High Five: April

March 30, 2017 / High Five

By Alex Reeves

Risky business is good business.

The best advertising is risky and the best ads this month have reminded us of how dangerous advertising can pay. Some ideas walk a thin tightrope between brilliance and naff-ness. These five could all have been crap if they hadn’t been treated in just the right way. They’ve come out all the better for not playing it safe though.

Brand: Halifax
Title: Thunderbirds
Production Company: Outsider
Director: DOM&NIC
Production Company Producer: John Madsen
Director of Photography: Alex Barber
Ad Agency: adam&eveDDB
Executive Creative Director: Ben Tollett
Creatives: Jonathan John, David Mackersey
Agency Producer: Catherine Cullen
Editing Company: Final Cut
Editor: Straun Clay
Sound Company: 750mph
Sound Designer: Sam Ashwell
Visual Effects Company: The Mill

Halifax - Thunderbirds

Buying the intellectual property rights to some of our most beloved cultural memories is a risky play for a brand. So often the show or character in question is used to fill an idea vacuum. When used in this way, fans will not only ignore your ads, they’ll actively despise them. But the clever folks at adam&eveDDB have been respectful to all the beloved culture they’ve commandeered for Halifax, and the same goes for the Thunderbirds. With dom&nic’s deft touch behind the camera, Parker is as charming as ever. A potent dose of nostalgia straight into the bloodstream.


Brand: HSBC
Title: The Swimmer
Production Company: The Sweet Shop
Director: Louis Sutherland
Production Company Producer: Justin Edmund-White
Director of Photography: Marty Williams
Ad Agency: JWT London
Creative Directors: Chas Bayfield, Dave Jenner
Creative: Naz Nazli
Agency Producer: Charlotte Jude
Editing Company: tenthree
Editor: Billy Mead
Sound Company: 750mph
Sound Designer: Ben Gulvin
Visual Effects Company: MPC

HSBC – The Swimmer

HSBC have really been going all-in on the soppy stuff in recent years. Thankfully, their ads are usually made by people who know how far they can push it before it brings up people’s breakfast. Director Louis Sutherland has done just that with JWT’s understated script about a dedicated father supporting his daughter’s passion for swimming. It’s warm and reassuring without heaping on the sentimentality too thick – the sort of believable relationship that idealised advert characters rarely seem to demonstrate.


Brand: Nike
Title: Made Of
Production Company: Riff Raff
Director: David Wilson
Production Company Producer: Cathy Hood
Director of Photography: Benoit Soler
Ad Agency: Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam
Creative Directors: Mark Bernath, Eric Quennoy
Creatives: Vasco Vicente, Evgeny Primachenko
Agency Producers: Soey Lim, Karen Whitehouse
Editor: Govert Janse
Music Company: MassiveMusic
Sound Company: Wave
Sound Designer: Alex Nicholls-Lee
Visual Effects Company: MPC

Nike – Made Of

It turns out ‘femvertising’ wasn’t just a phase. It’s an awakening. Brands must demonstrate their passion for equality now, or face being held accountable for their silence. What began in the West is now global, and it’s amazing to see something like this coming out in a country as testosterone-drenched as Russia. Like so much of the work Wieden + Kennedy are writing for Nike around the world, this ad is an empowering short film despite its commercial origins – an active part of culture and contemporary discourse. It’s what makes Nike one of the world’s greatest brands.


Brand: MoneySupermarket
Title: Skeletor
Production Company: Sonny
Director: Fredrik Bond
Production Company Producer: Alicia Richards
Director of Photography: Ben Seresin
Ad Agency: Mother
Editing Company: Whitehouse Post
Editor: Patric Ryan
Music Company: We Are Theodore
Sound Company: 750mph
Sound Designer:  Sam Robson
Visual Effects Company: MPC

MoneySuperMarket – Skeletor

Again, with the co-opting of popular culture for commercial ends. Such a dangerous tactic. Many 80s and 90s children will, like me, have recoiled in dread upon reading Skeletor’s name next to a price comparison website’s, but somehow they’ve managed not to ruin my childhood. In fact, the mystical supervillain’s dance moves are pretty funny. It’s a good progression for a series at risk of getting stale.


Brand: Virgin Media
Title: This is Virgin Fibre
Production Company: Rogue
Director: Sam Brown
Production Company Producer: James Howland
Director of Photography: Tom Townsend
Ad Agency: BBH
Creative Director: Carl Broadhurst
Creatives: Felipe Guimaraes, Lambros Charalambous
Agency Producer: Georgina Kent
Editing Company: Final Cut
Editor: Amanda James
Music Company: The Most Radicalist Black Sheep Music Ltf
Sound Company: Factory
Sound Designer: Anthony Moore
Visual Effects Company: The Mill

Virgin Media – This is Virgin Fibre

There’s no subtlety to this idea. But that’s OK because it’s full of the lush, vibrant action that Sam Brown is so good at depicting. It’s a real feast for the eyes, full of familiar faces and adrenaline. It’s even got some nice little comic touches to keep it human. A slick, cinematic piece that demands your attention.

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