Well, well, well, here we are. The four short weeks that make up February are well and truly behind us, and so we quickly but cautiously enter the third month of 2021, otherwise known as ‘March’. I don’t know about you, but I’m certainly feeling more hopeful and optimistic than I have been in recent months. The release of the government’s roadmap back to normality has got me thinking about potential summer holidays, festivals and most importantly, a good old-fashioned night out (the June 21st memes sparking true, unprecedented joy). Things are looking up mes amis!
On top of that, there’s been some seriously good ads this month with some absolute bangers sprinkled throughout. So, let’s get into it.
Coca-Cola – Open That Coca Cola
Agency: Wieden + Kennedy London, Production Company: Caviar, Director: Los Pérez
Yeah, this is mad.
An outstanding example of what’s possible when a healthy budget, great creative and genius direction collide to produce true excellence. From the expert cinematography to the tight choreography even down to the flawless grading, every last, minute detail seems so thoroughly and carefully planned out, it’s almost like watching a Wes Anderson movie. All facets of production working in perfect tandem to create a bold, bright, somewhat quirky but above all, joyous spot that… actually made me want to drink a coke? Huh, maybe advertising works!
Each scene introduces a new, vibrant cast of characters drawing you into their coke-fuelled world. The spot is judiciously paired with a track written & produced bespoke for the campaign by none other than the Flower Boy himself, Tyler, The Creator. Not only does this likely bring a higher level of viewership due to Tyler’s cult-like following, but his musical vision and songwriting + production prowess are truly a match made in heaven here.
In regards to his work on the track, Tyler commented “commercials need sounds like this” and you know what, my guy, you’re absolutely right. Also, congrats on successfully securing the bag.
Pepsi Max – Fizz To Life
Agency: AMV BBDO, Production Company: Somesuch, Director: Raine Allen-Miller
It’s the age-old tale: the battle of Coke vs. Pepsi. Where do I stand? Can’t lie, I am rather partial to a Pepsi, but also love cracking open a fresh can of Diet Coke on a sunny day. And thus, the battle rages on, but this time in the form of: which fizzy beverage brand got the bigger banger out of the musical artist they commissioned to write a bespoke track for their campaign? The answer? Difficult to say! The Becky G x Burna Boy track ‘Rotate’ undoubtedly slaps. The classic reggaeton production sparks serious ~summer vibes~ (and we’re all desperately searching for a bit of that Summer feeling right now, lets face it).
Props to Pepsi though, because Burna Boy is truly a great talent collaboration choice – his prominence and profile having seen significant rise in the past couple of years with albums “Twice as Tall” and “African Giant” solidifying his rightful place at the forefront of music culture. However, sadly for Pepsi, this campaign is served to promote the UEFA Champions League (whatever that is) and, due to my feelings on football being terrible and unnecessary, I am therefore inclined to find Coke’s campaign the better of the two. Please don’t @ me.
O2 – Don’t Miss Out
Agency: VCCP, Production Company: Independent Films, Director: Gary Freedman
Really interesting track choice here. Works masterfully at subverting audience expectations – starts off in a typical plinky plonky ad-like fashion, the type of which might make you roll your eyes, but then – surprise! We transition into a delightful, alternative hip hop track. Ok, so maybe that’s not majorly ground-breaking in and of itself BUT it certainly took me by surprise! Piquing my interest so much so, in fact, that I tracked down and listened to the full 2019 album from which the track came (‘Burd’ by Wilma Vritra for reference), which I really enjoyed. Great low-key hip hop with enigmatic production.
I stopped paying attention to what the ad was supposed to be about due to my being distracted by the music but am assuming something to do with mobile phones? Think there was a blue robot somewhere in there too.
Green & Blacks – Wildly. Deliciously. Organic.
Agency: VCCP, Production Company: Somesuch, Director: Kim Gehrig
Wildly. Deliciously. Unexpected! The intense, raw and visceral nature of this spot is not what one would typically associate with a chocolate ad. M.I.A.’s ‘Born Free’ meets the film’s chaotic pace head-on, providing the perfect soundtrack to accompany and support the frantic, striking visuals. Beautiful work from VCCP and of course, Kim Gehrig, naturally.
Churchill – Slide
Agency: Engine, Production Company: Pulse Films, Director: Sam Pilling
While this spot may not pack a punch on the Coke & Pepsi level, it’s a stellar example of the beauty in simplicity and how you don’t need to produce work that’s continuously firing on all cylinders in order to make a significant impact. The relaxed, meditative motion of Churchie going down the slide paired with the luxurious, melodic tones of the (newly discovered) track “Morals” by Africa Express, works beautifully to create a serene and pleasurable viewing experience. Honestly, I watched it 5x in a row, then Shazam’d the track, then added the track to my Feb rotation playlist. I might even delete the “Calm” app off my phone and just watch this ad whenever I feel a bout of anxiety coming on.