What's your favourite ad?

Article by Steven Bochenek

I work in advertising and do this auto writing as a very enjoyable moonlight. The following are among my favourites from the last 10 years. But you know what they say in advertising; rules are made to be broken. Example? The first selection is from over a decade ago…

The BMW films from 2001 and 2002 were made over a decade ago but it’s difficult to explain what a complete game-changer they were. Almost never had there been so much star power in an advertising campaign. Consequently, for one of the first times in history, people were actively seeking out ads, loving them, and sharing them with friends.

Another noteworthy point: the campaign was among the first created strictly for viewing online. Intentionally creating something to be banned had become a routine marketing strategy. Once censors found ads too saucy for us, we consumer-lemmings all sprinted for the Internet to see them. Suddenly the marketer got attention all over the world without paying a cent in media placement fees. However, few marketers were choosing to create a campaign strictly to be viewed online. And no others did it with such clout. In fact, many advertising award shows had to change category titles to accommodate this campaign, which technically didn’t entail TV commercials.

It’s a series of eight films. We’ll share just this one, created by the great Guy Ritchie, starring his erstwhile mononymous wife, who digs deep to play a pop star bitch. No doubt she’s a lovely person in real life, but those of who’ve been waiting decades for Ms. Ciccone to simply go away, really enjoy seeing Clive Owen heave her around the rear of his gorgeous M5.


The Banned Veloster Ad (that’s not why it’s here though). Seeing as we brushed onto the topic, this next ad was censored in its native Netherlands. We can’t assume it was created just to be banned, then viewed all over the world. Indeed, it’s hard to believe Holland even has censors. Certainly they wouldn’t forbid anything for sexual reasons. Instead, what got it banned was the ad’s message: cars with a passenger door on the driver’s side, it purports, are inherently less safe than a Veloster, which passengers can only quit from the passenger side.

And that’s also what makes this ad worth sharing. Note the single-mindedness of the creative message: this is about having three doors and nothing else.

The first rule of all good advertising is to say one thing — and say it unforgettably. (So it’s the first rule that most clients break, preferring to recite a litany of product features in every message, as uniformly as everyone else vying for consumer attention.)

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