‘This genre of advertising is seeing newer avatars, morphing into digital and online. But there’s still something about a good TV commercial. Here’s where the power of storytelling is condensed into some seconds and minutes at best. Turning an idea into a super script that engages and is memorable in today’s world where the flick of a button could zap it out is a challenge. The commercials listed below stand testimony to the impact of a story well told.
1.Canal Plus ‘The Bear’
Irreverent. This commercial about a temperamental director - who intriguingly happens to be a bear - brings alive the magic and love for movies, the product that Canal + wants to focus on. Very well shot in a medieval Europe reminiscent setting, it draws you into the behind the scenes story, with a witty take at the end. In the times when the fading away of TV commercial is being lamented upon, this is such a refreshing idea with brilliant execution. I’d be happy to be the rug. A big thumbs up.
2. BGH SILENT AIR ‘Dads In Briefs’
The things hot weather can drive you to. This commercial had me draw parallels with the ‘visuals’ I still get to see here in India during the sweltering summers. So damn insightful -dad walking in briefs - is probably tick marked in many a mental book under the ‘delete embarrassing memory’ column. Brilliantly executed. It strikes a neat balance - exaggerated but within the limits of elasticity. It’s not very often that one gets to see such fantastic advertising for an Air conditioner brand. And make such a compelling case for it.
3.DORITOS DIPS ‘Dip Desperado’
My new hero - Esteban the ‘El-Flicko’ champ from this superb commercial. Marvellously casted, the story of this chip-flicking star and his rise and moving fall from grace is an engaging saga. It has narrative, pathos, a certain graph. The commercial strikes the right chords and plays out the symphony of emotion really well. It has the codes of a feature film, much like the Stella Artois ads of yesteryears. Great retro feel. It’s also neatly tied up with social media. With the dip desperado online game et all.
4. CHIPOTLE ‘Back To The Start’
Willie Nelson cover of Coldplay's ‘The Scientist’ plays on and goes straight into your heart and whams into your gut. There is searing honestly in this piece of creative. Brilliant animation aside it’s the telling issue that it raises in a simple fashion. For a Fast food company to propagate a change from soulless industrial to a more humane way of manufacturing is a big deal. To reboot, to go back to the start is not easy .One player, one industry at a time...perhaps change will happen. Chipotle shows the way. Bravo.
5.JOHN LEWIS ‘The Long wait’
To make a heartwarming ad for the Christmas season is one thing but to do so with panache, another. Gifts you can’t wait to get is one thing, a gift you can’t wait to give is another. Beautifully shot, this spot from John Lewis makes the point pleasantly surprising. And some moments of the child’s impatience as he awaits Christmas morning so that he can give his imperfectly wrapped perfect gift to his parents, are captured very well. The warmth and innocence shines through the scenes. The track 'Please Please let me get what I want ' is placed well. The editing and detailing is remarkable. It’s not overdone. Thank God. And yes the kid’s face stays with you.
6. THE GUARDIAN ‘Three Little Pigs’
It’s a big one. The ‘fairytale’ of the three little pigs and big bad wolf turned on its head and played out in the arena of the 24/7 over informed world.
This spot from Guardian does a fine job of portraying the complex wiring of today’s world through the lens of media, illustrating how print broadcast online and social media converge to shape news real time. The story of the Three Little Pigs boiling the Big Bad Wolf is open to fevered reporting, frenzied opinions and mutates into a multi and social media snowball. This ‘whole picture’ of open journalism shot in a docudrama style replete with a computerized ‘huff and puff’ stimulation is wonderfully layered and crafted. An extraordinary piece of work, very today. Epic.
7. MTV BRAZIL 21 ANNIVERSARY ‘Balloons’
‘Flipbook ‘has been an old time favourite and MTV’s used this device in a fresh, out-of-the-box manner. The concept of ‘Music never stops’ is well played out in this campaign that uses hundreds of balloons with images on them that are popped to create a flipbook effect animation.
8. BBC ‘It’s a Wonderful World’
Nostalgia envelopes, the images delight and one effortlessly falls in love with the world through this tribute from BBC. Stunning images well in sync with the words of this Louis Armstrong classic rendered, inimitably by Sir David Attenborough. But soon after I watched it, cold realization set in. This is the wonderful world that we are so callously destroying. So much to lose, if we don’t act now. Inspirational.
9. FERNET 1882 ‘Anxious people and a pen cap’
Click here to view the commercial.
This bit of work from Argentina uses the popular stunt route and dramatizes it effectively. Mocking the anxious crowd, it plays on two common nervous tendencies - chewing on a pen cap and fingernails in an exaggerated manner. Watching this larger than life display are two chilled out dudes sipping on their beer. It’s quirky, visually arresting and brings out the contrast between those who drink Ferret and those who, well, simply tap their feet.
10. JIM BEAM ‘Parallels’
Willem Dafoe’s weather beaten face strikes you first, the eloquently written copy makes its presence more than felt, just a wee bit later. The philosophical tone explores the impact of the choices one makes, be it the route we choose or the destination we seek. A jet owning corporate flyer or his dandy chauffer, a star trapeze artist in a circus or a mere worker there – the courage of choice and the outcome is well played out. The Milwaukee v/s New York and the real life instance of Dafoe choosing the latter whilst leaving his hometown Appleton adds to personalize this story of choice. The vignettes are beautifully shot and have deep emotional resonance. No hard sell, just a measure of reality that stays with you. Introspective.’
(Author Prasoon Joshi is Executive Chairman and CEO McCann WorldGroup and Member of The Global Creative Council. This is a reproduction of his commentary on the top 10 TV commercials featured in the Gunn Report 2012.)