Ads that are not shit.

Episode #1

Been getting a lot of love on the blog/newsletter, which I appreciate.

Thus far, it's been spur of the moment long-ish form pieces. Streams of consciousness. But I might also start shouting out some pieces of work that I like, and why.

This will be shorter, quicker, content and I might just shoot them to the e-mail list, and not on LinkedIn or anywhere else, so if you’re seeing this it means you’re one of ‘The Chosen Few’.

Great comedy is all about timing. And often that can require room to breathe. Dead air.

This requires restraint.

Something that can be near impossible in the face of marketers that believe every single second or centimetre of an ad must be filled with stuff.

This is a product demo. It shows strength, it mentions the material, it says waterproof, you can see them ticking off the mandatories in the brief but in a way that makes everything feel a natural part of the narrative.

Big props to both agency & client.

I’ve always hated the notion that ‘retail’ is some other form of advertising that lives on a completely different planet from ‘brand’. I’m sorry, but it’s just a hack way of thinking. A lame attempt at avoiding having to come up with an idea.

We’re going to see a lot of ads like this over the next couple of years. As the economy tanks, marketers will become obsessed with ‘value’. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun and be entertaining.

Retail still needs a hook to get your attention before selling you on that value. All this took was a nice headline.

You’re probably gonna see a bit of Liquid Death on here. This isn’t the best thing they’ve done, but it’s still amazing, which says a lot about them as a brand.

There’s like 5 or 6 things in this ad that any other marketer would say ‘we can’t do that’ too. In fact, you could apply this to every scene. Liquid Death keep proving everyone wrong again and again. You can do whatever you want.

Yeah, but Jess, Liquid Death can do this, but not every brand is Liquid Death. No shit. Nike wasn’t Nike until they started acting like Nike. Neither was Apple, Apple. Nor was any iconic brand.

“People think the ice is three inches thick and it’s two feet thick.” - George Lois

This is an old gag. But it’s executed in such a fun, lovely way. The art direction is super nice, but it’s the way it just does the basic things well that makes it.

A fun piece of copy to get you to lean in, then a follow up punch, and a nice pack shot.

Often, this is all you need, people. The job is done. This is the point of making an ad where all you can do from here is fuck it up. Add a ‘callout’? You’ve made it worse. Another ‘product feature’? Worse. A URL? Worse. Another logo? Worse.

I am putting this here because I worked on this ad and it was the most complicated production in the history of humankind and I want everybody to see it.

A gargantuan creative challenge. Especially for someone whose wheelhouse is weird, absurd comedy. This was an opportunity to make something as far out of my comfort zone as possible, and I’m pretty stoked with how it came out.

Something I recommend to any and all creatives. Don’t just make things you know about. Dive into the unknown. You’ll come out the other side better for the experience.


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