40+ examples of cool advertising photography: Part 1

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Why do we love  lists? Here are 10 Reasons Why. We are surrounded by lists of all kinds: Top 10 movies,  ’25 examples of this’ and ’15 examples of that’. Lists that rank things (‘Top 10 freeware programmes’ or ’20 must-have applications’) are liked even more on the web; magazines like Time and Fortune have also made brands out of lists. A lot of creative work is presented in the form of lists on the web: ambient ideas, car ads, celebrity ads and so on. I have attempted a few in this space: 30 great print ads that tell a visual story,  19 print ads with attention grabbing copy and a follow up to the visual story post. Why not add to the list of ‘list posts’ and look at a compilation of ads that showcase cool advertising photography? Herewith a few examples:

1. Adidas – F50+

A mega production of a TV commercial, captured beautifully in static media.

Agency: 180 Amsterdam. Photographer: Finlay Mackay

2. Adidas

Based on the insight that a whole nation is behind the performance of athletes at the Olympics, the campaigns features several athletes from around the world. Here are 3: Russian polevaulter Jelena Isinbajeva: “Alone I jump. Together we soar”, Chinese Taipei Taekwondo athlete Chu Mu-Yen: “No one gets up when a whole country kicks.” and USA sprinter Tyson Guy: “Ever seen a nation fly?”

Agency: TBWA\ TEQUILA Hong Kong; Photographer: Nadav Kander


Anti-smoking ads are meant to be shockers and Associação de Defesa da Saúde do Fumante, Brazil or ADESF, has consistently produced work that delivers on that count.

Agency: Neogama/BBH, Sao Paulo, Brazil; Photographer: Robert Polidori

4. Amnesty International

Scores of children, recruited as soldiers, can only dream of simply being children. That’s the cold, direct message from this campaign.

Agency: TBWA, Paris; photographer Michael Lewis

5. Audi

Pure energy, is the claim. May take a fraction of a second to figure it out but sure makes the car drool worthy.

6. Audi Quattro – 25 years

A series of images were published (as a calendar, I think) to celebrate 25 years of Audi Quattro. Drool.

Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi

7. Citizens Crime Commission, New York

I am sure there is digital touch up involved in this but the visual imagery of guns as the familiar NYC skyline makes it an arresting ad.

Agency: DraftFCB, New York; Photographer: Julian Wolkenstein

8. Cordaid

Making the rich feel guilty of their lifestyle in relative terms is a brilliant strategy in itself. The photography brings it alive.

Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi, Amstelveen, The Netherlands; Photographer: Calle Stolze

9. Discovery Channel – Dirty Jobs

To promote the Dirty Jobs programme on Discovery, the creative agency presented a visual resume of sorts of the anchor. Brilliant.

Agency: Discovery Communications, Washington DC, USA and RPA, Santa Monica, USA; Photographer: Roger Hagadone

10. Domestos

In a movie poster like claim, ‘You are not alone’ the idea comes alive. But the photography imbues a creepy air to the scenario with the prospect of germs watching your every move.

11. Fraich Fries

I am sure we’ve all been through this. The 70s-style photography gives it a sitcom like feel. Awesome.

Agency: Grey, Paris: Photographer: Achim Lippoth

12. Hermes Air de Paris

High end fashion advertising relies so much on unconventional photography. The ads here, appear like works of art.

Agency: Publicis EtNous, France; Photographer: Camilla Akrans

13. IKEA

Free home delivery is the claim, brought alive by some awesome art direction and photography.

Agency: DDB, Berlin; Photographer: Mikael Strinnhed

14. Koleston hair colour

Kissable hair, thanks to Koleston. The classic visual pun.

Agency: Leo Burnett Milan, Italy; Photographer: Studioros

15. Lamborghini

I had written about these ads earlier. The corporate reminded me of Indian ads in the early ’90s and the ‘Born in Italy’ ones made me laugh out loud.

Agency: Philipp und Keuntje GmbH, Germany; Photographer Jürgen Berderow

Agency: Philipp und Keuntje, Hamburg, Germany; Photographer Arthur Mebius

16. Land Rover

Makes work play is the claim. This apparently uses tilt shift techniques to transform photographic subjects into what appear to be miniature objects.

Agency: Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R, London, UK; Photographer: Nadav Kander

More advertising photography goodness soon. Hope you liked this collection; do comment in about the ads you liked most.

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A marketing communications professional with a keen interest in all things advertising. I share creative ads and views on the ad industry here. Views are personal. See Disclaimer for more.


  1. Solid list of cool advertisements! The Cordaid advertisements interest me the most. Guilt is a very strong emotion and using it to make money has been a tactic used for years. I'm not sure if this advertisement is able to pull on the heart strings enough though – The message isn't clear enough…

  2. This creative advertising list is very very good and innovative, In this list i like "Koleston hair colour" ad and adidas ad very nice creative ads.

  3. Awesome collection dude…the IKEA & d Lamborgini add( dont drive faster than what ur gps sattelite can fly)…just amazing application of USP to the marketing/ ad world arena…

    keep up the good work..

  4. can i use some of the pictures in encouraging students in our school in joining sports? I don’t want to be accused of stealing something if it’s not allowed.

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