This article originally featured on Branding in Asia here, from our Creative Director – Duncan Shields.

Two I like

We All Win – Microsoft

Why I like it: It captures so much life.

Using ‘real’ people in ads is not easy, getting an emotional story arc from a whole group of them is even harder. And don’t let the ‘underproduced’ style fool you – lo-fi shooting doesn’t automatically add authenticity, like Google Pixel 3 – Group Selfie Cam for example.  Authenticity comes from great direction and editing – hats off.

A Pleasure to Follow – Audi

Why I like it: I absolutely love ads that offer as much entertainment factor as the content they interrupt and this is a great example of doing just that. This ad oozes craft at every turn (excuse the pun).

From the overall look to the great choice in music, all the way down to the performances of each of the characters (the perp on the backseat is my favourite). Even the most weathered and cynical creatives would find it hard not to smile at the silliness of the situation when the reveal comes around at the end. It’s a good, old-fashioned entertaining ad that displays huge amounts of skill and craftsmanship. More of these, please.

One I like less than the others (quite a lot less)

Change Up the Usual – Stella Artois

Perhaps an obvious choice but one that bothered me so much, I haven’t been able to shake it from my memory. You guessed it, it’s the Stella Artois Superbowl ad with Carrie Bradshaw and the Dude:

I think the thing that bothers me most about that ad is that it’s a Stella Artois ad. It now sits alongside some of the best beer ads ever made and quite frankly, it doesn’t stack up at all.

Stella ads used to be right at the pinnacle of creative storytelling – hell, I got into advertising dreaming of making ads like Stella used to.

Ads like this:

And this:

And I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the production of both of these ads combined cost less than Carrie’s Cosmopolitan… sorry, Stella Artois.

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