Oh hello, dear reader. Once again we find ourselves on Friday, which means it’s time for our weekly ode to the best in brand creativity. In a world gone cold with too many banner ads and trite TV commercials infecting us with eye rabies, come on in and wrap yourself in the warm comfort of advertising done right.
This week we have a couple of prime examples of how brands can tastefully partner with popular entertainment properties to make something that doesn’t make fans want to set themselves on fire, and they both have something in common. Whether it’s Warburtons and the Muppets, or Star Wars and Verizon, the reason they work at all is how closely the brands and agencies worked with the creators to ensure that the ads, while broadly commercial, didn’t slide into crass blasphemy. Onward!
What: The reusable water bottle brand created a fake water brand, spoofing millennial advertising cliches to make being wasteful uncool.
Who: Bobble, 72andSunny New York
Why We Care: As 72andSunny’s New York executive creative director Guillermo Vega told us earlier this week, “Our biggest creative challenge was to make the impact of single-use plastics more personal and inspire a generation to change their behavior, without shaming them into it.” The sarcastic, wink-wink joke here does just that, using stylish exaggeration and a sly sense of humor to make an incredibly good point.
What: The Muppets change the name of their show in honor of the brand rolling out a new giant crumpet.
Who: Warburtons, WCRS London
Why We Care: First, if you don’t love the Muppets, you need to take a long, deep look in the mirror because you, my dear humorless friend, may just be dead inside. Second, it’s not the first time the Muppets have been tapped for ad duties in recent years, but it may just be the one that’s remained most true to what makes these furry freaks so damn lovable.
What: Two giant talking testicles extoll the virtues of comfy undies.
Who: Bonds Australia, Clemenger BBDO Melbourne
Why We Care: How do you start a conversation about men’s underwear? That was the challenge facing Clemenger BBDO Melbourne, and as creative director Rich Williams told us, “When we got the brief we realized that, sure blokes don’t talk much about undies, but balls, we’re constantly talking about. In fact, once we’ve stopped talking about sport the conversation generally turns to our balls. Sweaty, itchy, squashed, bald, weird balls. So we made the not-so-large leap that the best way to get men to talk about their undies was through their tackle.”
What: Chewbacca and new droid BB-8 try to solve an unknown problem in the threatening environs of a Star Destroyer, and wouldn’t you know it, they need a reliable network.
Who: Verizon, Wieden+Kennedy New York
Why We Care: The ad itself is nothing Death Star-shattering, but most definitely noteworthy for being shot by Tommy Gormley, a co-producer and first assistant director on The Force Awakens, who basically got the Star Wars band back together–crew, designers, etc.–to get the look and feel just right. Even J.J. Abrams himself was involved. If nothing else it fills the minutes between the plot breadcrumbs being tossed out willy-nilly as we get ever closer to December 18.
What: Idris Elba plays his typically cool self in explosive circumstances for Rainbow Six Siege, the first installment in five years of Ubisoft’s Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six video game franchise.
Who: Ubisoft, Omelet
Why We Care: Epic video game trailers and ads have become the norm, with celebrity cameos a mainstay, ever boosting our expectations for what’s next. Here, Elba’s a perfect fit. As Omelet creative director Raul Montes told us, “Everyone felt that he was one of the few personas that had the power to stand out from the insane action unfolding around him.”