last week i visited my older bro, petey (apparently i’m the only person on the planet that still calls him this instead of “pete,” which probably makes sense since he’s creeping up on 40 years old, but already, i digress), and his wife, ann, in minnetrista, MN — a town of about 4,000 people outside of minneapolis. although i was hoping for some cultural nourishment in minneapolis, i didn’t plan anything ahead of time. and besides, i was coming off a busy year in LA and the only thing on my agenda was sleeping and eating…and what culture would I ever find in minneapolis of all places?*
lucky for me and thanks to petey and ann, there was plenty, and at the top of the list was our trip to the walker art center, the contemporary art museum downtown. petey and ann have been attending the annual british television advertising awards shown there around new year’s every year for some time now, and got tickets for us this year. the awards are just what the name implies (and a little more) — it’s an hour-and-a-half screening of the top TV, online video and in-theater spots to come out of britain for the year.
i love TV spots. there. i said it. when done right, TV ads, or any video advertising, can make us feel the gamut of emotions, and i’m not speaking in hyperbole when i say that. (full disclosure: i work for an advertising technology company. i’m not sure if that helps or hurts the point i’m trying to make, but do with it what you will.) the great thing about british spots is that they can also be a little edgier, a little sexier, a little vulgarer than the ones here, and those shown at the walker were no exception.
i’ll only include a few of the ads i particularly liked below, because i just found out that LACMA is going to run these awards here in LA on Jan. 23 (which makes me happy as a clam, btw), and i don’t want to spoil it for anyone that plans on going. some of the spots were from brands unfamiliar to most americans or they focused on UK-specific issues, so i missed the point on those, and there were a few that I didn’t like (DESPISED the viagra ads), but i was surprised at just how translatable the majority of spots seemed for our market and wondered why brands don’t repurpose some of this content for us. i guess the web and people like me are doing it for them!
let me know if you’ve seen any standout ads from other countries recently. i lived in Japan for a couple years after college, and while their programming came straight outta wackyworld, i found the majority of ads a little staid (and chock-full of Western celebs). i’d be interested to know what the advertising is like in other countries, especially non-western ones, so if you have any insight, share it here!
*i don’t really think like this.
(warning: there may be material unsuitable for the kiddies.)
toyota yaris, “tag” — one of several winning ads from yaris along the same “treat it with respect” theme.
VW, “cuckoo” — like yaris, volkswagen had several winning spots. (the car companies were well represented…wonder if they’ll be able to afford such high-quality creative in ’09.) this was my favorite.
maltesers, “nipples” — so, maltesers’ ad titled “nipples” was their winning spot, but i couldn’t find it online. this one has the same actresses and basically the same message with a slightly different punchline.
adidas international, “david beckham—workshop”. i never even knew he could speak, and this is such a poignant story.
levi’s, “dangerous liason” – does such a great job at capturing levi’s brand heritage.