John Oliver Returns, Steve Jobs Pitches Government Work: The Top 5 Ads Of The Week

Adidas gets trippy with pop culture, Budweiser has a sweet Chinese story, and yep, Logan still looks awesome.

John Oliver Returns, Steve Jobs Pitches Government Work: The Top 5 Ads Of The Week

We live in a time economy. This is not news. For years now we’ve heard how movies, television, sports, games, magazines, and more are no longer simply jostling with their peers in a given category to win us over, but with each other. All in a tooth and nail battle for our a moment of our attention. Which is why the marketing behind TV shows and movies has improved exponentially. With record amounts of content available at our finger tips, producers have been forced to approach their wares as any other product and market it accordingly. In this case, accordingly means in a way that will convince us to pick that show or flick over the bajillion others out there.


Two such properties did just that this week with HBO pulling out all the stops (and family of shows) to hype the return of Last Week Tonight, and 20th Century Fox unleashing the second trailer for Logan that was like a glorious adamantium claw of advertising to the neck. Onward!

HBO “Last Week Tonight: Season 4 Promo”

What: A season four promo for John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight.
Who: HBO
Why We Care: It’s like we’re now so conditioned to expect shows and movies to woo us that marketers need to mess with the format completely to get our attention. And how HBO cleverly (and hilariously) turned one show promo for a season four into four different show promos–Game of Thrones, Silicon Valley, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and . . . the other one–is absolute GOLD. Even (probably) future Republican presidential candidate Dwayne Johnson agrees.

20th Century Fox “Logan Trailer 2”

What: The second trailer for Fox’s third standalone Wolverine film.
Who: 20th Century Fox
Why We Care: Can you hear that? It’s the echo of a million high-pitched squeals emitting from the giddy depths of comic book nerd hearts. While the first trailer set the somber, Unforgiven-with-superheros mood, here we get a closer look at the story and action in a more traditional trailer format. We see the mysteriously mute X-23 show her similarities to Wolverine, we get some Jim Croce, and a whole lotta multigenerational slicin’ and dicin’. And that last shot. SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEE!


The U.S. Digital Service “You’ll Never Be The Same Again”

What: A recruitment video for the U.S. Digital Service that uses a poignant interview with Steve Jobs to attract young tech talent into public service.
Who: The U.S. Digital Service
Why We Care: Back in 1994, Steve Jobs was interviewed by the Silicon Valley Historical Association and now 23 years later, one of his answers is being used as a pitch to young people to take their tech talents to Washington, DC. It’s a great spot (with a companion animated version) that utilizes the now familiar Old Speech ad trope to great effect. Like when a Ram Trucks Super Bowl ad borrowed broadcaster Paul Harvey’s 1978 speech to the Future Farmers of America Convention, or how Ireland’s Wind Energy repurposed a 1963 JFK speech. We’re not sure how much it can overcome the image of an incoming administration that talks in hushed tones about the mysteries of the cyber, but it can’t hurt. Count Google’s former web spam guru Matt Cutts in, who just announced he’s the new director of engineering at the USDS.

Budweiser “Chinese New Year”

What: A Budweiser commercial for the Chinese market that defies the beer ad category to thoughtfully focus on family, love, trust and adventure over boozy good times.
Who: Budweiser, Anomaly Shanghai
Why We Care: It’s always interesting to see how products so familiar to us in the West are marketed to different audiences and cultures around the world. This is anything but a typical beer commercial. Feels more like what we’ve come to expect from insurance companies. But perhaps what makes this Chinese spot so good is that it taps into some basic human truths with a good story that translates the world over.

Adidas Originals “Original is never finished”

What: New Adidas Originals spot mixes fashion film oddity with streetwear cool to make what might be the trippiest sneaker ad of all-time.
Who: Adidas originals, Johannes Leonardo
Why We Care: Wait, was that Snoop Dog? I definitely saw Stormzy and the Gonz. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar? Think so. This is like David Lynch-meets-MTV-meets-streetwear-meets one handful too many mushrooms. All covering Frank Sinatra’s “My Way”? Hell, why not.


About the author

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


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