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
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’.
“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?’ “
“Everybody who has been to the Cannes Lions Festival has a story to tell. A story that in some shape or form has influenced or changed their lives,” says Philip Thomas, Festival CEO. “Who better to give an insight into the ethos of Cannes – the opportunities, the creativity, the relationships, the rewards – but some of those people who know best, and at first-hand, that great advertising and communication is about storytelling.”
Marcello Serpa (Chief Creative Officer ALMAP/BBDO)
Mark Tutssel (Chief Creative Officer Leo Burnett Worldwide)
Stephane Xberras (Executive Creative Director BETC Euro RSCG)
Bob Greenberg (Chairman, CEO Global CCO R/GA)
Fernando Vega Olmos (Chairman of the Worldwide Creative Council JWT Worldwide)
Armin Jochum (Chief Creative Officer Jung von Matt)
Tom Beckman (Executive Creative Director Prime)
Prasoon Joshi (Executive Chairman, Regional ECD APAC McCann Erickson)
Nick Brien (Chairman, CEO McCann Erickson)
Eugene Bay (Chairman VBAT)
Sir John Hegarty (Worldwide Creative Director BBH)
David Droga (Creative Chairman Droga5)
Jonathan Mildenhall (VP, Global Advertising Strategy and Content Excellence The Coca-Cola Company)
Sir Martin Sorrell (CEO WPP)
Dana Anderson (Senior Vice-President Marketing Strategy and Communications Kraft Foods)
Fernanda Romano (Creative Partner Naked Brasil)
Matias Palm-Jensen (Chief Innovation Officer McCann-Erickson Europe)
Sylvia Vitale Rotta (CEO Team Créatif Group)
Mainardo de Nardis (CEO OMD Worldwide)
Maria Luisa Francoli Plaza (Global CEO MPG)
Jeff Benjamin (Chief Creative Officer JWT North America)
Rei Inamoto (Chief Creative Officer AKQA)
An extremely clever ad — one from your childhood. A slightly surreal look at all the things you can make out of a box a Lego. Narrated by Tommy Cooper, a battle ensues between a mouse which, when threatened by a cat, turns into a dog. The cat turns into a dragon and so on, to a submarine and a submarine-eating kipper. The submarine eventually morphs into an elephant, the mouse rebuilds and the elephant faints. Lego: It’s a new toy every day — just like that!
Agency: TBWA London
Creative: Mike Cozens; Graham Watson
Director: Ken Turner
Production: Clearwater Films
Producer: David Mitten
Director of Photography: Tom Harrison
Editor: Patrick Udale
Lego representations of famous people: a dinosaur (Spielberg), a bed (Madonna), a football (Pele), windows (Bill Gates), a man levitating (David Copperfield), a broken man (Mike Tyson).
Agency: DM9 Publicidade
Creative Director: Nizan Guanaes
Copywriter: Nizan Guanaes
Production Company: Jodaf/Joao Daniel Film
Director: Joao Daniel Tikhmoiroff
A group of officials arrive at the house of an ordinary boy to discover that he’s created something extraordinary, which he keeps in a box. All ideas start with imagination.
Creative Director: John Hegarty
Copywriter: Roger Beckett
Art Director: Andrew Smart
Photographer: Gorgeous Enterprises
Director: Frank Budgen
Headline: All toys, in one
Agency: DPZ Propaganda
Creative Director: Jose Zaragoza/Carlos Rocca
Copywriter: Giovana Madalosso
Art Director: Janaina Pergira
Photographer: Lucio Cunha
Headline: The most interactive toy.
Agency: DPZ, San Paulo
Creative Director: Carlos Silverio/Francesco Petit
Copywriter: Roberto Kilciauskas
Art Director: Fernanda Fajardo
Photographer: Marcel Vieira
Agency: Ogilvy & Mather Santiago
Creative Director: Cesar Agost Carreno
Copywriter: Felipe Manalich
Art Director: Sergio Iacobelli/Sebastian Alvarado
Photographer: Juab Carlos Sotello
Grand Prix (Outdoor Lions)
Agency: FCB Johannesburg
Creative Director: Bret Morris
Copywriter: Lance Vinning
Art Director: Lance Vinning/Charles Foley
Photographer: Gerard Turnley
Grand Prix (Press Lions)
FIRE STATION/HANGAR/TRAIN STATION
Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi Singapore
Creative Director: Andy Greenway
Copywriter: Stuart Harricks/Roger Makak
Art Director: Stuart Harricks
Photographer: Dean Zillwood/IDC
Silver Lion for the campaign (Press)/Bronze Lion for the campaign (Outdoor)
LEGO wanted their communication to focus more strongly on the core product: the basic blocks. And at the same time, they still wanted to inspire children of all ages and to stimulate creativity and innovation.
Innovative Media Strategy
Construction sites are normally very boring and makes the surroundings ugly. But by turning the containers placed there into giant LEGO blocks it gave consumers a surprise, making their everyday life a bit more colourful and creative. They could “play on” themselves and start imaging how to build on. As one consumer said: “I was just standing there, waiting for a giant boy to come and build”. The media became the talk of the town. Even the Mayor of Copenhagen was proud of what it did to the city and praised it in several newspapers and television.
LEGO is known for stimulating creativity. Transforming containers on construction sites across the country into giant, colourful LEGO blocks confirmed this for the consumer. And with no logos it also became a pleasent surprise in their everyday life. Was it and ad or wasn’t it? Nobody doubted that LEGO was the brand behind it though.
Encompassing the Audience
By turning containers into outstanding giant LEGO blocks it gave consumers a big surprise, making their everyday life more colourful and creative. In several weeks, the LEGO blocks became the talk of the town.
- Massive media coverage in more than 20 national newspapers and magazines, national television and radio
- City mayors praising the project
- Hundreds of thousands consumers travelling by the blocks led to maximum awareness on the communication goal.
Art Director: Kenneth Opsund
Creative Director: Rodrigo Gomez/Michael Angel Cerdeira
Copywriter: Rodrigo Figueroa
Art Director: Michael Angel Cerdeira
ShortlistBUILDERS OF TOMORROW
Agency: JUNG Von MATT, Hamburg
Creative Director: Arno Lindemann/Bernhard Lukas
Copywriter: Daniel Schaeferk
Art Director: Szymon Rose
Photographer: Achim Lippoth
Agency: Blattler Brunner, Pittsburg
Creative Director: Jay Giesen/Dave Kwasnick
Art Director: Derek Julin
Like no other toy, LEGO is a symbol of fun and creativity. To mark the fiftieth birthday of LEGO in Germany, the idea was to rekindle media representatives’ and LEGO partners’ excitement for LEGO with a high-quality mailing.
LEGO fan and designer Reginald Wagner conceived, designed and photographed his personal LEGO memories with a pinhole camera to keep them from fading. The book’s format is adapted from the form of an individual LEGO brick. The book cover and the flipside are made of real LEGO plates. Journalists were sent the book and could put their name on the cover and share their memories with the designer.
Explain why the method of promotion was most relevant to the product or service.
The title of the book POLYPLAYPYLENE means “plastic that has been played with often” and that’s precisely what this book is about. Endless imagination, an endless number of construction combinations and stories from the LEGO worlds: towns, castles and space.
Describe the success of the promotion with both client and consumer including some quantifiable results.
The first, exclusive edition is out of print; the feedback was overwhelming. A paperback edition of “Polyplaypylene” is currently in print for wider circulation.
Executive Creative Director: Sebastian Alvarado/Nicolas Lopez
Copywriter: Felipe Manalich
Art Director: Felipe Manalich/Sebastian Alvarado
Shortlist (Press)/Shortlist (Outdoor)RUBIK’S CUBE/BRICK
Creative Director: Jan Rexhausen
Art Director: Keat Aun Tan
Photographer: Keat Aun Tan
Creative Director: Fabien Frese/Daniel Frericks/Gotz Ulmer
Creative Director: Alvin Teoh
Creative Director: Richard Copping/Andrew Pech
CREATE THE IMPOSSIBLE
LEGO STAR WARS
SPACESHIP/BEETLE/DEEP OCEAN EXPLORER
Agency: Leo Burnett, Moscow
Creative Director: Mikhail Kudashkin
Art Director: Arina Avdeena
Copywriter: Rodrigo Linhaners
Gold Lion for the campaign
Agency: Pereira & O’Dell, San Francisco
Executive Creative Director: PJ Pereira
Creative Director: Kash Sree
Copywriter: Jaime Robinson
Art Director: Jason Apaliski
Production Company: Stimmung, Santa Monica
Director: Blue Source
WORDS PUZZLE CAMPAIGN: CROCODILE/SPACESHIP/TRACTOR
Creative Director: Byron Balmaceda
Art Director: Gabriela Soto
Copywriter: Byron Balmaceda
Illustrator: Gabriela Soto
The ads appeared on four consecutive pages. LEGO is a company that has fostered imagination, invention and creativity for over 60 years. So it is unusual for these ads to feature only long copy with minimal imagery. However, upon reading each of these scenarios the ad comes to life in a way that is unique only to the reader and how they see these playtime scenarios in their mind’s eye. Typographic elements of kerning contrasted with tracking allow the reader to almost get lost in the copy selecting keywords for their imagination. The fourth ad in the series, “Yellow Brick” features a notepad with the tagline “Every LEGO brick tells a story. Build yours.”
Advertising Agency: Pereira & O’Dell, Brazil
Chief Creative Officer: PJ Pereira
Creative Director / Copywriter: Aricio Fortes
Creative Director / Art Director: Paulo Coelho
Account Executive: Lo Braz
Illustrator: Eduardo Gomes
A classic from the BBH stable, this ad announces the launch of the first Levi’s stonewashed jeans. It’s 1950s small town USA, a GI stands watching the girls. Behind him a man walks into a launderette carrying a bag of small rocks which he pours into one of the machines. He then proceeds to remove his clothes down to his boxers and socks, and put them in the machine. A thoroughly honed physique is admired by all as he takes his seat against the wall. Levi’s: Now available stonewashed
Levi’s looked a most unpromising account when it arrived at the fledgling Bartle Bogle Hegarty in 1982.
The brand was perceived as old fashioned and, at a time of much anti-American feeling, uncool.
The launderette commercial, promoting Levi’s classic 501s, was the breakthrough.
John Hegarty and the writer Barbara Nokes recreated an image of 50s Americana that presented 501s as alternative to punk’s scruffiness.The spot wasn’t only beautifully shot but had humour and sex appeal in the form of teen idol Nick Kamen.
It was also an early example of successful integrated marketing. Marvin Gaye’s I Heard It Through The Grapevine soundtrack was re-released with the Levi’s logo on the record sleeve and shot into the charts.
As for Levi’s sales, they had soared by 800 per cent within a year of the 501s re-launch.
Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH)
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