‘Icelandverse’, Christmas ads and more: top creative ads of the week

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Every week, I attempt to share a compilation of clutter-breaking creative ads and occasionally some commentary on the business of advertising. As many have noted, a majority of the ads out there go un-noticed, so managing to break the clutter is actually a big deal. Here are this week’s picks including ‘Icelandverse’- a parody on metaverse and more.

Inspired by Iceland: parody on metaverse

Poking fun at jargon or needlessly complex, obscure language used in the business world – especially in the marketing & advertising domain, is common. Very often this involves a fad and industry insiders use such language to appear ‘with it’. Metaverse is a buzz word we’ve all heard of late – with many describing it as the next big thing. Facebook has spoken about Metaverse a lot and brought all their brands under a new company brand – Meta.

In some quick thinking, Inspired by Iceland (a private company which promotes products from that country) has latched on to the opportunity (moment marketing anyone?) and created a fun ad which doubles up as a great tourism video for the country. It has subtle references to Mark Zuckerberg’s real life incidents too – apparently he was photographed with his face covered in sunscreen recently and that ‘look’ gets featured too. The writing is witty and promotes the sights with copy such as “water that’s wet” and “skies you can see with your eyeballs.”

Aldi UK: Christmas Carrot

Festive advertising – be it in India or the West poses a dilemma to brand managers and ad agencies. Do they stick to ‘category codes’, set the plot and have all the visual cues associated with the festival? If so, they run the risk of adding to the sea of sameness. If not, they’ll be told by the client that the script does not feel like a film relevant for that festival. When it comes to Christmas ads, ‘big retail’ in the UK has mostly gone with all the feel-good cues. As this article says it is a ‘perfect excuse for major retailers to conduct an advertising assault that pulls on our heart strings and empties our pockets’.

The audience favourites recently have tried to tell story. In this year’s spot (seemingly inspired by Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol) for Aldi, we see a Christmas loathing banana named Ebanana Scrooge who has a change of heart thanks to Kevin the Carrot. It has all the trappings of a feel-good story where the brand is centre stage as all the ingredients of a meal feature as characters including Marcus Radishford. ‘For you to be happy, you need to be kind’ is the non-preachy message which goes well with the festival theme.

Agency: McCann

Tesco: nothing’s stopping us

This ad has all the visual cues associated with Christmas – snowfall, carols, Santa and more. But Queen’s ‘Don’t Stop Me’ as a track adds the unexpected cue and is relevant too as it sits well with the average consumer’s mood to celebrate after the travails of Covid-19.

Agency: BBH

O2: better connected

‘For every plan purchased with us we will donate free data to someone who needs it’ is the simple premise of another feel good from UK. I like how the idea has been personified by creating droid-like figures who visit the homes of the needy to donate data.

Agency: VCCP

IKEA Canada: Assemble together

‘Assemble together’ is such a clever phrase to depict both IKEA’s product philosophy and the sentiments associated with festivals. In Canada, while the Indian-diaspora is sizeable enough to be mainstream it is nice to see a festive ad anchored around a Diwali setting. The hero if the ad, as it were, is a foot-tapping Hindi film soundtrack. The visuals are ‘choreographed’ to its beat and it all makes for a riveting watch which brings a smile.

Agency: Rethink

John Lewis & Partners: unexpected guest

The ‘John Lewis Christmas campaign’ is the most anticipated event of the year in the marketing world. The brand and its agency have delivered big hits consistently. What I liked about their approach every year is the creation of an integrated campaign idea which extends to the in-store shopping experience as well. ‘Unlikely friends’ coming together to share the feel-good experience of Christmas is the theme this year too. The props featured in the ad are showcased for purchase as also the sound track from the ad.

Agency: adam&eveDDB

JD Street: ‘turkey’

I am clearly not the target audience for this brand of sports-fashion retail from the UK. I was also not aware of the celebrities featured in the ad. Yet I admired the clever branding in this ad which features a man getting distracted on ‘JD Street’, from the task given by mum. A takeaway is dubbed Jerk & Dumplings, the signboard on a grocery store is Juicy & Delicious – get it?

Agency: Cake

McDonald’s: Imaginary Iggy

After watching this ad, you too might ask yourself ‘what’s the role of the brand in this story?’ That’s a legitimate question in this otherwise sweet story (bit John Lewis like) of a girl and her imaginary friend. I guess it drives home the point that one is never old to have imaginary friends and that its a pity to lose the proverbial child-like imagination.

Agency: Leo Burnett

LIDL: big on Christmas

Lidl is a discount retailer promising low prices. The premise of ‘always low prices’ is stretched to show Christmas celebrations in the future. The Groundhog Day like scenario has twists with some quirky takes on what the future might hold in terms of gadgets and lifestyle.

Agency: Karmarama

Awards gone wild: professionals

‘The ad industry will do anything to win awards – whether it’s embellishing results, creating dogwalker campaigns, or faking entire projects’ is a premise based on facts and past history. Every major global creative awards show has its share of dodgy work – ads created for imaginary clients or one-off work for a major client probably released once in some obscure media just to enter awards – we have seen it all. An ad from a Canadian agency imagines what would happen if people from other professionals adopted similar tasks as folks from ad agencies. Funny, yet depressing.

Agency: Zulu Alpha Kilo

Sport England: get back to what you loved

Lockdown restrictions are easing across the world. However, 2020 has effected huge changes in our lifestyle – many of us have accepted being attached to a digital screen as the default way to spend time. Some may be itching get back to an active lifestyle in the outdoors but could still be plagued with a worry. Sport England’s new campaign urges people to get back to their favourite sporting activity. I loved the simple visual device of a ball or prop ‘coming alive’ to sing a song with a plea to ‘get back to what you love’.

Agency: FCB Inferno

Which one was your favourite? Do comment in.

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