Just Smile

It’s 2011. Hooray!

It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life… you get the idea.

I am especially excited for this year. Lot’s of prospects and potential. A new slate to create on and I’ve bought lots of pens to do it with. One of my resolutions this year is to smile more and have more fun (I spent most of last year overworking). Continuing with that theme, I have collected eight ads from last year (would have been 10 for the poetry of it, but it was a rough year) that made me smile, and I hope they will make you smile too. Enjoy!

* feel free to just watch the clips and ignore my witty comments.


Combining two of the happiest things in the world – children and dancing – I think this was the cheeriest thing I saw last year, clearing away every kind of grey. If you don’t smile at this, you’re probably a robot (or at least an android without a happiness chip).


There’s something about Tropicana. Their stuff always makes me feel warm and… ‘morningy’. I thought this was a heart-warming thought and showed a nice slice of sensitivity.

Old Spice

We all know this new classic. It’s quick, it’s funny, it’s original. Enough said.


When I thought about it, Google plays a big part of my life. Not really an important part, but I do visit the site almost daily for one reason or another. I though this was a great way of using their brand/product for telling a inspirational story of a guy (I assume) who falls in love with a girl in paris.



What a great way to show what advertising can do. Absolutely delightful piece, with quite possibly, my favourite dog ever.


This was actually the highlight of my World Cup/Summer. There were quite a few good ‘lad ads’ this year, but this one made me laugh the most (Fosters’ ‘Good Call’ was close behind).


This wasn’t really a smile if I’m honest. It was more like my jaw dropped in awe of the magnificence I was witnessing. It was amazing, like a 3 minute cinema experience.


I recently found this at the end of the year in another blogger’s ‘Best Ads of the Year’ collection. Ironically this is the most ‘stupid-funny’ ad of the year, and I love the ‘Push it to the limit’ soundtrack. Between this and the thinkbox ad we have a generation of animals that could take over the world.


Because Winter Hates Rubbish Headlines

Little do many of you know but I have had an intense few weeks. I’ve been involved in a little thing called the ‘Spring Project’ (I’ll talk about that later) and I’ve learned so much in it about myself and my career. One of those lessons is that I am a storyteller, without a doubt, which will probably take me down the copywriter route in advertising. I’ve alway had a suspicion but it’s much clearer these days and that is what I’ll focus on come 2011.

Now, copywriters are most famous for headlines. They do much more than that but that’s the main preconception of the job description. I have done a bit of headlines, taglines etc and there is an art to it. The more you put in, the more you get out in terms of originality and creativity. If you look, for example at the Economist work by Abbot Mead Vickers, some of my favourite headline work, it is cunning and marvelous.

So when this spot rudely interrupted Soccer Saturday I felt part of myself die. It actually one the most poor and uninspiring lines I’ve ever seen. When I brainstorm a line, that sort of thing comes out, now and again, but it never occured to me that it was good enough for me, never mind for an actual campaign.

What a tragedy to advertising this is.

Christmas, Ads and Rock ‘N’ Roll

Not many people know this but I studied ‘Music Placements’ on television for my dissertation. The point was to determine if it was an appropriate method of promotion for music artists. However my study only looked at tv shows. It didn’t look at adverts. I can’t help but notice, a lot of the adverts today (literally- today) have popular music in them so, I thought it might be worth some pondering. I guess that happens when you watch as much tv as me.

Personally I think it works best when an independent, upcoming artist is used because their songs have a degree of flexibility with regard to their perception and understanding. They can be easily manipulated by the cinematography and imagery to depict a particular feeling or story.

This is my favourite at the moment. It’s the new (and very early, in my opinion) christmas advert for Matalan. The spot features ‘What I Wouldn’t Do’ by A Fine Frenzy in the background and it works so well. Its warm, it’s natural and it’s baked full of christmassy goodness. Alison Sudol’s voice can only be described as beautiful, which only enhances the feel.

The same goes the BT ‘Infinity’ advert. The song in this is ‘Corner’ by Allie Moss. Similar music and feel.

In contrast, the ad for Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood is awful. Not just the music but the whole presentation just lacked that element of finesse that makes an advert shine. Tinie Tempah was a poor choice for it. It’s a great game and good song but it doesn’t fit and I think part of that is due to having a song that listeners have already heard an interpreted with their own meaning.

I personally would have used something like ‘Koyaanisqatsi’ by Philip Glass as it creates more of an epic atmosphere that Assassin’s Creed deserves.

What came first?

It’s an ancient question, which came first the chicken or the egg?

Let me give you the 411

I like Magner’s cider. It’s yummy! I also like their ad where people catch things and dive around in a puppet like fashion.

In contrast, I don’t like Bulmers cider. It’s not a pleasant taste to me. Too sweet. Coincidently I also don’t like their ad with summer in their shed or factory or whatever that is.

I’m not a fan of coincidence so… there be 3 explanations by my eye.

1. I like the cider based on whether I like their ads in which case, kneel before advertising lowly peasants. Mwah ha ha ha!

2. I like ads based on the cider (This is more likely as I seem to remember making my decisions about said ciders before I’d seen any advertising about them). Back in your box, advertising!

3. I judge both aforementioned ciders and ads independently of the others based on my own reasonings. This can’t be true. Can it?

Poor Puma

I feel sorry for Puma.

They are a decent brand and they make some quality sneakers. I personally own a pair of banana yellow running shoes I’ve owned since college and still have not retired to the bench. However, in recent times they’ve had their metaphorical asses handed to them by Nike and Adidas who, as far as I’m concerned, own the sports shoe industry.

With that in mind Puma have tried to differentiate themselves as the alternative sportswear brand but I simply can not see it working. A snowball has a better chance of becoming the Pope of Hell. You see, for all their marketing research into new areas and careful positioning and market opportunity evaluation they have forgotten something rather important.

This spot is designed to appeal to who people are. Not who they want to be.

Hello? Most people are rubbish at most things but thats not how they see themselves especially when it comes to sport. Everyone secretly believes, in the darkest corner of their mind that if they wanted to they could be as good as Ronaldo, Federer and all the others who are ACTUALLY good at sports. We all need to feel as though we are special, talented, a unique snowflake. Thats why people buy that latest pair of boots. ‘Thats what professionals use’ their subconscious whispers to them, pining over the new Adidas F50’s.

Unfortunately even those who realize their limitations will also go out and buy the Nike T60 Pro Magic Shoot Blasters as well to close the gap on the competition.

You’d have thought they would have figured this out.

It’s a shame because they didn’t really have much choice in terms of image. Their bigger, stronger brothers are such powerful opponents that they didn’t have a chance attacking them head-on. Trying to pinch a piece of the premium athlete brand pie would be tougher than trying to steal a piece of actual pie from a fat guy in a fortress.

It’s too bad really because as an ad it’s entertaining and interesting. The copy comparing Jo Average with athletes is witty and is guaranteed to get a smirk off the bloke down the Hog and Rooster on Friday night. The characters are recognizable and all-in-all the spot presents the brand in a positive light for the future.

I hope it does provides them some success but let’s just say I don’t see them needing a snowball-sized Pope hat anytime soon.