Upwork, KFC Delivery and more: 16 clutter-breaking creative ads of the week

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Over the last couple of weeks, my social media and TV time was much less than usual, thanks to (I should really be thankful and not just mean it as ‘due to’) some travel. I did not pine for any of the streaming shows, news channels, sport telecasts or social media feeds. Of course, I welcomed it as a break and maybe sooner or later would have wished I had all my devices and a strong wifi. I caught up on popular ads showcased on ad portals and a handful caught my eye. As part of regular compilation of clutter breaking creative ads, here are a few:

Virginia: welcome to Virginia

In 1969, the ad agency Martin & Woltz Inc., came up with the tag line ‘Virginia is for Lovers’. The context and timing was right for a line that was considered provocative back then. The ‘free spirited’ nature of the time and the appeal to a younger demographic made the campaign resonate with a lot of people. The campaign idea was was inducted into the Madison Avenue Advertising Walk of Fame in 2019. A part of the magic of that line could be attributed to its appeal for any age group of travellers – not just young couples.

A new campaign has the Governor of Virginia welcoming visitors and promising that the state offers something for every kind of traveller. While not anchored on the the famous tagline, I quite liked the positive, welcoming nature (no pun intended) of the ad and would likely compel someone to add the state into the consideration list as a travel destination.

Agency: The Martin Agency

Volkswagen: unwritten rules of the road

As I watched this campaign, I instantly felt it would be so relevant to a market like India where commuting can be stressful and chaotic as many simply don’t follow traffic rules. Interesting that even in western countries where one perceives drivers to be orderly and mindful of road etiquette such a campaign idea is needed. Each film, laced with humour is dedicated to one aspect of driving which can be made better by being mindful of others. In India, we might need a campaign comprising hundreds of such films.

Agency: Johannes Leonardo

Levis: made to last

Most of the Levis ads I remember have been about the iconic nature of the brand or high on the fashion & lifestyle quotient. A new ad from Levis focuses on the durable nature of the product without losing on the ‘coolness’ of the brand – perhaps because of the interesting situations and the visual device of the transition from one scenario to another.

Agency: AKQA

Back Market: Sorry cats

The creative mind sees possibilities and connections which are not immediately apparent. Who would have ‘connected the dots’ between a cat and a brand that sells refurbished devices? Loved the idea and the execution.

Agency: Buzzman

SAVILLS: we know your area

I live in Bangalore, India where real estate advertising is everywhere – on print, billboards and online. The most common approach, especially when it comes to premium properties is to pitch the brand as ‘fit for those who have arrived and only prefer an opulent lifestyle’. This is manifested in promising ‘mediterranean living’. ‘New York living’ or ‘California’ living. A variation of this is to cue an obscenely rich lifestyle. ‘If your holidays are in Ko Samui, this property is for you’ and such like.

What a refreshing sight to see such ads in the UK.

adidas Football: odyssey

Brands can dream big. But ultimately its the execution of an idea that matters when it comes to impact. A new spot for adidas pays a tribute to Real Madrid and its 120 year-long legacy. What makes it so compelling is the beautiful Japanese anime style and a simple story with a universal appeal: ‘After being thrown into a parallel universe, our three heroes will have to overcome their fears. Inspired by their idols, they will have to defeat evil forces in the most important match of their lives‘.

Agency: MNSTR

iPhone 14 Pro: the chase

The video capabilities of the iPhone 14 Pro (and higher) are likely to be put to use to the hilt by professional movie makers. But the desire to own such devices, anchored on such features, is felt by a lot of users who are most likely going to use the phone as a ‘point & click’ or ‘point & record’ device. A small portion of the special effects capabilities may come into play. But Apple manages to hook consumers with its magic combination of highlighting features and evoking a desire for the brand, time & again.

My5: Michael Palin

In the UK, Channel 5 offers a video-on-demand service called My5. A print ad to promote the show ‘Michael Palin into Iraq‘ is so strikingly different from the typical promotional ads we see in India. It is also a reflection of the client’s ability to buy creative which is clutter breaking and bold. Most would have insisted on 30 other design elements and a big-bold call to action, ‘Watch Now’!

eBay: the old camera

This director’s cut is in French (without English subtitles) but one can not only understand but ‘feel’ the story: that of a young daughter who repairs her dad’s old camera using parts she bought from eBay. Loved the emotions and the compelling watch even though one could anticipate how the story would end.

Agency: Artefact 3000

Deliveroo: decision time

If you’ve ordered from a food-delivery app, the scenario is familiar: being overwhelmed with choice. Visual devices cleverly bring out the dilemma of choice and the situation is solved simply by…someone else.

Agency: Pablo

G-Star RAW: Hardcore denim

Don’t look for logic in fashion advertising. It’s all about breaking the clutter and being noticed as every often there isn’t much of a product story to tell. In that context, a new ad for G-Star RAW stands tall, literally as the visual device is that of English actress Cara Delevingne towering over city scapes.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4: da Vinci

I am not a fan of Android phones, as I prefer iOS and the Apple ecosystem. I used to dislike Samsung too as I thought they copied the design system of the iPhone around 2008-09 and only later went on to build differentiators such as a larger screen. But I must commend them for being the only Android-based phone range which constantly challenges Apple and has occupied the ‘iPhone slayer’ position in the consumer’s mind, with stiff competition from OnePlus and Google Pixel perhaps. An ad, released about a month ago has an amusing premise: how would Leonardo da Vinci have used the Galaxy Z Fold4? The subliminal cues are interesting as da Vinci has associations of being an innovative genius who was ahead of his time.

Agency: Ogilvy

Deadpool: updates from Ryan and Hugh

I am not a fan of Wolverine or Deadpool. So a lot of the references here were lost on me but the internet seems to love it. I enjoyed these primarily because it yet again shows what a masterful ad man Ryan Reynolds is. He and his agency, Maximum Effort have got virtually everything right in all their projects – both in terms of strategy (what & why) and execution.

Lionsgate+: emotions

In the streaming world, save for the niche channels, all the mainstream brands promise a range of content covering all the genres. A new spot for Lionsgate+ claims the same but focuses on the emotions these genres evoke and the execution is top-notch, pretty close to the actual content on such services.

Agency: adam&eveDDB

KFC Delivery: comforts of home

The refreshingly different angle with which one views a problem to be solved can lead to creative break throughs. Home delivery is not a break through service. But viewing it as a solution to an imagined problem of ‘not being able to treat a KFC outlet like your home’ leads to simple, delightful creatives.

Agency: Mother, London

Upwork: this is how we work now

The marketplace for freelancers, Upwork has a new ad which has a decomposed corpse as the protagonist. You’d think that would make for uncomfortable viewing but the ad is full-on entertainment complete with a jingle. And it drives home the point which is likely to resonate more in the post-pandemic world: the ‘old way of work’ is dead (a claim made by HP too, recently).

Agency: Alto

Which one was your favourite? Do comment in.

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