Category Archives: advertising

You are streaming consciousness: Three

Creative company Gravity Road were commissioned by Three to create an ad for their campaign “Go Binge”, which explored findings from an extensive consumer research survey around the bingeing behaviours of the UK (The Binge Files). 44% of people aged 16-24 years old watch more than an hour of streamed content on their phones daily and 46% binge because they can’t wait for the next episode. With these facts, Gravity Road created a (hilarious) short film parodying people’s streaming addictions, and despite the research insights this binging culture is constantly being discussed on social media and in memes.

Three’s deal allows binge-obsessed customers to stream films, TV shows and music on popular streaming services (e.g. Netflix, TV Player, Deezer and SoundCloud) without the fear of exceeding their data limit. Directed by the multi-award winning director Tom Geens, the short film is set in an eccentric electronics store, where the store owner hosts secret ‘Binge classes’ after hours. The owner encourages people to become more in-tune with streaming and love their devices, to help them achieve a higher stream of consciousness through activities like chanting “Stream in, and stream out, I love my device, the device is me…”. Hilarious. This is definitely one of the best UK ads I’ve seen this year.

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Global Breastfeeding Week: This Sucks

Directed by Jon Lawton, this campaign for Global Breastfeeding Week focuses on the tagline “breastfeeding is nicer than you feeding”. Featuring the empowering and vert apt song “F*** The Pain Away” by Peaches, Lawton powerfully conveys a juxtaposition of a peacefully breastfeeding mother and baby, and people scoffing messy food. It’s illegal to prevent a woman from breastfeeding, yet mothers still feel a stigma attached to feeding their babies in public, often feeling embarrassed and judged.

Jon Lawton, creative director at Stink Studios said:

A month ago I read a news story about a woman being asked to leave a restaurant because she was breastfeeding, which is total bullshit. Have you seen people eating? It’s disgusting. All lips, sauce and gob. It’s like we go backwards in our ability to do the most simple human task. Babies feeding, by comparison, is the most elegant form of the act. The Peaches post-punk track was just perfect. Loud, proud, with a fuck-you attitude. If one mother feels more confident breastfeeding in public because of the film – that’s all I want.

I love the direction Jon has gone in with this short film – it is incredibly empowering and goes to show that breastfeeding (the most natural thing any mammal can do) is in no way comparable to grotesque, slow-mo clips of mouths devouring greasy, processed fast-food.
Check out the GBW website linked above – it’s a shame they haven’t looked into a re-brand to match the bold film.

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Meet the Meat: M&C Saatchi

The Task Force on Human Trafficking and Prostitution (TFHT) teamed up with M&C Saatchi (Tel Aviv) to campaign for the legislation to prohibit prostitution, aiming to put an end to the prostitution industry in Israel. Mortality rates among Israeli female prostitutes are 40 times higher than the rest of the population, so M&C aimed to reduce the demand for prostitution by engaging with consumers who finance the industry.
The message for this campaign is that women are not a product for consumption, so they created a pop-up ‘food’ truck parked opposite the Israeli Parliament selling “women’s meat” sandwiches called ‘Breast Amal’ and ‘Ribs of Yael’, packaged into brown paper bags with real life stories of prostitutes:

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The experiential ‘Meet the Meat’ creative also features a truck with an illustration of a woman’s body divided into ‘cuts’, just like a cow. The vivid and disturbing creative reflects the dark facts – according to a survey by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services, 12,500 women, men and teenagers are employed in prostitution in Israel.

Tzur Golan, ECD and Partner at M&C Saatchi, Tel Aviv said:

We can’t stand by and let this continue. It’s important to highlight the fact that every day vulnerable men, women and teenagers are employed in prostitution – and it’s getting worse. The best way to stop the wheels of this industry is to harm demand – if there’s no demand there won’t be supply. We wanted to create meaningful work and will continue to support TFHT as they continue to take a stand against the prostitution industry.

This is an incredible example of using advertising for social change – not just creating awareness in the most basic marketing form, but by using an in-your-face, bold and gross tactic is a sure way to get people talking. Hopefully it will get the government talking too.

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ASA Will Introduce Guidelines for 2018 on Gender Stereotyping in Advertising

The Advertising Standards Authority has reviewed its approach to ads that feature stereotypical gender roles, following the publication of an investigation into gender stereotyping in advertising; the Depictions, Perceptions and Harm report. The report claims that gender stereotyping in advertising causes harm towards individuals, the economy and society.

In 2015, the infamous “Beach Body Ready” advert sparked concerns for the sexualisation and objectification of women in advertising, creating a conversation with ASA about how women are portrayed as desirable based on their bodies:

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ASA conducted a review following the complaints, but now the regulators are receiving complaints about ads that feature sexist stereotypes or mock people who don’t follow traditional roles. The new standards are only guidelines and are not intended to ban all forms of gender stereotypes, e.g. there will not be a ban on ads showing a woman cleaning or a man doing DIY tasks. However, subject to context and content considerations, the evidence suggests the following types of depictions are likely to be problematic:

  • An ad which depicts family members creating a mess while a woman has sole responsibility for cleaning it up
  • An ad that suggests a specific activity is inappropriate for boys because it is stereotypically associated with girls, or vice-versa
  • An ad that features a man trying and failing to undertake simple parental or household tasks

“CAP will report publically on its progress before the end of 2017 and commits, as always, to delivering training and advice on the new standards in good time before they come into force in 2018.”
So, the ‘guidelines’ suggest that agencies, brands and companies should consider whether the stereotypes shown in their campaigns would “reinforce assumptions that adversely limit how people see themselves and how others see them”. Here is a list of what should be avoided:

  • Roles: Occupations or positions usually associated with a specific gender.
  • Characteristics: Attributes or behaviours associated with a specific gender.
  • Mocking people for not conforming to stereotype: Making fun of someone for behaving or looking in a non-stereotypical way.
  • Sexualisation: Portraying individuals in a highly sexualised manner.
  • Objectification: Depicting someone in a way that focuses on their body or body parts.
  • Body Image: Depicting an unhealthy body image.

Ads suggesting specific activities were suitable only for boys or girls are problematic and something ASA advises against. This is a topic I investigated at university for my gender project and for my dissertation exploring masculinity in modern advertising. It’s quite incredible (and worrying) to to dissect the vast range of gendered stereotypes advertising still depicts. There is an enormous list of adverts that have been criticised for depicting masculinity and femininity stereotypically, and here are just a few examples:

Aptamil depicting gendered roles for boys and girls

KFC suggesting anxiety/mental health isn’t manly (the ad has been taken down – sorry for the poor quality!)

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GAP portraying only boys as academics

Whilst a lot of people will claim that these guidelines are “over-sensitive” and “PC”,  the mocking of women and men and the reinforcement of stereotyped views of gender roles are issues that have gained considerable public interest, with the facts to support the claims:

The move follows a major research project from JWT (New York) and The Geena Davies Institute in the Media which analysed 2,000 ads and found that women in advertising are “humourless, mute and in the kitchen’. According to the research, women are 48% more likely to be shown in the kitchen.

JWT’s recent Women’s Index surveyed 9,000 women and found that 85% of them felt advertising and film needed to “catch up with the real world”. Additionally, since concerns were raised about gender portrayal in advertising, brands have taken a conscious decision to change the way men and women are depicted. Unilever recently teamed up with Mars, Facebook, and WPP to form the Unstereotype Alliance – a group dedicated to purging gender bias from ads – followed by an ‘Unstereotype’ pledge. Following this, they created Dove and Lynx ads which aimed to smash traditional gender roles, and consequently saw a 24% increase in consumer ratings.
Lynx ‘Find Your Magic’ is actually one of my favourite male brand ads:

In a time where we need feminism, diverse masculinity and gender diversity more than ever, I think this is a wonderful idea. The fact that they are guidelines rather than rules also helps show people that based off research, this sets a standard that we should all (not just creatives) adhere to when it comes to gender. Sort of like a moral code.
It’s hard to believe that 40+ years after the Sex Discrimination Act we are still seeing gender discrimination on our screens.
Often, I wonder if people are becoming desensitized to feminism because a large majority of people actually believe that women have equal rights just because we won the right to vote or can become a CEO. When it reality, we are far from gender equality – salaries aren’t the same, women and discriminated against and girls are still sexualised.

So if you think this is “over-sensitive”, you need to EDUCATE YO’SELF!

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Gatorade’s G Active: Water Made Active

Production agency Unit9 teamed up with TBWA/CHIAT/DAY and Gatorade to create an ad for their new low calorie electrolyte water, featuring a “true-to-life water athlete, animated it in mid air, and caught on camera.” 

Film director Cole Paviour was inspired by the work of Shiro Takatani to create this incredible million dollar experiment in the space of just 10 weeks:

Our custom-made “rain rig” dripped water in complete sequence and harmony. It recreated the figure of a real athlete in a liquid animation. Each unit contained 64 litres of water, with 8 units running at any one time. This meant we used half a tonne of water to bring the whole system together.

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This incredible creation was made by firstly capturing a human athlete running, jumping and kickboxing, then using that data the software told the the water rig when to turn the nozzles on and off, using over 2000 switches. The life-like human shape was brought to life by using flash-lighting to illuminate and ‘suspend’ the water droplets in mid air (above), so each frame had a microsecond accuracy. “As a result we transmitted an entire layer of data through the entire system in just a microsecond. We had to take each frame and process it in two ways. First of all to squash it, to compensate for gravitational acceleration, and second to slice it. We stored the data for each frame in a controller unit and triggered it using the camera.”

You can view BTS footage here:

I recommend reading more about the Director here, and you must watch the entire ad in all its HD glory. Essentially, it’s an incredible 3D liquid structure created through software that I can only imagine ever understanding. What a project!

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The Atlantic: Michael K. Williams Asks “Am I Typecast?”

Weiden + Kennedy (New York) have created an incredible short film for The Atlantic magazine featuring actor Michael K. Williams, who questions if he is being typecast in Hollywood. This is an incredibly poignant topic, and it was performed in this ad so poetically, discussing issues such as race relations and the US election.

Following The Atlantic’s tagline “Question Your Answers”, the short film conveys four different versions of Michael interrogating each other about whether he can escape being typecast. It’s a topic one would assume shouldn’t be an issue in 2017, but it is and always has been.

David Shane (Director) said:

This was such a nice opportunity for Michael to un-typecast himself because, in one piece, he gets to show his dry comedic timing, his raw menace and the depth of emotion he’s able to access. This is a deceptively simple looking piece – the degree of difficulty for him was so much greater than it looks. He had a lot of balls in the air.

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Lego: Build the Future

Ad agency Ogilvy & Mather (Bangkok) have created wonderful print ads for Lego’s new campaign ‘Build the Future’. No surprise here that they won a Silver Cannes Lions in ‘Print & Publishing’ and ‘Outdoor’ for the campaign. The art direction is absolutely spot on.

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The three careers were chosen as most desirable to children, then CGI studio Illusion (Bangkok) created the pieces using 3D illustration. Locations were strategically selected by Ogilvy for the campaign – the astronaut ad was placed at the planetarium or science museum, the rockstar ad was placed at music schools and the firefighter ad was placed in outdoor playgrounds.

Vice Chairman Nopadol Srikieatikajohn (Ogilvy Thailand) told AdFreak:

Lego’s ultimate purpose is to inspire and develop children to think creatively, reason systematically and release their potential to shape their own future. The brand believes that play is a key element in children’s growth and development. High-quality play enriches a child’s life and lays a strong foundation for adult life.

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KFC: Lunchtime is coming | Game of Thrones

Disclaimer: I hate KFC. I f*cking hate everything it embodies. The fast food chain of death epitomises the animal flesh churching machine that is destroying this world, our bodies and our brains. I would burn every single chain of that money-making, Kentucky-fried-CRUELTY, diabetes and obesity promoting hell-hole if I could.

*and breathe*

Ad agency BBH have been enlisted by KFC to promote their new Ricebox (aka original chicken with rice in stead of fries). Actor Kristian Nairn recreated his character Hodor’s iconic ‘Hold the door’ scene from Game of Thrones.

I tried so hard to hate this. I tried to hate this wonderful ad with every fibre of my being… but it’s fantastic. For now, let’s just try to ignore who the client is and appreciate the creative genius of the concept and execution.
As a GoT fan, it’s even better! The lovable giant is back on our screens, providing a fantastically emotional performance, as usual. Trigger!!!

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First Instagram Ads: Yay or nay?

Ad agency Wieden + Kennedy were commissioned by Instagram to create the new (and first ever) ads for Instagram. The Amsterdam offices created “Stories Are Everywhere,” for the Instagram Stories campaign – Instagram’s first global campaign – with the aim to promote features such as live video, brushes and stickers.

Reflecting how the platform behaves, the campaign’s executions are intended to inspire and excite the audience about the many possibilities available to express themselves. Film content presents small, unexpected moments that are instantly sharable and dynamic outdoor is contextual to the user’s environment. Within the Instagram app, function drivers educate users about the array of features. These executions playfully work together to remind users that Instagram Stories is the place to share life’s highlights and all the casual, everyday moments in between.

The campaign was shot on an iPhone, using just the Instagram app:

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However, the short films showing a juxtaposition of professionally shot footage and “homemade” style footage, does not work for me. They appeared at the Insta Stories Festival in Cologne, Germany last month:

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Praised for celebrating the diversity of expression, they aim to release 20 to 25 films by the end of the campaign, with over 270 billboards and guerrilla OOH, appearing on train stations in Philadelphia and Milan. The concept and the print ads work nicely, but for me the short films above looks like some weird montage. What do you think?

The film compilation is a nay from me! The rest of the campaign – meh. Disappointed as a huge Instagram user and fan.

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