Bestads Top 6 of the Week reviewed by Noah Clark, ECD, Victors & Spoils, Boulder, Colorado

TV.jpgBEST TV
Wow. Guinness, Skittles and Snickers in one week - all heavy broadcast hitters that have been responsible for some of the best TV work over the past decade.

And maybe not surprisingly, this week goes to Guinness for me. Because Peter Thwaites and Nadav Kander and their friends at AMV BBDO have put something beautiful on film here.

This is just one of the more filmic, expansive spots I've seen in a long time. I hesitate to call it a "spot" really as it plays like a short film. 90 seconds of visual feast and the kind of ad that I gotta think really became something special in the production process. Because the script, the actual words, are pretty straightforward. No copywriting bells and whistles. Not in a bad way, mind you. But I always wonder to myself how these kinds of spots present in a meeting. Sure it has so much scale and poetry here in finished form, but that's a hard thing to get your clients to feel over a conference call. So the fact that it was approved and allowed to find it's way into Peter's magic hands is commendable.
It's just a well-crafted piece of cinema, full of wonderful little moments and touches. In particular, I love the bit where the cloud overtakes the traffic light. And when it recoils from the barking dog. And the static tickle the cloud receives when it passes over the power lines. And the cloud's moment of self-reflection in it's own reflection.

If I have any nit-picks, it would be that the ending feels a little small for such a big narrative. And 'Made of More' probably won't go down in my book as an all-time favorite tagline... But who cares, really? Because this spot made this fried, tired, sleepy ad guy feel something. And that says something.

Stepping onto the podium in second would be the Snickers work, which made me chuckle aloud (as Snickers work tends to do). The spot has tight comedic timing. Great seamless effects work. Nice color and atmosphere. And a fun little kicker at the end with the 'headless horse... man' bit that I'll probably repeat at the office tomorrow. The idea does feel a little more labored-over than the past Joe Pesci/Roseanne work - likely because they needed to both stretch the campaign and satisfy a Halloween message - but I still think it's successful. And it's always great to see Doc Brown getting work as a giant head. (Note: That's not really Doc Brown).

Print.jpgBEST PRINT
The Omega Dog Food print takes top honors here. Classic visual execution. Solid photography. Great retouching. And best of all, the idea doesn't make my head hurt. The only thing I gotta call out (and I apologize for hopping on a soap box for the next 107 words or so) is that I don't loooove the handling of type and product lockup at the bottom. It just feels a wee bit tacked on. My feeling has always been that as art directors, we gotta craft all the way through the execution. Especially when you have a good idea and a solid visual to work with. Keep pushing the type, keep pushing placement, make sure if you use unaffected Cooper Black there's an educated reason for it. Etcetera. And with that, as my Colorado University Art Direction students collectively roll their eyes, I'll step down from my soap box.

I also like the Pfizer print. It's just fun to look at and let your eyeballs travel over. And I love visual ideas like this that don't default to photography manipulation to tell the story. Meaning, I applaud the choice of going with this geometric illustration route. It's beautiful. Is it motivated by something within the brand's identity? I dunno. But I like that it's a pharma ad that doesn't feel like a pharma ad.

I'm supposed to stop at a "top two" here but screw it. Because I like the Oreo effort too. Not necessarily for this one, single ad (though thank goodness the real NFL refs are back) but for the greater effort that it represents - one ad a day for 100 days, with nothing but an Oreo and an imagination to work with. So kudos to the DraftFCB folks for their tackling of the very same brief, each day, for 100 days and for letting the final ad be created as part of a real-time, co-created, crowdsourced effort. I likey.

Outdoor.jpgBEST OUTDOOR
I'm always a fan of work that goes right at a brief and simply delivers a message in as simple and straight a way as possible, but then puts a little twist on it to give said message a shot at being memorable. And that's what these posters for Quebec City Magic Festival do for me. We creatives often times think too hard and get far too clever and cute that we forget sometimes we can just come out and say "it." In this case - hey, there's a magic festival from August to September! But by giving it the little wink in manipulating the poster, boom, you got something fun. I am curious, however... What does one do at a Magic Festival?

My runner-up here goes to Wordsworth books. Simple and effective. And again, to-the-point. The bookmarks make for an attractive visual when seen in mass, for one, and I just think it's one of those ideas that people aren't going to miss. I'd pick that sucker up. And I'd read it. And I wouldn't throw it away immediately. And I'd know where to buy my books next time. Pretty linear. But in a good way.

INTeractive.jpgBEST INTERACTIVE
All brands are trying, rightfully so, to include their customers in their marketing efforts. The best advertising doesn't just passively engage. It doesn't let advertising be a spectator sport. Rather, it allows people to experience the brand on a tactical level. And so for those reasons, I appreciate this simple idea from Arkaden Shopping Mall. It's simple. I like that it has an aspirational element to it (become a fashion photographer). And I appreciate that it solves that prickly challenge of making fashion aspirational but accessible. Doesn't get more accessible than letting your fans shoot the stuff.

And second, I enjoy what the Missing Children Europe, NotFound.org work is trying to do - make 404 pages into useable, positive, purposeful internet real estate. Using the opportunity of notifying someone that the page they're looking can't be found to highlight a missing child is clever. Though I gotta wonder how often the message will be received? Not that I'm some web navigation wizard or anything, but I don't get a lot of these pages. Maybe there's a lot more internet dead ends in Europe then they are here?

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