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I love a good pun

16 Sep

This is awesome:


At first reading, it’s about the effect that the Ming Emperors had on their country. But then there’s a lovely pot and I realised that this is also about the history of ceramics. It’s as close to genius as I have seen in a poster. Mood: jealous and in awe.

Careful now…

12 Sep

I’ve seen quite a few ads that I like over the summer. This one has been around forever but I love it:


I love the image. It is instant and simple. Who is more fragile than balloon man? Balloon man’s posture is perfect. He is trepidacious. He is about to step onto the escalator, gingerly, arms out for balance, head down looking for the exact placement of the foot – it’s balletic. And all this beauty for a run of the mill piece of railway station information. It won’t win any awards from the industry but it’s certainly up there as one of Adspike’s ads of the year.

Invigorating carbonated cola drink…

14 May

Ok. So we have a situation. We have two camps in advertising, both clinging doggedly to the truth as they know it. On the one side, we have the laughable old grunters who think an ad should say something about the brand – what it does, why it’s good, how it adds to the world etc. And on the other we have the young turks who say it’s all about grabbing attention, being entertaining and using the ad to begin a conversation that will result in sales at a later date. Both have their fans and the advertising world is waiting to find out who are the Neanderthals and who are the Homo sapiens.

And so here we have an offering from the people who asked us to ‘refresh the world’ in 2010 and whose commitment to social media advertising over traditional above the line lost them so many sales to Coca Cola that they still have not recovered. Bloggers far more laudable than me have chronicled this.

I have to claim ignorance about Pepsi Max. I don’t actually know what it is, what it does or who it’s for. It’s clearly different from Pepsi and Diet Pepsi, and possibly free from calories. Perhaps it’s Coke Zero to Diet Coke – the same drink repackaged so blokes will drink it. The reason I don’t know is that no one (for no one, read ‘Pepsi’) has told me. From the name I’m assuming it might even be an energy drink – Pepsi with added caffeine or taurine but until I see an ad that explains this I don’t have much to go on and can’t be bothered to check on Wikipedia.

Pepsi Max have taken a bus shelter and done something clever to it.

The cynic in me says that Pepsi’s ad agency saw the technique and decided  that it might work for Pepsi. It’s certainly entertaining but what does it tell me about the brand? If Pepsi Max was launching, we could say that it embraces the new, and we should look out for a new technique every time they advertise, but this isn’t a new brand. It reminds me a little of this Smirnoff ad from the 90s where objects viewed through the bottle appear different. Fine for a mind altering alcoholic drink, but a soft drink whose heartland has always been sport, energy and ‘extreme’ pursuits? Not sure.

I’m fine with non traditional advertising, but the clue is in the name – advertising. The most brilliant recent example of this is Red Bull Stratos – an energy drink whose tagline is ‘gives you wings’ and a guy jumping from the edge of space from a Red Bull branded balloon – near perfect.

The Pepsi Max stunt feels like yet another clever idea designed to garner Facebook likes and YouTube hits that may or may not increase Pepsi’s struggling sales, and another creative team ready to collect an award for a technique dreamed up by someone else.

In the meantime, we all wait for the Divine Judge to pronounce whether we should cling on to the traditions of telling people why a product is good, or resign ourselves to just grabbing some attention and ‘starting a conversation’. Ultimately, the public aren’t stupid, nor are our clients and if one isn’t buying and the other isn’t selling, we’re the ones who will be called to account.


Harry and Sally

20 Jan

Harry and Sally don’t get out much. But thanks to an advertising campaign on the London Underground, they might be getting a few more day trips.


I find this ad mesmerising. It’s been around for a while and feels like it was done by a team of people who have never attempted to do advertising before. But therein lies its charm. It feels amateur and homely and cosy. It feels like old people have created it. Who cares if it has seven logos on it and a url with three hyphens? Not me. It’s complete lack of sophistication makes it stand out.

That’s not to say that I love unsophisticated ads. I don’t – they suggest that people don’t know what they are doing and are too tight (or strapped for cash) to pay an agency. Recently, we were asked by a multinational brand to put an ad together for an Expo. It was three day’s work for two people and they wanted to pay the agency less than the day rate for a half decent freelancer. And unsophisticated ads are usually tied to miniscule budgets. The creators don’t have the ability to design something that transcends their budget and so the work disappears into the mulch of all things bad which most right minded members of the public ignore.

But not this ad. It has just the right amount of naiveté in it’s five typefaces and Daily Mail cartoon visual to be perfect for a service that is asking people to keep OAPs company, and someone somewhere is pumping cash into the media side of things so that we commuters get to see it. All that remains to be said on this is that, if you have time on your hands, do please beam an email to the folk at (was .org already taken?) and see if Harry or Sally have any dates left in their diary. My guess is that they’re booked up till Christmas.


Lovely ad for Expedia

24 May

They could have shown a beach, a plaza, a ruin – heck, even a hotel suite but no! Expedia chose instead to be brilliant.


All these airports really do exist. I love this campaign and I’m jealous of it.


Virgin Mumbai – a little gem

22 Oct

This is a bit of a cliche but I like it:


It’s using the motif of a six armed Hindu goddess to tell us that Virgin fly to Mumbai. But wait, an attendant with six arms must be incredibly useful and helpful on a plane – what a great metaphor for the in-flight service.

The art direction is lovely too – I have no idea what the hindi script says at the bottom but I like it that it’s on there. A fantastic job all round.

This is brilliant!

4 Oct

I have never spent four hours looking at an ad until yesterday. This was the ad:

You can look at it in more detail here.

The image contains visual clues to 75 London Underground stations and there’s a prize if you guess them all. A quick check on Twitter shows that a lot of us have already lost a lot of man hours trying to work out what the sheep in the bath, Barbie and Ken and the witch with the two green people might mean.

Apparently it’s a promotion by CBS Outdoor to show advertisers how good advertising can stand out on the Tube – I first saw the poster at Embankment Tube.

If the other brands who advertise here are even a quarter as engaging as this poster, they should do brilliantly.