Hodor For KFC, The xx For Calvin Klein: The Top 5 Ads Of The Week

KLM’s Amsterdam tours, Heineken has fun with zero, and Absolut locks lips with acceptance.

Hodor For KFC, The xx For Calvin Klein: The Top 5 Ads Of The Week

Every brand should be on the lookout for opportunities to embed itself in culture in a way that doesn’t feel dirty. Obviously not every brand can become a natural extension of whatever media content it wants to be a part of, but it’s a goal worth exploring. Sometimes that just means creating great content that people want to watch, like that of Patagonia and Yeti. And sometimes that means finding the right collaborators, like Calvin Klein and The xx.


Fashion and music have long been joined at the hip, so The xx’s new video featuring Calvin Klein clothing makes sense, as the characters and story exist in their own world and just happen to be wearing one brand. It’s the type of stylish soft sell more brands could benefit from. Onward!

Absolut “Equal Love”

What: New ad from Absolut–and first by agency BBH London–that celebrates LGBTQ rights, and the brand’s long-standing support of the issue.

Who: Absolut, BBH London

Why We Care: It’s like a game of telephone, except with kissing. Directed by Aoife McArdle, who also helmed Audi’s Super Bowl spot, the ad aims to illustrate acceptance of any and all love through the simple act of a kiss—old, young, men, women, it doesn’t matter. A stylish, simple ode to equality.

The xx “I Dare You”

What: A new music video for The xx that doubles as a Calvin Klein ad, directed by photographer and filmmaker Alasdair McLellan.

Who: The xx, Calvin Klein


Why We Care: Taking a page from Kenzo’s marketing playbook, Calvin Klein goes the culture route with a seamless integration into a stylish music video. Featuring Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things) and Ashton Sanders (Moonlight), it’s a perfect example of brand content that people will actually want to watch. A simple concept, not easily achieved.

KFC “Lunchtime Is Coming”

What: A new KFC ad out of the United Kingdom that recreates an epic scene from Game of Thrones in a fun, cheeky way.

Who: KFC

Why We Care: Hodor. Hold the door. Hodor. For any Game of Thrones fan these words will bring back goosebumps, and maybe a single tear, in memory of one of the hit show’s best scenes for one of its most beloved characters. Here, not long before the season seven debuts, we get a fun reminder, thanks to a lunchtime rush on fried chicken.

KLM “Care Tag”

What: The Dutch airline created a location-aware audio luggage tag, an offline GPS module, and a speaker to give visitors to Amsterdam some helpful tips as they make their way around the city.

Who: KLM, Tribal DDB Amsterdam


Why We Care: Of course this a gimmick, but it’s a cool one that’s also tied directly to the brand’s core message around superior service, and furthers the innovative advertising-as-utility strategy. The airline found a fun way to extend its service far beyond the runway with a cool gadget that aims to actually be a tool to help its customers. No word yet if it includes: “The weed in that coffee shop is schwag and overpriced; go two blocks over and ask for Erik.”

Heineken 0.0 “Ode to Openness”

What: A new ad for Heineken’s nonalcoholic “0.0” beer.

Who: Heineken, Publicis Milan

Why We Care: As Dan Solomon wrote earlier this week, beer ads have gotten shockingly inclusive in recent years–from Seth Rogen and Amy Schumer saying  “gender is a spectrum”  for Bud Light, to Coors Light inspiring beer drinkers with stories of hardship, and Heineken itself introducing bigots to the people they think they hate. But here the brand takes a light, fun approach to address the one group largely left out of beer ads until now: nondrinkers.


About the author

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