High Five: August

August 8, 2016 / High Five

By Alex Reeves

The fruits of those juicy Olympic budgets in this month's best ads.

It’s an Olympic summer – an event that brings out all the sports brands and broadcasters looking to make the most out of the huge audiences it draws. It's not about branding and andvertising. The reason those audiences are there is because of the inspirational quality of the Games - the only truly global eventof its kind. But the poetry of sport is a great raw material for creativity, not to mention the budgets that clients are willing to part with.

Brand: Adidas
Title: Creating New Speed
Production Company: Biscuit Filmworks
Director: Christopher Riggert
Production Company Producer: Kathy Rhodes
Director of Photography: Simon Duggan
Ad Agency: 72andSunny
Creative Directors: Josh Fell, Chris Hutchinson
Creatives: Gerardo Ortiz, Roy Smiling, Kwaku Beke, Tyree Harris
Agency Producer: Liliana Vega
Editing Company: Cut+Run
Editor: Sam Ostrove
Post Production Company: Method Studios

Adidas – Creating New Speed

This was a ready-made cinematic idea, just waiting for someone like Christopher Riggert to turn into a stunning film for a brand like Adidas. Muck City is a unique phenomenon – a small area of south Florida that churns out a disproportionate number of fast American football players. Facing poverty and high unemployment, young men there chase rabbits through burning sugar cane fields to survive. The skills they learn are surprisingly transferrable, as it turns out. And make for some incredible visuals in the hands of a good director.


Brand: Channel 4
Title: We’re The Superhumans
Production Company: Blink Productions
Director: Dougal Wilson
Production Company Producer: Ewen Brown
Director of Photography: Daniel Landin
Ad Agency: 4Creative
Creative Director: Alice Tonge
Creatives: Richard Biggs, Jolyon White, Dougal Wilson
Agency Producer: Louise Oliver
Editing Company: Final Cut
Editor: Joe Guest
Music Company: Leland Music
Sound Company: Factory
Sound Designer: Anthony Moore
Post Production Company: MPC

Channel 4 – We’re The Superhumans

The London 2012 Paralympic Games felt like the first time excitement came close to that of its able-bodied counterpart and that is in no small part due to the commitment Channel 4 ploughed into the event, including Tom Tagholm’s inspirational trailer for the games. The bar was set high for Dougal Wilson to follow, but he’s risen to the task (of course), directing a piece of film that’s invigorating for the whole three minutes, reminding us of how much talent humans contain when they’re determined to release it.


Brand: Palace Skateboards
Title: Palace Skateboards X Reebok Classics
Production Company: MPC Creative
Directors: Lev Tanju, Stuart Bentley
Production Company Producers: Richard Skinner, Johnny Blick
Editing Company: MPC
Editor: Ben Crook
Sound Company: MPC
Sound Designer: Ben Crook
Post Production Company: MPC

Palace Skateboards – Palace Skateboards X Reebok Classics

For a company used to doing VFX on the slickest, high-budget commercials and movies in the world, MPC must have found it a real challenge to make something purposefully crap. But working with only Hollywood star Jonah Hill’s phoned-in ‘performance’ and some locked off shots of Palace’s Soho shop they’ve managed to strike just the right balance of rubbishness to make it funny. There are also a few visual gags dropped in so it bears rewatching. It must have been a lot of fun to make.


Brand: Samsung
Title: School of Rio - Cycling
Production Company:  Rattling Stick
Director: Gabe Turner
Production Company Producer: Stuart Bentham
Director of Photography: Fede Alfonzo
Ad Agency: BBH
Creative Director: Ewan Paterson
Creative: Jack Smedley
Agency Producer: Rachel Hough
Editing Company: Work
Editor: Mark Edinoff
Sound Company: Factory
Sound Designer: Phil Bolland
Post Production Company: The Mill

Samsung – School of Rio – Cycling

Sometimes comedy advertising is sort of funny, but not as funny as proper comedy. But when you get a comedian like Jack Whitehall on board and fully invested in a commercial, great things can happen. This is a fantastic script, allowing Jack to say all those things normal people think about Olympians. The whole series has been really funny, and it says a lot about British athletes that they’ve all been so willing to laugh at themselves.


Brand: Virgin Media
Title: 9.58
Production Company: Academy
Animation Company: The Line
Director: Seb Edwards
Animation Director: Wesley Louis
Production Company Producer: Dominic Thomas
Director of Photography: Alwin Kuchler
Ad Agency: BBH
Creative Director: Nick Gill
Agency Producers: Alen Grebovic, Victoria Keenan
Editing Company: Trim
Editor: Tom Lindsay
Sound Company: Factory
Sound Designer: Anthony Moore
Post Production Company: Electric Theatre Collective

Virgin Media – 9.58

Usain Bolt will go down in history as one of sport’s greatest figures. Partially because he’s the fastest man who’s ever lived, but also because he’s a complete human being. This ad captures both of these things perfectly. In an age where top athletes grew up training too hard to develop personalities, he’s remarkably relatable. He’s a true icon, and this commercial reminds us all of why so many people love him.


High Five: July

July 8, 2016 / High Five

By Alex Reeves

Proving that great advertising can come in all shapes and sizes.

It’s definitely the summer now and for advertising that means huge sporting events to capitalise on. This month’s best advertising made use of the big stars and extravagant productions that go with that, but that doesn’t diminish the power of the more unassuming commercials, relying on nothing more than a smart script and skilful filmmaking.

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

Lotto – Please Not Them, James Blunt

This whole campaign has been a delight. AMV BBDO have done a great job finding celebrities who are widely disliked and then convincing them to take the piss out of themselves. James Blunt has a good track record in that regard, so it’s no surprise that he’s as amusing as ever in this. And with Jeff Low squeezing every ounce of comedy out of the script, it’s another Lotto win.

Brand: Nike
Title: The Switch
Production Company: Rattling Stick
Director: Ringan Ledwidge
Production Company Producer: Sally Humphries
Director of Photography: Matt Libatique
Ad Agency: Wieden + Kennedy Portland
Creative Directors: Chris Groom, Stuart Brown
Creatives: Dylan Lee, Pedro Izique
Agency Producers: Ross Plumber, Scott Kaplan
Editing Company: Work
Editor: Rich Orrick
Post Production Company: The Mill

Nike – The Switch

This is huge. A gigantic, expensive spectacle from some of the industry’s greatest talents, working with one of the most iconic sports stars in the world. It’s long, but completely justifies its runtime by telling a proper, engaging story. It’s probably the most story-driven ad Nike have ever done. And maybe it’s testament to Ringan Ledwidge’s performance directing skills, but Christiano seems to have developed some acting chops of late. And if 50 million views in under a month are anything to go by, it will do its job for the client.

Brand: The Prince’s Trust
Title: Parallel Lives
Production Company: Smuggler
Director: Miles Jay
Director of Photography: Ben Stockley
Ad Agency: CHI&Partners
Creative Directors: Danny Hunt, Gavin Torrance
Agency Producers: Jack Harris, Hannah Greene
Editing Company: Work
Editor: Ben Jordan
Music Company: Leland Music
Sound Company: Wave Studios
Sound Designer: Aaron Reynolds
Post Production Company: MPC

The Prince’s Trust – Parallel Lives

Technically, this is a difficult script to pull off. There’s a delicate balance to be struck. To demonstrate the point that the Prince’s Trust can drastically improve young people’s lives, the left side has to be sweet and encouraging while the right side is upsetting and dark. But the mirror image visual concept demands that the two versions aren’t too drastically different. Miles Jay has proved himself a remarkable directing talent in getting the perfect tone. It’s a poetic piece of advertising for a deserving cause.


Brand: Stella Artois
Title: Never Heard of It
Production Company: Biscuit Filmworks
Director: Andreas Nilsson
Production Company Producer: Kwok Yau
Director of Photography: Thomas Hardmeier
Ad Agency: Mother
Creative Directors: Jonathan Santana, Xander Smith
Creatives: Matt Leach, Jess Oudot
Editing Company: Cut+Run
Editor: Ben Campbell
Sound Company: 750mph
Sound Designer: Sam Robson
Post Production Company: Electric Theatre Collective

Stella Artois – Never Heard of It

It’s an encouraging message at the heart of this campaign: even the biggest institutions have humble, discouraging starts. It’s advertising persistence itself, really. And the quality of the filmmaking here makes that very clear. Considering he’s a Swede, director Andreas Nilsson does a great job at a very British kind of humour. The visual gags are on point and the costume and production design is sumptuous. It still seems a weird pairing, but if Stella Artois carry on advertising like this, maybe one day people will associate Wimbledon with a cold pint of Belgian lager as much as strawberries and cream.


Brand: Subway
Title: Favourites
Production Company: Biscuit Filmworks
Director: Michael Downing
Production Company Producer: Fran Thomson
Directors of Photography: Nanu Segal, Richard Mott
Ad Agency: McCann London
Creative Directors: Alexei Berwitz, Rob Webster, Jean-Laurent Py
Creatives: Matt Searle, Anthony-Daniel Montagne, Laurence Thomson
Agency Producer: Lois Newcombe
Editing Company: Work
Editor: Jono Griffith
Music Company: Sizzer Amsterdam
Sound Company: Jungle
Post Production Company: The Mill

Subway – Favourites

Yet another lesson in comedy filmmaking from Biscuit Filmworks as Michael Downing helms this ludicrous film in which a fully-grown man is paralysed by indecision in the face of sandwiches. It’s a well-observed insight. We’ve all been there. The tortured inner-monologue is reminiscent of Peep Show, which can only be a good thing. The casting is brilliant, too. Our hero’s nasal, middle-management accent perfectly compliments the heroic voiceover and his facial expressions are something quite remarkable.

High Five: June

June 9, 2016 / High Five

By Alex Reeves

Powerful ideas and fun ideas, all made with the utmost craft.

The variety of tone in our pick of this month’s best video and TV advertising is quite impressive. From the highly polished to the stripped down and from the inspiring to the lighthearted. But all of them are prime examples of how great advertising can be when the best ideas are brought to life by the most talented craftspeople.

Brand: Bodyform
Title: Blood
Production Company: Stink
Director: Jones + Tino
Production Company Producer: Simon Eakhurst
Ad Agency: AMV BBDO
Creative Directors: Toby Allen, Jim Hilson
Creatives: Caio Gianella, Diego Oliveira
Agency Producer: Edwina Dennison
Editing Company: Stitch
Editor: Leo King
Sound Company: 750mph
Sound Designer: Sam Ashwell

Bodyform – Blood

This is the ad every other feminine hygiene brand now wishes they’d done. For a few years the category has been moving away from blue liquid demonstrations and white-clad smiley dancers, but this campaign is taking on the “last taboo” for women in sport, talking directly about menstruation. And the film, directed by Jones + Tino, is ruthless. Riding a wave of uncompromising feminine power without the condescension that ‘femvertising’ has promoted in recent years, it’s the spiritual successor to This Girl Can. And it’s not just a cool ad. The campaign also follows a two-year partnership between Bodyform and two London universities researching the effects of the menstrual cycle on women’s health and exercise. Check out the results on the Red.Fit website. It’s interesting stuff.

Brand: Hostelworld
Title: In Da Hostel with 50 Cent
Production Company: Smuggler
Director: Barry Bangs
Ad Agency: Lucky Generals
Editing Company: tenthree
Editor: Quin Williams
Sound Company: GCRS
Sound Designer: Munzie Thind
Post Production Company: Absolute Post

Hostelworld – In Da Hostel with 50 Cent

It wasn’t obvious what direction Lucky Generals would take Hostelworld’s advertising in next after they realised Alan Partridge’s best idea – Youth Hosteling with Chris Eubank. But somehow getting 50 Cent to present what is basically an episode of MTV Cribs from a Barcelona Hostel is the perfect sequel. We’re not sure why it works, but he’s a surprisingly lovable host and the mid-00s hip-hop video spoofing is bang on. He may have to take a few more jobs like this to improve his financial situation, but he could do a lot worse than ads like this.

Brand: KFC
Title: Roller Skater
Production Company: Rattling Stick
Director: Sara Dunlop
Production Company Producer: Tim Nunn
Ad Agency: BBH
Creative Directors: Hamish Pinnell, Martha Riley
Agency Producer: Dana Rudelier
Editing Company: Final Cut
Editor: Amanda James
Sound Company: String and Tins
Sound Designer: Alex Bingham
Post Production Company: The Mill

KFC – Roller Skater

This is a nice script, based on the simple insight that sometimes when that Friday feeling catches you, you’ve just got to grab yourself a bucket of fried chicken. There’s not much more to it than that, but there’s nothing wrong with that. In the very capable hands of director Sara Dunlop and with perfect musical accompaniment, that Friday feeling is brought to life in the most innocent, joyful way.

Brand: Lawn Tennis Association
Title: Go Hit It
Production Company: The Sweet Shop
Director: Mark Albiston
Production Company Producer:
Director of Photography: Jaime Feliu-Torres
Ad Agency: BBH
Creative Director: Ewan Paterson
Creatives: Kim Gill, Mareka Carter
Agency Producer: Victoria Baldacchino
Editing Company: tenthree
Editor: Billy Mead
Sound Company: Factory
Sound Designers: Anthony Moore, Dan Beckwith
Post Production Company: MPC

Lawn Tennis Association – Go Hit It

Juxtaposing the traditionally middle-class tone of professional tennis broadcasting with a sweaty match between two amateurs in a park is a great idea. There’s heaps of potential for visual comedy in it and Mark Albiston makes the most of this, even pulling off a genital injury gag with the utmost grace. The snippets of classic Wimbledon commentary are well chosen and full of a warm, reassuring Britishness. Overall, it’s a charming film and should convince more than a few people to dig out their rackets.

Brand: Save The Children
Title: Still the Most Shocking Second a Day
Production Company: Stink
Director: Tom Green
Production Company Producer: Paz Parasmand
Ad Agency: Don’t Panic
Creative Director: Richard Beer
Editing Company: Whitehouse Post
Editor: James Forbes-Robertson
Sound Company: Factory
Sound Designer: Jon Clarke

Save the Children – Still the Most Shocking Second a Day

This idea is exactly the same idea as Save the Children’s 2014 TV ad, but two years on, that’s the most powerful idea available to them. Following up on the girl we met last time is heart wrenching. Then she was going through horrors mirroring the Syrian Civil War; now she’s enduring the same horrors as the many child refugees created by the conflict. It illustrates clearly that for many, life has not improved in that time – a hard reality for those of us with comfortable lives to face up to. The concept of ‘bringing it home’ is a charity cliché, but this campaign is a masterclass in how to do it right.

High Five: May

May 9, 2016 / High Five

By Alex Reeves

It’s silly season for the month’s best advertising.

Some of the best ads in history are pure silliness. We all like a bit of levity to distract us from the drudgery of our daily lives, so it’s not surprising that silly sells. This month’s selection of the best advertising reminded us of how great immature nonsense can be. When done well, it can be a powerful asset to a brand.

Brand: Foster’s
Title: Dry Cleaner
Production Company: Independent
Director: Gary Freedman
Production Company Producer: Serena Paull (Revolver)
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
Music Company: Madplanet
Sound Company: Wave Studios
Sound Designers: Aaron Reynolds, Dugal MacDiarmid
Post Production Company: The Mill

Foster’s – Dry Cleaner

Foster’s ads have always been a good laugh and this latest campaign delivers all the smiles we’d expect. Making the most of a seemingly mundane existence, the hero of this latest approach to the Aussie beer is instantly likeable. It seems lad humour is well and truly behind us now, to the point where mass-produced lager is advertised by a grown man playing dress-up. We’re not sure about the new strapline – it’s not exactly subtle, but we can sort of see how it ties in with this idea, so we’ll see where they take it.


Brand: The Green Party
Title: Grown Up Politics
Production Company: Smuggler
Director: Neil Harris
Production Company Producer: Adam Evans
Director of Photography: Sveere Sørdal
Ad Agency: Creature London
Creative Director: Clarence Bradley
Creatives: Lydia Raghavan, Tori Fannon
Agency Producers: Madeline Smith, Amy Connery, Nicola Ridley
Editing Company: Work
Editor: Saam Hodivala
Post Production Company: Unit Media

The Green Party – Grown Up Politics

It’s been a relief to see the party political broadcast rulebook torn to pieces in recent years. The Green Party and Creature have made a big impact on the format in particular. Still a fairly marginal party, the Greens have the opportunity to cast themselves as anti-establishment, attacking practically every other politician. And this idea gave them so much room to manoeuvre, adding in a cute factor to sweeten the deal. The casting is amazing. Our personal favourite is little Jez, who is remarkably regognisable despite the lack of beard growth.


Brand: Just Eat
Title: Manband
Production Company: Outsider
Director: Jim Gilchrist
Production Company Producer: Tex Travi
Director of Photography: Tim Maurice-Jones
Ad Agency: Red Brick Road
Creative Directors: Matt Davis, Richard Meson
Creatives: The Red Brick Road
Agency Producer: Charles Crisp
Editing Company: Cut+Run
Editor: Ben Campbell
Sound Company: Wave Studios
Sound Designers: Aaron Reynolds, Tom Heddy
Post Production Company: Big Buoy

Just Eat – Manband

Just Eat’s takeaway pop songs have all been brilliant. Snobs be damned, they’re unashamedly populist – the sort of thing that won’t win in Cannes, but will be sung by people around the country when they decide order a cheeky takeaway on a Saturday night. Each has been a triumph of music licencing, but this latest Backstreet Boys reworking is probably the best of the lot. Jim Gilchrist has nailed the aesthetic too – a perfectly tacky throwback to the golden age of the boyband.

Brand: Moneysupermarket
Title: Epic Dance Off
Production Company: Biscuit Filmworks
Director: Noam Murro
Production Company Producer: Carr Donald
Director of Photography: Eric Schmidt
Ad Agency: Mother London
Editing Company: Marshall Street Editors
Editors: Tim Thornton-Allan, Matthew Pochettino
Sound Company: 750mph
Sound Designer: Sam Robson
Post Production Company: MPC

Moneysupermarket – Epic Dance Off

OK. On the one hand putting the three fabulous men from their previous campaigns in a car park for a dance off was a bit of a lazy idea. But on the other hand, who cares? Those ads were a lot of fun and people loved them. Dave, in particular, became a celebrity in his own right thanks to his extraordinary booty and ability to rock the hottest of pants. It comes as no surprise that director Noam Murro has squeezed everything he can out of the script, of course. He’s a bubbling font of joyfulness.

Brand: Prostate Cancer UK
Title: Man to Man
Production Company: Outsider
Director: James Rouse
Production Company Producer: Benji Howell
Director of Photography: Richard Mott
Ad Agency: BBH London
Creative Directors: Raphael Basckin, Shelley Smoler
Creatives: Sara Sutherland, Ash Hamilton
Agency Producer: Alen Grebovic
Editing Company: Work Post
Editor: Bill Smedley
Sound Company: Factory
Sound Designers: Jon Clarke, Tom Joyce
Post Production Company: Finish

 Prostate Cancer – Man to Man

This one is absolutely inspired. Turning a familiar situation on its head, BBH have morphed a traditional source of comedy into something delightfully awkward and new. It’s always refreshing to see a charity taking a light tone with their ads and of course James Rouse makes sure it’s believable and charming to without fault. Here’s hoping it will inspire kids around the country to give their dads similar talks and hopefully save some lives.

High Five: April

April 11, 2016 / High Five

By Alex Reeves

Deep thinking and pretty pictures in this month’s best advertising.

It’s amazing how philosophical advertising is, considering it’s basically just trying to flog stuff people don’t want to people who can’t afford it. The best advertising, as evidenced in our pick of the past month, can draw on the deepest insights on human existence in order to get you reaching for your wallet. Quite remarkable, really.

Brand: Finish
Title: Heartbreak
Production Companies: CANADA London, Riff Raff
Director: CANADA
Production Company Producer: Cathy Hood
Director of Photography: Oscar Faura
Ad Agency: Wieden + Kennedy London
Creative Directors: Sophie Bodoh, Carlos Alija, Laura Sampedro
Agency Producer: Michelle Brough
Editing Company: Trim
Editor: Dominic Leung
Music Company: Siren
Composer: Alex Baranowski
Sound Company: Factory
Sound Designer: Jon Clarke
Post Production Company: Time Based Arts

Finish – Heartbreak

According to Finish’s brutal reminder, there are only three certainties in life: death, taxes and dirty dishes. And the latter usually gets forgotten but is perhaps the most daunting. Snappy, hyper realistic and stylish, directors CANADA have brought their considerable talents to bear to make sure this ad drives the terror into our hearts that it should. Even at our lowest ebbs, the dishes will need doing. Thankfully, Finish Powerball tablets are here to save us, so we can get back to worrying about our broken hearts.


Brand: Guinness
Title: Alive Inside
Production Company: Nexus
Director: Kibwe Tavares
Production Company Producers: Jeremy Smith, Clare Van Zyl (Monkey Films)
Director of Photography: Jamie Ramsay
Ad Agency: AMV BBDO
Creative Director: Mike Schalit
Creatives: Sonny Adorjan, Milo Campbell
Agency Producer: Greg Kates
Editing Company: The Whitehouse
Editor: Adam Marshall
Sound Company: GCRS
Post Production Company: The Mill

Guinness – Alive Inside

Less than two years on from winning at the Young Director Award and Saatchi & Saatchi New Directors’ Showcase in Cannes, Kibwe Tavares is directing Guinness ads. That’s a pretty good career trajectory. Anyone who's seen his short film Jonah will know he’s more than capable of this kind of film. It fits well with the vibrant, electric atmosphere the brand has been focusing on for years. It’s almost exhausting just to watch. But this time it’s more explicitly about Africa than ever. Since Nigeria overtook Ireland as the biggest market for the famous stout about five years ago, that makes sense.


Brand: Lloyds Bank
Title: For Your Next Step
Production Company: Rogue
Director: Sam Brown
Production Company Producer: Jess Wylie
Director of Photography: Alex Barber
Ad Agency: adam&eveDDB
Creative Directors: James Gillham, Graham Cappi
Agency Producer: Victoria Bennett
Editing Company: The Quarry
Editor: Pall Watts
Music Company: Platinum Rye
Sound Company: Wave
Sound Designer: Aaron Reynolds
Post Production Company: The Mill

Lloyds Bank – For Your Next Step

Sam Brown delivers another ad that’s polished to within an inch of its life. The idea of banks being there through the good times and the bad is a narrative we’re all familiar with, but there are couple of things that make this commercial stand out. The technical excellence on show here is one of them. How did they do that slow motion at two different speeds? The other thing is the bold move to depict a gay couple getting engaged. It shouldn’t be a bold move, but sadly it’s rare to see LGBT couples depicted in advertising full stop, let alone for a conservative, mainstream client like Lloyds Bank.


Brand: Persil
Title: Free the Kids
Production Company: RSA
Director: Toby Dye
Production Company Producer: Ben Porter
Ad Agency: MullenLowe London
Creative Director: Alex Okada
Creatives: Bruno Ribeiro, Luiz Filipin, Juan Chrismann, Jack Patrick
Agency Producer: Mays Al-Ali
Editor: Julian Equiguren
Music Company: Big Sync Music
Composer: Rupert Pope
Sound Company: GCRS
Sound Designer: Ben Leeves
Post Production Company: MPC

Persil – Free the Kids

This is extremely confident advertising. A cinematic mini-doc about American prison inmates speaking about their values and dreams, with no mention of the brand until the last three seconds? That takes balls for a big client to approve. But Persil are part of Unilever, a group of brands that are focusing on proving they have a greater purpose than simply turning a profit. Persil’s aim here is smart – get children to spend more time outdoors, getting their clothes dirty. It’s elegant, even if you’re cynical about their goals.


Brand: Stella Artois
Title: Be Legacy
Production Company: Riff Raff
Director: François Rousselet
Production Company Producer: Jane Tredget
Director of Photography: Martin Ruhe
Ad Agency: Mother
Editing Company: Final Cut
Editor: Joe Guest
Sound Company: 750mph
Sound Designer: Sam Ashwell
Post Production Company: MPC

Stella Artois – Be Legacy

It’s amazing that Stella have never done an origin story ad before. What’s more amazing is that now they have got round to it with François Rousselet at the helm it looks like a bizarre cross between a Wes Anderson and a Baz Luhrmann film. It’s somewhat in the style of the brand’s recent output, but Sebastian Artois is decidedly less smarmy and a lot more hapless than the usual lager ad guy. That’s a good thing, making for a charming tone. Maybe this is the one to finally shake Stella’s “wife beater” nickname… Maybe!

High Five: March

March 15, 2016 / High Five

By Alex Reeves

A celebration of the month’s best-crafted ideas for brands.

Considering the short timeframes and pressures people making commercials work under, it's often quite staggering the level of craft they manage to pull off. This month’s best advertising reminded us of this. A combination of attention to detail, efficient storytelling and sheer flair combine to make films that convince uninterested TV audiences to care about brands.

Brand: Guinness
Title: John Hammond, Intolerant Champion
Production Company: Cherry
Director: Jake Nava
Production Company Producer: Benedict Cooper
Ad Agency:  AMV BBDO
Creative Directors: Steve Jones, Martin Loraine, Dave Buchanan
Creatives: Mark Nutley, Pat Hamill
Agency Producers: Olly Chapman, Trish Russell, Zoe Cunningham
Editing Company: The Quarry
Editor: Scot Crane
Sound Company: Factory
Sound Designers: Dan Beckwith, Jon Clarke
Post Production Company: The Mill

Guinness – John Hammond, Intolerant Champion

Digging up the inspiring story of John Hammond was a smart move for Guinness. The radio DJ and talent scout who “heard no colour line in the music” spent his life giving black artists the chance to have their music heard where others wouldn’t. It’s a welcome continuation of their ‘Made of More’ era, which has given AMV BBDO the opportunity to discover and tell some remarkable human stories. The film itself is vibrant and raw and, paired with Benny Goodman’s raucous track Sing Sing Sing, the nostalgic visuals could sell the spirit of jazz to the most indifferent of philistines.


Brand: Haribo
Title: Pitch
Production Company: Quiet Storm
Director: Mary-Sue Masson
Production Company Producer: Ella Littlewood
Ad Agency: Quiet Storm
Creative Director: Trevor Robinson
Editor: Dave Owen
Sound Company: Angell Sound
Sound Designer: Dave Robinson
Post Production Companies: Big Buoy, Rushes
Colourist:  Simona Cristea Harrison

Haribo - Pitch

This campaign idea has been running for a while now and it’s been charming so far, but there’s something about this latest instalment that’s particularly amusing. The rugby players are brilliantly macho and their performances sync perfectly to the children’s voices. Everything just clicked this time and the result is a joyful, no-frills 30-second commercial.


Brand: Mattessons
Title: The Snackarchist
Production Company: Riff Raff
Director: Megaforce
Production Company Producer: Cathy Hood
Director of Photography: Ben Todd
Ad Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi
Creative Directors: Andy Jex, Rob Potts
Creatives: Mark Slack, Gemma Phillips
Agency Producers: Lindsey Stopp, Sam Rendle-Short
Editing Company: Final Cut
Editor: Joe Guest
Sound Company: Wave
Sound Designer: Jack Sedgwick
Post Production Company: Finish

Mattessons – The Snackarchist

We have a feeling this one will divide people. The script could have been a disaster. Imagine if the ad was trying to make it actually seem cool to eat the meaty bites instead of a more traditional snack. We all know how terrible advertising can get when it tries to make something look cool. But in the hands of genuinely cool French collective Megaforce, the Snackarchist has been brought to life with just the right amount of geeky awkwardness, set off suitably by Lethal Bizzle’s You Ain’t That Dude.


Brand: Samsung
Title: Unpacking

Production Company: 1st Ave Machine
UK Directors' Representation: OB Management
Directors: Asif Mian, Bob Partington
Production Company Producer: David Stewart
Director of Photography: Manuel Ruiz

Ad Agency: 72andSunny Amsterdam
Creative Directors: Carlo Cavallone, Stuart Harkness, Matt Heck
Creatives: Domingo de la Villa, Andy Johns
Agency Producers: Peter Williams, Jennifer Cursio
Editing Company: Cut + Run
Editors: James Rose, Jack Singer
Sound Companies: Factory, Wave
Sound Designers: Phil Bolland, Alex Nicholls-Lee
Post Production Company: MPC

Samsung – Unpacking

Running through some of the most important moments in Samsung’s product history, there’s nothing too ambitious about this ad’s core idea, but the smooth journey it takes us on is testament to the skills of everyone involved in making it. The transitions between products are cleverly conceived, interspersed with well-styled vignettes, and the impressive animation and VFX throughout makes for a smooth ride.


Brand: Sky
Title: Sky Q
Production Company: Biscuit Filmworks (Digital Animation: Neon)
Director: Johnny Green
Production Company Producer: Kate Taylor
Director of Photography: Lasse Frank
Ad Agency: Brothers & Sisters
Creative Directors: Andy Fowler, Aaron Wilmer
Agency Producer: Lois Whittle
Editing Company: Work
Editor: Neil Smith
Sound Company: 750mph
Sound Designer: Sam Ashwell
Post Production Company: The Mill

Sky – Sky Q

To launch Sky’s new service for watching TV on multiple devices in multiple rooms, Brothers & Sisters have decided to go all in on the VFX and with the deft touch of Johnny Green at the helm they have created visual feast in the Sony Bravia school of epic aesthetic delights. It’s very pretty, but has a warmth to it too. It even demonstrates the product quite clearly, which is helpful.


High Five: February

February 11, 2016 / High Five

By Alex Reeves

The best advertising this month featured some brilliant casting.

Talent in front of the camera is arguably just as important as the people behind it, and this month the best ads demonstrate that perfectly. Casting the best performers for the script has made each of these commercials shine just as much as the strategic insights behind them, their sharp writing, or the directors’ talents bringing the scripts to life.

Brand: Amazon
Title: Yoga
Production Company: Rattling Stick
Director: Andy McLeod
Production Company Producer: Stu Bentham
Director of Photography: Stuart Graham
Ad Agency: Lucky Generals
Editor: Mark Endinoff
Sound Company: Wave
Sound Designer: Parv Thind
Post Production Companies: Big Buoy, MPC

Amazon - Yoga

No fancy interactive campaign or grand emotional story arc here. This is a 30-second TV commercial built on a simple product offering – you can shop whenever and wherever you’re reminded of that thing you need. It’s a single joke, but executed clearly through good casting, endearing performances and the sharp direction of Andy McLeod. What more do you need?


Brand: BBC
Title: Educate
Production Company: Somesuch
Director: Max Weiland
Ad Agency: Sunshine
Creative Directors: Robin Temple, Tom Woodlington
Creatives: Nathalie Gordon, Selma Ahmed, Wren Graham
Agency Producer: Julia Methold
Editing Company: Trim
Editor: Fouad Gaber
Sound Company: GCRS
Sound Designer: Munzie Thind
Post Production Company: Time Based Arts

BBC – Educate

Getting the tone right for a young audience like BBC Three’s is tough, but using the comedy talent the now totally online channel already has was clearly a good decision here. People Just Do Nothing’s Chabuddy G brings comedy to the simplest of lines or gestures. And with appearances from the likes Romesh Ranganathan and Stacey Dooley, director Max Weiland has proven that he has the chops to work with some of the country’s funniest performers.

Brand: Halls
Title: Tough Love / Soft Love
Production Company: Biscuit Filmworks
Director: Jeff Low
Production Company Producer: Maury Strong
Director of Photography: Marc Laliberté Else
Ad Agency: Wieden + Kennedy London
Creative Directors: Carlos Alija, Laura Sampedro
Creatives: Christen Brestrup, Bertie Scrase
Agency Producer: James Laughton
Editing Company: Work
Editor: Saam Hodivala
Sound Designer: Will Cohen @ String and Tins
Music Composer: Andy Stewart @ String and Tins
Post Production Company: MPC

Halls – Tough Love / Soft Love

This double-sided campaign relies heavily on the acting talents of John C McGinley, delivering some quite amusing monologues about the two ways to approach your cough. They’re well written and for any Scrubs fans, very evocative of McGinley’s famous Dr Cox diatribes, particularly on the Tough Love side. We’ve seen the Wieden + Kennedy and Jeff Low combo work well on this kind of tone before, so it’s no surprise that they’ve turned out another genuinely funny campaign this time.


Brand: Lynx
Title: Find Your Magic
Production Company: Division
Director: François Rousselet
Production Company Producer: Aurelie Bruneau
Director of Photography: Nicolas Loir
Ad Agency: 72andSunny Amsterdam
Creative Directors: Carlo Cavallone, Laura Visco, Emiliano Trierveiler
Agency Producer: Sanne van Hattum
Editing Company: Final Cut
Editor: Amanda James
Music Company: Big Sync
Sound Company: 750mph
Sound Designers: Sam Ashwell, Mark Hellaby
Post Production Company: Framestore

Lynx – Find Your Magic

It’s been interesting to watch the Lynx brand grow up over the past decade or so, trying to balance its obvious focus on a teenage male audience with the more nuanced approach to masculinity and male sexuality that society now takes. Building on the unconventional heroes they’ve recently plumped for, this script is perhaps the ultimate realisation of their brand message that any man can be attractive if he’s comfortable in the kind of man that he is. It’s a poetic film, full of intriguing characters and youthful energy, an encouraging pat on the back for all the awkward teenage boys out there.


Brand: TravelSupermarket
Title: Towel Drop
Production Company: Biscuit Filmworks
Director: Andreas Nilsson
Production Company Producer: Kwok Yau
Director of Photography: Jallo Faber
Ad Agency: The Corner London
Creative Director: Tom Ewart
Creatives: Joe Stamp, Tom Prendergast
Agency Producer: Sam Holms
Editing Company: Cut + Run
Editor: Ben Campbell
Sound Company: 750mph
Sound Designer: Sam Robson
Post Production Company: Electric Theatre Collective

TravelSupermarket – Towel Drop

It’s got to be said the stereotype of Germans getting up early to reserve the sun loungers on holiday is a tired, lazy one. But why be snobs about it? It’s an idea that everyone can recognise and it’s funny. Turning that central European passion for organisation into a positive is a smart move for this travel price comparison site and with incredible casting, styling and a deft directorial touch from Andreas Nilsson, they’ve created a character that could run for years if they want him to.

High Five: January

January 14, 2016 / High Five

By Alex Reeves

This month’s best ads are designed to make you crack a smile.

When advertising makes you feel good, you associate those feelings with the advertised brand. That’s what they hope to do, anyway. Clients know this, and they’re desperately trying to drag you out of your January blues. These five are some of the most effective, in our opinion.

Brand: Center Parcs
Title: Bears
Production Company: Mustard
Director: Ben Liam Jones
Production Company Producer: Nick Papworth
Ad Agency: Brothers and Sisters
Executive Creative Director: Andy Fowler
Creatives: Ollie Wolf, Malcolm Duffy, Indy Selvarajah
Agency Producer: Jennifer Kennedy
Editor: Elena De Palma
Sound Company: GCRS
Sound Designer: Tom Pugh
Post Production Company: Electric Theatre Collective

Center Parcs – Bears

This anthropomorphic triumph nails it on several fronts. The idea that, like bears, we feel more at home when immersed in nature fits perfectly with Center Parcs’ offering. The family are adorable and, thanks to the stellar CGI work of Electric Theatre Collective and the emotional awareness of director Ben Liam Jones, they’re a lovable bunch – quite an achievement considering they’d tear your throat out if you met them in real life. An undeniably warm and fuzzy film to get you booking an outdoorsy holiday.


Brand: Cillit Bang
Title: The Mechanic
Production Company: Partizan
Director: Michael Gracey
Production Company Producer: Khalid Tahhar
Director of Photography: Carl Nilsson
Ad Agency: BETC Paris
Creative Directors: Stephane Xiberras, Jaques Jolly
Creatives: Alexandre Saad, Marie Baillot, Guillaume Rebbot
Agency Producers: David Green, Emilie Cointot
Editing Company: Royalpost
Editor: Stuart Bowen
Sound Company: GUM

Cillit Bang – The Mechanic

Let’s be honest. We’re going to miss Barry Scott. His passion for this all-purpose cleaning product was an inspiration to us all for many years, the likes of which we may never again see on our televisions. But there’s something about this Flashdance homage that captures the satisfaction of having a really good cleaning session perfectly. It’s brilliantly choreographed, cleverly shot and fun to watch. It must have been quite a relief when they finally got all those moves in the can.


Brand: Nissan
Title: Hoybot
Production Company: Somesuch
Director: Bob Harlow
Production Company Producer: Dougal Meese
Director of Photography: Benoit Soler
Ad Agency: TBWA\
Creatives: Simon Morris, Dean Webb
Agency Producer: Fiona Campbell
Editing Company: Trim
Editor: Thomas Carter
Music Company: Finger Music
Composer: Daniel Lenz
Sound Company: Factory
Sound Designers: Phil Bolland, Anthony Moore
Post Production Company: The Mill

Nissan – Hoybot

Of all the car manufacturers, Nissan’s reputation is one of the most high tech, so creating themselves a mascot that’s more machine than man was a neat fit. The style of the film is smart. It looks like a teaser trailer for the sort of sci-fi superhero movie we’re inundated with these days. There’s even a digital graphic novel to go with it. It’s light-hearted, different and an original way of using Sir Chris as an ambassador.


Brand: THINK!
Title: Doghouse
Production Company: Smuggler
Director: Guy Shelmerdine
Production Company Producer: Jason Scanlon
Ad Agency: AMV BBDO
Creative Directors: Martin Loraine, Steve Jones
Creatives: Adrian Rossi, Alex Grieve
Agency Producer: Mat Towell
Editing Company: Stitch
Editor: Tim Hardy
Sound Company: 750mph
Sound Designer: Sam Ashwell
Post Production Company: The Mill

THINK! – Doghouse

The road safety category has been repetitive for a long time, often relying on plain shock tactics. That only makes this clever approach even more refreshing. Bravely admitting that not drinking and driving can cause trouble, it pushes the point home that capitulating can potentially be much worse. It’s well cast, relatable and with a brilliantly British sense of humour it’s a film that does its life-saving role justice. It's a funny road safety infomercial. That's impressive.


Brand: Thomas Cook
Title: Pool Kid
Production Company: The Sweet Shop
Director: Mark Albiston
Production Company Producer: Kate Taylor
Director of Photography: Justin Brown
Ad Agency: Albion London
Creative Director: Debs Gerrard
Creative: Hugo Isaacs
Agency Producer: Petrina Kilby
Editing Company: Tenthree
Editor: Billy Mead
Sound Company: 750mph
Sound Designer: Sam Ashwell
Post Production Company: The Mill

Thomas Cook – Pool Kid

This idea comes from the same feel-good school of advertising as the Cadbury Gorilla. It’s a risky approach; it’s simplicity can often backfire, but when it’s done right it’s a powerful strategy. And this time they’ve got it spot on. From the choice of track to the casting of the kid to the moves themselves, it all comes together to bring the right positive vibes. It’s really quite hard to explain, but we’re sure it will make people smile (and potentially even book holidays).