Focusing on ads with incredible execution of discovery and escapism, senior art director at Ogilvy, Anthony Dziworshie, shares some of his all-time favourites
I love everything about being creative. Creativity makes the world turn (apart from gravity, obvs) and allows humans to continue to evolve and innovate. We all know there’s no one way to advertise products / services, but there are many interesting ways of engaging audiences, regardless of the platform. At the heart of all memorable advertising is storytelling with a unique view. For a narrative to truly resonate, it needs a great story arc that catapults you on a journey of discovery or escape. Some of the ads and insights I’d like to share below are classic ads with brilliant copy and arresting visuals, short animation films and modern brand films that have inspired and reinvigorated me as a director and creative over the years...
Guinness - 'Surfer'
Agency: AMV BBDO
Production: Academy Films
Director: Jonathan Glazer
Sound: Soundtree Music Limited
The very first time I saw the Jonathan Glazer directed ‘Surfer’, I was left speechless! The first thing I thought was - 1) this is 100% what I want to do, and most importantly, 2) this is how I want to make people feel. As a creative, it obviously resonated with me, but it’s clear this ad also resonated with a whole generation. Personally, it was an early lesson in bringing powerful copy to life with a phenomenal VO, great music choice and exceptional visuals that force you to stop what you’re doing and pay attention! As a director myself, I admire Jonathan Glazer’s directing style as he keeps you enthralled with great storytelling and poignant filming techniques.
NBA - 'Jingle Hoops'
Agency: Goodby Silverstein & Partners San Francisco
Production: O Positive
Editorial: Final Cut
Sound: Barking Owl
What drew me to this piece of work was that it’s such a simple idea but executed brilliantly. Christmas time is when we tend to see ads ramp up. So, during this time it can be a challenge for brands to standout. However, this NBA ad uses its USP, the NBA superstars in a way the fans haven’t seen before! The general premise of the ad is the players shoot for the hoop (which has bells attached) in rhythmic cohesion. Then every time each of them score, the bells on the net create the nostalgic and melodic jingle bells theme. Again, it’s a simple idea, but a difficult execution involving green screen, VFX, timed computer simulations and the 101 other things that come with shoots with talent. Also check out the prequel NBA BIG: colour ad, which is good, but nowhere near as ambitious as the Jingle Hoops ad!
Nike - 'Find Your Greatness: Jogger'
Agency: Wieden + Kennedy Portland
Production: Park Pictures
Sound: Lime Studios
Sometimes you come across an ad that reminds you how powerful our visual medium can be. This Nike ad resets what it means to be inclusive and ‘who’ is chosen to participate in sports. Wieden + Kennedy use descriptive copy to illustrate what ‘Greatness’ could and should mean to anyone who wants to get involved with sports. In terms of the visual, sometimes a ‘continuous shot’ can feel laboured if there’s not enough action happening in frame. But, tonally sometimes it can be perfect like ‘The Shining's' tricycle scene or ‘La Haine's' dolly counter zoom scene’ or even the most recent '1917 - battlefield running shot'. For me, neither the copy or visuals do the heavy lifting, instead they work in complete tandem, holding your gaze and attention superbly.
Lyft - 'June: Life Is Better When You Share the Ride'
Agency: John Kahrs
This seven-minute Lyft short showcases brilliant storytelling that is based on real Lyft driver’s stories. The genius of this animated film is the narrative pulls you in, and once you’re in, you’re emotionally invested in its outcome. Similar, to the masterful opening sequence of Pixar / Disney’s animated film UP. Sometimes animation-based content doesn’t always have a story. But Academy award-winning director John Kahrs has done a remarkable job in letting this animation breathe! As we follow June’s story, the audience are reminded (no matter their age) that we all crave a sense of belonging, purpose and community! The rollout for this film was also strategically thought out, as the release date for this film launched Lyft’s first 'Driver Appreciation Day' where they matched tips on December 14th for drivers nationwide (US). This was a progressive way of activating their customer base, empowering their drivers, while also harnessing the power of the Lyft community.
Apple - 'Apple HomePod: Welcome Home'
Agency: TBWA\Media Arts Lab LA
Production: MJZ x Final Cut
Director: Spike Jonze
Director Spike Jonze’s 'HomePod' film reminds me of a throwback to past ensemble films with performance at its heart. Films like 'Singin' in the Rain' (1952), 'West Side Story’ (1961) and ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ (1968). The thing I also love about this film is Spike Jonze has cast FKA Twigs. This feels modern but also inclusive, while reflecting Apple’s core values. I must say it’s refreshing to see a genre I grew up on (but didn’t necessarily see myself) embrace diversity in all its forms. The other thing that is becoming noticeable, is some brands are starting to embrace longer durations for shorts or brand films like Burberry's 'Open Spaces’, Channel 4's 'Superhumans’, Palace x Gucci, Honda's 'The Other Side', ‘Come Together' - a H&M Holiday Short Film directed by Wes Anderson, and the ironic Burberry film 'Singin' in the Rain’. Moving forward, I think creating films like this will be key in standing out amongst all the noise.