Curiosity Oreo Red – Mars Rover landing press ad

Oreo has become cool.

A diminutive biscuit (cookie…) that hasn’t changed much about it’s appearance in 100 years is re-inventing itself.

More than that, it is reformulating its advertising as well as it’s ingredients.

This ad does a nice job of making Oreo a bit more topical courtesy of the Mars Rover landing on the red planet.

The Curiosity Oreo is not available in stores which is a bit of a blip in the strategy. Even as a PR giveaway it would have been outstanding.

The red cookie follows in the footsteps of a previous space-themed, boot-printed cookie in honor of the July 20th anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s inaugural walk on the surface of the moon. And it is part of a much longer Daily Twist campaign.

A rainbow cream stacked Gay Pride-themed Oreo drew over 65,500 comments (both supportive and opposing) on the company’s Facebook page and was shared nearly 300,000 times.

Nicely understated and gaining popularity on-line!

JVC Choose later – The best press ad from Cannes


JVC Choose later - The best press ad from Cannes

Just a great piece of work that shouts great insight. It draws you into the message.

Love the series.

“Choose Later – Up to 130 consecutive shots.”

Advertising Agency: Giovanni+DraftFCB, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Chief Creative Officer: Javier Campopiano
Executive Creative Directors: Benjamin Yung Jr., Cassio Zanatta
Copywriter / Art Director: Adriano Alarcon
Photographer: Zarella Neto

The best ad from Cannes – Guardian open journalism: “Three Little Pigs” TV ad – the Guardian


Logo of the British newspaper The Guardian

The Guardian newspaper in the UK has a long history of great advertising.

The classic Points of View TV ad is one of the best.

This ad (even at 2 minutes) is my choice from Cannes, although it didn’t bring home the bacon in terms of awards…

It communicates a complicated message of the breadth of Guardian coverage through a brilliantly constructed creative examination of a story we all know. Entertaining, interesting, relevant and motivating by underpinning the credentials of a great paper that is still innovating in the digital world.

A very different perspective and very much what the Guardian brand stands for.

McCann Melbourne creative director Annie Price.

Price has urged Aussie marketers and agencies against treating people like “idiots”, and has held up the highly regarded ‘The Little Pigs’ campaign by BBH as an example of the type of advertising the local industry should be striving for.

She told AdNews: “There’s not much Australian advertising can’t learn from this stunning commercial.

“It’s intelligent. It’s entertaining. It’s beautifully produced and so gripping, it has you coming back for more and more. It really is storytelling at its finest. There’s no doubt who it’s for and you’re left feeling compelled to go and buy a paper.

“It’s the intelligence of the Guardian commercial that most impressed me.

“No denying we make some great ads in Oz.

“But sadly, Australian TV screens are still full of a disproportional amount of commercials that treat people like idiots. Ads that assume that we are sitting there on the edge of our seats, just waiting to be informed about toilet cleaner, muesli bars or moisturiser by a moronic presenter. It’s 1950s advertising without the lovely retro outfits and atomic burst laminate.

“Clients and agencies alike would do well to remember that consumers are getting their information from so many sources nowadays, TV is not king. For us to truly impact on someone’s life via TV, and make a real connection, we’d better be smart about it and we’d better not insult his or her intelligence.”

Cannes Lions Press Grand Prix Winner – “Benetton’s Unhate” Kissing Ads From Fabrica, 72andSunny

Cannes Press Grand Prix Goes to Benetton's Kissing Ads From Fabrica, 72andSunny

Having just posted about John Hegarty and his view on the state of current advertising (i.e. the ads aren’t good enough). It seems apt to look at the Cannes press Grand Prix winner.

Benetton’s provocative “Unhate” campaign showing world leaders kissing, created by Italian agency Fabrica with help from 72andSunny in Amsterdam got the prize.

Three executions were honored—the ones with U.S. president Barack Obama and Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez; Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu; and German chancellor Angela Merkel and former French president Nicolas Sarkozy.

Absent was the campaign’s most incendiary image—a photo of Pope Benedict XVI kissing a senior Egyptian imam which was pulled almost immediately after the campaign broke last November.

Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said in a statement cited by The Guardian, after slamming the image as “entirely unacceptable.”

“It is a serious lack of respect for the pope, an affront to the feelings of the faithful and an evident demonstration of how, in the field of advertising, the most elemental rules of respect for others can be broken in order to attract attention by provocation,”

The White House was not amused:

“The White House has a longstanding policy disapproving of the use of the president’s name and likeness for commercial purposes.”

Jury president Tham Khai Meng said that Benetton “has heart impact and gut impact and promotes a global debate”.

Steve Jones, a British juror at the French Riviera event said: “The reason we chose this is because it stood out on the wall… It’s not like traditional advertising. It’s not making a point about the clothes, its brand history. It doesn’t obey the rules.”

  • True – but aren’t we judging ads not art and don’t the rules of the sale or effectiveness make it great advertising?

His sentiments were echoed by co-juror Komal Bedi Sohal, from the UAE, who added: “You can like it, you can dislike it, you can’t ignore it.”

  • True – but is an arresting image that you can’t ignore the best criteria to judge advertising? Surely any brand could spend the money to publicize an amazing and provocative image, but only a few can make an arresting image that is relevant and sells the product?

The campaign was started in the ’80’s by Oliviero Toscani who was the creative mind behind the controversial work that turned Benetton into a household name.

Toscani was Benetton’s creative director for 18 years from 1982 to 2000. By the height of his success, Toscani was known for his arrogance and drama (and loss of perspective perhaps!), but his first campaign for Benetton in 1982 used teddy bears to model the children’s clothing line. More traditional than you might think.

Twenty-five years ago, Benetton shot to global fame with its controversial line and campaign – all the colors of the world (which became United Colors of Benetton). At the time, whilst controversial, this campaign seemed to reflect the irreverence of the brand as well as the physical nature of the product which featured a wash of primary colours. 

The original United Colours was one of the great campaigns, differentiated from the category and relevant to the brand personality and primary product ranges.

Later efforts veered into the weird and wonderful – hearts, lungs, HIV tattoos and just-born babies come to mind.

I would argue that as the campaign veered off a relevant course for the brand (it’s a clothing line and store…), the fortunes of the brand took a nose dive. The figures prove it.

In the ’80’s when Benetton needed to generate awareness amongst a naive public, the notoriety of the campaign had an impact. It then became self-indulgent in the extreme and the company has not recovered.

There were a number of ads featuring HIV in one way or another, such as the famous photo of dying AIDS activist David Kirby taken in his hospital room in the in May 1990, with his father, sister and niece at his bedside. The photograph by Therese Frarewent on to win the 1991 World Press Photo Award, but whether or not this harrowing picture was an appropriate advertising image was widely debated. Some suggested it was more exploitative than supportive with AIDS activists saying that its use in advertising portrayed AIDS in a negative light, spreading fear rather than acceptance. The implied connection between the deaths of David Kirby and Jesus provoked outrage in many markets.

It is therefore very valid to ask if these latest Benetton Unhate ads represent the best on offer in press advertising, or are they just the most extraordinary and provocative campaign in market? If advertising success is measured by sales or by driving foot traffic to Benetton’s franchisees, this strategy and the previous campaigns have not worked.

There is no doubt that advertising remains a delicate blend of art and science. But I don’t agree that the industry is best served by rewarding the sensationalist approach of Benetton when it has lost all relevance to the brand. The Benetton campaign is art / social commentary, not advertising. The ad promises irreverence and a completely different perspective on the world today and all of it’s problems and prejudices that the stores, product and brand experience overall simply fail to deliver.

The judging at Cannes has come in for criticism on a few fronts. I would argue that it needs to return to the basics of effective advertising and the ability to sell a brand to its potential consumer in a relevant way, not just about notoriety, rule breaking or provocation. Great images that can change consumer opinion and sell the product at high return on investment should be recognised and rewarded.

Probably to “dry” for many, but this is actually how the industry survives. By sales.

As John Hegarty said at Cannes, advertising needs to stimulate and solicit the right response in the consumer along the lines of:

“Wow, I want to have a conversation with these people’, as opposed to ‘I’m doing my best to ignore them and they’re doing their best to trip me up in some way or another’. Isn’t that awful, we’re an industry that tries to trick people into watching what we do, why isn’t it inspiring, so people want to watch it.”

Benetton are trying to attract us by provocation rather than inspiration.

To some this might invite interest, particularly amongst social commentators and advertising aficionados, but I think that the shopping majority (and it is a mass market brand) will be confused by the aims of this campaign or potentially confronted by it, not inspired. Challenge and irreverence has a place in advertising, but it needs to be relevant and motivating to the brand.

Benetton Unhate is a great and provocative image, but arguably not a great ad.

CommBank “can” press campaign


This campaign is still creating lots of trade talk.

I for one was critical of the fact that the promise of what the bank “can” do was not delivered in the TV ad.

As suspected, the follow up justification is now coming thick and fast.

As a rational message I like the press. Particularly the simple, clear and well branded message endorsed by a gold medal.

More of this and the consumers have a real reason to look at the claim and the bank.

Stupid Diesel ads

Diesel Stupid Lion camera shot

The new Diesel campaign, developed at Anomaly London, features “stupid” acts, a digital recruitment campaign for the Diesel music video/2010 catalogue, and viral activity outlining the company’s Stupid philosophy.

I am clearly beyond their demographic / psychographic / socio group, but I fail to understand what this delivers to their target?

Associate yourself with the stupid and you are cool?

There is a lot of press on the ads and it includes the rationale:

Diesel Stupid Philosophy

“Like balloons, we are filled with hopes and dreams. But. Over time a single sentence creeps into our lives. Don’t be stupid. It’s the crusher of possibility. It’s the worlds greatest deflator. The world is full of smart people. Doing all kind of smart things… Thats smart.

Well, we’re with stupid. Stupid is the relentless pursuit of a regret free life. Smart may have the brains…
but stupid has the balls. The smart might recognize things for how they are. The stupid see things for how they could be. Smart critiques. Stupid creates. The fact is if we didnt have stupid thoughts wed have no interesting thoughts at all. Smart may have the plans… but stupid has the stories.

Smart may have the authority but stupid has one hell of a hangover. Its not smart to take risks… Its stupid.
To be stupid is to be brave. The stupid isnt afraid to fail. The stupid know there are worse things than failure… like not even trying.

Smart had one good idea, and that idea was stupid. You can’t outsmart stupid. So don’t even try. Remember only stupid can be truly brilliant.


I would argue that Stupid is not often confused with Brilliant and perhaps Diesel are out on a fashion limb on this one? Do the slacker generation really aspire to be stupid?

New Economist Press Ads

The UK agency DHM have taken the Economist ads into a strong new campaign for press.

Not quite leaving the classic red behind and evocative of the famous predecessors, they are a nice evolution.

Clever stuff. More at:

See some of the classic originals at: The Economist Red Wires Advertising.

Wayside Chapel Tactical Strike!

Tactical ads are tough to execute and tough to get right in tone and target.

Here is a great example from today’s Sydney press.

As most know, a dust storm currently hitting Australia, is making headlines around the world and turning Sydney very orange.

The Wayside Chapel cares for Sydney’s homeless – “rain, hail or dust”

Ursa Communications Sydney jumped in with this great execution.

It got me to check out one of the coolest looking charity websites I’ve seen:

Sydney International Food Festival

Photographer Natalie Boog and the creative team at Whybin\TBWA created a simple and effective campaign for the Sydney International Food Festival (SIFF).

The idea is used for the siff website as well as on books, cards and other media around the event.

Food from each country makes up the food in the flag. Here’s the Aussie pie!

Japanese Electric Paper Advertising

Dave Trotts excellent Blog discussed the visual impact of press ads once the copy was ignored (in his case by glancing at it upside down).

Often when viewed in a foreign language the effect can be the same – most marked for me in Japanese. The Japanese also have a healthy obsession with applied technology to help the ads stand out in a saturated market.

The above subway ad for Lancome takes this to another level in the medium of electric paper or e-paper. The product USP is a vibrating applicator brush. The e-paper  reflects light like ordinary paper and is capable of holding text and images indefinitely without drawing electricity, while allowing the image to be changed later, so the paper can be written and rewritten repeatedly. The effect is essentially a paper poster hanging from the ceiling of a subway train in which the image changes.

The USP communication is clear and precise with a highly relevant, interesting and motivating use of a specialist medium.

E-paper is most often seem in electronics where it is replacing LCD’s (e.g. Amazon’s Kindle), the only drawback is that it only appears in monochrome display e.g. black on white.

But a moving paper poster even in B&W is another step towards securing the attention of the ever elusive consumer.

Life Saver gets tongue action.


Life Savers was invented in 1912 by Clarence Crane in Cleveland – a chocolate maker who wanted a non-melter for summer. He decided on a hard candy in the shape of a circle with a hole in the middle.

Since the mints looked like miniature life preservers, he called them Life Savers and registered the trademark….

The photo is a copy of an Andy Warhol silkscreen done in 1985. Little did I know (until I googled the ad) that this piece of 1970’s advertising had impacted the great Warhol.

The impact on me was profound. This ad (in it’s original form) is the first piece of advertising that I remember and still one of the best. I distinctly recall as a 7 year old living in Canada, picking up one of my parents magazines and being stunned by the copy line:

“Please do not lick this page!

ARE YOU KIDDING ME! I reached for the page anticipating the rush of my favourite candy only to be greeted by a wet and decidedly un-Life Saver taste.

Three key things happened.

First I was gutted that the manufacturers of this fine publication had NOT  gone to the trouble of putting the taste of Life Savers into the page. A cheap and deceitful act.

Second (and fairly quickly) it dawned on me that this was a clever piece of selling. I remember the “ah ha” moment as I quickly moved the page from tongue and glanced around to see if anyone had caught me.

Third a life long love of Life Savers developed from this seminal piece of advertising brilliance. Every trip to the States still involves the purchase of a good bundle of my favourites.

Clearly Andy saw something in it as well.