Executive creative director, J Walter Thompson London
It’s a pretty simple cycle. Great work from others makes you feel angry. And a bit jealous. You wish you had come up with the idea first. You wish you had done it. But then all that turns into pride and gratefulness. Proud and grateful to be part of our industry. And respect. Respect for the creatives who came up with that great piece of work. After that, it makes you angry again and want to work harder at getting to great work like the one you just saw.
The line-up today is full of work capable of triggering that cycle. I’ve been moved, I’ve been tickled, I’ve been run over. I felt angry, a bit jealous but full of respect. Because I’d have been proud to make any one of this week’s ads.
WARNER BROS (1). Everyone loves Batman. Especially Batman. Three powerhouses (Lego, Warner Bros and Channel 4) have come together to produce a piece of work that adds to the magic of Lego’s movie franchise. It’s great to see collaborations and, in this case, we have two. Bringing Batman to Channel 4 plays to each brand’s merits. And it makes Channel 4 intermission takeover fun, inventive and all things Batman! It worked wonders on my kids and – let’s be honest – myself.
GAMBLEAWARE (5). Ooof! The casting in this ad is brilliant and the execution is as sharp as its dialogue. I sense there has been a little inspiration from Sir Ben Kingsley’s Don in Sexy Beast, but that’s only because the performance is as cutting and menacing. The tortured inner voice of a gambling addict is equally reassuring as it is manipulative and this plays to the menace of addiction incredibly well. Although troubling, I do want to see more of them. I’d be intrigued to see how this idea plays out in other media, especially contextualised online and out-of-home.
PADDY POWER (3). Now for the opposite end of the spectrum. An amusing ad with an earworm of a soundtrack turns this overlooked chubby coach driver into a loveable character. This ticks all the boxes for me entertainment-wise. And, on top of that, it’s about seeing the silver lining and staying positive. An insightful piece of work that empathises with the everyday and leaves you with a smile, humming.
LAND ROVER (2). Being based in Knightsbridge, we’re surrounded by these, so it’s good to see the Chelsea tractors in their natural environment. Land Rover stays true to its roots of being hard-working vehicles but still doffs the cap to its King’s Road audience with a Michelin-star restaurant experience. Land Rover puts its products to the test and demonstrates that the proof is in the pudding.
BRITISH HEART FOUNDATION (4). Mullenlowe delivers another incredibly powerful piece of work, raising awareness of heart disease. This out-of-body experience, through the eyes of a bridesmaid, demonstrates the importance of having regular health checks. Told through the ripple effect it has on loved ones, the ad does exactly what it intends to do, and I’m left with a rightfully worrying aftertaste.
OK. Enough. Now I’m angry again. Back to working hard to get to great work that makes somebody else angry.