The inspirational sports ad cliché has almost become as prevalent as the sports movie cliché. For the latter, it’s athlete/sports team show unexpected promise, get beaten down by unexpected adversity, insert training montage, build up tension around the big game/match/whatever, end in triumph. In advertising, a certain school of sports ad has emerged, particularly around the Olympics, that sells (in addition to soap, credit cards, cereal, or soda) the idea of parental sacrifice and persistence as a key to athletic success. P&G may just be the master of the form, as evidenced in its ongoing “Thank You, Mom” campaign, with hits in 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012, and 2010.
And now a Norwegian secondhand sports equipment retailer has made a wonderful joke out of it all. Onward!
Finn.no “The History of Success”
What: A delightful ad for Norwegian secondhand sports retailer Finn.no.
Who: Finn.no, Morgenstern Oslo
Why we care: If P&G says, “Thank You, Mom,” then this is definitely “No thanks, mom!” I love the P&G ads, but after so many years, the format was ripe for satire and, here, agency Morgenstern Oslo just nails it. Because while those inspirational ads are certainly goosebumps territory for many parents, for legions of others it’s a reminder of the frustration, pain, and heartache of watching their kids just really, really suck at sports.
Burger King “McMansions”
What: A series of print ads that show the backyard grills of former McDonald’s executives.
Who: Burger King, David Miami
Why we care: Reminiscent of BK’s 2017 Cannes Lions print grand prix-winning “Flame grilled since 1954” work, featuring pictures of BK restaurants on fire, here the brand goes with another unique photo approach. To illustrate the superiority of grilling meat over fire, the fast-feeder found real photos from real estate listings and articles about homes that Burger King says were once owned by a McDonald’s president, chief operating officer, and director.
Ikea “Ikea x Teleman – Repeater”
What: A music video for the band Teleman’s single “Repeater,” that also just happens to be a pretty elaborate Ikea commercial.
Who: Ikea, Teleman, Mother London
Why we care: When it comes to embedding advertising in culture, there is no silver bullet format, but one proven strategy is to just slide your brand or product seamlessly into something cool that people want to spend time with. Kenzo’s good at it. It looks like Uniqlo is taking its game up a level. And here, Ikea manages to sit in the background while also being front and center. That ain’t easy, but it always helps to have a catchy tune to go with it.
Fat Tire “Shame”
What: A new campaign from New Belgium Brewery for its Fat Tire Belgian White beer.
Who: New Belgium Brewery, Erich & Kallman
Why we care: Ahh, the beer ad. In advertising, it’s like a warm blanket of familiar comfort. A place for unexpected laughs, silliness, and other ballyhoo. Here we get a masterclass in good ol’ fashioned copywriting and pitch-perfect casting. I picked “Shame,” but if you’ll also get a Belgian chuckle at “Hint.”
Youth Ambassadors “How To Tell If Mom’s Overdosing”
What: A PSA campaign from the Kansas City nonprofit Youth Ambassadors, that uses Sesame Street-style puppets and songs to raise awareness for some tragic realities.
Who: Youth Ambassadors, VML
Why we care: The entire “Lessons from My Neighborhood” campaign takes a cheerful approach to tragic circumstances like parental drug abuse, child malnutrition, and violence. By using puppets that typically sing about friendship, feelings, and other joys of life, the spots are able to effectively convey how heartbreaking it is that small children are forced to deal with these realities every single day.