Burger King’s mouldy Whopper, Old Spice and more: 10 top creative ads of the week

This week, there were several attention-grabbing campaigns including the much-debated ‘mouldy Whopper’ ad from Burger King. However, the percentage of ads which get noticed and recalled is still minuscule compared to the vast amount of commercial messages which go unnoticed every day. Here are a few creative ads which caught my eye this week:

Burger King: mouldy Whopper

Last year, I was fortunate to listen to a presentation from the much-celebrated CMO of Burger King on the various initiatives to revamp the brand. Every year, Burger King embarks upon a couple of initiatives which generate buzz globally. Some of the common traits of these initiatives – be it stunts or ad campaigns, include: unconventional approach, product at the centre and anchored on a consumer benefit.

In a new campaign Burger King wants to highlight that they have removed artificial preservatives from their Whopper sandwiches across Europe and the US. While a straightforward ‘no artificial preservatives’ or ‘all natural’ would have conveyed the message it would have been too boring and not in line with the brand’s unconventional DNA. They chose to demonstrate what happens to ‘natural’ food when it allowed to rot. The decay over time has been converted into a virtue with dramatic visuals of rotten burgers.

This has triggered a debate in the marketing & advertising industry with many saying that such visuals will put off consumers and they will turn away in disgust. In my view, this is a brilliant and likely to be effective campaign for the following reasons:

  • The first task of any advertising is to get noticed. If the ad is not noticed everything else (strategy, media spends) is immaterial
  • Of course, merely getting noticed is not enough; people and brands do crazy stuff to gain attention. But noticeability has to be matched by relevance and a link to the brand. In my view, this campaign is relevant because it is anchored on a ‘no preservatives’ proposition
  • The initial reaction from consumers maybe a grimace or even disgust but eventually (and not too late) the penny will drop and the benefit will be apparent

Some say that fast food customers are not too concerned about preservatives as they are really not seeking a ‘healthy’ meal at such outlets. However, the campaign highlights something which consumers may not have thought about hitherto but may soon look for in other brands. Overall, I feel this is a winner in all aspects: noticeability, driving home a benefit and generating PR value. We need to wait and check if it has a positive impact on sales. One thing is for sure though – this will dominate Cannes and other industry awards.

Agency: INGO, Sweden

Old Spice: the way thick hair was

It’s a decade since the famous Isaiah Mustafa campaign for Old Spice rolled out. It’s natural that any new campaign for the brand will be compared with the original which set the internet abuzz. A new campaign for Old Spice Thickening System carries on with quirky, self-deprecating humour and it works.

Agency: Wieden+Kennedy

NHS: take the drama out of minor illnesses

The NHS in UK wanted to convey that ‘pharmacists are experts in medicines who can help you with minor health concerns’. A set of posters bring that idea alive based on the insight that many of us over-react to minor ailments – making a drama out it.

Agency: M&C Saatchi

Coca Cola: iconic bottle

Brand assets may include a unique colour (Kodak and yellow for example), a jingle or other identity. Coca Cola is blessed with many: colour red, the shape of the bottle, the wave and even the ‘Open Happiness’ platform. In Italy, a clever billboard reminds people of the iconic shape of the bottle without actually showing it.

Agency: Publicis

Tata Trusts: two bins

In many parts of India, especially in the metros, conservancy workers are forced to work in filthy, unsafe conditions. Tata Trusts aims to highlight this issue and promote a safe, healthy working conditions for them. A new film urges citizens to start with a small act – separate waste at home, so that it can make the life of a conservancy worker a little better. The film is powerful, evoking revulsion at the depths to which such workers have to go because waste was not separated at source.

Agency: FCB Ulka

Coca-Cola: Open

It appears Coca Cola too is moving towards conveying a social message in its advertising. ‘Better when we’re open’ is the new tagline set in a chaotic urban setting – where everyone is arguing with each other. The campaign urges consumers to ask themselves ‘could I be wrong’ and not take an extreme, rigid position.

Agency: Wieden+Kennedy

The campaign also includes a comic strip-style static campaign.

Land Rover: No time to die trailer

Brands and associations with movies are usually limited to product placements. In a new spot for Land Rover, actual rehearsal footage from the movie makes for a great advert for the brand.

Agency: Spark 44

Pampers: share the love

As Suzanne Pope says at AdTeachings, this spot has a real insight. Just a change in perspective can make such a difference to a proposition. Loved it.

Agency: McKinney, Durham

Milk-bone: bring your pet to work

The ‘what if?’ questions leads to a lot of creative possibilities. For example, what if people brought pets other than dogs to work? A computer graphics lead fun spot ensues.

Agency: Publicis

Teva: hairspray

Pharmaceutical companies are not known for creative consumer-facing campaigns. A new ad from Teva tells a touching story of an elderly gent who learns hair styling only so that he can make his ailing wife happy by doing her hair.

Agency: VCCP

Which one was your favourite? Do comment in.

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