Ads that are not shit.

Episode #3

(This was the best link I could find. Everything is behind a paywall. I don’t know why people make it so hard to find ads online. They’re ads. They’re meant for people to see. Stop bloody hiding them.)

Christmas ads aren’t usually my thing. Maybe it’s because, for the most part, they’re recycled clichés. Or maybe it’s because I worked retail at Christmas in a Canadian shopping mall in my early 20s and was subjected to enough Michael Buble to break an ISIS Commander at Guantanamo Bay.

The bulk of Christmas campaigns are rarely daring and rarely funny. Often, they’re trying to be mushy tearjerkers. There have been some great ones over the years, of course, but Christmas is meant to be fun. Thank heavens Etsy finally lightened the mood.

A Christmas campaign that actually builds on both a human and brand insight instead of just seasonal fluff. My favourite Chrissy campaign of 2023. Well done, Orchard and Etsy.

This came out a few months ago during the Australian football Finals series, and it’s one of my favourite local ads of the year.

Incredible casting, beautifully shot, well written, a full two-minute film that could stand on its own two legs even if it wasn’t an ad. It made me more excited for the footy finals than the AFL’s own marketing, and it’s a telco spot. I watched this multiple times when it came out. Can’t say that about many other ads. Hat tip to The Monkeys.

This billboard got people talking online, receiving both praise and criticism, which is generally an indicator you've done something worth doing. 

I find the modern discourse on outdoor advertising quite funny. This ad has been criticised for ‘having too many words’, despite the fact it’s in a foot traffic area, and it’s being widely shared online by people taking the time to read it. (And comment on it.) It’s been criticised ‘for just being one placement that won’t get seen enough’ … by people viewing it on their phones and laptops.

In the social media age, great outdoor can be seen far beyond its real world placement. The best are conversation starters, which this one is. Nice one, Colenso.

“To defeat your enemies, you must watch what they do and then just simply copy it.” - Sun Tzu

Yeah. He never said that, did he? But looking at the current advertising landscape, many marketers seem to believe it.

In a time of dwindling budgets and lack of respect for craft and experience, where media experts will tell you that everything has to be short, everything has to be tightly framed, everything has to be a logofest, and everything has to be warm colours, The Monkeys and the Sydney Opera House have gone out and made a 4 minute epic with Tim Minchin and Kim Gehrig that just does its own thing. And it’s a thing of beauty.

“The opportunity of defeating the enemy is presented by the enemy himself."

That’s a real quote. You can’t counter your opponents by relentlessly shadowing them. You counter them by throwing a bigger punch from an unexpected angle.

Great advertising doesn’t follow trends. It bucks them. Which all of the above do quite nicely.

I’ll try to do a few more of these as it’s been a while.


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