The World’s Best Commercials 2011-2012: Why They Work


Let London have rhythmic gymnastics; we get the Cannes’s Film and Film Craft awards. Here’s a selection from AdWeek’s article on The World’s Best Commercials 2011-2012, along with some of my ‘umble opinions on why they work.

TUG ON THE HEARTSTRINGS

CHIPOTLE “BACK TO THE START”

Despite the fact that the Chipotle universe is inhabited by Good & Plentys with curly tails, this ad hits the spot by incorporating:

  • Simplified Design Concept – Less is more. Even if your characters look like they can be twisted apart to reveal hidden prizes.
  • Music Without Words – Would you have paid attention with a narrator droning on about environmental initiatives?
  • Rolling Narrative – No fancy cuts, no swooping in and out – it’s a kid’s picture book without the flipping of the pages.

PROCTER & GAMBLE “BEST JOB”

Ladies and gents, meet the universal of effective advertising:

  • Your Mom

Family – we all have one; childhood – we’ve all been there. (See Dads in Briefs below for an alternative look at these joys.)

“Best Job” also adds:

  • Condensed Timeline - From morning wake-up to backyard games to Olympic glory.
  • Multinational Storylines – For universal appeal.
  • Strategic Close-ups – Especially of the Moms at the end.
  • Music Without Words – But I repeat myself.

WHEN IN DOUBT, ADD AN ANIMAL

CANAL+ “THE BEAR”

A classic example of:

  • Good Suspenseful Storytelling

Some of the best ads make you ask a question that isn’t answered until the final frame. Both Chipotle and Procter & Gamble started with a mystery, but dropped enough hints along the way for you to solve it. This bear, on the other hand, ain’t talking (unless it’s about cinema).

It also includes:

  • Animals as Modern Humans - Watch the “Three Little Pigs” for more along this line.
  • Mockery of the French – “Boom! Explosion!”
  • Elegant Production Values - If you can’t do it well, don’t do it.

THE GUARDIAN “THREE LITTLE PIGS”

Stuck for ideas? Try:

  • Fairytales & Fables

They’ve survived for thousands of years for a reason. (Check out another iteration in the stunning Cartier “L’Odyssée.)

The Guardian gives their tale a nice twist by using:

  • Mash-up of Product Features – Online news, television coverage, expert opinion, user response, everything The Guardian provides.
  • Sophisticated Sound Effects – Overlying dialogue complements the urgent music.

OH, THE HORROR!

BGH AIR CONDITIONERS “DADS IN BRIEFS”

Both BGH and DirecTV use one of my favorite advertising ploys:

  • Imagine the Worst – What’s the worse that could happen if our customers didn’t have our products?

The answer? Plenty. “Dads in Briefs” keeps it simple, overlaying the basic hilarious premise with:

  • Classical and the Profane – Bad things like this shouldn’t happen to good music. Or black and white photography.
  • Great Reaction Shots – Masterful acting from the girl who receives the T.V. remote.
  • Effective Close-Ups – Hideous, but effective.

DIRECTV CAMPAIGN

Here the writers get extra points for coming up with so many twists for when the worst happens. (See Old Spice’s The Man Your Man Could Smell Like for a happier, fantasy version.)

Plus the series features:

  • Everyman - Ah, how sweet, he’s just like us.
  • Great Writing – Yes, copywriters are occasionally useful.
  • Inherently Funny Celebrities - They can be expensive but, used wisely, mighty powerful. Or lethal with a crossbow, as the case might be.

NEED HELP?

Looking for a few good ideas? Contact me for a free consultation.

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