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Nike Plays Pick-Up, Harvey Nichols Spotlights Shoplifters: The Top 5 Ads Of The Week

U.K. retailer Harvey Nichols does some shoplifting, Samsung gets surfing, and Cornetto shows both sides of love.

Nike Plays Pick-Up, Harvey Nichols Spotlights Shoplifters: The Top 5 Ads Of The Week

Like the best referees or umpires in sports, technology is often at its best when it’s almost invisible as you go about the business of enjoying whatever service it provides. Don’t tell me how long it took to make or how many gigawatts it takes to power it, or even how many prototypes were needed to finally make a breakthrough. These are all interesting tales, to be sure, but not ones we want to hear when we’re using it. We just want it to work.

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VW and agency Deutsch LA seem to know this because the interactive site “Unleash Your Rrr” seems so damn simple. Make some the coolest car sounds you can and the site custom-edits a fun driving video of a pro driver ripping around a track to your vocals. Easy-peasy, right? Sure, aside from the agency creating it in-house with something called a Deep Learning artificial intelligence algorithm, all so we could sit in front of our computers making vroom-vroom sounds and giggle at the ensuing car videos.

Read on for more about this campaign and the rest of our picks of this week’s best in brand creativity.

Nike “Short a Guy”

What: A kid ends up joining any and every pick-up game imaginable–rubbing shoulders with a collection of pros–in a fun, frenetic paean to the all-round sporting life.
Who: Nike, Wieden + Kennedy Portland, Stacy Wall
Why We Care: Other brands have stepped up their traditional film ad game–we see you Beats and Under Armour–so it might be easy to forget just how good the Swoosh is at this. That is, until it steps up with a prime example of why Nike has been the standard-bearer for so long. Inspiring and more than a little ridiculous, it conveys the serious and silly sides of sports. Plus, you can’t go wrong with a soundtrack about mass awareness of ornithurae.

Samsung “We Are Greater Than I”

What: Samsung Mobile taps into its inner soul-bro for an open thank-you letter to wave riding and what some surf enthusiasts are calling one of the best surfing ads ever.
Who: Samsung, 72andSunny, Amsterdam
Why We Care: It’s the brand’s second paddle out into the waves in as many years, this time in partnership with the World Surf League. The ad features pros like Mick Fanning, Gabriel Medina, Sally Fitzgibbons and Malia Manuel, as well as a few pretty insider references that will sail right over most landlubbers’ heads. Not that it matters because it also does a great job of making the best and worst of the sport still look like pretty much the best lifestyle choice anyone could make.

VW “Unleash Your Rrr”

What: A new site that takes your best racing car impression and turns it into a driving video starring pro driver Tanner Foust ripping around a track. Make an acceleration sound and you might see the Golf R storming down a straightaway, or if you’re doing your best screeching brakes sound, the car may then drift through a tight turn.
Who: VW, Deutsch LA
Why We Care: It’s a great example of doing some very difficult things to deliver a simple, engaging experience. Agency Deutsch LA developed the site with artificial intelligence Deep Learning technology, a subset of Machine Learning, to analyze each user’s unique vocal take on the Golf R engine’s roar. All that and the teaser ad stars Michael Winslow? Good times.

Harvey Nichols “Love Freebies? Get Them Legally”

What: A commercial for the U.K. retailer’s new loyalty app that uses real-life CCTV footage of shoplifters helping themselves in the store and then getting caught in the act.
Who: Harvey Nichols, adam&eveDDB
Why We Care: A case of taking something negative and turning it into a positive. The brand has become known for the kind of dark sense of humor that pushed the bounds of taste, and there’s no holding back here.

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Cornetto “Love Stories – Two Sides”

What: An interactive YouTube film about a high school romance that allows viewers to switch between the male and female perspectives as the story unfolds.
Who: Cornetto, MoFilm
Why We Care: The brand has been telling cute little love stories for a while now, but this one mixes things up a bit with the added layer of interactivity. This story of two high school would-be sweethearts is told from both sides, first with the audio sliding from boy to girl and back accordingly, then allowing you to switch camera perspectives on your own. The interactive bits are fun but the real score lies in the film’s ability to not lean too hard on the bells and whistles, and still tell a good story.

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About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity. He lives in Toronto.

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