RKCR/Y&R, London for Virgin Atlantic – Flying in the Face of Ordinary

“The people at Virgin Atlantic are what make it special. I’m proud of every single one of them. See how we are flying in the face of ordinary in our new ad above.” Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group

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Virgin Atlantic is “Flying in the Face of Ordinary”  with its new global brand proposition. THe campaign brings to life Virgin Atlantic’s innovative and pioneering spirit, capturing the airline’s passion for flight and demonstrating how Virgin Atlantic goes beyond the norm to deliver unforgettable experiences for its passengers.

As a child, could you catch fish with your bare hands while standing knee deep in the local river? Did you have uncanny, almost otherworldly powers of clairvoyance that let you glimpse the future—and even change it for the better? Could you make paper airplanes before you could crawl?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you should stop what you’re doing and go work at Virgin Atlantic.

All sorts of outlandishly precocious children grow up to become Virgin Atlantic workers in RKCR/Y&R’s stylish, fantastical, tongue-in-cheek launch spot for the carrier’s new global campaign. Styled as a kind of faux movie trailer—cut into 30-, 60- and 90-second TV edits, as well as a cinema version and a two-minute online spot—the spot celebrates the airline’s staff as literal superheroes. Their special gifts include rapid reflexes, preternatural intuition, creative problem solving and heightened empathy. Naturally, as adults, they rendezvous in Virgin’s ranks as cabin crew, ground staff, designers and pilots.

The tagline: “Virgin Atlantic. Flying in the face of ordinary.”

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Launched with the new year, the campaign is unapologetically nostalgic and retro, but knowingly so. Air travel hasn’t been glamorous in decades, yet Virgin brings back some of that attitude—along with the attendant fashion and sex appeal—but in a way that’s exaggerated and borders on self-parody. Promising superhuman staff, in the end, is no promise at all. But in typical Virgin style, the carrier builds the whole campaign around such false claims, and expects you to quit worrying and just enjoy it. And it works—largely due to the skillful direction by Partizan’s Antoine Bardou-Jacquet.

The airline explicitly wants to “bring the glamour and fun back into long-haul travel,” says Simon Lloyd, its director of marketing. Mark Roalfe, chairman and executive creative director at RKCR/Y&R, adds: “We wanted to bring to life that special spark that makes the people at Virgin different. I think the film really captures that, but with the tongue-in-cheek tone of voice that we’ve built with Virgin over the last 18 years.”

Sir Richard Branson, President of Virgin Atlantic said: “We’re always on the lookout for gifted young people to grow our business. Our staff hold the keys to the future of Virgin Atlantic, they work so hard and we are delighted to dedicate this new advert to them.

“At a time of soaring youth unemployment, our advertisement is a powerful New Year message encouraging everyone to look again at young people and the talents they have to offer to businesses and industries all over the country. People are at the heart of Virgin Atlantic and we believe this advert celebrates this”.

True glamour may be gone from air travel for good. But in the ads, if nothing else, you can still count on Virgin to make it fun.

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VFX Supervisor Rob Walker said, “It was great working with Antoine and Rainey Kelly. The guys came to us with some really cool ideas for us to realize, such as a little boy catching live fish with his bare hands. We had an intensive shoot in South Africa and a challenging deadline to meet, but this was the perfect job for MPC as it combined all of our disciplines.”

We’ve had an excellent team working on this project, everyone’s dedication and passion has helped to craft a wonderful piece of work. Our CG department has created holograms, paper planes, an aircraft and a DNA sequence. We’ve also completed extensive rig removal, multiple pass compositing and DMP work to embellish and create environments”

Advertising Agency: RKCR/Y&R, London
Executive Creative Director: Mark Roalfe
Creative Partners: Pip Bishop, Chris Hodgkiss
Production Company: Partizan
Service Company: Stillking
Director: Antoine Bardou-Jacquet
Year: 2012


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


BBC – Attenborough’s Wonderful World

One year ago, following the final episode of the Attenborough-narrated cold-climes series Frozen Planet, the BBC aired a two-minute trailer subtly celebrating the 60-odd years that the iconic TV personality has spent working on non-fiction programming for the network. Visually, the spot, from ad agency RKCR/Y&R, doesn’t deviate far from the staple shots of most natural science shows. Brightly colored birds, time lapses of blooming flowers, panoramas of majestic terrain, and pensive baboons all make their obligatory appearances. How can you not love this? It’s surprising and clever, yet also dignified. The only words in it are from the song ” What a Wonderful World” written by Bob Thiele and George David Weiss, and of course made famous by Louie Armstrong. This works so well because Attenborough speaks the lyrics—pleasant platitudes that we’ve almost stopped noticing, as the song has become audio wallpaper—in his signature cadence of wonder and delight. This renews our appreciation both of the song, and the power of Attenborough’s delivery. And of course, it’s all done to support stunning footage of nature, nicely edited with subtle sound effects to match the pictures. More than the sum of its parts. “It’s a wonderful world, watch it with us,” reads the BBC trailer’s tagline. Fantastic.

Advertising Agency: RKCR/Y&R, UK
Executive Creative Director: Mark Roalfe
Creatives: Ted Heath, Paul Angus


118-118 The Number (2003/2009) – A Real Spoof Case History

118 118’s advertising features two men with droopy mustaches, wearing items of clothing with 118 and two parallel red stripes on it. They have appeared in various forms. The campaign was originally launched using the two men dressed as athletic runners. Used with the catchphrase “Got Your Number!”, the runners’ characters featured in a high-profile advertising (created by British advertising agency WCRS).

This slogan has fallen into disuse by the marketing department of 118 118 because of the expansion of service beyond directory enquiries alone, but the slogan has lived on in the minds of the public. The use of the runners’ characters is particularly noted for the legal action threatened by 1970s record-breaking runner David Bedford. 118 118 responded to this by stating that their inspiration was partly the late American runner Steve Prefontaine.


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Subsequently they have appeared in a range of guises, including spoof detectives, as the company expanded on its range of services. During this period, although generally forgotten by the public, the slogan used was “We’re here to help!”, a different focus driven by the expansion of products offered.

2003 – Rocky Campaign
In November 2003 the commercial, called “Rocky”, features the moustachioed runners jogging through London. As the pair run, the ad turns into a training scene reminiscent of the film. More than 30 moustachioed children, dressed as 118 118 runners, join the training run which culminates with the duo recreating the end of Stallone’s run with hands thrust victoriously in the air at the top of a long flight of steps. “That’s what happens when you help millions of people each week!” one of the runners comment… In keeping with the retro theme, the commercial also features a cameo appearance by the 80s ventriloquist, Keith Harris, and his bird puppet Orville.

Keith Martin, the account manager at WCRS, said: “The campaign has two points of focus. The first is memorability. With the old 192 service being switched off on 24 August, there will be a lot of activity and so it is all about getting 118 118 as the most memorable number for customers to use. The second aim is stature. By running these campaigns, we want to show that 118 118 is here to stay – that the company is taking millions of calls a month already. More weighting is being put on running the 60-second spot, as it adds scale.”

2004 – Honda Spoof Campaign
In this addition to the series featuring the skinny athletes, they created the award-winning Honda commercial “Cog” and “Choir” created by Wieden & Kennedy London, using old bit of carpet, gym mats, a stop sign and a couple of old treadmills. It’s not as high tech as the original, but it gets the message across – and probably provided a nice giggle for the advertising community. It was created for television, but Honda failed to see the humorous side and stopped the ad from being broadcast. It is now, however, available for view online and is being promoted through a viral campaign.

2006. A-Team Campaign
In February 2006 a new advertising campaign was launched in which the runners appeared in advertisements in the style of the television show The A-Team, using the A-Team theme tune with the number 118 sung over the music.

2007. Flashdance Campaign
In May 2007 a new advertising campaign was launched in which the runners trade in their 70s look for leotards and leg warmers to spoof the 1983 film starring Jennifer Beals. The two and a half minute clip features a comedy reworking of Michael Sembello’s song Maniac, which featured on the Flashdance soundtrack.

2009, the Ghostbuster Campaign
Shot like a camp pop video, the 2-minute film also stars Ray Parker Jr, who appears in a number of guises, including a postman, a bus conductor and a mechanic. 60 and 40-second versions will also be broadcast. The legendary singer stars alongside the moustachioed 118 118 brothers who are back in tight shorts running round a London street helping people out. The ad ends with the trio standing on top of a mini van singing to a crowd of dancing onlookers.


Typhoo Tea – The Better Way to Wake Up

Each ad, in documentary style, featured a family comparing the power of Typhoo with a bizarre way to start the way: a drill sergeant, buckets of water, and a cockerel.

In the first, a drill sergeant bursts into the couple’s bedroom yelling at the top of his voice. The camera cuts to the woman talking to the camera. We see a box of Typhoo being exchanged for the sergeant at the front door. “Wake up soldier!” is yelled into the face of the sleeping woman. “Molies Molies” is yelled at the husband brushing his teeth. Children are harangued into eating up their breakfast. Those who don’t cooperate are forced to do press ups and star jumps. The ad finishes with the sergeant leaving and the woman claiming back her box of Typhoo.

“This week Typhoo have asked us to see if a drill sergeant can make a better wake up call than my Typhoo. He’s a bit intense. Yeah really loud. We began to miss our Typhoo. Very early on Michael my husband found it tough. He’s not used to the exercise. I mean it was an experience. But Typhoo is so much nicer.”

During the second week, buckets of cold water are the method of choice: the couple are woken up with water poured over their faces in their bed. The camera moves to them speaking in their dining room . We see them at their front door exchanging a packet of Typhoo tea for a white-jacketed man with a bucket. Time and time again they are taken unawares – drenched with the bucket of cold water. Finally the man leaves and the couple happily retrieve their Typhoo tea.

“This week Typhoo asked us to compare cold water to the wake up power of Typhoo. I didn’t realise that a bucket could hold so much water. That was a nightmare wasn’t it – breakfast time. We began to miss our typhoo very early on. We were sick of the water by day two, well day one really. But I mean it did wake you up. You know, who’d want to stay in a wet bed? We were very happy to get the Typhoo back.”

Finally, the family gets to live with a cockerel for a week. A rooster flaps his wings, crows and jumps on to the couple’s bed. They’re awake. Once again we see the woman talking, this time on her couch. We see scenes of bedlam as the rooster oversees cooking in the kitchen, roosts above the bathroom sink, sits on the windscreen of the car as Michael leaves for work and harrasses the woman as she dresses. Finally the cockerel is exchanged for the box of tea.

“Well this week Typhoo asked us to test the wake up power of a cockerel to see it it’s better than my usual cup of Typhoo. Well breakfast time was a bit… a bit tricky. Everywhere he looked he’d suddenly appear. It sounded like fun at first. But it’s a lot of effort having a cockerel all the time. He took a real shine to Michael. He said he woke you up. I just really am glad to have Typhoo back.”

Advertising agency was given the brief of helping with a product USP. They aimed at motivating drinkers to purchase Typhoo for their first cup of the day. All ads and sponsorship idents were shown between 6.30 and 9.30am.

Advertising Agency: Clemmow Hornby Inge
Creative Director: Charles Inge
Copywriter: Greg Mutton
Art Director: Stuart Button
Production Company: Bikini Films
Director: Martin Granger
Year: 2004/2005
Silver Lion for the campaign
Bronze at Clio Awards


15 Best Olympics Advertising for London 2012

1 – Procter & Gamble – Best Job

Arguably the most memorable Olympics 2012 ad, Procter & Gamble champions mums in this commercial titled ‘Best job’. The tear jerker, created by Wieden + Kennedy Portland, follows four child athletes on their path to the London Olympic Games, supported, cared for and encouraged by their mothers every step of the way.

2 – Nike – Find Your Greatness

Nike does it again. Now famous for its ambush marketing tactics around major global sporting events, the sports apparel giant launched ‘Find your greatness’ in 25 countries yesterday to coincide with the opening ceremony. Cleverly avoiding any mention of London 2012 and the Olympic rings, the ad features places across the world with ‘London’ in their names, along with local everyday athletes enjoying their sports. The ad was created by Nike’s longterm agency partner Wieden + Kennedy.

3 – Coca-Cola – Move to the Beat

Mother London, Mark Ronson and Coca-Cola traveled the world to create a new dance track using the sounds of sport from 5 Olympic hopefuls.

4 – Omega – Star Me Up

A remix of The Rolling Stones’ ‘Start me up’ sets the pace for this commercial with the same title for Omega, the official timekeeper of the Olympics 2012. The ad lingers on the moments right before the start of a race or event, the tension felt by the athletes as they hone their focus for the task ahead.

5 – McDonald’s – Rivals

The Olympic spirit lives within us all. And when gold medals don’t provide enough motivation for greatness, McDonald’s is proud to serve the Happy Meals, Big Macs, and Fries that put everyone in the mood for a little competition.

6 – British Airways – London Calling

British Airways has launched its Olympic advert as anticipation builds ahead of the Games. It features one of BA’s jets strolling through London and showcasing landmarks such as Trafalgar Square and the Palace of Westminster, before taking in the Olympic Stadium in Stratford. Best of all though, it is set to the soundtrack of The Clash’s London Calling

7 – Adidas – What will you take?

Among others, Olympic Games sponsor Adidas created ‘What will you take?’ in support of Team Great Britian in partnership with agency Sid Lee. The colourful advert touches on all aspects of being an Olympian, both good and bad, as it challenges the athletes to take the stage and embrace this fleeting, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

8 – Icy Dew – Sixty Percent

Taking a break from the blood, sweat and tears approach, Coca-Cola bottled water brand Icy Dew created this amusing ’60 per cent water’ TVC in partnership with BBH Shanghai ahead of the Games. While this one might not stir the Olympian in you, it will certainly make you chuckle.

9 – Powerade – Power Through

Another Wieden + Kennedy addition, Powerade‘s ‘Power through’ Olympics advert focuses on “the line between breaking point and breaking through”, the extra effort that makes the difference between those athletes that go home with a medal and those that return disappointed. More muscles, more tension and another emotionally charged voice-over, the real stuff of Olympics advertising.

10 – Samsung – Are You Ready?

Cheil Worldwide launched this ‘Are you ready?’ ad for Olympic sponsor Samsung in support of its Galaxy S3 model across 20 countries this week. Olympics ambassador David Beckham signals the start of the event by kicking a ball against a gong in an impressive long-range shot.

11 – Visa- The Difference

Worldwide sponsor Visa has been putting its name to the Olympic Games for 25 years. This ad, titled ‘The difference’, was created by TBWA Chiat Day Los Angeles and narrated by Hollywood legend Morgan Freeman. This is just one in a series of Sepia-coloured ads marking Visa’s quarter century partnership with the Games this year.

12 – National Lottery Funded Athletes – Jenny Meadow Mother’s Story

Inspired by the story of 800 metres runner Jenny Meadows’ mother, our newest TV advert looks at how National Lottery funding helps British athletes achieve their dreams. Extended version. Thanks to TNL players we’re helping over 1,200 British athletes fulfil their dreams at London 2012 and beyond. No-one has contributed more to our athletes than our players.

13 – EDF – Powering The Games

EDF is an official partner of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, supplying the Olympic Park with low carbon electricity for a sustainable Olympics to remember.

14 – GlaxoSmithKline – Marlon Devonish

Touching on the ugly side of sport, GlaxoSmithKline features English sprinter Marlon Devonish to promote its provision of anti-doping laboratory services at the Games. Created by TBWA London, the advert takes the viewer inside the athlete’s body to experience the tension and exhilaration as he prepares to run the race of a lifetime.

15 – BP – Fuelling The Future

BP is proud to be the Official Oil and Gas Partner for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, as well as a Premier Partner of the Cultural Olympiad.


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


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?’ “


Cadbury and the Joy of Content – The story of Glass and a Half Full Productions

By 2007 Cadbury Dairy Milk (CDM) was running out of steam; facing flatlining sales, losing relevance to younger generations and with an advertising model that felt tired. The solution was to create Glass and a Half Full Productions, a content-led campaign including ‘Gorilla’, ‘Eyebrows’ and ‘Trucks’. The new direction moved CDM from being a manufacturer of chocolate to a producer of joy. It also created a debate around whether creating ‘joyful’ content rather than ‘persuasive’ advertising featuring chocolate actually works or not. The whole campaign delivered a master brand payback 171% greater than previous campaigns, with ‘Gorilla’ alone delivering an incremental revenue return of £4.88 for every £1 spent.

This case is a great example of an incredibly powerful and effective campaign in the face of a tricky market that is seasonal and unhealthy. Cadbury successfully cut through media criticism with brave but fantastic creative work that captured the public’s imagination.

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Gorilla (2007)

In 2007, Cadbury launched a new advertising campaign entitled Gorilla, from a new in-house production company called “Glass And A Half Full Productions”. The advert was premièred during the season finale of Big Brother 2007, and consists of a gorilla at a drum kit, drumming along to the Phil Collins song “In the Air Tonight”. The creative idea for the campaign is founded upon the notion that all communications should be as effortlessly enjoyable as eating the bar itself. For ‘Glass and a Half Full Productions’ is a production house that exists solely to create content that makes you feel as if you’ve just eaten a bar of Cadbury Dairy Milk. A production house that makes things that make you smile. The advert has now become extremely popular with over five million views on YouTube, and put the Phil Collins hit back into the UK charts.

“I don’t know what this has to do with Cadbury Dairy Milk, but it’s funny. Among gorilla drummers, it seems the work of Phil Collins inspires a genuine cosmic connection” Tim Nudd, ADWEEK, August 31 2007

Advertising Agency: Fallon London
Creative: Richard Flintham/Juan Cabral
Director: Juan Cabral
Production Company: Blink
Producer: Matthew Fone
DoP: Dan Bronks
Editor: Joe Guest at Final Cut

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Trucks (2008)

On 28 March 2008, the second Dairy Milk advert produced by Glass and a Half Full Productions aired. The ad, entitled ‘Trucks’ features several trucks at night on an empty runway at a airport racing to the tune of Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now.

Like  “Gorilla”, Trucks is based on an offbeat concept set to a 1970s/80s rock soundtrack. It features a midnight drag race down an airport runway, using a range of vehicles including baggage transporters and motorised stairs. Trucks again highlights the skill of director Juan Cabral. It is beautifully choreographed and lit, with glossy production values and an energy that perfectly matches the music. It has a Top-Gear-meets-Wacky-Races appeal that will stand up to repeated viewings. It makes you wonder whether this is what’s going on behind the scenes at Terminal 5 – the baggage handling certainly leaves something to be desired.

According to Fallon, it took three weeks to “pimp” the trucks, the heaviest of which, the blue truck, weighed in at 25 tons. Shots of a tiny “underdog” battling against the giant provide human interest. The six-night shoot at an airport in Mexico involved 140 crew, two 35mm film cameras, two high-definition cameras and one crash-cam.

“We could have created Gorilla 2 and had him playing a trumpet,” the Cadbury marketing director, Philip Rumbol, told last Monday’s MediaGuardian section. “But that would have been too linear. It has to have a slightly enigmatic quality.”

“Trucks” therefore has a lot to live up to. It has a quirky charm, but is unlikely to change perceptions of the brand in the same way that its predecessor did. Gorilla became the ad phenomenon of last year – it was voted the public’s favourite TV ad of last year and won TV commercial of the year at the British Television Advertising Awards. It has also been credited with turning Cadbury’s fortunes around, helping the chocolate maker reverse the damage done by a 2006 salmonella scare and boost its UK market share last year. The Cadbury chief executive, Todd Stitzer, hailed 2007 as “the year of the gorilla”.

Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now was reportedly chosen for “Trucks” from a final shortlist consisting of Bon Jovi’s Living on a Prayer and Europe’s The Final Countdown. Picking the follow-up to a major hit is a notoriously tricky business. Whether Cadbury has got it right this time is open to debate, but at least it avoided the obvious “Gorilla 2″ route.

Advertising Agency: Fallon London
Creative: Juan Cabral
Director: Juan Cabral
Production Company: Blink
Producer: Matthew Fone
DoP: Dan Bronks
Editor: Joe Guest at Final Cut

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Gorilla & Trucks – Official Remix (2008)


On 5 September 2008, the Gorilla advert was relaunched with a new soundtrack – Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of the Heart – a reference to online mash-up of the commercial. Similarly, a version of the Truck advert appeared, using Bon Jovi’s song Livin’ on a Prayer. Both remakes premiered once again during the finale of Big Brother 2008.

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Eyebrows (2009)

In January 2009, ‘Eyebrows’, the third advert in the series, was released, of two children moving their eyebrows up and down rapidly to a set electro-funk beat: “Don’t Stop the Rock” by Freestyle.

The idea: Taking that moment of joy when you seize the opportunity to get away with your own little stunt, like making a funny face as your family portrait is being taken.The ad, by agency Fallon, opens with a brother and sister – wearing a dress in the trademark Cadbury purple – sitting for what appears to be a standard school photograph session. However, when the photographer leaves the shot the boy starts an electro tune, Don’t Stop the Rock by Freestyle, on his watch.

“Over at Glass and a Half Full Productions we noticed the wriggly potential of eyebrows and thought we would have a bit of fun with them,” said the Cadbury marketing director, Phil Rumbol. “Like the other productions ‘Eyebrows’ is all about losing yourself and embracing that moment of joy … after all, everybody remembers pulling a silly face or getting up to no good as a child when backs were turned.”

The one-minute film for Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate is thought to have been viewed more than four million times on YouTube and similar sites in its first three weeks. It is twice the number of viewings racked up at the same stage by the firm’s previous cult clip, in which a gorilla plays drums to Phil Collins’s In the Air Tonight. The eyebrows advert was first shown during the final of Celebrity Big Brother on Channel 4 and is still shown on television but its online success has been boosted by various links including one from the blog of American rapper and producer Kanye West and another from celebrity gossip blogger Perez Hilton. Cadbury’s has since struck a deal with Orange to give away the soundtrack as a mobile phone ringtone, which was downloaded 125,000 times in the first 11 days.

Lee Rolston, director of marketing for Cadbury Dairy Milk, told The Observer: “Television and online are morphing almost daily. We tend to put our first ads in big things such as the Big Brother final or the X Factor, then it’s immediately online, which becomes a very fluid, organic process. People tend to interact with the films and make their own versions and their own music. We just let it go and see what people think of it.”

Chris Hassell, director of Ralph, digital design agency specialising in viral advertising, said: “I saw it online first, which is the way it works now. When someone says ‘Did you see that ad?’, the first thing you do is look it up on YouTube.”

Advertising Agency: Fallon London
Creative: Richard Flintham, Chris Bovill, John Allison
Director: Tom Kuntz
Production Company: MZJ

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Dogs in Cars (2009)

Cadbury has launched the fourth A Glass and a Half Full Productions commercial, “Dogs”, featuring the music of the Blue Danube Waltz by Johann Strauss II. Dogs take turns riding in a purple Lamborghini Diablo on the Oran Park Raceway in Sydney, letting the air blow past them as they hang out the window. A Glass and A Half Full of Joy!

The fourth commercial in the Cadbury series, airing internationally, conceived by Fallon London and produced in Australia by sister Publicis shop Saatchi & Saatchi, Sydney. This spot is designed to make people smile by showing the joy when different breeds of dog enjoy the air rushing by when their heads are sticking out of an iconic Lamborghini Diablo as it races around Sydney’s Oran Park Raceway. (This spot was originally shot and aired in the UK, but because the sky was grey, the decision was made to re-shoot in OZ on a bright sunny day).

Advertising Agency: Fallon London/Saatchi & Saatchi Sydney
Creative Director: Steve Back
Production Company: Caravan @ The Feds
Director: Ben Lawrence

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Freida (2010)

In 2010 Cadbury has launched A Glass and a Half Full of Smoothness in New Zealand with tap dancing cows, doing the moves to Fred Astaire’s song, “Putting on the Ritz”. The ad screened for the first time this week during the first ad break of Desperate Housewives. The spot opens with a close up of a black and white cow’s face before heading into the slick little number. The ad finishes with the cow pushing aside mirrors and opening a purple curtain to finish with an ensemble act.. This is the first Cadbury spot in the series not conceived by Fallon, London.

The team took universally recognised ‘smooth character’, Fred Astaire, and gave his iconic dance routine the unique Cadbury touch to create another joy-filled Cadbury moment. One of the creatives told Campaign Brief: “Psyop (who did Coke Happiness Factory) are amazing to work with. We filmed two two dancers tied together to be the front and the back of the cow, then a real cow and matched all the movements in CG. It took 4 months!”
Advertising Agency: Tribal DDB, New Zealand

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Chocolate Charmer (2010)

In April 2010, a new advert aired, entitled Chocolate Charmer, containing a scientist mixing milk and chocolate to make a dairy milk bar to the tune of “The Only One I Know” by The Charlatans. This was subtly different to the others as it did not feature the ‘A Glass and a Half Full Production’ title card at the start. The 60-second TV spot takes viewers into the “magical” world of Cadbury Dairy Milk production where the chocolate charmer creates bars of milk chocolate. As the ad unfolds, the Charmer “conducts” towers of chocolate milk out of spinning glass bowls, orchestrated by levers and pulleys and his “magical powers” with chocolate.

Advertising Agency: Fallon London
Creative: Richard Flintham, Nils-Petter Lovgren, Filip Tyden, Dan Watt
Director: Henrik Hallgren
Production Company: The Moving Picture Company

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Ostrich (2010)

The spot continues Cadbury’s ‘Glass and a Half Full Productions’ concept, which began with Fallon’s Dairy Milk TV ad ‘Gorilla’ in the UK in 2007.

The TVC was created by Saatchi & Saatchi Johannesburg. Their Executive Creative Director, Adam Wittert, says, “The brief was to make people feel the same joy they experience when they eat Cadbury Dairy Milk, so we came up with the idea of an ostrich and an ostrich, being a bird, would find the ultimate joy in flying. So our ostrich goes sky diving.”

The ad begins with an ostrich walking purposefully through a stack of wooden crates. It then becomes apparent that he is in the cargo hold of an airplane; the cargo door gradually opens and the ostrich takes a leap into the air like a sky diver, with the song “I gotta be me” by Sammy Davis Jr coming to a crescendo. The ostrich gleefully flies through the sky into the sunset, before pulling the ripchord to his Cadbury-branded parachute at the last minute, with the strapline ‘A glass and a half full of joy’ appearing beneath.

Saatchi & Saatchi Johannesburg managing director, Grant Meldrum, said that the Johannesburg office worked closely with Saatchi & Saatchi Fallon in the UK: “This ensured that we produced a TV commercial that would have global appeal and, at the same time, underpinned the possibilities of achieving pure joy and remained true to the brand’s proposition.”

Advertising Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi Johannesburg
Creative: Adam Wittert, Keisha Meyerson, Bruce Murphy
Director: Peter Truckel
Production Company: Catapult Commercials

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Dancing Clothes (2011)

In April 2011, a new advert aired, known as ‘Charity Shop’ or ‘Dancing Clothes’, featuring dancing clothes at a charity shop to the tune of  We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off  by Jermaine Stewart. This exposed the song to a new generation who downloaded the track and returned the song to the UK Top 40 so far reaching no. 29. This ad also marks the return of the Glass and a Half Full title card.

The ad, created by Fallon, features dancing clothes in an initially lifeless charity shop. Individual clothes fall from the rails, rise from the floor and burst from cupboards, and the charity shop is transformed into a dancing extravaganza. Julie Reynolds, marketing manager for Cadbury Dairy Milk, said: “For us Cadbury Dairy Milk is about creating moments of joy that make people smile. We believe this production is another great way of doing just that.”

Advertising Agency: Fallon London
Creative: Augusto Sola, Sam Hibbard
Director: Megaforce
Production Company: Riff Raff Films

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Monks (2011)

Cadbury Dairy Milk Chocolate has a long heritage of giving joy. In this experience we highlight how people in a strict and disciplined environment break out and let loose when Cadbury’s drops in. It’s the equivalent of the drill sergeant cutting the troop a break, or a strict boarding school nun letting the bunking girls off. When our stern teacher is given the opportunity to teach his pupils a lesson, he shows them how to let loose. Pretty soon the whole class is laughing, dancing and thoroughly enjoying themselves as much as the people witnessing this moment of joy.

Filmed entirely on location in rural China, the commercial captures a surreal moment of pure joy in a Buddhist monastery. A temple gathering takes a new turn with the addition of purple helium-filled balloons, with the monks released to groove to the sounds of Flo Rida track “Low”, starting with the chorus line, “apple bottom jeans, boots with the fur”.

Advertising Agency: Fallon London
Creative: Augusto Sola, Sam Hibbard
Director: Megaforce
Production Company: Riff Raff Films


The Mégane Experiment – Can a car change a town?

The Mégane Experiment, created by Publicis London, is a marketing film for Renault that shows an actor named ‘Claude’ who goes to Gisburn, Lancashire, where there are no Méganes, and tries to convince the local population that a Mégane can change their lifestyle, health and enjoyment of driving by telling everyone he meets that he is a ‘joie de vivre’ expert Menton, Côte d’Azur, France, where there are many Méganes.

The campaign
Our challenge was to raise awareness of the Renault Mégane and position the car as ‘anti-bland’. Statistical research (towns with more Mégane had a higher fertility rate) pointed to a powerful thought: Mégane was a bringer of joy. More Mégane, more Joie de Vivre. And the most powerful way to promote this thought was to test it through a real experiment: could an English town with no Mégane embrace the French way of life and the car that epitomises it?
We approached the experiment like a documentary and produced an entertaining eleven minute film about how a car changed a town. The fully integrated campaign including TV, press, online display, and PR generated £1.8 million of earned media, 417,873 unique microsite visitors and over 313,000 YouTube views.
This is the next generation of advertising. Not just making a bold claim, but taking a product truth and proving it on air with real people.



The success of this campaign rested on directing our audience to http://www.TheMeganeExperiment.com to follow the progress of the experiment. Once there, they could witness Claude’s struggle with the Gisburn residents and the Joie de Vivre impact of the car. Media were chosen to build as much noise as possible, earning news and entertainment media coverage.

The teaser phase of TV, online display and national press introduced our spokesperson Claude (and his Facebook page) plus the two towns involved in the experiment (Menton, Côte d’Azur and Gisburn, Lancashire).
Ten days later the campaign launched with PR, TV, national press and online display.

Versions of the documentary film were seeded on Facebook, YouTube and blogs. Following the launch activity, Renault Dealers each hosted their own Festival de Joie test drive weekend, supported by regional press and online display.

Finally we used bus-sides and press wraps to build on the earned media.

Since the launch of the campaign, Mégane market share has not fallen below 5%, and in fact sales increased by 52% across the year! We generated £1.8 million worth of earned media and 417,873 unique microsite visitors. Rich banners achieved 0.28% CTR (double automotive industry norms), YouTube content exceeded 313,000 views and throughout the campaign, Claude conversed with 15,000 Facebook ‘friends’.
Brand tracking measures show prompted ad recall reached 23.6% (compared to 11.5% average).
Focus group attendees told us:
· “That one for the Renault Mégane RS, with the yokels driving. That’s really funny – and the car looks good.”
· “It’s funny, its real people and its personable”
And our client told Campaign Magazine:
“We wanted a campaign which broke from the norm, so a humorous, light-hearted Anglo-French cultural comparison works well for our brand.”
And finally, yes a car really did change a town.

Phil York, Marketing Director, Renault UK, said: “We wanted a campaign which broke from the norm, so a humorous,  lighthearted Anglo-French cultural comparison of two such distinct villages works well for our brand. The Mégane is an iconic symbol of French ‘joie de vivre’ and we’re hopeful that getting more of them on the road over here will not just bring a little more happiness to the residents of Gisburn, but also  the rest of Britain too.”

Advertising Agency: Publicis, London
Executive Creative Directors: Tom Ewart, Adam Kean
Creative Director: Ed Robinson
Art Director: Robert Amstell, Matthew Lancod, Paul Belford
Copywriter: Robert Amstell, Matthew Lancod, Ed Robinson
Designer: Paul Belford
Production Company: Smuggler
Director: Henry-Alex Rubin
Year: 2011
2 Silver Lions (Media & Titanium) 


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