Adland Roundup 2003 (part 1)

Goodbye 2003. Hello 2004.

In the land of advertising, we saw some interesting things during 2003. Twins selling beer. Catfights selling beer and TV shows. A slew of banned advertisements. Backlash at the fast food industry and their selling techniques. Fake ads making their way around the net. A continuation of layoffs in a stagnant economy. Super Bowl ads that were overall lacking in the creativity of previous years. Anti-Hummer and anti-SUV advertisements. California recall madness from companies like Taco Bell, Mentos, and Reebok. More ads being "inappropriately entered" in award shows. New advertising media from homeless cardboard signs to human heads. Fake graffiti for Nissan and Napster, in an attempt to get "street cred". The peak of x-fever, or so we hope. Advertisers seeking sponsorships, like The Restaurant, to create adver-shows to get around the threat of TiVO. But between the good, the bad, ugly, and bizarre, there was much to talk about, watch, and absorb.

(Click on "Read More" to, well, read more. You know you want to. )

Overall best

Inspirational. Excellent. Hot-diggity-dog. Ads that made us jealous we didn't create them and remind us that oustanding work can still be done.

  • Honda - Cog
  • by W+K, UK. Beautifully shot, terrific concept. Simply dazzling.
  • Miller campaign by Ogilvy & Mather, which includes Dominos, posted by Robblink, and Anthem.
  • Nike "More Go" - Streaker by W+K, Portland. Entertaining, cut through the clutter.
  • Adlove found the Visa Tuk Tuk advert with Pierce Brosnan by BBDO Asia Pacific. This has to be the greatest Tuk Tuk chase ever. Brilliant.
  • Nintendo's most ambitious campaign yet by Leo Burnett, US, posted by Adlove, Nintendo School's Out, required over 500 extras and dancers to shoot this one ad.
  • dabitch found this concept that uses print beautifully. From Lowe Bull South Africa, check out this brilliant pro bono print campaign - POWA 'Force'. Amazing.
  • Ikea - Pony. Another great Ikea spot by Crispin Porter & Bogusky, Miami, US. Superb editing. Great concept reinforcing that no matter your budget there's something for you at Ikea.
  • Tooheys Extra Dry- The Quest, aka Tongue created by Brown Melhuish Fishlock (BMP), Australia. Brilliant concept that highlights the taste of the beer. Well done.
  • Converse - The First School - The Invisible Game - Champs version and Footlocker version. Modernista brings the shoe back to the court sans players in this wonderfully shot ad.
  • ESPN - Shelfball campaign - Travis and Kiss the Double are a part of this great campaign from W+K. They keep on churning out excellent stuff for ESPN.
  • Heineken - Rooftop. An excellent spot by Publicis, NY that blows a raspberry at the T&A beer advertising that seemed to take over the airwaves this year. As beer ads go, it's got almost an earthy, simplistic feel to it- after the first half of the ad anyway.
  • Clarks - Catwalk ad created at St. Luke's, London. A great ad for fashion, without having to show broomstick shaped models.

Overall worst

Trite. Overdone. Obnoxious. And just plain awful. These are the ads that make our industry look bad and make even those of us in the industry change the channel.

  • Miller Light Catfight. Bad job from O&M, US. It sure did generate a buzz, and I'm sure a lot of horny guys wanted to see the ad, but it did nothing for their sales.
  • Quiznos - Wolves. Nobody understood that suckling of the wolf thing. The irony from Cliff Freeman & Partners fell flat.
  • Anti-Drug ads - Pregnancy for Partnership for a Drug-Free America by McCann Erickson, NY, and two ads by O&M, NY for the White House Office of national Drug Control Policy, including The Messenger, and The Visit. Some of these had a Sixth Sense feel to them. The Pregnancy spot was not so realistic and would be better as an anti-drinking campaign aimed at teens. Overall, the ads are preachy and obnoxious. There have been very good anti-drug ads in the past that didn't get as preachy, and were probably more effective than these.
  • Levis - Stampede. BBH, NY went too far with this one. Just because you have a large budget, there's no reason to do this kind of ad. CGI was ok, not great. The beginning of the ad looks more like a GAP ad. It just didn't gel.
  • McDonalds - I'm Lovin' It campaign. Too bad no one is lovin' it, except McDonalds and the agency, Heye & Partners in Hamburg, Germany that created this monstrosity.
  • Bailey's - Let your senses guide you - Spill by J. Walter Thompson, NY seems more like just following the clients orders rather than doing something creative with the brief.

Biggest Ad Scandal

The news item that was the most controversial in the world of advertising.

Best Ballad

Not many ads these days have jingles. And if they do they aren't very good. So bravo to the best ballad/song in an ad for this year.

  • Coors Light- Here's to the Wingman- Song written by Jason Elm, sung by Chris K of Goldspot for Deutsch, Los Angeles, USA. Not only is the song so great it made us want to sing along, it also has a strong concept that hits home.

Best use of puns in an ad

In ad school most of us were told to stay away from the dreaded pun. But once in a while, it works.

  • Tele2 campaign of Mail Slot, Bill Sucks, and Mail Box by Forsman & Bodenfors, Sweden. Puns are usually a horrible way to go for a concept but these ones made us smile.

Most talked about ads

Some ads just generate more press than others, usually because of some sort of controversy.

Best marketing idea

The best ideas that made waves in the ad/marketing world.

Worst marketing idea

Things that make you wonder what the heck they were thinking. Maybe they weren't.

  • KFC's "healthy" fried chicken by Foote Cone & Belding. As if a bucket of KFC is healthy. Come on. Thankfully this ad didn't fool anyone as it was pulled with a month of the first airdate.
  • Lego guarded their trademark so much, that they missed a great opportunity to be in the Honda Element- Mega Blocks ad, by Rubin Postaer & Associates.
  • Companies like Taco Bell, Mentos, and Reebok jumping in on the California recall craziness. Everyone wanted to be the "official fill-in-the-blank" of the recall.
  • Sexy shoe steps in it - An ad for Patrick Cox shoes contains the image of two men wrestling in jockstraps in the background of female legs sporting the shoes. Huh? I know fashion advertising doesn't always make sense but this was bizarre.
  • In a BKFC state of mind. Burger King changed their burgers from being flame broiled to fire grilled, although their cooking methods didn't change at all.
  • Celine Dion as spokesperson for Chrysler's campaign for the majority of 2003. Unfortunately for Chrysler, they were targeting a much younger audience than those who actually enjoy listening to the diva's songs. According to a later article, even the ad guys n' gals at BBDO, Detroit thought this was a bad idea and warned against it.


Mistakes happen. Sometimes the mistakes get loads of press, and it becomes a lot harder to sidestep the doggy doo.

Ads that shouldn't have run

These ads should have been stopped somewhere along the line. How they made it to air/press makes us scratch our heads.

  • PETA likens meat industry to Shoah. As if comparing the meat industry to the Holocaust isn't bad enough, they then likened the mass transport of animals to slaughterhouses to the Nazi deportations to concentration camps.
  • PETA Go Vegetarian and Santa Billboards. Basically PETA just needs to stop with the shock advertising. It's getting old and is giving them more enemies than supporters.
  • KFC's "healthy" fried chicken by Foote Cone & Belding. Sure, fried food is always been considered healthy. Right. And a big honking sized bucket of it for two? Alrighty.
  • Ruffles Baby and Baby 2. How this ad got approved and through the creative channels at BBDO, NY, I'll never know. What does a baby have to do with potato chips? Talk about random.

Click to continue reading Adland Roundup 2003 part 2.

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