These ads didn't take the Grand Prix at Epica: Michael Weinzettl shares his pick of spots which caught his attention.
During my time at the Epica Awards jury in Amsterdam last week, I was struck by the impressive quality of execution of so much of the work on show there, particularly in the film categories. There may have been perhaps a paucity of new ideas, but as I said before, in terms of concepts none of the commercials came close to the cleverness of the year-old Harvey Nichols "Sorry, I spent it on myself" Xmas campaign by adam&eveDDB London. In terms of craft, however, a lot of the work I saw was quite stunning.
Which is why I’ve decided this week to present to you some of those commercials from last week that may not have won gold, silver or even bronze but that really made me take notice - either because they were so weird or so exceptionally made. And in some cases both of these things.
First of all there was the bizarre "Dry Mouth" spot for Toohey Extra Dry beer from Australia – created by Sydney agency BMF and with Goodoil Films by – in which a mouth, tired of being misused in various ways by its owner seeks out a life of its own and is quite a feat in animation. Incidentally, the brand’s advertising is no stranger to disengaged body parts. Back in 2003 it made quite a splash with a spot called "The Quest," in which a sleeping man’s tongue emancipates itself and goes in search of some Tooheys Extra Dry.
Another pleasant surprise for me was the Foot Locker "All Runners Welcome" commercial. Although the agency, BBDO NY, had submitted the print campaign to our magazine where it was duly featured in Vol. 4/2014, this was the first time I had come across the lovely animated spot by Geoff McFetridge, an LA-based artist who works across a variety of media.
Very beautiful to behold is this rare offering from Iceland, for the Blue Lagoon skin care company which was created by the Döðlur agency, Reykjavik, and directed by their creative director, Daniel Atlason, together with Börkur Sigþórsson. The brief laboratory sequences, however, should have better been left – to use a pretty much obsolete turn of phrase – on the cutting room floor.
The next ad for Dolby did win an Epica Gold, in the Animation category, where it faced perhaps the stiffest competition in any of the categories – there was so much first-rate work to choose from. It’s by the Creative Artists Agency in Los Angeles utilising the considerable talents of Academy Award winning Moonbots Studios, from Shreveport, Louisiana. They’re also the people behind the Chipotle "Back to the Beginning" and "The Scarecrow" films that won just about every award the ad industry has to offer.
A French 30-second spot, as funny as it is effective in describing the need for the product was "Next time label it" for Brother brand labelling machines from Paris agency Rosapark, who you’ll no doubt remember as the one responsible for the "Innocence in Danger" campaign – one of these ads graced the cover of Vol. 2/2014.
This extravaganza next, by Russian production company Bazelevs, made me alternately cringe and gasp: Just looking at it you may never guess what it is for but it advertises the services of Donstroy, an upscale Moscow housing developer. I don’t think I’ve seen a more fanciful CGI-based commercial in recent memory.
Finally, for the ones amongst you who – like myself – sometimes appreciate a decidedly childish sense of humour: here is a spot from this year’s crop of Epica submissions issued by the Scottish Government for the "Scottish Bowel Screening Service." The title of the online film by Edinburgh's The Leith Agency, "The Poo Song," says it all.
28 November 2014
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