High Five: August

August 14, 2014 / High Five

By Alex Reeves

A handful of ads that prove brave is best.

The advertising industry talks about bravery and risk a lot these days. Without risk-taking, the argument goes, your good work will never be great. There’s a lot of truth in that, as our pick of this month’s best advertising demonstrates. None of these films would have been made if the clients, agencies and production companies had been afraid of doing something courageous and different.

Brand: Ikea

Title: Beds

Production Company: MJZ

Director: Juan Cabral

Production Company Producer: Stephen Johnson

Director of Photography: Eric Gautier

Ad Agency: Mother

Editing Company: Work

Editor: Neil Smith

Sound Company: 750mph

Sound Designer: Sam Ashwell

Post Production Company: MPC

Ikea - Beds

Appropriating Shakespeare to sell furniture is a ballsy move, riddled with risks. Not least the chance that it will just go over everyone’s heads. But it’s better to overestimate than patronise your audience, right? Anyway, the lofty rhetoric about the ephemeral nature of human experience is matched very nicely by the esoteric visuals brought together by Juan Cabral. It stands out, both visually and aurally. And in advertising, that’s one of the most vital battles won.


Brand: Imperial War Museum

Title: Flight of the Stories

Production Company: Aardman

Director: Darren Dubicki

Production Company Producer: Helen Argo

Ad Agency: Johnny Fearless

Art Director: Pia Knight

Copywriter: Paul Domenet

Agency Producer: Christian Lobo

Music Company: Soviet Science

Sound Company: GCRS

Sound Designer: Ben Leeves

Post Production Companies: Aardman, Big Buoy

Imperial War Museum – Flight of the Stories

Befitting of one of Britain’s most illustrious museums, this film has reserve, class and dignity. Considering the unprecedented horrors soldiers fighting in the trenches of the First World War faced, it’s powerful that the selected quotations are so optimistic. With an intriguing style of animation illustrating the metaphor, it’s a distinctive piece that sets off the idea quite poetically.


Brand: Johnnie Walker

Title: The Gentlemen’s Wager

Production Company: RSA Films

Director: Jake Scott

Production Company Producers: Jules Daly and Tracie Norfleet

Director of Photography: John Mathiesson, ASC

Ad Agency: Anomaly

Creatives: Mike Byrne, Dave Douglass

Agency Producer: Winslow Dennis

Editing Company: Peep Show

Editor: Andrea MacArthur

Music Company: Eclectic

Composers: Smith & Elms

Sound Company: Heard City

Sound Designer: Cory Melious

Post Production Company: The Mill

Johnnie Walker – The Gentleman’s Wager

Let’s be honest. Jude Law’s starring role makes this short film’s success a bit of a forgone conclusion. Once they had the name, they didn’t need to put much effort into making a film. Thankfully, RSA have bothered to make the effort though. And for a film about a man doing a dance, it’s pretty epic. With a clearly aspirational audience in mind, it might be a bit beguiling to most of us, (the way the 1% live…) but it’s a sumptuous piece of filmmaking and, importantly, it doesn’t feel like an ad.


Brand: Royal Marines

Title: They Come from the Sea

Production Company: RSA Films

Director: Johnny Hardstaff

Production Company Producer: Ben Link

Ad Agency: WCRS

Creative Director: Billy Faithfull

Creatives: Katy Hopkins, Steve Hawthorne

Agency Producer: Lizzie Mabbott

Editing Company: The Whitehouse

Editor: John Smith

Sound Company: Wave

Sound Designer: Joe Mount

Post Production Company: MPC

Royal Marines – They Come from the Sea

The best thing about this is the contrast to the optimistic, sometimes even patronising tone we see repeatedly in other armed forces’ recruitment ads. It doesn’t completely disguise the dark side of the military, making the Royal Marines seem more like a mythical band of ninjas rather than sanctimonious heroes of the free world, which is brave on the part of the client. The fear of their victim is tangible, and it’s down to the filmmaking talent of Johnny Hardstaff that makes it so nightmarish. Refreshingly sinister.


Brand: Three

Title: We’re Sorry

Production Company: Hungryman

Director: Ric Cantor

Production Company Producer: Jack Beardsley

Director of Photography: Mike George

Ad Agency: Wieden+Kennedy London

Creative Directors: Scott Dungate, Graeme Douglas

Art Director: Greg Kouts

Copywriter: Anthony Atkinson

Agency Producer: Michelle Brough

Editing Company: Ten Three

Editor: Billy Mead

Music Company: Finger Music

Sound Company: Finger Music

Sound Designer: Tom Joyce

Post Production Company: Time Based Arts

Three – We’re Sorry

Some of the best ad campaigns in history have turned a negative into a positive. It’s clever of Wieden+Kennedy to admit the downside of Three’s new feature, allowing its customers to use their UK allowance in 16 foreign counties. The fake apology is another familiar trope, but that shouldn’t take away from the brilliance of this campaign. It’s genuinely amusing and the point about the product is clearly made. Plus, it’s a message we can all get behind: stop holiday spam. Here, here.

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