The Croc ECD Nick Watmough has successfully led campaigns for brands including Ford, Sony Mobile, Lucozade and many more. He has also held senior positions at agencies Ogilvy, Digitas and Publicis Sapient and worked at Sky Creative.
Desert Island Ads
For most people, one of the few (if any) benefits of being isolated on a desert island is that nobody could attempt to sell you anything. For me, however, a brilliant idea, perfectly executed, uplifts the human spirit, something I would no doubt be in dire need of.
So, without further ado, to distract me from the very real threat of being eaten alive by a komodo dragon, here are the spots I would take to entertain me if I found myself marooned on a desert island.
HP Studios: The Wolf/ Christian Slater.
When advertising an abstract and complex product such as internet security, it’s notoriously hard to inject any humanity into the category.
In The Wolf, HP did the seemingly impossible. Smart, sophisticated, and terrifying, The Wolf effortlessly lures you into its world with a dystopian film noir aesthetic and hard-hitting performance from Christian Slater.
Ultimately, the film proves that the most effective enterprise marketing is not only grown-up, but also highly engaging. Something many B2B organisations could learn a lot from.
Harking back to a time when Audi still made great commercials and car ads weren’t as dull as dishwater, ‘Clowns’ remains a cut above.
I love everything about this spot, from the reimagined version of ‘Send in the Clowns’ to the completely novel take on the well-trodden safety features script. Overall, it’s a fantastic idea from BBH, beautifully executed by Ringan Ledwidge.
Beyond the A8’s impressive technical features, there’s nothing safe about this ad. The clue’s in the name, it really is ‘Clown Proof’.
The Epic Split
The Epic Split feat. Jean Claude Van Damme was the first B2B campaign that truly broke convention, smashing category norms out of the park.
Though on the face of it, the spot was aimed at the relatively small demographic who buy Volvo trucks, the idea and craft elevated its success far beyond the typical constraints of B2B, or indeed, B2C.
What could have so easily been another boring ad about stability and precision was, in fact, a bonafide masterpiece. Coming out of retirement to perform his trademark splits between two moving trucks, the ‘Muscles from Brussels’ performed a star-turn in one of the most iconic ads in history.
‘Who can say where the road goes?’. This was a once-in-a-lifetime brief for the team at Forsman & Bodenfors and the flawless execution shows they rode it for all it was worth.
Old Spice: The Man Your Man Can Smell Like
Bold, irreverent, and utterly distinctive, Old Spice’s ‘The Man Your Man Can Smell Like’ is as hilarious as it’s tonally faithful to the product it’s advertising.
It’s often said that a truly great ad is one that could not have run for any other brand. In this regard, Old Spice also gets top marks. Can you imagine Tom Ford launching a fragrance like this?
What’s more, a good dose of ultra-macho spirit could give me the boost I need when hunting crocodiles or whatever other bizarre projects I’d need to complete to survive.
Hamlet: Happiness is a Cigar Called Hamlet
So often, the most effective ideas are the simplest ones. I can think of no better testament to this truth than the infamous Rab C Nesbitt spot for Hamlet cigars.
Take one gloriously gaudy photo booth, then add a suspect comb-over and a virtuoso comedy performance and you have, to my mind, one of the greatest commercials ever produced.
The Next Rembrandt
When fine art meets the art of our age: AI, the results can be spectacular.
Appealing to my inner geek and love of art, The Next Rembrandt blew me away. I love how it blurs the boundaries between art and technology, something we should all strive for in the work we create.
Using data to bring a masterpiece back to life, this controversial piece split the art world as the purists debated its credibility. The controversy certainly got people talking about it, with the campaign instantly going global – exactly the kind of publicity every brand seeks.
Is it really art and what makes a masterpiece a masterpiece? I’ll let you decide, but damn it’s clever. I’m excited by digital innovation and data and the Next Rembrandt proves that binary can be beautiful and emotive. Hat tip to Wunderman Thompson (or JWT as it was known).