Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Putting It Out There...

“All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players,” mutters young Bill into the depths of his Jurgemeister bomb as the S.A. Irish Pipes & Drums band blast past the bar window.

“Dinkum.” agrees my art director, smiling approvingly at him as she slams her fifth tequila down and looks decidedly unfocused in her Ladytron

There’s no point in putting yourself centre-stage if no one’s going to notice you. Back in the dim and distant, London ad agency FCO created what was widely regarded as the first, or at least the first great, 3D outdoor poster campaign for Araldite glue. The series began with a real Ford Cortina (shows its age) stuck to poster sites around Britain with the understated headline: “Also sticks handles to tea-pots.” The second had two cars with the line “The suspense continues.” And the third had gaping holes in the posters where the cars had been and the line “How did we pull it off?”
Through the mists of time it all sounds a bit parochial but it was the first inventive use of outdoor posters and creamed the awards worldwide, -check out old D&AD annuals to see them, - and was the first advertising ever referred to in a positive light in Pravda. (Well, except for a few million Stalinist posters maybe).

Back in the here and now, adland still tries continually to find that single cut-through idea that will hold the public’s attention long enough to flog them a perfume, a loaf of bread or a dead horse. Or a Chevrolet Aveo.
In London a poster went up made entirely of pennies to launch this value for money car. Purposely located at street height the pennies, nearly 20 000 in all, were fairly quickly removed by passing pedestrians of all shapes and ages, revealing the little getabout. It was good gimmick and was rewarded with hundreds of column inches in the press and news stories across the electronic media. Worth its weight in copper you might say.
This being the 21st century you can watch the ad be picked to pieces at;

An even more rewarding poster was unveiled in Sydney where 10 000
$1 scratch cards, (scratchies to our wallaby worrying cousins), were fixed to a specially built 12m by 3m billboard. In a winner takes all competition to find the Best Outdoor Ad in Australia someone could walk away with significantly more than $10 000 with each card being a potential $20 000 winner. Some sad bugger has worked out that it will take 20 days to scratch them all at one a minute for 8 hours a day, that’s a bit of Repetitive Strain Injury that might be worth risking.

In adland, a world where gorillas play drums for chocolate and millions of coloured balls bounce merrily untethered through city streets, it’s hard to stand out from the madding crowd.
Sometimes you even have to create your own stage to get your message out there. In 2006 for Folgers Coffee Saatchi & Saatchi turned the manhole covers on New York streets Into steaming coffee cups with stunning street drawings. Drink them in at:

Taking the painting theme a tad further, for the World Cup in the same year, as part of their worldwide “Impossible is nothing” campaign, Adidas created a huge fresco in Cologne’s train station.
Commissioned by TBWA Germany, the 40 meters long and 20 meters wide piece shows 10 football icons exactly how millions of enthusiastic football fans around the world see them. As Gods.
Created by Hamburg-based illustrator Felix Reidenbach, (who in a creepy nod to its biblical origin took 40 days to finish), it contains a veritable pantheon of players including Michael Ballack, David Beckham, Zinadine Zidane, Kaka, Nakamura, Lukas Podolski, Lionel Messi, Juan Roman Riquelme and Djibril Cisse. Cross over to:
to see it in all its glory.

The same agency, the same client and the same campaign.
A billboard placed over a bridge construction site on the way to the Munich airport, featured a magnificent, stretching dive by the German goalkeeper, Oliver Kahn. As powerful as it was dramatic it branded the whole city as the centre of world football and made the creative team of
Stefan Schmidt, Kurt Georg Dieckert and Boris Schwiedrzik the toast of the town. Catch it at:

It used to be that only irritating fiancés wrote stuff in the sky where, luckily for all concerned, they soon dissipated back into the ether. Nowadays, however, even the skies aren’t safe from adland adages.
Honda’s Skydiver commercial takes place, well, in the sky. A sky near you perhaps. Anyway a bunch of people throw themselves rather recklessly out of a couple of large airplanes. The pilot informs them, and us, “Remember gentlemen, difficult is worth doing.” Then, in that rather self-conscious manner of all skydivers, they all join hands in little groups. (Is it only me that thinks jumping out of planes is supposed to be a way to get away from throngs of people?). They form into something that might or might not be a recognisable shape; more people leap out of other aircraft and make more indecipherable symbols.
Eventually they line up in a sort of pyramid shape and we can read the name Accord floating rather pointlessly across the sky and the endline says “The Power of Dreams. “ I can’t help thinking that this is a pretty crap dream, to say nothing of a dull ad, judge for yourself at:

I mention this to the guys around the bar as the S.A, Irish Pipe Band swirl and squirl around us, one of the lead pipers has collapsed in a drunken blur his pipes quietly deflating with him. “We have a piper down…” shouts the lead pipe bloke echoing perfectly Mike Myers in the wedding scene from “So I married an axe murderer,” a classic pre-Austin Powers moment. See what I mean at:

As Mr Shakespeare might have put it, “That ends this strange eventful history,”
Exit stage left, pursued by bear.

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