Olivia Wilde Has Down Syndrome, Cookie Monster Has An iPhone: Top 5 Ads Of The Week

Amnesty International’s virtual reality in Syria, Norton’s doc the web’s dark side, and Dollar Shave Club’s skin-based comedy.

Olivia Wilde Has Down Syndrome, Cookie Monster Has An iPhone: Top 5 Ads Of The Week

The Celebrity Ad is perhaps the oldest yet still somehow one of the most successful advertising tropes in existence. It operates on the principle that because I like that person’s movies/sports team/selfies, I am therefore more likely to use the toothpaste they endorse. Sometimes it works even when we know it’s a big marketing lie. Does anyone think Sofia Vergara uses Head & Shoulders?


But in this new CoorDown PSA for people who live with Down syndrome, Olivia Wilde is absolutely stunning. I called it surprisingly powerful earlier this week, and I didn’t mean her performance. She’s a great actress, so that wasn’t unexpected. What did surprise was just how the ad utilized her talents in such an affecting way. Onward!

Norton “The Most Dangerous Town on the Internet”

What: A 24-minute doc by Oscar-winning director Daniel Junge that takes us to meet the people and see the places that make web anonymity possible
Who: Norton, Grey San Francisco
Why We Care: As branded content goes, it feels more the latter than the former and wouldn’t feel out of place on Vice. Which, as we said earlier, it takes a complex, potentially boring topic and presents it in a compelling way that expertly cranks up the dramatic elements.

CoorDown “How Do You See Me?”

What: A PSA starring Olivia Wilde from the Italian organization to raise awareness and help celebrate World Down Syndrome Day on March 21st
Who: CoorDown, Saatchi & Saatchi New York
Why We Care: We’ve already touched on this, but it’s fantastic how the spot uses Wilde and a young woman named AnnaRose Rubright to play with our perceptions in order to discuss discrimination of people living with Down syndrome.

Apple “Timer”

What: Cookie Monster demonstrates the hands-free advantages of Siri.
Who: Apple
Why We Care: C’mooon, it’s Cookie Monster! Sure, we like Lake Bell, Jamie Foxx, Bill Hader, and the other celebrities who’ve dropped iPhone 6s campaign cameos so far, but this takes things to another level. Plus, the fact our favorite blue monster has Jim Croce’s “Time in a Bottle” on his waiting playlist is GOLD.

Dollar Shave Club “Greasy Interview”

What: A new series of ads from Dollar Shave Club for the brand’s new line of skin care products
Who: Dollar Shave Club
Why We Care: Directed by Spielbergs (Alex Karpovsky) and written by the brand’s in-house creative team, these ads expertly utilize awkward situations, perfect casting, and otherworldly sound mixing to make skin care spots dudes will actually dig. I picked “Greasy Interview,” if nothing for the squishy handshake audio, but any one of these are worthy. We definitely noticed.

Amnesty International “Fear of the Sky”

What: A 360-degree, virtual reality tour of the death, destruction, and violence facing those living in Syria during that country’s civil war
Who: Amnesty International, Junior, Lamba Media Production
Why We Care: By showing us an intimate view of the aftermath of barrel bombings and other attacks in places such as a schoolyard in the residential neighborhood of Ansari Sharqi and a vegetable market in Aleppo’s Bustan al-Qasr district, it brings the tragedy and human toll of a conflict we’ve all been reading about for years into even clearer focus.


About the author

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