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Top 5 ads of the week: Elton John sings for Xmas, KFC’s crispy streetwear

Burger King uses banner ads to buy you a free Whopper, Veterans Day isn’t for sale, and Cadillac says, “Oh Hello!”

Top 5 ads of the week: Elton John sings for Xmas, KFC’s crispy streetwear

It’s easily one of Britain’s most highly anticipated ads of the year, something that has made it increasingly difficult for retailer John Lewis & Partners and its agency, adam&eveDDB, to actually surprise us with an original Christmas campaign. But this year they eschewed the tried-and-true cute kid/adorable animal combo for the Rocketman himself. As cliché as it may seem to credit one inspired Christmas gift for Elton John’s incredible career, this story still manages to hit you right in the feels. Onward!

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John Lewis & Partners “The Boy and the Piano”

What: The John Lewis Xmas Ad Experience 2018 Edition

Who: John Lewis & Partners, adam&eveDDB

Why we care: Holiday schmaltz of the highest order. And a solid mix of brand story and celebrity

KFC “The Colonel’s Original Recipe x Nigo’s Human Made”

What: A new streetwear collection collaboration between the fast feeder and the Japanese fashion label

Who: KFC, Human Made, Hypebeast, Wieden+Kennedy

Why we care: This isn’t KFC’s first foray into swag, but its commitment to keeping a straight face while producing streetwear is impressive. If last year’s nearly-sold-out collection taught us anything, it’s that classic branding does have a style appeal (just ask Andy Warhol fans). Here we get a unique collaboration that adds legitimacy to KFC’s fashionable ambitions, while also adding brand value. Crispy.

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Fisher House Foundation “Veterans Day Is Not for Sale”

What: A simple reminder of what the holiday is all about

Who: Fisher House Foundation, GUT, m ss ng p eces

Why we care: A simple message, well told. It’s not easy, but it really is that clear cut. A retail gesture that was perhaps first conceived as a way to raise awareness for the day we honor veterans has almost taken it over. Here we have a message to remind everyone that the first thing we should be thinking about is sacrifice, not sale price.

Burger King “Whopper Shopper”

What: A new website that only features online banner ads from other brands so that they can be used to pay for your next Whopper

Who: Burger King, Grabarz & Partner Werbeagentur GmbH

Why we care: When you click on a banner ad, the website hosting that ad earns a cut of that sale. So ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, BK set up a site that features nothing but banner ads and then is donating every cut to buy free Whoppers for people. Anything that harnesses the power of a mediocre ad platform for free burgers gets a high five from me.

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Cadillac “Now That’s a Cardiac”

What: A sponsored, brand content version of Nick Kroll and John Mulaney’s “Oh Hello!”

Who: Cadillac, Kovert Creative

Why we care: It’s not the most obvious brand connection. In fact, as I said earlier this week, it’s about as loose as they come. But honestly, sometimes it’s a good move to just give the people what they want, and any day Nick Kroll and John Mulaney suit up as Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland is a good day. Bonus: Gil’s pronunciation of “podcast.”

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About the author

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

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