Haddon Sundblom for Coca-Cola – The Man Who Painted Christmas

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Though he was not the first artist to create an image of Santa Claus for Coca-Cola advertising, Haddon Sundblom’s version became the standard for other Santa renditions and is the most-enduring and widespread depiction of the holiday icon to this day. Coca-Cola’s Santa artworks would change the world’s perception of the North Pole’s most-famous resident forever and would be adopted by people around the world as the popular image of Santa.

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In the 1920s, The Coca-Cola Company began to promote soft drink consumption for the winter holidays in U.S. magazines. The first Santa ads for Coke used a strict-looking Claus. In 1930, a Coca-Cola advertised with a painting by Fred Mizen, showing a department store Santa impersonator drinking a bottle of Coke amid a crowd of shoppers and their children.
Not long after, a magical transformation took place. Archie Lee, then the agency advertising executive for The Coca-Cola Company, wanted the next campaign to show a wholesome Santa as both realistic and symbolic. In 1931, the Company commissioned Haddon Sundblom, a Michigan-born illustrator and already a creative giant in the industry, to develop advertising images using Santa Claus. Sundblom envisioned this merry gentleman as an opposite of the meager look of department store Santa imitators from early 20th century America.

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Sundblom turned to Clement Moore’s classic poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (better known as “’Twas the Night Before Christmas”) for inspiration:

His eyes — how they twinkled! His dimples: how merry,
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry;
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow

The ode’s description of the jolly old elf inspired Sundblom to create an image of Santa that was friendly, warm and human, a big change from the sometimes-harsh portrayals of Santa up to that time. He painted a perfectly lovable patron saint of the season, with a white beard flowing over a long red coat generously outlined with fur, an enormous brass buckle fastening a broad leather belt, and large, floppy boots.

Sundblom’s Santa was very different from the other Santa artworks: he radiated warmth, reminded people of their favorite grandfather, a friendly man who lived life to the fullest, loved children, enjoyed a little honest mischief, and feasted on snacks left out for him each Christmas Eve . Coca-Cola’s Christmas campaign featuring this captivating Santa ran year after year.

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As distribution of Coca-Cola and its ads spread farther around the world, Sundblom’s Santa Claus became more memorable each season, in more and more countries. The character became so likable, The Coca-Cola Company and Haddon Sundblom struck a partnership that would last for decades. Over a span of 33 years, Haddon Sundblom painted imaginative versions of the “Coca-Cola Santa Claus” for for Coke advertising, retail displays and posters.

Sundblom initially modeled Santa’s smiling face after the cheerful looks of a friend, retired salesman Lou Prentiss. “He embodied all the features and spirit of Santa Claus,” Sundblom said. “The wrinkles in his face were happy wrinkles.” After Prentiss passed away, the Swedish-American Sundblom used his own face as the ongoing reference for painting the now-enduring, modern image of Santa Claus.

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In 1951, Sundblom captured the Coca-Cola Santa “making his list and checking it twice.” However, the ads did not acknowledge that bad children existed and showed pages of good boys and girls only. Mischievous and magical, the Coca-Cola Santa was not above raiding the refrigerator during his annual rounds, stealing a playful moment with excited children and pets, or pausing to enjoy a Coca-Cola during stops on his one-night, worldwide trek. When air adventures became popular, Santa also could be caught playing with a toy helicopter around the tree.

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Haddon Sundblom passed away in 1976, but The Coca-Cola Company continues to use a variety of his timeless depictions of Saint Nicholas in holiday advertising, packaging and other promotional activities. The classic Coca-Cola Santa images created by Sundblom are as ubiquitous today as the character they represent and have become universally accepted as the personification of the patron saint of both children and Christmas.

As Joanna Berry, Lecturer in Marketing at Newcastle University Business School, explains: “Whilst Sundblom didn’t invent Santa as the jolly, white haired rotund old man we all now expect, he certainly did more than anyone to imprint that image onto our minds in relation to Coca-Cola in one of the most enduring brand images ever to have been created.”

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A tribute to Haddon Sundblom from “Coke Side of Life” Campaign

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Levi’s 501 – The story behind Launderette

The opening bars of Marvin Gaye’s hit I Heard It Through The Grapevine are among the most evocative in television advertising history. For a whole generation, at least, those first few moody seconds only bring one image to mind – that of model Nick Kamen walking into a launderette. The ad might not have been set in the eighties (more likely a mythical fifties), but for many those first few seconds can evoke memories of an entire decade. But Nick Kamen (who only got the part on condition he lost weight) wasn’t the first to get his kit off in a launderette. An early Hamlet ad showed a bowler-hatted, be-suited gent undressing in front of a group of women and sticking his clothes, and even his hat, in a washing machine. Sadly, no one remembers the actor’s name. And, as far as we know, he never had a hit single written for him by Madonna…

Kamen’s “Lauderette” was shown for the first time on Boxing Day 1985. Thought up by John Hegarty and Barbara Noakes of BBH, the ad campaign was designed to try and save Levi’s flagging fortunes; the company was under attack from all sorts of other fashionable brands. In short, Levi’s (which had been going since the 1850s) were becoming the sort of jeans worn by people’s dads. And not even trendy dads – it was middle-aged “fuddy duddies” wearing “polyester Levi’s Action Slacks”. Research showed that the intended target audience for Levi’s 501 (15 to 19 year olds) saw the United States of the fifties and sixties as cool time and place in history: James Dean, Elvis Presley and Sam Cooke all belonged to this mythical, wondrous world. Unless the ad agencies came up with something new, the alternative was going with the American campaign for 501, which was all about how well the jeans fitted in the United States of Ronald Reagan. The image seemed the opposite of MTV and European chic.

So, director Roger Lyons was given the go-ahead to film an ad that showed drop dead gorgeous model Nick Kamen stripping down to his boxer shorts, while flustered women and bemused elders looked on, and then sitting and waiting while his jeans were in the wash. All this and Marvin Gaye thrown in too. (Except it wasn’t actually Marvin Gaye but a newly recorded “session” version of the song, though the original was later re-released off the back of the ad and entered the charts all over again…). “Grapevine” was the first of four Levi’s-related songs to all make the Top Ten, a feat that made advertisers realise that choosing the right music was of paramount importance because it really could help push a product on TV. They call it “Integrated Marketing”, and it meant a single in the chart and an ad on the box simultaneously, as well as the 501 logo alongside the artist’s name on the record sleeve in every record shop in Britain and USA.

Kate Thornton, a famous English journalist, was a schoolgirl at the time and remembers the effect that Kamen’s striptease had on her: “I remember that the ad was running at a cinema before a movie, and I hadn’t seen it on the tely at that point. So I went to the cinema just to see the ad…” she says. “The commercial made those jeans sexy at a time when Levi’s were struggling to make their product appealing to women of my age, and really that’s where the big spenders come from. Suddenly those jeans became a must-heve item! I only wanted them because Nick Kamen wore them and took them off…”

Thornton wasn’t the only teenager to feel that away. Consumers wrote in to Levi’s in their thousands asking for picture of Kamen. Meanwhile, sales of 501 shot up by an incredible 800% in the wake of the ad, which eventually had to be taken off the air because the Company couldn’t produce enough jeans to meet the new demand… By 1987 sales of Levi’s jeans were reported to be 20 times what they had been just three years earlier. The commercial also boosted sales of boxer shorts to a record high, though the ad agency only put Kamen in a pair of boxers because they weren’t allowed to show their hero in a pair of jockeys. And it wasn’t just teenage girl buying the jeans: boys were impressed by what Kamen could do. “The ad said: wear Levi’s jeans and you’ll be a rebel without a cause!” says psychologist Dr David Lewis. “You’ll be able to alienate older people (who young people despite anyway) and you can be cool…”

Inevitably, Nick Kamen was suddenly flavour of the month. Madonna wrote a song for him called “Each Time You Break My Heart” which made it into Top Ten. Kamen was soon a fully-fledged pop star, but his new career was short lived. Subsequent singles failed and Kamen moved to Los Angeles where he was to live for a time with British television presenter  Amanda de Cadenet. “There wasn’t life for Nick Kamen after Levi’s because he broke the rule…he talked!” says Thornton. “We just liked looking at him. It was as simple as that. He was a model and he just had these smouldering beautiful looks… but fundamentally he was to be looked at and lusted over, and never to be taken seriously…”. Nick Kamen turned a new Levi’s ad into a much-hyped media event and ended up eventually being replaced in 1999 by a fluffy yellow pupped called Flat Eric…

(Mark Robinson, The Sunday Times)

Advertising Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty 
Creative: John Hegarty, Greg Mills, Barbara Nokes
Director: Roger Lyons
Production: Mike Dufficy & Partners
Director of Photography: Richard Greatrex
Editor: Ian Weil
Music: Karl Jenkins, Mike Ratledge
Year: 1985


Top 15 Beer Commercials (selected from the past 15 years of the One Show)

These spots represent the best of the best, chosen from a list of 32 Pencil and Merit winners. Enjoy.

1 – Carlton Draught/BIG AD

2006 ONE SHOW GOLD PENCIL

Agency
George Patterson Y&R / Melbourne

Art Director
Grant Rutherford

Creative Director
James McGrath

Director
Paul Middleditch

Production Company
Plaza Films , Peter Masterton

Writer
Ant Keogh

2 – Budweiser/WASSUP

2000 ONE SHOW GOLD PENCIL

Agency
DDB/Chicago

3 – Guinness/NOITULOVE

2007 ONE SHOW SILVER PENCIL

Agency
AMV BBDO/London

Art Director
Matt Doman

Creative Director
Paul Brazier

Director
Daniel Kleinman

Writer
Ian Heartfiel

4 – Lion Nathan/PURE WATERS

2010 ONE SHOW GOLD PENCIL

Agency
Publicis Mojo

Art Director
Steve Wakelam

Creative Director
Micah Walker

Director
Steve Rogers

Production Company
Revolver

Writer
Grant McAloon

5 – Guinness/SURFERS

2000 ONE SHOW GOLD PENCIL

Agency
AMV BBDO/London

Director
Jonathan Glazer

6 – Dos Equis/Rollerblading

2009 ONE SHOW BRONZE PENCIL

Agency
Euro RSCG / New York

Art Director
Karl Lieberman

Art Director
Simon Nickson

Creative Director
Alicia Johnson

Creative Director
Hal Wolverton

Director
Steve Miller

Production Company
Radical Media

Writer
Brandon Henderson

Writer
Laura Fegley

7 – Bud Light/DUDE

2008 ONE SHOW MERIT AWARD

Agency
DDB / Chicago

Art Director
Kenny/Clay Herzog/Weiner

Creative Director
Paul Tilley, Chuck Rachford, Chris Roe, Mark Gross

Writer
Kenny/ Clay Herzog/Weiner

8 – Dos Equis/JAI ALAI

2010 ONE SHOW MERIT AWARD

Agency
Euro RSCG / New York

Art Director
Dave Arnold

Creative Director
Conway Williamson, David Weinstockr

Director
Steve Miller

Production Company
Radical Media

9 – Bud Light/MR.REALLY REALY BAD DANCER

2004 ONE SHOW MERIT AWARD

Agency
DDB/Chicago

Creative Director
John Immesoete, Mark Gross, Bill Cimino, Bob Winter, Chris Roe

Director
John Immesoete, Greg Popp, Noam Murro

Production Company
Partizan, Biscuit

Writer
John Immesoete

10 – Tiger Beer/TASTE IN THIS LIFE

2007 ONE SHOW MERIT AWARD

Agency
Saatchi & Saatchi NZ / Auckland

Art Director
Andy DiLallo, Jay Benjamin, Cameron Harris

Creative Director
Toby Talbot, Mike O’Sullivan

Director
Jesse Warn

Production Company
Film Construction

Writer
Jay Benjamin, Andy DiLallo, Cameron Harris, Tom Hazledine

 11 – Guinness/BRING IT TO LIFE

2010 ONE SHOW MERIT AWARD

Agency
Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO / London

Art Director
Paul Brazier

Creative Director
PAUL BRAZIER

Director
Johnny Green

Production Company
Knucklehead

Writer
Paul Brazier

12 – Miller Brewing Company/MILLER AUDITION CAMPAIGN

2006 ONE SHOW SILVER PENCIL

Agency
Young & Rubicam / Chicago

Art Director
Mark Figliulo, Corey Ciszek

Creative Director
Dave Loew, Jon Wyville, Mark Figliulo

Director
Spike Jonze

Production Company
MJZ

Writer
Ken Erke, Pete Figel

13 – Milwaukee’s Best Light/BREWED FOR A MAN’S TASTE CAMPAIGN

2006 ONE SHOW BRONZE PENCIL

Agency
Mother / New York

Art Director
Rob Baird

Creative Director
Linus Karlsson, Paul Malmstrom

Director
John O’Hagan

Production Company
Rsa Usa

Writer
Ann Lieberman, Dave Clark

14 – Miller Light/SKY DIVER

2006 ONE SHOW MERIT AWARD

Agency
DDB/Chicago

Art Director
Dan Strasser

Creative Director
Mark Gross

Director
Michael Downing

Writer
Joe Sgro

15 – Guinness/A WOMAN NEEDS A MAN LIKE A FISH NEEDS A BYCYCLE 

1997 ONE SHOW MERIT AWARD

Agency
Ogilvy/New York

Art Director
Clive Yaxley

Creative Director
Patrick Collister

Director
Tony Kaye

Writer
Jerry Gallaher


From TV IS GOOD to WE LOVE TV – The controversial story of ABC campaign

Traditionally, every summer the broadcast television networks launched marketing campaigns to spotlight their program offerings for the coming season. The campaigns were often uneventful and run-of-the-mill, with viewers and the media paying little notice. In 1997, however, ABC, unveiled a different kind of campaign created by TBWA\Chiat\Day in Los Angeles. The campaign, called ‘‘TV Is Good,’’ was designed to help ABC break out of the traditional confines of network slogans and logos, and it created a stir.

Targeting viewers aged 18 to 49 and leveraging a budget of $12 million in its first season, ‘‘TV Is Good’’ directly addressed the guilt associated with watching television. Commercials featured messages that verged on the cynical, such as ‘‘Don’t worry, you’ve got billions of brain cells,’’ and ‘‘Life Is Short. Watch TV.’’ While many in the media criticized the campaign’s apparently insincere celebration of decadent TV-watching, the resulting debate about the merits of ‘‘TV Is Good’’ built considerable buzz around the ABC brand. A 1998–99 modification of the campaign, budgeted at $15 million and tagged ‘‘We Love TV,’’ further contributed to ABC’s emerging personality.

This tactic did not please everyone. For example, Joseph Turow, professor of media at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication, said of the ‘‘TV Is Good’’ campaign, ‘‘I don’t think they care if it turns off people who are over the hill. Advertisers and networks are really getting manic about attracting people under 30.’’ Alan Cohen, ABC’s executive vice president for marketing, said that the network was not intentionally spurning people over 49. Cohen told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that, when ABC tested its campaign promos on viewers aged 18–54, ‘‘The campaign played universally the same . . . The audience is right with us on this.’’

The Strategy
ABC’s third-place position in the ratings convinced its executives that the time was right to try something completely different. As Cohen told Broadcasting & Cable, ‘‘When you’re not number one, you have to take more chances.’’ ABC’s research had revealed that most television viewers could not distinguish between the existing network advertising slogans and that most people tended to ignore logos or stars repeating catchphrases. Cohen said, ‘‘They were all drowning out each other, and it left networks without a brand identity.’’

The goal of the ABC campaign was clear. Cohen explained to the Salt Lake Tribune, ‘‘We want to establish an attitude and personality for ABC that’s funny, friendly, and irreverent.’’ Through test and focus groups the network had further discovered that people enjoyed television more than they were willing to admit, and as Lee Clow, TBWA\Chiat\Day’s chairman, explained, the agency based its creative approach on this knowledge. ‘‘As you talk to people about their lives these days and how stressed they are, TV is this period of time where they actually get to recuperate a little bit,’’ Clow said. ‘‘Kind of just plop yourself down and let something happen to you so you don’t have to use your brain and work too hard for a few minutes. So we thought, why not kind of honestly celebrate the notion that TV is a good part of our lives, and sitting down in front of it for a while isn’t a bad thing.’’

Launching a marketing campaign that celebrated television was not without risks in 1997. At the time there was outspoken criticism of television, with many people objecting to the sexual situations, strong language, and violence found in the programming. By choosing to praise television at a time when it was popular to criticize the medium, ABC knew that it was taking a chance. The first phase of the campaign, which did not mention specific network programs, appeared on television.

The Campaign
These spots established the visual elements that would define the campaign throughout its run: a yellow background on which appeared the black text of witty slogans offering a variety of takes on the ‘‘TV Is Good’’ theme. The initial wave of spots featured messages such as ‘‘Don’t worry, you’ve got billions of brain cells,’’‘You can talk to your wife anytime,’’ ‘‘The couch is your friend,’’ and ‘‘Life is short. Watch TV.’’ Print and billboard ads appeared next, and, finally, the network began running spots for individual shows that incorporated the campaign style.  The budget for ‘‘TV Is Good’’ was approximately $12 million in 1997–98.

The TV spots got the attention of the press even before they were first broadcast. The message was quickly picked up by newspaper writers, and ABC was thrust into the media spotlight. Under the headline ‘‘Ads that Rot Your Brain,’’ Jonathan Foreman of the Wall Street Journal wrote, ‘‘The new TV season gets under way this week, amidst one of the worst ad campaigns of all time. In an apparent effort to win over the young viewers of ‘Generation X,’ ABC settled on irony as an advertising gimmick.’’ Monica Collins of the Boston Herald said, ‘‘At ABC, they’re underestimating us like mad while the network runs the snootiest ad campaign ever.’’ Some ABC affiliates had misgivings about the advertisements, too. Complaints from several affiliates convinced the network to drop one spot that said, ‘‘Books are overrated.’’ In addition, organizations critical of television, including the nonprofit TV-Free America, blasted the commercials. As the spots began to air and the media debate about the campaign’s merits gathered steam, Cohen told Bill Carter of the New York Times, ‘‘The reality is the spots have already worked. People are talking about ABC.’’ Jamie Tarses, then the entertainment president for ABC, told Broadcasting & Cable, ‘‘Anybody would give their left arm for this kind of attention. This is what you want if you’re selling television shows or cars or whatever . . . It’s about making noise.’’

From TV IS GOOD to WE LOVE TV
For the 1998–99 TV season, TBWA\Chiat\Day offered what it called an ‘‘evolved’’ version of the campaign, which, according to the New York Times, ‘‘is adspeak for ‘You don’t like it? All right, already! We’ll change it.’’’ The ironic humor was toned down, and ‘‘TV Is Good’’ was changed to the slightly more sincere ‘‘We Love TV.’’

The messages continued to be delivered in the same visual style (black text on a bright yellow background), and many seemed in keeping with the brashness of the previous seasons. For instance, one spot advised viewers, ‘Don’t just sit there. Okay, just sit there’’ another offered the dubious historical interpretation ‘‘Before TV, two world wars. After TV, zero.’’ But the campaign also began to offer less polarizing messages, such as‘TV, so good they named a frozen meal after it,’’ and ‘Without a TV, how would you know where to put the sofa?’’ .

The 1998–99 season likewise marked an increase in series-specific commercials using the overall campaign’s visual elements, humorous tone, and tagline. The campaign budget for that season was estimated at $15 million.

ABC saw its ‘‘TV Is Good’’ campaign as successful for a number of reasons. First, the campaign received an impressive amount of press coverage. Second, another of the big three networks added to the publicity windfall by mocking the campaign with a television spot of its own. Third, public response to the campaign was mostly favorable. Cohen said to Tom Feran of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, ‘‘We did talk to a lot of viewers around the country and show them this material, and I think people sort of got it. They said, ‘Wow, this is funny. ABC is funny. They must have good comedies.’ And that’s exactly the connection we wanted them to make.’’

In the 1999–2000 season ABC and TBWA\Chiat\Day further redefined the brand-building project. Although the network’s promotional spots continued to employ the visual elements and a measure of the ironic humor from the previous two seasons’ campaigns, the new tagline, ‘‘America’s Broadcasting Company,’’ seemed to mark a departure in tone and strategy. The network and its agency maintained that the campaign was not a reversal of the previous years’ tactics but rather a further evolution. This view was supported by a recurring message in the ‘‘America’s Broadcasting Company’’ spots: ‘‘United we watch.’’


Heineken – Buy a pint of Heineken or we’ll keep running this commercial

Four film, one campaign.

Sales of Heineken are not high enough, so the makers of the ad have an excruciating punishment in store magician Paul Daniels and his wife Debbie singing a syrupy duet, off-key, on a kitsch set. As the pair tunelessly croon “Close to You” a strapline appears: “Buy a pint of Heineken, or we’ll keep running this commercial”. The second ad opens with the line, “It seems some people didn’t takes the last Heineken commercial seriously. Perhaps this might persuade them”, and, as if by magic, Vanessa Feltz and Peter Stringfellow drop from the sky dressed as angels and join in the song. The words “Remember, buy Heineken or we’ll keep running these commercials” close the second ad. But it is the third execution that causes the most belly laughs. With the strapline “Good news. Sales of Heineken have risen dramatically, but not dramatically enough”, Emmerdale’s Lisa Riley and “It” girl Tamara Beckwith sing along while cuddling up to Jimmy Saville with Jimmy Hill marching past playing, very badly, the trumpet.. Finally, in the fourth execution (literally), sales of Heineken have risen… so two lion are sent on stage to devour the performers.

How refresh. How Heineken.

“Heineken advertising typically shows the brand providing a refreshing twist by “blackmailing” people into drinking more beer,” said Iain Newell, the marketing manager at Heineken. “Of course the ads are pretending to be irritating but in fact they are very funny.”

Advertising Agency: Lowe Lintas, London
Creative Director: Charles Inge
Copywriter: Terry Barry
Art Director: Damon Collins
Production Company: Gorgeous Enterprises
Director: Chris Palmer
Year: 2001


Congratulations George! Congratulations Jim! Congratulations Steven!

In 1998, Titanic topped Star Wars as the #1 box office movie of all time. In congratulations, George Lucas bought this full-page ad inVariety, in which the Star Wars crew jumps out of the sinking ship and into the ocean of second place.

Apparently, it is a Hollywood tradition for directors who have their #1 records smashed to take out full page ads congratulating the new record-holders. When Star Wars broke Jaws‘ record, Steven Spielberg congratulated George Lucas by taking out a full-page ad with a picture of R2-D2 snagging Jaws on a fishing line.

Thereafter, E.T. beat Star Wars and held the record for a while. This was the message to Steven Spielberg from George Lucas in 1983 congratulating Spielberg for E.T passing Star Wars in the movie rental takings…

But Star Wars Special Edition reclaimed #1 in 1997. The result? Another full-page ad in which E.T. puts a crown on R2′s head…

Steven Spielberg, director of E.T., honored his friend Lucas with an advertisement in Daily Variety, the entertainment industry magazine, with a picture of E.T., the alien from the movie, putting a crown on top of R2-D2, the small robot from Star Wars.

“Dear George,” the ad read, “Congratulations for renewing the most enduring motion picture in cinema history. Your pal, Steven.”


Wieden + Hegarty – 30 years of Creative Chaos

What are the reasons behind a successful commercial – is it the craft, the execution or great story telling, and what has made campaigns stand out over decades? On the fifth day of the 59th International Festival of Creativity, Sir John Hegarty, worldwide creative director and Dan Wieden, co-founder and global executive creative director, Wieden+Kennedy (W+K) discussed the elements that make a campaign successful, while speaking on the topic, ’30 years of creative chaos’.

The session—celebrating the 30th anniversary of both Wieden + Kennedy and Bartle Bogle Hegarty—began with an amusing video in which Wieden, to compete with the knighted Hegarty, gets a handful of degrees and ordainments through the Internet so he can be introduced as Lord Rev. Dr. Dan Wieden. The comical mock one-upmanship continued throughout the talk—moderated by Atifa Silk of Campaign Asia-Pacific—as the two legendary creatives alternately praised and teased one another following the screening of each spot.

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“I have enormous empathy for Dan’s work…,” Hegarty said. “I remember when I suddenly started seeing this work—Instant Karma—coming out of this American agency for Nike. I had to find out who they were. Where are they? Portland, Oregon? Where is Oregon?”

The session started by talking about Nike’s long term association with W+K, and how over the years the sports brand has worked with the agency, trusting and believing in its every work. To this, Wieden said, “Nike is a very different client as the company does not believe in airing one TVC several times. Interestingly, the company also does not believe in advertising, it believes in creating an experience. When I came to know about this, I enquired about this quite unique approach. The company representative replied, ‘You never write the same letter twice, then why the same spot?”

Agreeing with him, Sir Hegarty cited the example of the Nike commercial featuring golfer Tiger Woods. “Earl and Tiger” ad for Nike Golf, which aired in the wake of the golfer’s sex scandal. It shows a stoic Woods looking into the camera as his late father, heard in voiceover, urges him to reflect on his life. He said, “In order to break away from the usual and to create something unusual, a brand has to be constantly brave. A brave brand will be ready to take risks, and will further allow the agency to create unusual and interesting campaigns.”

Sir Hegarty next talked about the ‘Go forth’ TVC for Levis by W+K, called ‘America’s challenging time’. “There are times when due to the scale, it becomes difficult to use one language to unify different countries with different dialects. In such situations, one needs to conceptualise one single idea, which will bring everybody to a common platform,” he remarked.

Wieden, in turn, first became aware of Hegarty’s work with the Levi’s ad of  “a young man walking into a laundry room and taking off his clothes.” “You keep stumbling across opportunities, an idea reveals itself within an idea,” said Hegarty on the inspiration behind the ad. “In a Levi’s ad there’s always someone getting dressed or undressed.”

But, how the foundation client has overpowered the agency’s business?

According to Wieden, in case of W+K, Nike was the only visible client for a long time and while the agency had the business of a small radio station from Portland, the fact is that its survival was mainly dependent on one client; this made the agency uncomfortable. So, while foundation clients are important for any agency, there is also a need to branch out.

Next, speaking on the power of creativity, Sir Hegarty elaborated, “Advertising is 80 per cent idea and 20 per cent execution – and we live in a world of YouTube – where everyone can make everything, so it is important to be both perfect in detailing and in storytelling.”

Adding to his view point, Wieden said, “Emotions need to be depicted in the right form and it is not necessary that one always has to go the social media way to depict emotions. Rather, telling simple stories with great emotions can move the consumers.”

But sometimes ideas aren’t enough and it’s the execution that pulls the ad through, commented Hegarty on W+K’s “Best Job” TV commercial for P&G. “If you had passed me the script I think I might have vomited. You Americans, you wade around in this treacle of emotion…” said Hegarty wryly. “But the way you [Wieden] executed it really worked….The vomit factor was high…but the directing worked.” “It’s the power of storytelling, you’ve got to make sure the emotions are relevant and just let yourselves be swept up by it,” agreed Wieden.

Sir Hegarty discussed the campaign called ‘Dean Savage’ for Google Chrome, and how it turned a brand which is usually perceived to be unemotional to emotional. “Some of the best advertising, is not advertising”, continued Hegarty, referring to Google Chrome’s support of the ” It gets better” initiative. The work done by BBH NY could have easily backfired on the company, said Hegarty. “We tried to put it into a place that wasn’t advertising, that was part of the social fabric of life.”

“When you do your job right, you add something to the value of the brand, not just for the audience but for the people who work there,” commented Wieden. “Google is perceived as a less emotional group of people but when a spot like that comes out, it humanises them.”

Sir Hegarty next focused on the importance of motivation. “In this industry, one gets motivated via competition’s work. The ‘Old Spice’ ad is a spectacular example of good work and when I watched it I felt jealous. However, two minutes later, I was determined to do better work for Axe. Therefore, in order to do great work, we need competition to succeed, as then at that time even clients fuel up, which further motivates to create good work,” he noted.

“When truly great work happens, and it isn’t yours, the gut instinct is to hate it with a passion”, said Hegarty. “I remember the moment one of our account people came to me and said, ‘John, I think you’d better have a look at this,”—it was the first ad for Old Spice. “You know something’s great when you really really f***ing hate it. I hated it. I stood up, looked at this ad and thought, ‘Who did that? Is it W+K? SHIT! OhSHIT!’.” Then Hegarty recalled running out of the office and yelling for the latest scripts for Axe, their agency’s rival brand to Old Spice. “We had to do better! The better they do! The better we do! Great creativity drives each other, two people run a race faster than alone.” The Old Spice ads were a prime example of great writing, he concluded.

“I had the same hateful reaction when the Xbox ‘Life’s too Short’ spot came out,” admitted Wieden.

Like the Levi’s laundry ad, the Xbox commercial was entirely done without script, noted Wieden. “It was the craft of the spot that pulled it completely into superspace.” Commercials like these are only possible when clients are brave, said Hegarty. “You can imagine us presenting this to Xbox, ‘She’s got her legs like this… and…’ The client rejected it, but we got it posted online and it went viral—never give up, keep pushing.”

The two agencies have even ‘swapped’ clients. BBH resigned Nike which went to W+K and BBH won Guardian off W+K. The result of the change was the Levi’s Go Forth ad and Guardian’s Gold Lion-winning “Three Little Pigs commercial. “I’m pleased that Levi’s went to you and not the agency before us, which I cannot name, but they produced unutterable crap,” chuckled Hegarty. “W+K, however, told Levi’s story in a powerful and compelling way.”

Taking the example of the commercial for the UK-based newspaper, The Guardian, Sir Hegarty said, “It is all about the art of storytelling and we should master how to tell the simplest of the stories in the most interesting way.”

Asked how the industry should evolve and improve, both men, not surprisingly, said it’s all about the quality of the work. “Make the bloody work better,” Hegarty said. “I keep going on about it. We must be the only industry in the world that actually thinks you can succeed when the work’s getting worse. There’s empirical evidence in the U.K. that our audience believes the advertising has gotten worse. … Obviously, Cannes is about this question. But what are we doing about it? How are we working to make the work better?”

It needs to be honest, too,” said Wieden. “There’s so much strategy sometimes, and all this bullshit. What is the emotional essence of this issue right now? And clients, I think, sometimes have to look at themselves in the mirror and say, ‘Who have we become? How do we get back to where we used to be?’ “


Have you ever noticed that the first TV and Press Grand Prix were italian?

1954. European cinema contractors launch the Festival to celebrate great cinema advertising. The first Cannes Grand Prix goes to a spot called “Il Circo” from Italy’s Ferry Mayer for Chlorodont toothpaste.

1992. The Press and Poster category introduced. McCann-Erickson Milan is awarded first Grand Prix in the category for its Levi’s campaign.

Advertising Agency:  McCann-Erickson Italia
Creative Director: Milka Pogliani
Copywriter: Alessandro Canale
Art Director: Stefano Colombo
Photographer: Graham Ford

Good Luck Italy.


The Saga of Jukka Bros. (an MTV advertising adventure)

Jukka Bros is a MTV campaign, created by Fallon McElligott.  Straight out of the movie, deliverance, Big Jukka and the Two Middle Jukkas are clearly losers – or, should I say, were losers. Thanks to their constant viewing of MTV programmes, the brothers now know what’s cool…

Unfortunately, Little Jukka lives in his own isolated shed and does not watch MTV. Therefore, he ’does not know what’s cool’. The other Jukka kin are ashamed of their little brother because he gives the wrong gifts, wears the wrong shoes and doesn’t know the latest dance moves. The solution? Every spot ends with big Jukka dragging his little brother outside by the ear and then, literally, paddling the MTV logo on to his ass.

What makes this campaign great is how unpolished it is. The facial expressions alone of the two middle Jukkas makes these spots hilarious when they wrestle each other, it is strangely sexual. And when little Jukka is paddled, the looks on the middle brothers’ faces again suggest something oddly sexual.

The appeal of the brothers is simple. They are not pretty. It is refreshing to see advertising that doesn’t preach to us with models or beautiful actors. It is especially refreshing to see MTV drop its guard, telling us what it is about through misfits who we can all relate to. Or, at least, people we can genuinely laugh at.  Too strange. Too different. Too weird. The very things that make  both campaigns brilliant.

Jukka Bros Intro

Meet the Jukka brothers – four ‘rednecks’ living in a forest. MTV provided their only interaction with the outside world. Only little Juka doesn’t watch it… he’s taught a lesson – for not being cool!

Sexy Dance

Little Jukka “bunny-hops” to MTV. Big brother has to teach him a lesson. “Be cool with MTV.”

Fashion Check

Little Jukka wears his jeans too high. Big brother has to teach him a lesson.

Wrong Shoes

Little Jukka wears the wrong kind of shoes. Big brother has to teach him a lesson.

Xmas Story

Little Jakka gives his big brother a woolly jumper for Christmas instead of a metallic-look jacket. Big brother teaches him a lesson.
Advertising Agency: Fallon New York
Creative Director: Jamie Barrett
Art Director: Paul Malmstrom
Copywriter: Linus Karlsson
Production Company: Partizan
Director: Traktor
Year: 2000
Gold Lion for the campaign

Adidas – Runners. Yeah, We’re Different (The most truthful ad campaigns)

German sporting-goods company adidas-Salomon AG returned from near death in the mid-1990s with a new focus and global strategy. No longer content to allow competitors, especially the seemingly invincible Nike, to dominate the sporting-goods category, adidas launched a full-scale offensive designed to increase awareness of the brand, enhance its image, and elevate sales. The company moved production facilities to Asia to cut manufacturing costs, formed high-visibility alliances with sports organizations and athletes (including a sponsorship of the New York Yankees baseball team beginning in 1997), purchased the French company Salomon SA (a manufacturer of golf, ski, and bike equipment) in 1997, and pumped additional funds into its modest marketing budget. Hoping to increase the sales of its running accessories in the United States, adidas America, Inc., the U.S. headquarters for adidas, released a provocative campaign titled ‘‘Runners. Yeah, We’re Different.’’

The San Francisco office of advertising agency Leagas Delaney released the branding campaign with an estimated $1 million. To prove that the company understood the sport of running, the ‘‘Runners. Yeah, We’re Different’’ campaign, which began in 1998, targeted the serious runner, a relatively small and anonymous audience. With full-page and two-page ads in specialty magazines such as Runner’s World and Running Times and with some executions in the general-interest Sports Illustrated, the series of print ads celebrated the rather unusual but relatively common habits of dedicated runners, such as smearing Vaseline on the inner thighs and under the arms to prevent chafing. Sean Ehringer, Leagas Delaney’s creative director, explained, ‘‘[adidas] wanted to do a brand focus campaign that gave them some running credentials, and the way we decided to do that was to let runners know that we understand them . . . Runners have their own kind of weird way of doing things, so there’s a lot of things to talk about there.’’ The campaign ended in 2000.

According to the ad-industry publication Campaign, ‘‘Runners. Yeah, We’re Different’’ was the third most awarded series of print ads in the world for 2000. It helped Adidas’s brand awareness in the United States reach record highs and was eventually expanded globally.

For the ‘‘Runners. Yeah, We’re Different’’ campaign, Adidas narrowed its audience to pinpoint the serious runner, a group frequently overlooked by the sports media despite the popularity of running. The lack of hype surrounding running could perhaps be attributed to the individuality and solitude of the sport. As Leagas Delaney’s Ehringer remarked, ‘‘Most people who run run silently on their own for their own reasons, and nobody even knows they exist.’’ Ehringer also emphasized the importance of running and said, ‘‘It is very much a unique and individual sport, but it’s a part of almost every athlete’s life at some point.’’ To lure runners, an extremely dedicated lot, Adidas adopted an honest and direct approach. Ryan Erickson, a marketing executive at adidas’s rival Reebok International Ltd., explained the importance of credibility when advertising to runners. Erickson said in Footwear News, ‘‘Runners sniff out fake stuff in a heartbeat.’’

The strategy
In planning the ‘‘Runners. Yeah, We’re Different’’ branding campaign, Adidas and Leagas Delaney felt that it was important to speak directly to the runner. Ehringer told Joan Voight of Adweek, ‘‘I am so tired of this huge trend where ads keep telling you that you are not adequate in some way. ‘Be that’ or ‘Do this.’ . . . What is wrong with celebrating the fun-ness of the brand? . . . Better to have a conversation with people, not a conversation at people.’’ In keeping with this belief, and to make the most of Adidas’s marketing dollars, Leagas Delaney created a series of colorful print ads that celebrated running with a direct and unique approach only runners would likely appreciate and understand. Ehringer explained, ‘‘The unusual thing about [the campaign] was we were really very literal about it. I think it was pretty courageous to do ads that were so honest about really talking to runners that a lot of people wouldn’t even know what you were talking about.’’ To add an extra element of interest and to further suggest Adidas’s bond with runners, many of the ads starred Adidas-sponsored runners, talented athletes with little face-recognition value.


One of the early ads was a two-page color spread featuring a male runner—an adidas-sponsored marathon runner—applying bandages to his nipples at a road race. His shirt, with pinned-on race number, was casually tucked into the waistband of his shorts as he completed the bandaging task. Skyscrapers and other runners appeared in the background. A heavyset woman in nonrunning attire, perhaps a spectator, observed the runner’s ritual with a slightly bewildered look, emphasizing how odd the act must appear to nonrunners. The only text in the ad was the Adidas logo in one corner and the tagline in another.

A second ad showed a walking and running path in a city. A male runner blew his nose in typical runner fashion—with a finger pressed against one nostril to allow the forceful emanation of mucus from the other—as a disgusted nonrunning female looked on. The ‘‘Runners. Yeah, We’re Different’’ slogan appeared in the middle of the ad, and the text at the bottom read, ‘‘You’ve never experienced a support shoe like this. The incredibly smooth ride of the Equipment Tyranny is something different too.’’ The $1 million campaign appeared in running-specific publications such as Runner’s World and Running Times and in the popular magazine Sports Illustrated.

Another ad showed two male runners racing a cable car up a steep San Francisco hill as cable car riders looked on. The Vaseline ad featured a male and a female runner getting ready for a race by applying Vaseline to various body parts that might otherwise get rubbed raw while running. The male runner was Peter Julian, who was a four-time all-American while at the University of Portland. Similar ads continued until the campaign ended in 2000. The ‘‘Runners. Yeah, We’re Different’’ campaign generated much interest and discussion among runners. The campaign ended in 2000, and some of the final ads were bolder than those from 1998.

One 1999 ad, for example, featured a full view of the backside of a naked male runner (two-time 10,000-meter Olympian and four-time 10,000-meter U.S. champion Todd Williams) who stood by the open trunk of his car to change out of his muddy running clothes. Another ad showed a female runner squatting by a tree next to a trail, her shorts pulled down. Although these ads were quite daring, the acts featured were not out of the ordinary for runners.

Adidas’s director of marketing communications, Karyn Thale, told Adweek that the company was pleased with the advertising efforts and said, ‘‘It is time to tell our story in the U.S., and the Leagas ads are doing a great job of [expressing] our brand’s young, fresh and hardworking image here.’’ Adidas continued to thrive and in 1998 held onto its number three ranking in the athletic-footwear industry with a 6 percent share, according to market research firm NPD Group, Inc. In comparison, Nike’s retail dollar share was 34 percent and Reebok’s 13 percent. Although overall spending on athletic shoes dropped 6 percent from the previous year, running shoes continued to lead the athletic-footwear category, acquiring 17.1 percent of retail sales. Adidas’s U.S. net sales jumped 68 percent to $1.59 billion, and the running category grew more than 50 percent from 1997. Adidas spokesperson John Fread told the Business Journal of Portland, ‘‘For us, [1998] was an outstanding year, another record.’’ Adidas was definitely back in the game, and it planned to stay there, pursuing its commitment to sports and athletes around the globe.

In the campaign’s final year adidas reached its highest brand awareness in company history. The adidas sales increase during the campaign shocked sporting-goods analysts because running shoes were previously considered a slow-growth category. The print ads collected more awards than print ads released by any other competitor in 2000, and adidas eventually expanded the campaign internationally.

Advertising Agency: Leagas Delaney, San Francisco, CA
Creative Director: Harry Cocciolo, Sean Ehringer

Art Director: David Ayriss, Peter Nicholson
Copywriter: Steve Morris, Scott Wild
Photographers: Eugene Richards, William Howard


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