On 22 August, the third and concluding day of Ad Stars in Busan, South Korea, a panel of creative leaders discussed some of the work that impressed them the most.
The panel featured BBDO Bangkok's Suthisak Sucharittanonta (SS), Mullen Lowe Group's Jose Miguel Sokoloff (JMS), and DDB Mudra Group's Sonal Dabral (SD). Here are some excerpts:
Samsung 'The Safety Truck'
JMS: I personally think this is a great piece of work for various reasons. Sometimes you start to question how many of such trucks they did. But it doesn’t matter... Because it is a brilliant solution to a problem that we all have and face when we drive. It is an easy, intelligent solution for a problem that has been around and making us scared for many years.
I can envision that this is one of those ideas that comes from advertising that will change something permanently. It would not be very surprising to me if all trucks, at some time will be required to have this technology by law. It is probably a little bit expensive right now but in time it will probably get cheaper and be applicable and make driving behind a truck incredibly safe. So, I think this is the kind of idea we need to aspire to and I really respect this idea.
What I like about this idea is the power of the solution. I think, too often in advertising, we try and find things that we think are intelligent solutions and then we go find a problem to solve. But this here is a real problem with a real solution.
SS: I think in the future all the trucks will have this. To me this doesn’t sound expensive because the technology to do this is only going to get cheaper and cheaper going into the future. It might even be required by law for trucks to be equipped with this.
JMS: The only thing we need to be vary of is to not have advertising invade it or to try to make it a media. Stay away from it because that’s going to f*** everything up.
SD: I personally love this idea because there are hundreds and thousands of accidents that take place in India because of this one reason.
New Zealand Transport Agency – Mistakes
SS: I liked this work a lot because it just doesn’t say that you have to be careful while driving but that other people can make mistakes too. It is really, really touching. The script is really good, the direction is brilliant.
SD: I loved this piece for various reasons. One is that there is so much being communicated and it is a really fresh piece with extremely strong insight. What they’ve done beautifully is to be restrained. It is not overwhelming. Because this kind of a film could’ve easily been too melodramatic. All the visual effects add in telling the story so you never get distracted by them.
JMS: I have to agree with everything that’s been said. One of the beautiful things this piece has is that it is a 40-second commercial. We tend to think that the 30 or 40-second commercial is dead but it isn’t. it just needs to be good, it needs to be done and crafted well.
We tend to come to these conferences and talk about digital and integration and all sorts of things and we want to forget the power of the 30-second commercial. We shouldn’t. It is still very powerful.
Hyundai : A Message to Space
SD: I strongly believe that there’s only two kinds of advertising. Advertising that talks to your mind and then the kind that talks to your heart. All great advertising has to talk to the heart. If you look at this, the most breakthrough innovative technology is worth nothing unless connected to human lives. It is an ordinary story of a girl and her father but set in extraordinary circumstances. The father is as far away as anybody can be from his daughter. And to weave in the handling capacity of the car, the agility, but all of it being done for a very human purpose, and of course the fundamental ‘how did they make this happen?' All of those things combine to make one of my favorite pieces of the festival.
JMS: I’ve had the opportunity of both judging and awarding this piece of work in different festivals, or privilege, should I say. And one category where I think this was deserving of a Gold is Outdoor. Because, Outdoor is not about reach anymore. It is about how Outdoor can generate content that can be shared around the world. That is the modern definition of Outdoor. This ad fits the bill perfectly.
SS: You can see a shift in advertising. It is not just about advertising something. They’re (brands are) smart enough to create content that engages consumers. This was a nice ad as it was made with a purpose and it is smart enough to lead with a human (interest). So when you watch the film, you see the performance of the cars but without it being forced on us. For me this is a great piece of work even though it required a big budget.
Volkswagen - Reduce Speed Dial
JMS: Right after ‘Mistakes’, this is a different way of approaching the same problem. It is a problem of speed, but this reminds you of it everyday, every time you get in and get ready to drive off. There is so much buzz around personalisation and this is taking personalisation to the maximum. It is one of those ideas that makes you think, ‘Anybody could’ve thought of that’. It was simple to do in the analog era but it is even simpler to do in the digital cars. Why hadn’t anybody thought of this before? Fundamentally, this is advertising that remind you everyday in a friendly and non-intrusive way to drive safe. It is very human.
SS: For me it is very insightful. I have a friend who lives in Bangkok who keeps pictures of his daughters on the dial. It really is impactful. In the old days, people in Thailand, used to keep a small Buddha figurine in hopes that Buddha will save their lives while driving. But if you look at this ad, it really is impactful, it makes you slow down.
SD: Once again a great example of technology coming together with humanity.
SS: In this case, the Zoo is trying to find a way to promote the zoo and the idea that they came out with, that of having a limited edition jeans putting dents in the fabric by lions, tigers and bears. For me it is really surprising, to use a limited edition jeans to promote a zoo.
JMS: I love the idea as well but I’m just sad that it is used for a zoo. Because I think there is a stretch between a zoo and jeans. I love the idea though but I wish a brand had done this. I wish Diesel had done this.
SD: I agree with what Jose is saying. I just wanted to make one point that this is again a lesson, that storytelling is so important for us as human beings. Our minds are wired to listen to stories. So when Apple brings out a Macbook Pro and says it has been made out of a single unit of metal, that’s the truth. But what’s interesting is the story created around it. So I find this ad powerful on that level – it is not just a pair of jeans but there’s a story around it, something for me to experience, something to feel, something to talk about.
SD: I love the craft of this. The best of advertising is the advertising that fools you into thinking it is something else. This commercial, till the time you see the line at the end, does not make you think that it is an ad. It is a beautiful story, beautifully crafted. Another thing I would like to tell the youngsters in the room is that we spend so much time looking into screens and all the possibilities that digital can offer, that what we need to do in between is to switch off and look around. Because ultimately ideas will come from human behaviour. If you look at the direction, the little cutaways, the art direction, it pulls you into a slightly surreal space. I can think of thousands of ways in which this ad could’ve been destroyed but only a couple of ways this could’ve gone right and this is one of those ways.
JMS: I wonder how this commercial was presented to the client and I wonder how the client bought it. Makes you think how this was presented and how the client was convinced that this ad is going to do something that the client needs. It completely marvels me. It could’ve gone wrong in a million ways but it didn’t. So there was someone protecting it along the way.
'I Touch Myself' Breast Cancer Anthem
JMS: This is a song by the Divinyls, a group that was very famous in Australia, and the woman who wrote this song died of breast cancer. All the ladies in the commercials are famous Australians as well. If you look at the casting, it is spot on in terms of age, relevant to the target audience. Everything comes together to make this idea work. It is a sticky song and detecting breast cancer on time has to do with touching yourself and it just makes so much sense. I am really envious of this. It has been produced well, it could’ve gone wrong but it didn’t. It is respectfully made and I only have words of praise for this.
Call Her Name | RED B.A
SS: I don’t know if it’s the same case in your country (the title of a woman changing after marriage) but the brand conducted a social experiment asking husbands to address their wives by their first names. It showed that on doing so the brain releases oxytocin, a happy hormone which makes skin healthier. Insightful.
Volvo - Made by Sweden - Vintersaga
SD: Beautifully crafted. Great work happens only with a lot of courage and daring. Normally a brand would like to project a happy side of its country but Volvo decided to show the harsh winters which makes its people and the brand. That it is what makes these people the way they are and that is what makes the cars the way they are. Craft-wise it is obviously beautiful with a great song to back it up. The piece totally engages you and immerses you in itself making you feel melancholic. But at the end of it all when it delivers the final line, it does so with a big punch. Beautiful!
(The journalist was in Busan on the invitation of Ad Stars and hosted by organisers.)