Category Archives: Advertising

So you wanna watch a TV spot? – Part 3

COI/British Army – Truck
How do you sell something like the Army? By showing off your officers wielding the latest assault rifles, cruising around in gleaming armoured tanks and partaking in the glamourous life (the army ball, anyone?). The agency here thought otherwise – instead of showcasing the war to prospective recruits, they showed it. They featured harrowing scenarios, depicting the points of view of officers and war victims, and the internal conflicts each of them face. And made one of the most successful military recruitment campaigns ever.

Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi
Director: Paul Weiland

COI/British Army – Blanket
Another one in the series for The British Army. Rather than glossing over the subject of war, this one too answers some real issues concerning it. It deals with a sensitive subject and so well.

Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi
Director: Alexandra Taylor

The Times – Bottle
Newspapers, with their articles and columns, always make it a point to inform, educate, entertain and (more often than not) encourage readers to form an opinion. Yet their expensive, and weak, attempts at marketing themselves are an insult to both your intelligence as well as the papers they represent. So it’s surprising when you come across something like these. Two commercials for a newspaper, that are simple, nicely written and well-crafted. And, like the newspaper they represent, they do make you think.

Agency: RKCR/Y&R
Director: Chris Palmer

The Times – Banana
The second one in a series for this London-based newspaper. Another engaging, voice-over based script. Another intelligent piece of work.

Agency: RKCR/Y&R
Director: Chris Palmer

Audi S3 Quattro – Horses
You see a lot of TV commercials these days that set up a series of events, all leading to the big reveal of what the product or brand is. This one for Audi was one of the first that employed the technique. Clever script and great production values, sure, but in the hands of a less-gifted director, all that would have fallen flat. A lovely piece of work from the great (and sadly, late) Paul Arden.

Agency: DDB
Director:  Paul Arden

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So you wanna watch a TV spot? – Part 2

Lincoln Blackwood – Fish
Does a TV spot always have to be self-explanatory and neatly tied-up? No. Sometimes, you’re in just for the experience. Strange, sensual, sensory or even surreal. This here is one surreal fucking ride. Featuring a cool track from one of my favourite lounge acts 🙂

Agency: Young & Rubicam
Director: Andrew Douglas

Centraal Beheer – Hypnotist
Finally, an insurance company that takes itself seriously. By making commercials that are anything but. Centraal Beheer’s TV commercials (explained here) are famously entertaining, witty, memorable, in Dutch and in English, and here’s my pick of the lot. As with most of their spots, it’s well-made and actually unpredictable.

Agency: DDB
Director: Rene Eller

Lego – Box
I’ll keep my introductions for this one brief. If ever Lego needed a TV spot 🙂

Agency: BBH
Director: Frank Budgen

United Airlines – Dragon
United Airlines is not what anyone would call a ‘sexy’ advertiser. They don’t make adventurous choices with their communication. No hopefully-viral videos. No trippy microsites. No smack-in-your-face promos. No, Sir. They make straight-forward television commercials – except that all their quaintly sophisticated commercials are executed with animation. Each one showcases a different style, a different animator. That’s something to think about, isn’t it?

Agency: Fallon
Director: Jamie Caliri

Sony PlayStation – Double Life
You’re this person in the real world. And this vastly-edited, wholly-glamourised version of it online. And all that would have remained a random marketing statistic. If it weren’t for this nifty little piece of (although it’s much more than that) advertising – which tapped into the whole online/gamer psyche. Here’s the virtuoso spot that launched a landmark product: the first PlayStation.

Agency: TBWA
Director: Frank Budgen

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So you wanna watch a TV spot? – Part 1

Levi’s 501 – Procession
There was a time when you used to look out for the next Levi’s 501 spot. Here’s a blast from the past that is all about THE MOOD, baby. Shot on location at one of my favourite places in the whole wide world: New Orleans.

Agency: BBH
Director: Michael Haussman

Polaroid – Resignation
Superb visual storytelling from one of my favourite ad- and feature-film directors. Fantastic editing, music…and did I mention that the spot was in Japanese? Not that it matters 🙂

Agency:  BBH
Director: Michel Gondry

Lexus ES – Cards
What do a world-record beating cardstacker and a luxury car have in common? More than you think. Meticulously orchestrated and flawlessly executed, this spot for the Lexus ES is a class-act. Although, I don’t much care for the old geezer who did the voice-over!

Agency: Team One
Director: Dante Ariola

British Airways – Musical Chairs
Usually I hate seeing cute, cuddly kids being used in ads. Unless it’s for something like the one below, for British Airways. A great piece of work from the good ol’ days with possibly the best casting I’ve ever seen in a TV spot.

Agency: M&C Saatchi
Director: Stuart Douglas

Nike Football – Leave Nothing
Somewhere between filming his stylish urban noirs Heat, Collateral and the more recent Public Enemies, director Michael Mann took a break to craft this jaw-droppingly awesome tour de force for the NFL’s opening season. The coolest thing about it? Oh the music’s fab, but the editing is classic.

Agency: Wieden+Kennedy
Director: Michael Mann

Agency: Team One, LA
Director: Dante Ariola

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Saving your souls, one TV commercial at a time.

Lonely TV Set

Now that you’ve watched those accursed Vodafone ZooZoo commercials for the zillionth time and unwittingly participated in the most turgid viral sensation in recent years 😉 let’s move on. I’ve been collecting some cool (in my opinion) TV spots over the years – on to my CDs, DVDs and hard disks. Not the grainy, pixelated junk that ends up on YouTube. I’m talking hi-quality videos.

Starting today, I’ll be posting some here every week – sharing the goodness with the world, so to speak. Not all of them have won awards (although some of them are way up there). Not all of them are well-known (some were created for specific markets). But each and every one of them is imaginative, engaging and intelligent. So sit back. Relax. And enjoy the show.

P.S. Oh and folks? Do feel free to comment.

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