Nikon’s ‘non-AI’ images, Channel 4 ident, Cannes contenders and more: creative ads of the week

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It’s that time in the ad world again – Cannes contenders are being showcased across advertising & marketing portals. Many of them are not traditional ad spots (save for exceptions like this outstanding ad from Apple on accessibility features) but case study films anchored on some ‘do good’ act. Sure, there is creativity on display but as many have pointed many seem like convenient ‘made for awards’ projects not meant to solve any real-world business problems for regular brands. Aside from those there were a few others which caught my eye this past week:

Nikon: don’t give up on the real world

Artificial Intelligence has been used to generate images, seek answers to existential questions, solve equations and a lot more. We’ve all seen surreal images created by using a few prompts, even in social media campaigns for brands. Nikon has created campaign which presents real photos places around the world which dramatise the natural beauty around us.

This obsession with the artificial is making us forget that our world is
full of amazing natural places that are often stranger than fiction.  Our world is full of natural beauty that is often much more incredible than any AI generated photo.


The strategy and execution is spot on as both are highly share-worthy on social media and drive home the point so well – hard wired to the business of the brand.

Agency: Circus Grey Peru

Great Western Railway: Five get there first

Consistently investing behind a theme or a distinct brand asset is one of the hallmarks of successful brands. The Great Western Railway in the UK has evoked memories of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five adventures with its set of ads which dramatise the charm of train travel. A new spot, pretty much like the previous ones dramatise the benefits of train travel, this time pitting it directly against travelling by road which has its own set of drawbacks. A feel-good film which brings a smile.

Agency: adam&eveDDB

Channel 4: idents 2023

Brand idents are those short films which TV channels used to run commonly. The intent was to not just remind the viewer which channel they were watching but try and tell a short story of the channel’s theme. MTV (back when it played music videos only) used to a do a great job of it. Sometimes, brands & channels create idents for specific shows as we saw with Volkswagen and ‘electrifying movies‘). A new set of idents for Channel 4 (as part of its brand refresh project) is simply mind-blowing.

Agency: 4C Creative

Wimbledon: Always like Never Before

In a departure from a relatively staid ‘The Stage Awaits‘ theme last year, a new film for the Wimbledon is a fast paced montage showcasing legends and new talent. There is also a signature track from hip-hop and electronic producer Hudson Mohawke, with vocals from GiGi Grombacher. All of these point to an intent to attract younger audiences to the brand.

Agency: McCann, London

The campaign also a set of posters which dramatise the greatest rivalries and showcase the tennis stars.

O2: roam in the EU

The anxiety of high costs associated with data in international roaming is a real pain point. In markets like EU where there are many small countries, travel from one to another could mean heightened worries on this front. A new spot from O2, UK shows the likely mishaps and disasters which could occur if one choses to switch off data for fear of costs. ‘Skip the data drama’ says as the ad as it reassures that there’s no extra cost for roaming in the EU.

Agency: VCCP

Greenpeace: Future Utopia ft. Avelino and Tomorrow’s Warriors – Don’t Stop

The scene: a bunch of middle-aged folks, some of whom appear to be ‘senior executives’ are partying away unmindful of the young people who are serving them. The intent is to create awareness about climate change and the fossil fuel industry who ‘are partying like there’s no tomorrow’. A cover of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Don’t Stop’ serves as the apt backdrop to this initiative.

Wildfires. Flooding. Drought. Hurricanes. Heat waves. The climate crisis is destroying millions of lives. Meanwhile oil companies are partying like there’s no tomorrow, making more money than ever before: profiting from pushing our planet to the brink.


Agency: Mother

Kruger Products: Life Can Be Messy. Love Can Be Messier

An ‘anthem’ film with a montage of visuals set to music. Sounds familiar? A cover version of ‘Never Tear Us Apart’ from INXS forms the background of a film for Cashmere Bathroom Tissue which aims to ‘be real about love in all its forms, from the toughness of heartbreak and thrill of first love to the softness and strength of enduring relationships’.

Agency: Broken Heart Love Affair

Citizen M Hotels: AI advertisement

While we’ve all embraced Artificial Intelligence in some form or the other, the widespread belief is that it cannot replace the ‘human touch’ so necessary in every field – especially in creativity. Citizen M Hotels created an ‘AI generated ad’ to drive home this point. Clever.

Agency: KesselsKramer 

The Postponed Day: mammogram checkup

In Argentina, it was found that women were putting off their annual mammogram checkups. A few NGOs came together to postpone observing the International Breast Cancer Awareness Day (October 19) again and again. This caught media’s attention and when the chatter on postponement increased, private clinics offered free checkups for mammograms. This initiative won at the Clio Health Awards.

Agency: Grey

Dove: Turn your back

Here’s a Cannes Contender I like. Apparently, TikTok has a filter called ‘Bold Glamour’ which digitally alters one’s picture – an “ideal” of beauty, and it looks very real. Such filters have a negative impact on impressionable young minds as they ‘prefer’ the edited appearance thus negatively impacting self-esteem. A simple solution asked users to turn their backs to the camera thus effectively nullifying the impact of a filter which looks for a face to alter.

Dove Turn Your Back

Agency: Ogilvy

Transport for London: safety posters

Many of us switch off when listening to messages which are too familiar. Frequent flyers don’t pay 100% attention to safety announcements (some airlines acknowledge such behaviour by saying ‘even if you are a frequent flyer’). Similarly, train travellers in London may not pay full attention to announcements like ‘Mind the gap’. A new set of posters meant to stop such people on their tracks (literally) will run on digital and outdoor media. Loved the art direction.

Agency: VCCP

Which one was your favourite? Do comment in.

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