Category Archives: Advertising

Clever Canadian Tourist Board

The video below looks a great deal better on the big screen, which is where I saw it last weekend.  Nevertheless, it’s still good in the smaller format. As an example of letting your fans do your work for you, it’s superb.  It’s also a great example of how to form a bond with your clients, to make them feel all warm and fuzzy as well as reaching out to prospective travellers and making them want to pack and take a plane and head for your shores that instant.

What did the Canadian Tourist Board do? Just asked Canadians to send in their videos. Which they did – 65 hours of it, of which this commercial spans two short minutes. Great minutes – not simply showing the beauty of the country, something we know about, but demonstrating what it’s like to be there. It will have taken some time to edit all that footage, of course, but that would have cost a fraction of the amount needed to create a commercial from scratch. It might have been the cheaper option but this film is far from cheap. It’s clever, intelligent and engaging and fun.


Posted in Advertising, Blog, Commercials, Travel | Leave a comment

L’Odyssée de Cartier – is this the most exquisite commercial ever made?

Maybe it did cost 4 million pounds to make. It could have been 5 million as far as I’m concerned. Much better to spend that sort of money on this stunningly gorgeous film than on a banker’s bonus. I watched it a week ago at the Islington Vue and again the following day. Going to the movies on a weekend morning is one of my great pleasures. Especially as, unless you are very unlucky, there’s no one else there. I do love a sparsely populated cinema. But I digress.

Watching this commercial made me think of others that stand out from the crowd. Like the Smirnoff ads, made during the eighties and nineties. A whole series, press ads as well as TV, presented beautiful and often strange images through the prism of the iconic Smirnoff bottle. There have been many other imaginative and creative ads – some action packed, others crazy or witty. Commercials such as Gap’s ‘Pardon Our Dust’, Sony Bravia’s ‘Bouncing Balls’ or ‘The Chase’ made for Levi 501s by David Fincher.  And one of my favourites of all time Vauxhall Corsa’s ‘Hide and Seek’, which inspired many similar commercials. Relatively few, however, come anywhere near L’Odyssée.

Honda’s commercials have been especially impressive and ground breaking. Garrison Keillor’s throaty voice helps too, although they’ve had the intelligence to use it sparingly for the most part. There are of course some exceptions, such as ‘Grrr’ where the whole point was the song. There is no voiceover at all in the sensational ‘Cog’ except for the wonderful line at the very end ‘Isn’t it nice when things just work.’ And although the latest offering ‘Spark’ has rather more, they are again not only perfect but used judiciously.

In its 165-year history, Cartier has created many memorable commercials – ‘Winter Tale’, ‘Calibre’ and ‘Promenade d’un Panthere’ – to name just a few. Of course the famous Cartier panther is actually a leopard.  But that’s an observation, not a criticism. I can find no fault with this surreal, spectacular and elegant film, which runs for a full three and a half minutes, a minute longer than Honda’s cog.  From the original score by Pierre Adenot and its classic and exotic imagery to the palette of subtle colours it simply oozes class.



Posted in Advertising, Blog | 4 Comments

Exactly what it says on the tin …

Recently a panel at Creative Review came together to compile what they considered to be the twenty top slogans of all time.  Not surprisingly, many of those that made it onto the list were not only familiar, but also long-lived. It’s a hard task, selecting from so many brilliant campaigns, and they’ve put together a great list.

That said, only five or maybe six of their choices make it onto my list. Heinz because it broke the rules, Ronseal because it’s so simple, and logical. Marmite and Audi are selected because they are so brave. Why brave? Anyone who works or who has ever worked in advertising will know what I mean. Tell a client that there are people who hate the product! Sudden death. Tell them you’re going to write their slogan in a foreign language or that you’re going to spell it wrong! Yikes!

I’m full of admiration for those agencies who were that brave.  And for those clients. They trusted their agencies, they let them get on and do the job they were hired to do. Their trust was well placed. ‘Beanz Meanz Heinz’ has been running for nearly half a century, Audi for 30 years and some of those on Creative Review’s list date even further back – ‘Say it with Flowers’ has been going since 1917! They all deserve their place, but these things are necessarily objective. So now, in no particular order, as they say on the telly – here’s my list. …

Beanz Meanz Heinz – Heinz

We take more care of you – British Airways

Does Exactly What It Says On the Tin – Ronseal

We try harder – Avis Rent a Car

The Appliance of Science – Zanussi

The Fourth Emergency Service – AA

Vorsprung Durch Technik – Audi

Freshly squeezed glaciers – Adelma

All you add is love – Ralston Purina dog and cat food

It’s Finger Lickin’ Good – KFC

Say It With Flowers – FTD

Drink Canada Dry – Dry Tonics and Mixers

Go to work on an egg – British Egg Marketing Board

You Either Love It Or Hate It – Marmite

A dog is for life – not just for Christmas – Dogs Trust

FCUK – French Connection UK

Extinct is Forever – Friends of Animals

Hand built by robots – Fiat Strada

Probably the best lager in the world – Carlsberg

Liquid Engineering – Castrol Motor Oil

Yes, I’ve had to leave out the iconic ‘Diamonds are Forever’ and not all the slogans on my list are still around – doesn’t mean they aren’t brilliant.  Ralston Purina, now simply called Purina, have a new slogan – ‘Your Pet. Our Passion’.  It isn’t a patch on the original, ‘All you add is love’.  I’d never heard of Adelma Mineral water until I looked at the slogans on Ad-Mad, but who could resist ‘Freshly squeezed glaciers.’ For what it’s worth I’ve chosen my slogans either because they are brave, or clever, or just, like Ronseal, say exactly what they do on the tin.

Nestle Purina

Posted in Advertising, Blog, Language, Slogans | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment