World Cup 2014 – Best of the Best Ads

May 20, 2014

I love the World Cup. The best players in the world, the roar of the Three Lions, the heartache of England losing on penalties. The ads which can cross over into popular culture.

Nike shows a journey from footy in the park to the pinnacle of the world. One of the best things about world cup ads is that the boot manufacturers get to show off all their best sponsored athletes and we get to see them doing amazing skills.

Whereas adidas focuses on just one player, but what a player he is:

An inspiring, tear-jerking, emotionally charged piece of film brought to you by Powerade:

Samsung pays homage to one of the great series of Nike ads, “The Mission“:

ESPN makes Brazil look pretty tempting about now:

Whereas back in the UK, ITV plays on the emotions we footy fans face (well, all sports fans):


I bet he drinks Carling Black Label

April 28, 2014

We were talking about this ad at the office today – an oldie and a goodie from the UK. Its amazing to see the power of a great execution of a powerful brand idea, with evocative music.

I remember seeing the “behind the scenes” on a science show when I was younger and it was fascinating. The team trained the squirrel to move along the course over a series of weeks by placing the nuts at sequentially further spots throughout the course.

Music trends in advertising

April 24, 2014

Young female singers covering songs by older white men…and advertising agencies using them to make a strong emotional connection with “mom”.

Lilly Allen covers Keane’s “somewhere only we know” for John Lewis

Ellie Goulding covering Elton John’s “your song” (one of my favourite songs ever) for both John Lewis and Kraft Peanut Butter

Trend or observation?


The power of the post-launch

December 9, 2013

So much of our time is spent focusing on launching a campaign or on shipping a product. There’s a feeling that that moment is the zenith, the peak that we should we working towards and when its achieved, we can take a breath. Sadly, that is no longer the truth. The “set and forget” mindset is long behind us and it is great to see a huge, multi-billion dollar brand that not only gets that but that then uses the data it gets from its consumers to fuel its ongoing marketing. In this case. its the EA Sports football franchise, FIFA.

With all of the connected devices playing network games, or even just relaying statistics back to the mothership, EA Sports has a treasure trove of data that it can use to continue to market itself in smart, low cost ways – the definition of building marketing into the product.

Here are two examples:

First, FIFA has partnered with the football clubs around the world to showcase the goals of the week scored by the clubs’ fans on their game. Now you have football clubs with a social presence reaching into the 10s of millions promoting a video game. Here’s my club’s goals of the week:

And secondly here is FIFA using its data to cement its place in the cultural fabric of its potential consumers – football fans.

FIFA player data

There’s enough rich data in the infographic to start a conversation between any two (or more!) footy fans from different clubs, countries and cultures.

Bear, Hare and John Lewis

November 13, 2013

Every year John Lewis outdoes itself with its Christmas advertising. Past tear jerkers are below, but this one is particularly great, thanks to a Lily Allen cover of an old Keane song and Disney animation…literally, animated by Disney. Lovely from my friends at Adam&Eve/DDB

Perhaps I’m drawn to it because I read the “Bear wants more” series to my little man!





And my favourite John Lewis work from 2010:

Radar 10am One Thing: ASICS Treadmill Challenge

November 7, 2013

The following is this week’s 10am One Thing that I wrote for the DDB blog.

asics treadmill challenge

For most people, a marathon is a passive event that we observe on TV. Perhaps we make a flippant comment about how we “could do that” (if we had the time) or about how “they aren’t running that fast, are they?”. To answer both those comments, ASICS marathoner Ryan Hall has an average pace of 4’46” per mile. I don’t know how long I could last running a marathon pace 4’46” per mile but that’s what ASICS challenged consumers to do in its treadmill challenge. The running brand set up a treadmill, and the necessary safety equipment, to run at Hall’s pace and then put the best results of its experiment on YouTube. As one would suspect, 4’46” is a really really fast pace, one that many of the participants failed (and flailed) to match for any length of time:

The idea of taking real world events, augmenting them with digital technology and amplifying through online video is a tried and true tactic in this post-social world, but that doesn’t make this any less effective or awe-inspiring. As an aside, this execution itself is an evolution of a 2011 initiative that saw Ryan Hall’s digital self challenge consumers in the subway to keep up with his pace. [as a caveat that didn’t make it into the blog, his pace has remained the same, a solid 4’46” since 2011]

The One Thing is a result of the weekly 10am meetings held in the DDB Canada offices, where our teams meet to discuss new online trends, tools and technologies. For an archive of the 10am links, visit our Pinterest board. Follow Radar on Twitter

House of Deadly – Nike Hypervenom

October 22, 2013

I read this on the BBH blog and then checked out the “making of video”. It is a truly spectacular undertaking – and having lived through one of these real-life technology driven installations before, I know just how tough it can be. Having the ambition to create a nearly fully authentic football experience for consumers has to be applauded.

What the rush towards native advertising really means

October 15, 2013

It means that earned media is more powerful than paid placements. It means that interactions (participation) make everything better. It means that endorsements from your network are more influential than not. It means everything is coming together as a paid, earned, owned, shared media matrix.

The trick with native advertising, to make sure it doesn’t go the way of straight up paid advertising, is to not make the ultimate consumer of the ad unit feel like they’ve been tricked into seeing it and engaging with it.

How big is the rush towards native advertising? This big.

Transparency as an Advertising Trend

June 26, 2013

I read Amir Kassaei’s tweet:

(he’s our global chief creative officer at DDB) and then saw this cartoon from Tom Fishbourne:

He writes:

Authenticity and transparency are two of the biggest marketing buzzwords right now (and have been gaining steam for a while). Nearly every case study and talk coming out of Cannes last week seemed to reference authenticity as a theme.

Transparency and authenticity are likely a theme because as an industry we’re starting to realise three things:

  • To be good conversationalists, you have to be a good listener – for brands, this means listening to people and giving them what they want
  • Consumers may not want a “conversation” but they probably want, on some level, reassurance that what a brand is doing and saying comes from a good place (it usually does)
  • Our clients are some of the most passionate people about their brands out there. Sometimes our job is to give them a platform, some training and direction before getting out of the way.

As I’ve said before, although in the context of media units, what’s new is usually effective vs its predecessors until everyone else catches up. Perhaps the same could be said of trends – the effectiveness starts the trend and once its a full-blown trend, it becomes the norm. Which, in this case, is a very good thing. Transparency. Authenticity. Good people doing good things for good reasons.

Are Experiments the New Campaigns?

June 12, 2013

There’s no quantitative research that I’ve done for this but I can’t shake the feeling that almost every interesting campaign I’ve seen, especially out of Scandewegia, has been positioned as a social experiment. The quality of the work and the insights into human behaviour aren’t discounted by any stretch (see below for a wonderful example) but wondering if calling something an “experiment” does something magical in the eyes of the client? Is a product push a campaign but a pure brand-building initiative is an experiment? Is there any more or less accountability to the work? I’m not sure.

This experiment and resulting TV spot, courtesy of Edward Boches, by Forsman and Bodenfors for Maingate.

The experiment:

A TV spot from the experiment:

As a side note, I love the “experiment’s” framework of collecting data, tips and suggestions from “the crowd” and then finding fun and interesting ways to show that back to the population at large. It is a great example of how to use social media in a participatory, useful and entertaining way – a lot like we did with the Christmas Spirit Tree and McDonald’s Our Food. Your Questions.

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