a world of great advertising

world map

Something alarming struck me as I read AdAge’s  Top 100 Advertising Campaigns of all time.

They’re all American.

And they’re all TV or print campaigns.

That doesn’t seem right; I’m sure great advertising exists beyond the realm of US print and TV.

But, when I started to think about it, I realised that I don’t know many non-US examples.

And that’s probably because I rarely get to hear about them.

That needs to change: diversity of influence is a critical ingredient in continued innovation.

So I need your help.

I’d like to hear about your ‘rest of the best’: brand communications from the rest of the world, from any channel, that dramatically improved a brand’s success, or that significantly improved our approach to advertising.

Simply drop your suggestions into the comments section below, along with a few details and a link to the relevant work wherever possible, and I’ll consolidate them into a best of list.

Here are a couple of suggestions to get things going:

Nike’s ‘RunLondon‘ (W+K, United Kingdom, multichannel, starting 2001)

Tourism Queensland’s ‘Best Job in the World’ (Sapient-Nitro, worldwide, online PR-led, 2008)

What else deserves to be on that list?

17 Responses to “a world of great advertising”

  1. 1 Lara October 20, 2009 at 15:31

    Without a doubt (so far) Volkswagen’s ‘The Fun Theory’! http://www.thefuntheory.com/

    Brilliant stuff 🙂

  2. 2 Tom October 20, 2009 at 20:30

    ‘Labour Isn’t Working’ by Saatchi and Saatchi

  3. 3 phil October 21, 2009 at 00:57

    … is it because AdAge is a US publication? 😀

    some of the best ads i have seen and still remember that are non-US are from the Philippines, and it’s because they evoke a certain sense of response that is uniquely Pinoy (Filipino). i liked the PLDT’s Jesuit Volunteers of the Philippines TVC – which aired on the year of my leaving the university and almost made me want to join the volunteers program. then there were some Jollibee ads that were fun and gave birth to “new lingo” (“Ja-Jollibee kayo? Jo-join ako!” – “Are you going to Jollibee? Can I join?”). Globe Telecom’s TV ad that introduced the concept of texting in the Philippines was amazing, I believe.

    the recent ad from MCYS (I think) which was directed by Yazmin Ahmad – the “funeral” – was a beauty, i thought. i am not sure if it won any awards – but that was simply touching. i didn’t catch it on TV – but i caught on the net.

    some probably won awards – some probably didn’t. but they surely got embedded in the culture.

    my former “big bosses”, Antonio R. Mercado and Herminio Ordonez of Basic Advertising in the Philippines called it ‘kurot sa puso’ – something that engages one ’emotionally’ and ‘beyond mere reason’.

    and i think that is what makes ads powerful – how it immerses the audience in its story, envelops them, and cajoles them to respond.

    for print? I loved the David Guerrero ads on the English translations of the novels of the Philippine hero, Jose Rizal – “Noli Me Tangere” and “El Filibusterismo”. Those were beautiful. His works on the Fort Bonifacio Development Corp were also great. (unfortunately, I don’t have copies of these ads.


  4. 4 eskimon October 21, 2009 at 09:37

    Eddie shared these suggestions via twitter…

    “These two should be on everyone’s list of greats”:

    Benson & Hedges “Iguana” (UK, TV, 1979)

    Lego “Kipper” (UK, TV, year unknown)

  5. 5 eskimon October 21, 2009 at 09:47

    Ah Phil, How could I have forgotten Yazmin’s stuff in my original list?

    Two of the most moving pieces of advertising I’ve ever seen; ‘Tan Hong Ming’ is easily one of my top 20 ads of all time – it’s little surprise that it won so many awards:

    Petronas “Tan Hong Ming” (Malaysia, TV, 2007?)

    Singapore’s MCYS “Funeral” (Singapore, TV / Online, 2008)

  6. 6 eskimon October 21, 2009 at 09:54

    Here’s part of the Labour Isn’t Working campaign that Tom mentions above:

  7. 7 Linda October 21, 2009 at 10:29

    Uniqlo Tokyo Fashion Map. Actually uniqlo in general!

    [Uniqlo’s Tokyo Fashion Map is here – eskimon]

  8. 8 eskimon October 21, 2009 at 10:37

    It’s probably worth taking a look at these posts too, even if they’re mostly about TV spots:

    secrets of success

    total recall

    creature comforts

    mad about the jeans

    the bigger picture

  9. 9 eskimon October 21, 2009 at 10:53

    Just been reminded of Lifebuoy India’s wonderful Swasthya Chetna campaign from a few years back.

    There’s a quick guide to the campaign in this article, and this blog post has a few more details too.

    The most powerful aspect of the campaign was on-ground activity, teaching children about the dangers of germs, and the importance of washing their hands.

    This definitely features in my top 20 too.

  10. 10 Andy October 21, 2009 at 14:31

    I think Guinness have had not only some of the best adverts ever but also the greatest consistency. From the tinplate ad’s of the 1940s to the TV ad’s of the 90s and 2000s. Since they’ve used many agencies it says something about the management of Guinness that they’ve managed to keep a sense of mystery in their adverts over > 60 years.

    For me, the Guinness “horses & surfers ad” is the best TV ad of all time by anyone:

  11. 11 eskimon October 21, 2009 at 18:15

    Martina from Adverblog suggested the Diesel Heidies campaign from 2007 (via a post on twitter)

  12. 12 Mateus October 21, 2009 at 19:13

    Latin America have some great campaigns, but if you are looking for “campaigns that change the way we see advertising”, well, that´s another story. We are still very young when it comes to social media, mobile apps and other modern tools of communication… BUT that’s not the main reason you didn’t see great ads from Brazil in Ad Age’s list, the clients here are too old, they still believe in TV and newspaper campaigns, they still need to see an understandable ROI and the advertisers that they believe and trust are more than 50 years old, great whales of Cannes who still thinks that the best ad are those in Archive… Things are changing with a new generation, but there is a long way to go, not even 50% of Brazil’s population are connected, so we will get there in due time. An example for change is a campaign from Argentina called “Todos por um pelo” (everybody for a hair) para Arnet (web provider).

  13. 14 phil October 21, 2009 at 21:37

    great ads, really! thanks for the links. but one question: what exactly makes an ad great?

    they need to be award-winning – or should they? do they need to tap into some hidden insight? (and if they need to, how do we know that the creators indeed did find some “hidden insight” and did not just create the ad out of whim or whilst showering?) do they need to have lifted sales/revenues or some marketing or business metrics? changed attitudes and viewpoints? what if they didn’t – but they made audiences laugh, cry, or stunned…? do they need to become part of the ‘lingo’, the ‘culture’ of the audiences, their ‘everyday life’? what if they don’t?

    i guess, one can reword the question this way: who really decides whether an ad is great or not?

    • 15 eskimon October 22, 2009 at 12:15

      I was waiting for that kind of challenge! AdAge have adopted what appears to be a purely subjective approach – in their own words:

      “How did we determine the rankings? The hard way: Beginning in 1998, we dispatched a small army of researchers to build comprehensive lists of great work and careers. Editors and former editors of Ad Age met periodically to argue, discuss and refine the lists. In essence, we were trying to re-create the history of advertising, warts and all.”

      I’m not sure that’s the best way, but I can’t think how else to do it, especially given how difficult it will be to get more objective data.

      We’ve talked about effectiveness before, and I stick by those comments as a definition of what makes a great ‘ad’.

      However, until a similar approach to measurement is widely adopted, and the results of every campaign are made public, we’ll need to be more practical.

      I mention in the post that I’d most like to see ads that “dramatically improved a brand’s success, or that significantly improved our approach to advertising.”

      The second point is quite subjective; what helps me improve my approach may not have any effect on others.

      Furthermore, Yazmin’s work for Petronas that we discussed yesterday has little to do with the brand it’s supposed to promote; it’s just a feel-good film with a logo at the end. But the spot makes me feel slightly more accepting of Petronas. That makes it effective from some angles, but not from others.

      So I’ll leave it up to all of you to decide what you think makes a great ad. Once we get a good body of suggestions in, I’ll open it up to some kind of voting where everyone can share thoughts on which ones the believe are the ‘greatest’.

  14. 16 Erick Totanes October 22, 2009 at 23:13

    aside from getting a good laugh on this, i think it scored high on making people think and it stick to the core big time, making a buzz for a cracker, for me anyway 🙂

  15. 17 eskimon October 26, 2009 at 21:36

    Someone reminded me that the UK’s Channel 4 had run a poll of viewers’ favourite adverts of all time.

    You can find the whole list here, but, along with the Guinness Surfer clip Andy shared above, here are some more of the winners that stood out for me:

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