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High Five: The Deep Impact of Advertising


Performance Art Toronto copywriter, Leo Ding, breaks down a few of the ads that influenced him, getting him - and keeping him - in the biz

High Five: The Deep Impact of Advertising

The funny thing to me about advertising is that, no matter how much people say it doesn’t work, they can name their favourites and sing a few jingles when you ask. Because while most ads might not make an impact, when they do, they make a deep one. So, here are five ads that I really love. I sincerely question whether I have enough experience, taste or authority to confidently say: “Yes! These ads are good”, but at the very least, I can say they’re good to me...

Concerned Children’s Advertisers - 'The North American House Hippo'

Agency: In-house at Concerned Children’s Advertisers Toronto

A Canadian classic. If you mention the house hippo to any Zoomer or Millennial from Canada, I’m sure you’ll get a reaction. This commercial, which debuted more than 20 years ago, has the absolute honour of being the first ad that I can remember and one of my first memories period. It wasn’t the flashiest commercial in the world but somehow, it’s wormed its way into the collective unconscious of an entire generation - and will probably stay there longer than any other ad. To me, that’s something really special.

Helper - 'Watch the Stove'

Agency: Ketchum Chicago

There are many brands that have made an album, but let it be known that MC Helper was the first. The 'Hamburger Helper' mixtape dropped when I was in high school, and to say that it made me consider a career in advertising may not be a hyperbole. For a young creative kid thinking about his future, this caught my attention. It was wildly fun, culturally relevant and deliciously crafted. It was also the first time I saw a brand make an ad totally outside of traditional media. It was viciously unconventional and uniquely authentic to their audience. Above all, it got my best friend and me to whip up a box of Hamburger Helper that very afternoon. We’d never had it before that moment, but we’ve had a lot since...

Rethink Breast Cancer - 'Give a Care'

Agency: lg2 Toronto

I came across this campaign in university and it played a massive role in my creative development. This was the moment that all the disparate lectures about human truths, legs, and out-of-the-box thinking collapsed together and clicked. Suffice to say, I was inspired by the insight and how the lg2 team came about it. I was blown away by the heart and utility of how the idea came to life. I desperately, desperately wanted to write copy as pithy, genuine and poetic as the ones Ariel Riske had written. I had a professor that said the best education comes from awards books. He was right.

Burger King - 'Stevenage Challenge'

Agency: DAVID Madrid
Production: Landia Madrid

I won’t lie, I came across this campaign last year because it was the first link on the Grand Prix list in Love the Work More. I don’t think I clicked on another link until the next day. I’ve always found brands doing things more interesting than brands making ads, so there was a lot I liked about this one. I loved how they hacked the system and created content that embraced gamers, and set gamers up to embrace it. I love the humour and how even describing what they did brings a smile to my face. I love their willingness to really go out of the box with it.

IKEA - 'Window Shopping'

Agency: Rethink Toronto

I’m always coming across ads that inspire me, and occasionally one gives me a case of: "Damn, I wish I came up with that”. 'Window Shopping' is one of the more recent ones. It’s simple, it’s beautifully done and it didn’t rely on anything but craft and creativity. It was a great reminder - at a time where I kept trying to come up with innovations and trendy partnerships - that smart creativity is all you need.

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Performance Art Canada, Wed, 17 May 2023 11:30:01 GMT