FAGE – “Plain”

This is such a beautiful (and at times freaky) TV spot for the total Greek yogurt FAGE, done by Psyop, taking the viewers on a poetic journey from “plainly plain” to “plain extraordinary”.

Advertisements

London industry visit 2011

Last week between March 28 – 31, I went on a trip with college down to London to visit four advertising agencies including Mother, RKCR/Y&R, Ogilvy and Saatchi&Saatchi, and the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority).

We were also given three live briefs from three of the agencies to work on, including moneysupermarket.com, Interflora, and San Miguel.

After arriving at London King’s Cross station at around noon, we had some time to check in to the hotel before going off to meet Mother.

The creative team we met at Mother was Tim McNaughton and Freddy Mandy. The agency looked really amazing and exciting. We all squeezed into this huge meeting room, with comfy chairs and pretty chandeliers. Then the team arrived. They looked as if they were the opposite of each other, but they were almost finishing each other’s sentences all the time. So each of us presented our idea for moneysupermarket.com and posting our ideas up on the board. They waited to see all the ideas before starting the crit.

The brief they gave us for moneysupermarket.com was basically to beat the Meerkat (which is almost like the arch enemy) and make moneysupermarket.com number one.

Here is my idea. It’s a TV/radio campaign around the tagline “Don’t troll”:

1.

Troll walking down the mountain. Talking to the camera.

Troll: Since Medieval Norway, us trolls would come down from the mountains and the forests to human villages to switch our ugly babies with prettier human babies. It’s always been our tradition.

[Reaches human village]

But look at them now!

[Camera shows human kids drinking, smoking, fighting each other]

The troll genes are everywhere. This is not a good deal!

Voice: Don’t troll. moneysupermarket.com

2.

Troll sitting in troll-style living room. Talking to camera. Documentary style.

Troll: A long time ago, us trolls bought a piece of land in the mountains of Norway. The real estate agent told us the location was perfect because the mountains could hide us from sunlight–it turns us into stone.

[Irritated]

But nobody mentioned the midnight sun. Sometimes we can’t go out for months. This is not a good deal!

Voice: Don’t troll. moneysupermarket.com

3.

Troll sitting in troll-style living room. Talking to camera. Documentary style.

Troll: My great grandfather’s death was the most tragic in the troll history. He got into this eating match with a human kid. But the kid cheated and poured every spoonful into his backpack. When my great grandfather was full, the kid told him to cut a hole in his belly so he could eat forever.

[Sighs]

It was so not a good deal.

Voice: Don’t troll. moneysupermarket.com

I used the word troll to signify two things:

  1. Don’t be stupid, like a troll.
  2. You don’t need to “troll” (as in to actively search for something) because moneysupermarket.com does the job for you.

The creative team said they loved the idea, but the word troll only has one meaning.

I was pretty sure I had done the research right, but I didn’t want to say anything to make a fool out of myself. But I checked the dictionary again and I found out that you can use the word troll in a sentence like: “a group of companies trolling for partnership opportunities.” But I’m not sure, if they don’t know that side of the word, most people probably don’t either. So maybe the idea isn’t that good afterall.

The team commented though that they expected much more work from us than what was shown.

After the crit, they talked to us and answered our questions.

They said, when building your portfolio, you should:

  • try pushing all your ideas, and expand the campaign to more than just print ads
  • show more than just ad campaigns, for example show something that solves everyday’s problem, show something that makes you more interesting.

In every campaign, there should be this one main idea (that is really awesome), and the rest depends on where you put that idea. And one tip is to find an irregular, new, and interesting profit of the product you are advertising.

They told us that at Mother, the creative team does all the job, including that of the “suits”, meaning they have to talk to the clients themselves as well. This makes the creatives understand the product and the client much better, and the creatives will end up being expert in many fields.

After that, we had an agency tour where the team walked and talked us through the agency. I must say that I loved every bit of it. The team was friendly and nice, and the agency looked and sounded amazing.

After the tour and after everyone had left, my creative partner and I stayed behind to ask for some opinions on our ideas for the other briefs. We also had the chance to leave our business cards (that we designed specifically for this trip!) with them and got theirs in return.

The next day, we had two agency visits, to RKCR/Y&R and Ogilvy.

RKCR/Y&R gave us a brief for Interflora, basically to state that Interflora delivers flowers.

I wrote three headlines for this brief:

  • We’ll prepare the gift, drive across the city, find her house, get through the growling bulldog, talk to her mum, and let you take all the credit.
  • We’ll arrange the gift, drive across the country, find his flat, curse at the broken lift, climb 22 flights of stairs, and let you take all the credit.
  • We’ll craft the gift, cross the oceans, find her place, argue with the foreign landlord, perform the birthday song, and let you take all the credit.

The creative team we were meeting was Andy Forrest and Nicola Hawes.

The team commented that they liked the idea of “letting the client take all the credit” but they felt like they were reading the same ad three times over. They suggested I should try using visual to solve this problem and to make the three executions look different from each other.

They said that they expected much more work from us, which was exactly the same comment we got from Mother. After that meeting, I decided to go back to my last campaign (for San Miguel) and expand that campaign much more than I originally did, in order not to get the same comment again the next day.

They suggested that we also should push all of our ideas into other media and not just to stop at print ads, to explore new media, etc.

They also said that it was a good idea to have other ideas at the back of your portfolio as backup, just in case the people you show your portfolio to don’t like the main idea you show them. Then you can just pull out all the other ideas (could just be scamps) and ask what they think about them.

They said the main component of a good campaign/portfolio is: good thinking + new media + experimental idea.

My creative partner and I also had a chance to leave our business cards with them as well.

That afternoon, we had a visit at Ogilvy, where we had an agency tour and a tour around their famous digital lab. (Random fact: Ogilvy has their own Ogilvy button in the elevator.)

Even though the whole agency and the digital lab was cool and a lot of fun, I didn’t think it was really my style. In one building there, there were 15,000 people working. It was such a big agency. Even though that means that they would have all the means you could ever dream of needing, I would prefer working at a smaller agency like Mother, whose environment pushes my creativity more.

The next morning, we had a presentation at ASA to listen to, which turned out to be very interesting and not boring at all (as we all kind of guiltily expected). We learned a lot about their guidelines, and how they approach complaints and make decisions. We saw some case examples, including the KFC TV ad that had thousands of complaints but never really got banned. I found most of the ads banned by the ASA actually deserved to be banned. For example, there was this one print ad for anti-wrinkle cream that airbrushed their model’s wrinkles out, which kind of meant that the cream didn’t work.

That afternoon, we had a meeting with Suzanne Hails at Saatchi&Saatchi, who gave us the San Miguel brief.

The proposition of that brief is simply “the slow beer”.

My main idea was to show a serial killer taking his time before he kills his victim, with the headline “Some things in life take longer to enjoy.” I loved that idea, but I could never really find any other idea to fill up the campaign. I finally picked two other ones that I am too embarrassed about to share them with you here. Being aware of how provocative this idea was, I decided to write down all my other “safe” ideas, including:

  • Do you know what the Spanish really do during siesta? They drink San Miguel.
  • Metaphor comparing San Miguel to other Spanish arts (dancing, cooking, painting)
  • George Carlin’s speech on the paradox of the modern life (click here to read)

I also added some promotion ideas to my campaign as well, which is to give out bottles of San Miguel in places where people have to wait for or spend a long time and on the bottle will be a sticker that reads “Take time to enjoy. Visit xxxxx.com”. This link will lead to a page that explains how people are flooded with activities and information that they don’t take time to slow down and do nothing. Researches also show that people are smarter if they do nothing for a certain amount of time everyday. On this website, people can pick the background and background noise of a place that they like (the beach, the forest, etc.), sit down with a bottle of San Miguel, and do nothing. People can also buy a bottle of San Miguel to get a code that they can use to unlock “exclusive” backgrounds.

Suzanne laughed so hard at my serial killer idea. She said it was the strongest execution in the campaign. She also liked my extension to the campaign and said that if I worked with the George Carlin’s speech idea, I could build the whole campaign with the ideas I already had.

She gave us one suggestion about when building a campaign for your portfolio with three executions. All the three executions should have some continuity, but should at the same time look different enough from each other. It should go something like this:

#1 portrays the idea > #2 crazier > #3 push till MAX

After that, we had an agency tour. Saatchi&Saatchi looked a lot like Ogilvy in a way, but I felt the environment was more “creative”. (The entrance was epic, by the way.) They had real British pub signs in front of conference rooms, and therefore, all their conference rooms are named after British pubs.

After the tour, my creative partner and I stayed behind (again) to give Suzanne our business card and have a small chat. She was so friendly and sincere. She also insisted that we kept in touch and send her our portfolio so she could take a look.

Overall, I had an amazing time in London this year (much better than last year) and I got even more inspired and excited about the industry than I was before. I now have this urge and certainty of rushing down to London after graduation and get a job or placement there. Unfortunately, I have already paid for Northumbria University, so I guess I’ll have to wait another year.

And if I could pick any agency right now, it would definitely be Mother.

Untoons

I’ve just stumbled upon these cool images of cartoon/video game characters after being untooned.

According to knowyourmeme.com, Untoons are “3D artworks of cartoon / video game characters depicted in photorealistic details while retaining their cartoon-like proportions. The “untooning” process typically involves compositing images of facial features over a 3D rendering of the subject. Untoons also demonstrate the art form of Hyperrealism.”

Here is a video by Pixeloo teaching how to untoon using Photoshop.

To read more about untoons and their origin, click here.

WD-40 print ads

Below are a series of witty and wickedly cool print ads from WD-40.

WD-40 “does one thing: Just about everything. It penetrates rust, removes adhesives and protects tools, yet many people still only associate it with eliminating squeaks.”

This ad campaign is targeted at car guys and focuses on all the ways WD-40 can make their jobs easier and infused it with a healthy dose of “shop-talk” attitude.

All the mechanics featured in this campaign are real mechanics in real garages and repair shops.

Created by O’Leary and Partners (Newport Beach, California) and shot by Tim Tadder.

Tub Gin Cullen-Harrison Parties 2011

Here’s an ad created by Red Tettemer + Partners for Peach Street Distillers, to celebrate the 78th anniversary of the end of Prohibition (April 7), where the makers of Tub Gin will be selling the small batch craft spirit for 25¢ a shot (at a handful of Philadelphia bars).

It’s so beautifully written and filmed, I feel so inspired (to drink)!