It’s the end of the year, so it’s time for some Of The Year awards. The Stable wants to do something different for its.
The Stable is letting those at the top of agencies and production companies choose their Of The Year recipients. And give the reason.
We’re all fixated all year on who won what, but don’t always pay attention to why. Some work doesn’t get the applause it deserves because why gets overlooked. Even if they had all picked the same expected work (and happily, they haven’t), they’re all authorities. Their “why” matters. As it should.
I also asked for just one piece of work per person. It could be an ad, branded content, stunt, product…or anything else that sells a product, brand or service. Perhaps the idea made them go wow? The direction…or art direction? Its production values. Its bravery. Its individuality. That it got through all those pesky approvals. That it was made possible.
I also said that it could be their own be their own campaign, or someone else’s. Local or international. I was hoping to get some really great work that hadn’t been in the spotlight over and over. I did.
I’m running this Chat in two editions, so I have to make a massive apology to those awesome people who busted their bums to get their responses in on time and are in the second edition. I did simply choose the response according to when they came in, but some people were travelling, pitching and finishing jobs. So Edward Pontifex, managing director of Sweetshop Australia; Steve Cochran, executive creative director, Colenso BBDO; Chad Mackenzie, national creative director whiteGREY; Rebecca Carrasco, deputy executive creative director, Saatchi & Saatchi Australia; Simon Langley, executive creative director, J. Walter Thompson Australia – thank you for being awesome and readers, please look out for their Of The Year selections coming soon. To those who needed an extension – extension granted.
Michael Ritchie, managing director & executive producer, Revolver: Crocodile Dundee: The Son of a Legend Returns Home (Droga5 NY, Revolver Will/O’Rourke)
Please excuse how self-serving this might sound, however, I am going to choose something that we happened to work on, mainly because I know a lot about it and how it happened. In essence, it was a stunt, a campaign, a film, a bunch of trailers and a Super Bowl ad, all to get Americans to come over and spend their tourism dollar with us.
For those who don’t know about it, it was to secretly create visual assets to convince the world that there was going to be a sequel to the Paul Hogan’s Crocodile Dundee franchise (behind-the-scenes image cover pic above). From the outset, I think it was enormously interesting that Tourism Australia realised that an Australian/American voice (Droga5 NY) was a very smart starting point. Droga5 nailed the idea, the entire strategy and the PR release – at every level, down to the writing of the dialogue. The expertise was exceptional.
It was kind of up to us then to produce something, with these scripts and ideas, that was plausibly a Hollywood film – teasers and trailers. Our director, Steve Rogers immersed himself into that film language and brought us imagery that really did work. That was assisted by the vision David Droga had of leveraging his relationships to get a cast of A-list actors, all of whom felt it their duty to help this campaign. (This alone was extraordinary.)
By the time we got to the Super Bowl, the critics had loved, panned or questioned the film to be. But when it did run, we hit 103 million views on the broadcast and then over another 200 million watching again digitally. And it was the most watched film trailer on Facebook ever! It seemed to hit a spot with Americans while also galvanising us as Australians…
Like the 1980s Shrimp on the Barbie, we were not really talking about how great our beaches were (even though we were), but we were talking about the Australian character. That was genius. It was the commitment of everyone involved, working at the highest level, that made this particular bit of work so special.
Ben Smith, creative director, Ogilvy Australia: Project Body Hair by Billie (in-house)
I’ve spent most of the year in a sleepy haze thanks to my fifteen-month-old son who has only just figured out the whole sleep thing, but a few ads have helped lift me out my snoozy state.
Nike sponsoring a cerebral palsy athlete was powerful and brought a tear to my eye. Droga5’s The Last Da Vinci film was stunning. It’s a Tide Ad, amazing. Burger King’s Scary Clown Night was great and ballsy.
But what really made me jealous wasn’t just a commercial. It was an ad, backed by a fantastic business idea. Billie Razors, a start-up, mail-order body brand for women, disrupted the female shaving industry with Project Body Hair.
You see, since forever, showing female body hair in ads has been outlawed by razor companies, with commercials only ever showing women shaving smooth and hairless limbs. Very weird for an industry that needs hairy legs to survive. So, Billie created a film celebrating girls with body hair and didn’t talk in clichés or push an expectation but reminded women that shaving (or not) is an option and not mandatory.
To show lots of the thing that every other razor brand pretends doesn’t exist, is pretty cool and brave in my book and a great way to stand out.
Well done, Billie.
Oliver Lawrance, executive producer, Photoplay. Facebook – Live What You Love (Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam, Rattling Stick, MPC London)
This Facebook Live What Love campaign for India by W+K Amsterdam just made me laugh and at the same time I was excited by seeing someone making a stylised form of documentary storytelling. It felt so fresh & engaging, it made me wish we were making these kind of campaigns in Australia. The scripts and characters jump off the screen. You are soaked in all the colour of their lives.
The work should talk for itself. So please watch these three films and I hope you enjoy them as much as me.
Laurence Green, executive partner, MullenLowe London: We are the NHS (MullenLoweLondon)
I keep coming back to a piece of work we did (but I didn’t!).
It was an incredibly important job (recruit nurses and restore pride in the NHS) and an extraordinary production: not in terms of flashy stuff like post and effects but more basic human qualities: like the speed and lightness of touch required by a director shooting everything for real in a bustling hospital.
I’m not sure what X of the Year that is but…
David Reviews gave it 5 stars and described it as: “Part recruitment drive and part love letter to a service which seems to be under permanent threat.”
Carlos Guedes, creative director, Mirum: Stabilo – Highlight The Remarkable (DDB Group Düsseldorf)
To me, this campaign encapsulates what a powerful concept with a brilliant execution is.
By highlighting remarkable women and their stories, this outstanding work for Stabilo Boss highlighter pens deconstructed the meaning of the concept, “Behind every great man is always a great woman”.
Stabilo Boss tried to rewrite history, asking the pertinent question, “Where are the important women who took part in these historical events?”. This emotionally driven campaign has the power to inform, engage, persuade, and possibly even lead the audience to be more aware of women’s discrimination overall, by drawing attention towards the metaphorically “invisible women” who made a difference in history anonymously, by highlighting them. Thus expanding Sabilo’s dominance in the highlighter category.
Moreover, the campaign not only promotes this particularly Stabilo product, it further builds upon its positive brand reputation and perception towards consumers, by touching on the forgotten context of hidden women heroes.
Simple and meaningful, conceptually smart and with an impeccable creative direction, this campaign reinforces the fact that a strong simple IDEA, brilliantly executed, continues to be what really matters in the communication industry. Regardless of the brand, the product, the client’s strategy or the agency’s reputation, either digital or print or other, a great IDEA is what will drive the audience to drop their guard and touch their heart.
Genevieve Triquet, executive producer, In The Thicket: Hope for ICRC (SRA Rushmore) and Heart of Sky (directed by Moussallem)
I’ve selected two campaigns. No big thoughts and big brainstorming, just my truthful feels and thoughts about WHY both campaigns have been recognised at an International level and are big success.
- TVC, Hope, directed by James Rouse for the International Committee of the Red Cross.
2/ Short film, Heart of Sky, directed by Lebanese filmmaker, Jessy Moussallem
BACKGROUND: Damian Lazarus & The Ancient Moons commissioned Moussallem to create the film using music from their album, also titled Heart of Sky. It examines the lives and livelihoods of the people farming red hashish in Lebanon ‘s Bekaa valley, and is also a visual study of a rarely known corner of the world and the personalities who call it home.
Both of them have obviously very high level of execution, perfect craft, strong ideas, great storytelling, amazing cast, very talented filmmakers but, more than that, both films go further and bring more than a TVC campaign. They are moving films, pieces of work that come to you and make you think about a world other than adand with their strong topics that really matter. The WHY goes further than the idea, the concept and the films move you. These kinds of films could make the world a better place, make you learn, open your mind and educate viewers.
Peter Grasse, founder and executive producer, Mr+Positive. Shiseido – The Party Bus
I produced a spot with this director, King of Fighters. So I wanted to think about his personality and craft while watching. And still, I utterly lost myself in the fluidity of this piece. Beautifully sensitive, engaging and surprising. No chord when they kiss – suspended grace.
Bridget Jung, executive creative director, opr Agency: KFC’s FCK (Mother London)
There is so much to love in this piece. The execution is brilliant. The idea is so simple that you wonder why it hasn’t been done before. I love that it doesn’t need a case study to explain why it’s good. I especially love that it turned a serious brand crisis into one of the most successful campaigns of the year with only three letters.
I love that the agency pitched an idea to transform the client logo into an expletive and I love even more that the client bought it. I really hope it inspires more brands to embrace truth and vulnerability rather than spin and messaging. I love that even the smallest details like the url were well crafted.
In a nutshell this idea made me think “FCK. I wish I’d done that.”
Lauren Pomphrey, Head of Copy, Digitas: Not A Single Origin (Small Multiples)
Hidden among the big shiny campaigns we’ve shared around the office this year, one smaller (but equally shiny) project stood out for me. Not A Single Origin is an unlikely partnership between data visualisation specialists, Small Multiples, and artisan chocolatier, Bakedown Cakery – and the result is the year’s most delicious use of data.
Exploring the relationship between ethnicity, population and taste, census data was used to determine the ancestry origins of 12 Sydney suburbs. Prominent flavours from the suburbs’ dominant ethnic backgrounds were then used to create a box of 12 unique chocolates, with mapping data embedded onto the top of each chocolate using 3D printing. Every element of this project has been carefully considered, right down to the packaging, where photographs of ingredients have been transformed into a beautiful data-fuelled artwork. And the clever line of copy, Not A Single Origin, is the nice bow that ties it all together.
Yes, it’s just a box of chocolates – but as we all know in the industry, it’s never just a box of chocolates. This is a ton of ideas and time and roadblocks, and a lot of people putting their hearts and souls into bringing something wonderful to life.
At Digitas, we’re all about connected marketing, and this is an example of the great things that can happen when creative, data, media and tech work together. Not the version of “working together” where we all work in silos and a project manager joins the dots, but actually working together – getting a diverse range of specialisms in a room, developing an idea and everybody bringing their best. That’s a truly connected approach and that’s when magic happens.
The Not a Single Origin website is here.