I grew up on hiphop. It made me realise the power of the spoken word and the importance of tempo and rhythm in storytelling. Finding the right sample is much like finding the right insight. It can inspire abundance of fresh new creativity. So, having spoken word and rhythm in mind, here are the five poetry in advertising pieces that I believe to be flawless...
Louis Vuitton - 'Word'
Agency: Ogilvy Paris
Production: Steam Films
Director: Stuart A. McIntyre
Post: Alter Ego
Sound: Apollo Studios
Louis Vuitton campaign paying homage to the boxing legend Muhammad Ali - this piece of communication doesn’t feel like advertising. It’s artistic, it’s emotional, it’s thought provoking. Each shot framed beautifully, timed beautifully. Yasiin Bey (fka Mos Def) delivering Muhammad Ali’s verbal poetry with true honesty and intrinsic passion, while artist Niels Shoe Meulman creates a painted calligraphy masterpiece on the boxing ring floor. Ten years old now but it still amazes me every time I watch it.
Levi’s - 'Levi’s Legacy'
Production: Radical Media
Director: Ralf Schmerberg
Post: Method Studios
Sound: Search Party Music x Eleven Sound
It might be an obvious choice, but who cares? It’s good. It’s so hard to make these kinds of commercial works feel unforced and honest, but here it’s done effortlessly. Charles Bukowski’s poem 'Laughing Heart' narrated over rapid cuts of change-bringing moments directed masterfully by Ralf Schmerberg forever etched this '60s film in the brain cells of my memory cortex.
Barclays Bank - 'Drama'
Agency: BBH London
Production: Academy Films
Director: Jonathan Glazer
A series of adverts featuring Samuel L. Jackson and directed by Jonathan Glazer. Each one featured a different monologue delivered straight to the camera while walking. All monologues appear strange, unclear and slightly delirious, and I enjoy them all. In this one, he recites a passage from Shakespeare's 'The Comedy of Errors'. The confusion brought by these cryptic poetic monologues gets a slight resolve with the end-line "Money speaks in many languages. We understand them all."
Discovery Channel - 'The World Is Just Awesome (Boom De Yada)'
Director: James Rouse
Sound: Brian Chapman x Beacon Street Studios
I love the mountains. I love the clear blue skies. I love catchy songs. I love amazing ads. I love the whole world - it’s such a brilliant place. Boom De Yada. Boom De Yada. Boooom Deee Yadaaa.
Nike x Kanye West x Nas x Rakim x KRS-One- 'Classic (Better Than I've Ever Been) Remix'
Director: Thibaut de Longeville
Sound: HeadQCourterz StudiosCommissioned by Nike to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Air Force 1, this track won a Grammy. Produced by DJ Premier, it showcased poetic homage to the legendary sneaker performed by Rakim, Nas, KRS-ONE and Kanye West. The video was directed by Thibaut De Longeville and featured the iconic graffiti artists - Tats Cru. This project thought me that ads don’t always have to be ads really.