Iceland Air, Ford Explorer and other top creative ads of the week

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Every week I attempt to share creative ads that manage to break through the clutter and drive home the intended message in an engaging manner. It’s a commendable achievement as a majority of ads simply go unnoticed. Here are my picks from this week:

Iceland Air: hard to leave

Choosing a travel destination for holidaying is a high-involvement decision. Much research goes into it and the needs & tastes of many have to be taken into account. The parameters get more complex when it involves family travel. And once a decision is made, there is no room for post-purchase dissonance as one has to endure the holiday period. It’s also very different from say, buying fashion as goods can be exchanged or at worse, a better choice can be made next time at a relatively low cost compared to travel.

In that context, building affinity when every country or destination city promises a great experience is critical. Popular culture also promotes usual destinations such as Paris, New York or London. Smaller countries like Iceland can create a niche by playing up the offbeat nature of the destination and creating likeable advertising. A new spot for an airline doubles up as a country advert as it ticks all the right boxes. It dramatises the compelling sights & landmarks of the country as a reason for visitors to ‘hard to leave’.

Agency: Pablo, London

Ford Explorer: relive Aloha’s trip

Apparently Aloha Wanderwell was the first woman to drive around the world. Between 1922 and 1927 she visited 43 countries in a Ford Model-T car.

Aloha Wanderwell became an explorer, a filmmaker, a wife, and a mother. She began her journey around the world at age sixteen and visited places that no western man or woman had ever seen before. Wanderwell’s daring voyage began in Nice, France, and she would eventually sail homeward from Kilindini Harbour, Mombasa. Throughout the journey she had to adapt to challenging circumstances; kerosene replaced gasoline, and crushed bananas were used as grease for moving vehicle parts.


Now, Ford in a bid to showcase what is possible in an electric vehicle, they are re-creating the world trip in a Ford Explorer. I found the idea interesting as it demonstrates, beyond just a claim the long distance capability of such cars. It’s also a continuing attempt at tackling the obstacles towards switching to an electric vehicle as we recently saw with Hyundai’s “your dad is going electric” campaign.

Agency: AMV BBDO

Robinson: the Air Drummer

Storytelling is touted as a new-age marketing phenomenon of the digital world. Fact is, we’ve all grown up listening to or reading fables & stories which convey message in an indirect manner. Some great ads too have told wonderful stories – like this classic for example. In this context comes an indirect message from a supermarket brand – ‘discount for what you love most’ conveyed in an interesting, unexpected manner. Another example of advertising from Thailand that is distinct, relevant and memorable.

Agency: WolfBKK

Cheil: Knock Knock

I am guilty of being cynical about award winning ideas whose intent, effectiveness and link to a business result is often dodgy. Some ideas maybe for a cause which allow for unfettered creativity, I suppose. An award campaign in South Korea caught my attention for its ingenuity and simplicity in tackling a real societal menace: domestic violence. Apparently, reports of domestic violence decreased during the corona pandemic (when it was on the increase globally) – primarily because women could not report the incident as they shared the same living space as the perpetrators. The agency, Cheil Worldwide devised an ingenious way to alert the police discreetly – as explained in this video.

Agency: Cheil Worldwide Seoul

In terms of real world impact:

Following the campaign launch, a total of 5,749 links were dispatched to individuals in emergency situations, and as a result, ‘Knock Knock’ was officially recognized as an emergency call system in South Korea


Pepsi: Rise up, baby

Frankly, I am tired of ads for cola and other fizzy drinks. In the absence of a real product story (at best a forced, invented ones like low sugar or strong taste) it’s a tough ask on advertising to provide the differentiator. Hence they keep refreshing the advertising theme in an apparent attempt to ‘reflect’ the mood or pulse of the intended audience. The latest from Pepsi is a call to ‘Rise Up’. Am sure there is an account planner’s rationale for how it fits into a new distinct positioning for Pepsi reflecting the aspirations of today’s youth and all that – it’s a well made, slick film with an ‘out of the box’ visualisation of the concept.

Lays: keep ghar par Lays

I liked it simply because it does a good job of dramatising the oft seen ‘going to great lengths to acquire it’ appeal of food products.

Jio Cinema – Tata IPL: the digital experience

I felt the film had a ‘see how desi we are’ vibe to it and it was trying too hard to be cool while doing so. Yet, it manages to convey the kind of experience one can have on an app as compared to regular TV broadcast. It build anticipation of what’s possible with the Jio Cinema app and hence it worked for me.

Agency: Ogilvy

TESCO: Easter ad

Tactical ads, especially those announcing a promotion can be tough briefs. Here’s one to announce the chance to win a cash gift card if one spots a pic of #CrackingEaster in any Tesco logo.

Which one was your favourite? Do comment in.

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