Nike’s ‘Don’t Do it’, @ixigo @PureNewZealand and more: 10 creative ads of the week

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Every week, I attempt to share a few creative ads which I thought were clutter-breaking and compelling, aside from some views on topics relevant to the marketing & advertising industries.. As many have said, the most important task of an advert (or any social media creative for that matter) is to be noticed. If that does not happen, everything else – a great strategy document or big media investment is academic. Last week too brands continued to invest in communication which was related to the COVID-19 pandemic, while some brands took a stand on riots in the US.

Nike: Don’t Do It

‘Just Do It’ is a legendary tag line. It has made its way into popular culture and strikes a chord among professional athletes and regular folk who seek to be fit. ‘If you have a body, you are an athlete’ is a succinct, yet deep summation of the brand philosophy. The brand claims that their mission is what drives them to ‘do everything possible to expand human potential’. Credit goes to the brand team and the ad agency for consistently creating compelling, refreshing expressions of that philosophy to present a higher order benefit. The brand enjoys a huge advantage: its arsenal of endorsements from sports celebrities. But even without the use of celebrities many of their ads have struck an emotional chord through a combination of great insight, creative idea and execution, as seen in this ad from 2012.

Of late, the brand has taken a stand on social and political issues which has drawn both praise and flak. It has waded into the brand purpose territory as have other brands like Burger King. In my view the brand purpose should have a credible link back to the brand’s core benefit and should not be merely a one-off stunt – the brand should deliver on it through action.

In a bold move, Nike has seemingly ‘reversed’ its stand of Just Do It by urging consumers not t ignore racism, justifying the ‘Don’t do it’ proposition. The ad says:

Don’t pretend there’s not a problem in America.
Don’t turn your back on racism.
Don’t accept innocent lives being taken from us.
Don’t make any more excuses.
Don’t think this doesn’t affect you.
Don’t sit back and be silent.
Don’t think you can’t be part of the change.
Let’s all be part of the change.

Agency: Wieden + Kennedy Portland

The hallmark of its effectiveness and the message resonating across groups is an acknowledgement from a large competitor, Adidas who lent their voice in support. Loved it.

WhatsApp: Rays of sunshine

The extended lockdown periods across the globe has evoked a variety of responses from brands. These include tributes to family times, working mothers and urging people to follow norms of social distancing. A new spot for WhatsApp poignantly captures the sweet, intimate relationship between a mother & daughter. I thought it was clutter-breaking because it managed to convey a positive aspect of confinement – a not-so-positive situation to be in. Also, it is welcome departure from visuals of empty streets and an air of despondency seen often in COVID-19 related ads.

Agency: AlmapBBDO

Intermarché – Je désire être avec vous

A French grocery chain, Intermarché has created an ad which captures an universal insight during these times: despite the anxiety related to likely health concerns in the coming months, many of us are looking forward to good times with hope. The ad agency explains the approach thus:

As the company has been supportive during these tough times it also wishes to remind you, that as it has always been, it will also be there for the good days. And the best of moments we all are going to experience again soon (at least we hope so): the first dinner with the loved ones we’ve all missed so much. A reunion that will be filled with great emotion for everyone.


The use of the Nina Simone song ‘Je suis seule mais je désire être avec vous” (“I’m alone but I want to be with you”) and a montage of visuals which don’t show people at all make it a compelling watch.

Agency: Romance

ITV: Hesitation

As part of an ongoing campaign to raise awareness for mental health, ITV has created communication urging people to reach out to those who maybe silently struggling with mental health issues. As is natural, there is always hesitation from both sides in raising or talking about a sensitive issue openly. The format of social media conversations captures the insight very well and effectively drives home the need to call.

Agency: Uncommon. See rest of the work here.

Tourism New Zealand: Journey of Reflection

Needless to say, tourism and hospitality are among the most affected sectors during the current times. In that context, I thought it was brave of Tourism New Zealand to take a philosophical look at our situation and nicely tie-in travel related word like ‘journey’ into inner reflection.

Agency: Special Group, New Zealand

ixigo: Naye safar ki shuruaat 

The content team at ixigo has consistently produced great work for the brand over the years. To me, the hallmarks of their output has been (a) compelling entertainment which has both the category and the brand woven as central theme (b) content that provides new information or adds value to the traveler (remember this travel hack from 5 years ago?) and very importantly (c) the content is produced in-house with modest budgets. The last bit however, does not mean that the content is shoddily produced with poor production values – in fact, it is the opposite. No wonder their content travels far and wide (pardon the pun) – in fact, their content head has literally written the book on viral videos. Their latest, produced remotely, strikes a chord as we all look forward to the magic of travel again. Bollywood actor Sanjay Mishra’s earthy rendition adds to the charm of the message.

Agency: in-house

Deutsche Umwelthilfe: say no to plastic

Here’s a clever way to link the non-biodegradable nature of plastic in terms of time frame with historic events where plastic bottles and straws are seen.

Agency: Havas

Nike: Never too far down

In an earlier post I had alluded to a big strength of Nike’s marketing arsenal: the bevy of sportspersons as brand ambassadors. In another spot conveying hope for better days to come many of them are featured in this montage.

Agency: Wieden + Kennedy

Sainsbury’s: Live well with less

Live well for less‘ is a famous tagline of Sainsbury’s conveying great value. In a smart twist, students of Edinburgh Napier University have created ‘Live well with less’ a campaign where 10% of a packaged good’s content is donated for a good cause. The rationale: in UK 10% of weekly groceries ends up in the bin.

Credits: Edinburgh Napier University. See all the work here.

Burger King: bail me out

The lockdown period has brought out the master chef in many of us. What’s more the activity isn’t complete without posting the dish on social media. Unfortunately not all such cooking endeavours are successful. In a social media promotion Burger King India urges consumers to post a picture of their cooking fail, give it a funny name, and tag the brand for a free whopper. This stunt joins the list of other initiatives by the brand to create buzz around the brand.

Agency: Famous Innovations

Which one was your favourite? Comment in.

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