About Martin Murphy

International advertising guy, family man, soccer fan; on a daily mission to enjoy life. My entire personal and professional life has taken place in an international setting. This I think gives me a perspective on our industry that is different than the norm, and perhaps can contribute to the virtual conversation. I started this blog with two main objectives: a) to reinforce the discipline of being observant and thoughtful about the advertising and marketing industry b) to exchange ideas, meet people, and grow my perspective of the business that I work in To be a thought leader one day, the first step is to be a though contributor. This is my first step. Check out my linkedin profile for more info: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/martin-murphy/9/4a0/6a7

Ad of the Day – September 10 (New York)

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cheers_to_fridays_final_simp_aw_cmyk_aotw getreadyitsfriday_final_aw_cmyk_aotw

(Click for larger version)

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: mcgarrybowen
  • Location: London
  • Client: Sarson’s Malt Vinegar
  • Name: Perfume, Pint, Bath
  • Category: Print
  • Why I like it: Rule one is to stand out from the crowd, and the lovingly-crafted vintage look of this campaign certainly delivers (I’m a sucker for the “vintage” look.) Delivering the benefit then becomes a must, and these ads make it clear that Sarson’s is a key ingredients for enjoying fish and chips. Most ads don’t even make it this far…and yet this campaign takes it one step further: the idea about a romantic affair between the fish and the chip adds a sparkling twist, which they really go for in the “perfume” ad – the intimacy between fish and chip (with the brand in between) is as endearing as it is ridiculous. And that’s why it works. Slightly odd, totally cool.

Ad of the Day – September 15 (Amsterdam)

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Today’s pick:

  • Agency: W+K
  • Location: Amsterdam
  • Client: FIFA 15
  • Name: Feel the Game
  • Category: Film
  • Why I like it: It would have been so tempting to just rely on the gameplay action (which is stunning), or the celebrity (featuring biggest soccer star in the world), or the special effects (high-end cinematic flourishes.) But…no. Instead, they combined ALL of those elements seamlessly, and wrapped it around a completely innovative creative/visual device which shows everyday “you” being put in the middle of the game. The crescendo towards a climatic finale is expected…the surprising twist is the way in which everyday people (and by extension,you) are brought into the heart of the action. A heart-pounding piece of work.

Ad of the Day – September 12 (Paris)

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Today’s pick:

  • Agency: Rosaparks
  • Location: Paris
  • Client: Brother p-Touch
  • Name: Next time label it
  • Category: Film
  • Why I like it: Say you want to put out a good, memorable ad for your product. All you have to do is budget, concept, strategize, validate, brief, create, tissue-session, present, sell-in, adjust, prepare stimulus, research, adjust, approve, bid, produce, re-adjust, media plan, finalize, traffic and release. And then you hope for the best, because there are no guarantees. Or you could just wing it. I don’t recommend it because the odds of success become scary-low, but if you’re going to wing it, my advice is “be funny.” Funny is really, really hard to do, but when it works, it works almost better than anything else. Everyone loves a chuckle. In this particular case, it’s a series of chuckles, all in the service of illustrating a very simple product benefit. You get in, you make people laugh, you deliver the message, and you get out. When it works, it really works!

Ad of the Day – September 11 (Los Angeles)

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Today’s pick:

  • Agency: in-house
  • Location: Los Angeles
  • Client: Beats by Dre
  • Name: Nothing Stops Serena
  • Category: Film
  • Why I like it: It all seems so formulaic: celebrity athlete in training mode, with an uplifting message and accompanying soundtrack. And yet somehow this ad packs a huge punch for me. Maybe they got lucky, featuring a Serena at the peak of her athletic powers, just days after romping to a US open win. Maybe they’re geniuses, having picked a track that somehow provides a narrative (eliminating the need for a VO) and tons of subtle, contained energy. Maybe once they hit upon an powerful executional device (the Compton flashbacks) and nailed exactly the right tone (quiet yet determined) they decided to “leave it be”, not overburdening the film with extra trinkets. Either way, it works. Of the many sports related ads out there right now, this one is a notch above.

Ad of the Day – September 10 (New York)

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(Click for larger version)

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: n/a
  • Location: New York
  • Client: Corcoran (real estate company)
  • Name: #livewhoyouare
  • Category: Print
  • Why I like it: Most people (including myself) lack the technical training to describe why this series of ads just feels so…right. There’s clearly some amazing celebrity photography at play (shot by Annie Leibovitz, no less,) but also lovely writing and some really balanced art direction that organizes the information into sensible bits without overwhelming the visual. There are probably dozens of other components adding to the overall effect, and yet the beauty is that they are rendered invisible because they are so effective. Everything just clicks together in the mind like a puzzle, and one’s attention is captured and guided willingly as the message is delivered. If only it weren’t so hard to make it look so simple!

Ad of the Day – September 9 (London)

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Today’s pick:

  • Agency: RKCR/Y&R
  • Location: London
  • Client: Marks & Spencer Food
  • Name: Adventures in Imagination
  • Category: Film
  • Why I like it:  Ah yes, a little food porn to start the morning! A delicious visual feast, sure. But this one also carries a message of encouragement: For everyone in a business where you’re condemned to shooting the same formulaic demo sequence over and over. For those that have to work within a compressed box of corporate brand guidelines. Or for those in a category where “it has all been done before.” Just when you think it can’t be done differently, or better…someone goes ahead and does it. Why not have that someone be you? After the Lurpak campaign I thought we had seen it all when it comes to food, and yet this ad continues to push the envelope of hypnotic yummy-ness. It can be done. All it takes is a lot of talent, vision, courage and risk-taking (and a little luck.)

Ad of the Day – September 8 (Chicago)

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Today’s pick:

  • Agency: FCB
  • Location: Chicago
  • Client: Kmart
  • Name: Not a Christmas Commercial
  • Category: Film
  • Why I like it: There are few cardinal rules of advertising, but one of them is that if you don’t get noticed, then everything else you’ve done is worth nothing. I love the thought process that must have gone into this one: “Christmas season is so cluttered, it’s impossible to stand out. Well, why don’t we start advertising now, before anyone else? That’s nonsense, people would revolt…the summer is barely over! Sure, but if we’re clever, maybe we can beat the crowds and get our message in. How are we going to be clever about a Christmas ad in early September? Well, you’d be surprised how much people will forgive if you’re funny and cheeky and upfront.” And thus was born the earliest non-Christmas, Christmas ad ever. And not only is it early and unopposed, it’s innovative, it communicates a clear, time-appropriate benefit, and it builds on the light, humorous tone that brand has taken of late. A total winner.

Ad of the Day – September 5 (London)

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Today’s pick:

  • Agency: W+K
  • Location: London
  • Client: Arla (milk)
  • Name: Let in the Goodness
  • Category: Film
  • Why I like it: What a lovely ad, there’s so much to feast on during these 60 seconds! Close your eyes and listen to the copy…it’s fantastically written with the right mixture of flair, humor, call to action, storytelling and brand. Let your ears feast on the delivery of the narrator, every single word is doted on, every sentiment conveyed. Now watch it again, and see how wonderful the images are. Dramatic, artistic, and also fresh, real, perfect in tone and manner, in synch with the narration and yet adding whole extra layers. And the role of the brand? Absolutely central in every way, without ever intruding or detracting. (Notice too that the ad is clearly from Arla…but about the viewer – a key distinction.) This is a one minute masterclass in manifesto-style advertising.

Ad of the Day – September 4 (Oslo)

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Today’s pick:

  • Agency: SMFB
  • Location: Oslo
  • Client: Freia Chocolate
  • Name: A little help of Norway
  • Category: Film
  • Why I like it: This chocolate represents a little bit of Norway…so how striking that they bring this to life so powerfully through a film set in…New York City! But therein the brilliance: sometimes the wistful absence of something can be felt much more powerfully than its presence. Alas, that’s why this ad should have ended at the 1:02 mark. The final scenes back in Norway, while nice enough, feel a little bit like someone lost their nerve during the script approval process, and asked to tack them on for the sake of comprehension, doesn’t it? Should have stuck with the initial instinct. Overall a really nice film, cast perfectly (does that guy look like a Norwegian fashion designer living in NY or what?), shot beautifully (there were so many stories and sub-plots buried within the initial vignettes!), and paced expertly (Imagine this ad as a 30…impossible to pull off. Some stories need time to build, or they fizzle emotionally.)

Ad of the Day – September 3 (Shanghai)

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Today’s pick:

  • Agency: TBWA
  • Location: Shanghai
  • Client: Adidas
  • Name: #thisisme
  • Category: Film
  • Why I like it: A declarative, slightly subversive explosion of color, attitude and urban cool. Very bold. There are three elements at play: The crafting is a visual feast of styling, casting, lighting, direction, etc. It’s visually very arresting, enough that on its own they would have made a decent ad. But then you have the minimalist, in-your-face manifesto-style copy, which makes the visuals so much more interesting, turning what could have been a been a “music video” into an interesting 30 second brand declaration. Finally, this is one of those ads where you can see the strategy play out on the screen. For China, this is a bold (if not entirely original) strategy. “I am different, I am me, deal with it.” And bold is always better than giving in to the gravitational pull of generic. Kudos to the folks at TBWA and Adidas for picking a spot far outside the box, and then delivering on it with style and flair.

    PS – Creativity aside, what is interesting to me about this ad is that I think it will play better outside of China (where it builds a plausible myth of an edgy, hip, highly stylized emerging urban China) than in China itself (where the images onscreen are so incredibly niche – much more so than in the west – that they could struggle to gain traction or even be aspirational.) A daring bet by Adidas China.