Ponte (GCD), Dan Hon (Global Interactive CD)
Art Director: Bertrand Fleuret
Copywriter: Antony Goldstein
Agency Producer: Jeff Selis
Editing Company: Cosmo Street
Editor: Paul Hardcastle
Post Production House: MPC

Nike, Game On, World
Directed by Adam Berg, Smuggler (USA)

This one’s for those of you who spent your childhood with Mario, Sonic and Zelda. The ad was created to promote the Nike+ range, which effectively turns life into a video game by collecting data on your workout as you train. It must have been pretty strange to shoot with all those VFX to imagine, but without them it wouldn’t be such a visual feast. With so many kids consumed by video games, maybe turning exercise into one is the key to beating child obesity.

Client: Twix
Title: Ideologies
Production Company: MJZ
Director: Craig Gillespie
Production Company Producer: James Wells
Ad Agency: BBDO
Creative Directors: Peter Kain, Gianfranco Arena, James Clunie, Chris Beresford-Hill
Art Director: James Clunie
Copywriter: Chris Beresford-Hill
Agency Producer:
Editing Company: Mackenzie Cutler
Editor: Ian Mackenzie
Music Company: Human
Sound Company: Mackenzie Cutler
Post Production House: Eight VFX

Twix, Ideologies
Directed by Craig Gillespie, MJZ (USA)

Making up a new back-story for this well-known chocolate bar has injected a new life into the brand. We can see debates in the school playground erupting over which Twix is better, left Twix or right Twix. It’s also given Craig Gillespie license to direct this visual feast of a commercial, complete with steampunk, Wonka-esque factories and some truly glorious moustaches.

Client: Aldi
Title: Orange Juice
Production Company: Moxie Pictures
Director: MJ Delaney
Production Company Producer: Jess Bell
Ad Agency: McCann Erickson
Creative Directors: Dave Price, Neil Lancaster
Agency Producer: Alex Cowley
Editing Company: tenthree
Editor: Rebecca Luff
Sound Company: Wave
Post Production House: Big Buoy

Aldi, Orange Juice
Directed by MJ Delaney, Moxie (UK)

This old dear has a twinkle in her eye as she is reminded of sprinters with shorts so tight that “you can see the bits.” Continuing the successful series of stripped-down commercials, this one relies on nothing more than a sweet little granny telling a willy joke. It’s also another great example of a non-sponsor cleverly invoking the Olympics without provoking Locog’s wrath.

Client: Terrence Higgins Trust
Title: Condom Moment
Production Company: LOKI
Director: Tom Geens
Production Company Producer: Bob Ford
Ad Agency: INFERNO
Creative Team: Tom Geens, Ali Dickinson, Paul Mann, Mike Cuthill, Jack Walker, Andrew Attah
Editing Company: Marshall Street
Editor: Spencer Ferszt
Sound Company: Jungle
Post Production House: Jungle

Terrence Higgins Trust, Condom Moment
Directed by Tom Geens, LOKI (UK)

The beginning of this ad, accompanied by music by Peaches, expertly depicts a pre-coital whirlwind of passion. Then the tempo comes grinding almost to a halt and Mozart takes over. The expert use of music and super-slow-motion creates exactly the sort of arresting effect that such charity campaigns need. A beautiful, haunting film.

High Five: July

July 2, 2012 / High Five

By Alex Reeves

Our monthly picks of the best new commercials.

Mattessons, Hank Marvin
Directed by Andy McLeod, Rattling Stick (UK)

Taking cockney rhyming slang literally can be perilous, but the risk was worth it this time. Dressing hordes of hungry school kids as the lead guitarist from The Shadows was a stroke of genius. It’s a light-hearted ad based on a simple but amusing idea. And of course the music is perfect. Without Marvin’s signature guitar playing behind it this ad would probably just freak people out.

Product: Mattessons
Title: Hank
Production Company: Rattling Stick
Director: Andy McLeod
Production Company Producer: Kirsty Dye
Director of Photography: Julian Hohndorf
Ad Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi
Executive Creative Director: Kate Stanners
Creative Directors: Rob Botts, Andy Jex
Art Director: Eoghain Clarke
Copywriter: Matt Skolar

BMW, Eclipse
Directed by Sam Brown, Rogue (UK)

This commercial for BMW’s first four-door coupe is shot and edited beautifully. Comparing the 6 Series Gran Coupe to the rare beauty of a total solar eclipse, the film does the unique astronomical occasion justice. Accompanied by the sound of Moby’s apocalyptic cover of New Dawn Fades by Joy Division, this car ad stands supreme in what can be an overcrowded, self-indulgent class.

Product: BMW
Title: Eclipse
Production Company: Rogue
Director: Sam Brown
Production Company Producer: James Howland
Ad Agency: WCRS

Nike, Voices
Directed by Mark Romanek, Anonymous Content (USA)

With its feminist rhetoric, this commercial is about as right-on as an ad for a multinational sportswear mega-brand can get. It may seem like a tired message but, as we’ve seen at this year’s Wimbledon, the debate over women in sport is still raging. Shot simply but beautifully, it’s an arresting, inspiring film.

Product: Nike
Title: Voices
Production Company: Anonymous Content
Director: Mark Romanek
Executive Producer: Eric Stern
Line Producer: Suzie Greene Tedesco
Director of Photography: Jeff Cutter
Ad Agency: Wieden+Kennedy
Executive Creative Director: Mark Fitzloff, Susan Hoffman
Creative Director: Alberto Ponte, Ryan O’Rourke, Dan Hon
Art Director: Ayse Altinok
Copywriter: Dylan Lee

Fireflies, For Those Who Suffer We Ride
Directed by Chris Cairns, Partizan (UK)

This excellent commercial promotes the efforts of the amateur cyclists from the advertising world who cycled over 18 mountains in just eight days for Leukaemia charity Leuka. To make a bad ad for such a purpose would be unforgivable. Thankfully, this film demonstrates masterful use of super-slow-motion and incidental music that’s almost epic as the Fireflies’ struggle.

Product: Fireflies
Title: For Those Who Suffer We Ride
Production Company: Partizan
Director: Chris Cairns
Production Company Producer: Chris Cairns
Director of Photography: Daniel Bronks

BMW, The Incident
Directed by weareflink (Germany)

At almost four minutes in length, this piece for BMW China might be a slight indulgence for German-based production company weareflink, but the high-octane short action film certainly looks like it was fun to make. It’s a spectacle with real tension and drama – the sort of stuff you rarely see in a commercial.

Product: BMW China
Title: The Incident
Production Company: weareflink @ Contra Productions
Director: weareflink
Production Company Producer:
Director of Photography: Roman Jakobi
Ad Agency: Interone China
Executive Creative Director: Maik Lutze
Art Director: Arthur Li
Copywriter: Yanan Sun