Tag: wieden

think differently this christmas.

Although this blog isn’t a reviewing website, it’s been a while since I haven’t posted something and what’s better than the Christmas spirit to celebrate (and rant) on what Adland has to offer this year.


Last year saw a burst of newcomers and as there’s always so much you can say about Christmas, most brands ended up saying the same thing, to the point that Currys and Harvey Nichols shared voice for giftface. That’s probably why everyone is taking on a subversive message for this year’s Holidays. Let’s start with the very Harvey Nichols who clearly didn’t want to risk being imitated this year with this original – if not questionable – execution “Britalia”. In an era of data-driven clients, I’ve read that the retailer recorded a peak in sales of Italian products… Buon natale then! But Harvey Nichs isn’t the only one to have taken an original approach, it’s hats off to the never-disappointing W+K and their latest spot for TK Maxx that brought a brilliant Christmas twist to their new brand promise.

And how can we forget the ball opener that was Burberry’s trailer-like short about the life of Thomas Burberry? Unfortunately for them and as with all things successful, they seem to be on for unveiling the full feature…

In the mean time, Currys stayed within the reasonable with a humorous take on gifting and House of Fraser built on last year’s musical success. One will note my deliberate move to omit John Lewis’ effort which will, by no doubt given their choice of director, be another tear-jerker that you’ll either love or hate.

Merry Christmas Adland, and keep thinking differently for more than just the Holidays!

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bring it on, rio.

The Olympics season is upon us and although Team GB have just started to bag the ultimate prize, Adworld didn’t fail to unload the usual stack of commercials from our favourite sponsors, ambushers and opportunists alike. You could be forgiven to think it will be hard to find great work this year. After all, a brief that has both the words Olympics and Rio in it doesn’t give much space to creative ingenuity. A maxi quadrennial year also means investments had to be prioritised between the Euros, the Olympics and, of course, Zlatan already being a living god in the Premierleague.

I’ll start with one that rarely disappoint – the swoosh. After the Make it Count campaign, our friends from Portland did it again, this time with Unlimited You, their latest positioning building on their tagline (which they shatter in the spot). A clip that is as inclusive (genders and sports alike) as the Olympics are meant to be, and one that still has that edge of personality they’ve recently introduced in their work. Start with the teaser and see it for yourself.

But it wasn’t about personality for everyone, as most broadcasters thought it would be tears of joy that would drive us to the aisles. That was the case for P&G who continued their Thank You Mum franchise ; Always who brought an Olympics twist to #likeagirl ; and Dick’s who gave us a lesson in biology and human nature with Gold in US.


The greatest show on Earth is also the occasion to offer world-class storytelling, celebrating those athletes and their inspiring stories. Gillette tells us what happens behind the scenes of an athlete’s life in Perfect isn’t Pretty (although I find the link to the brand quite disappointing), Powerade went for the story of a kid overcoming obstacles in his personal life to make it to the big stage with a new instalment of Just a Kid. But one story that was worth telling this year was the one of the first ever Refugees team, the Olympics being the perfect playground for them to prove the world they’re more than what people think. Obviously a powerful story will attract lots of opportunists and Visa really missed the plot here, having such an incredible story to tell but failing to even scratch the surface, or to execute it the right way. Grey London, on the other hand, did UNHCR proud with this clip to celebrate the team’s participation to Rio.

I left my favourite for the end. There were lots of expectations on C4 after they’ve raised the bar quite high with their Superhumans clip 4 years ago. Well guess what, they’re back, moving from strength to unlimited ability (yes Nike, they can). Here’s a clip celebrating those who overcome their disability well beyond the Olympics stage. And don’t miss the short clips telling the stories and skills of the cast in the film. Hats off.

PS: Since I’ve skipped through most of the noise out there, feel free to check Adage and Campaign for a full list.

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re-defining advertising.

Advertising is a term that is proving hard to define. Of the countless definitions you can find on the web and in those academic books, they all seem to have the same recurrent words: paid; non-personal; communications; influence/ persuade/ raise awareness; target audience; products/ goods/ services/ persons/ entities. It is fairly hard to define such an evolving term. I mean things have changed since the first adverts aired in the 19th century. Interactivity – that “red button” for instance – has massively changed the way advertising works (name a print ad without a website address, a QR code, an SMS number or a social network link). Yes, technology has changed the way adverts act on us but is this the only massive evolution we could see in advertising?

Rory Sutherland is a brilliant adman. He couldn’t have thought of an easier way to put it across: “advertising is all about intangible values”. Of all the definitions I could find on the net, none was putting the accent on the brand, that intangible asset that supports these products/ goods/ services/ persons and entities advertising is supposed to have an effect on. Take the fragrances market, which is both interesting and challenging for 2 reasons: you can hardly differentiate a product from another since they are all subjective (be it for the liquid itself); and there are countless new product launches every year further cluttering the market. So how would you create that USP that will give you the edge over your competitors? You act on aspects that are peripheral to the product e.g. the packaging, the price (and promotions), the distribution and, the most important asset of all, the brand (selling more than a smelly, you actually sell a mood or a lifestyle endorsed by a brand or a celebrity). Nowadays, consumers don’t say beer but “Carling” or “Stella”; they don’t ask you for your MP3 player but for your “iPod”; just as no one seems to have a mobile phone anymore but a “Nokia” or an “iPhone”. Some brands managed it better than others (have you ever used the word “cola” in a sentence?), but overall, they all understood the new use of advertising in a market cluttered with look-alike products and politicians.

When butter brand Lupark challenged W+K to increase the sales of their product, never the agency would have thought of changing the product, or even its packaging or its price for that matter. They went for a far smarter and cost effective solution, and changed the one thing the competition wouldn’t be able to imitate later on: they’ve altered its brand perception by telling consumers it was “the natural choice to enhance good food”. The activation that followed is genius and I recommend the read.


Whether it is Sutherland’s hilarious Diamond Shreddies anecdote, or Belgian beer Stella Artois positioning itself as being French, advertising allows to change a product perception without even touching it the slightest. But as every magic power should not be abused, a brand needs to remain credible and consistent in its claims and positioning so as not to confuse or, worst, lose its audience. I mean why would everyone be so pissed off about Robert De Niro now playing in cheap comedies eh?


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