A crowning achievement of a great ad is its ability to enter popular culture. In a new B&T series, presented by Powered by Nine, BMF’s Pia Chaudhuri reveals the ads that have succeeded in doing just that.
In collaboration with Nine’s marketing solutions division for brands, Powered by Nine, we’re kicking off the brand new series, The Ads I Wish I’d Made, revealing what makes an ad truly great.
It comes as Nine lays down the gauntlet to creatives to produce industry defining commercials in State of Originality, for the network’s 2021 State of Origin spectacle, with $1 million in advertising up for grabs across Nine’s TV, digital, radio and print assets for the winning ad.
In B&T’s first episode of The Ads I Wish I’d Made, Powered director Liana Dubois chats with Pia Chaudhuri, BMF Australia’s group creative director, about ads that have successfully cracked into popular culture.
According to Chaudhuri, the most memorable ad to have entered popular culture in a unique way, in recent times, is IKEA’s first-ever British Christmas ad, ‘Silence the Critics’, by Mother London.
Working from the insight that Christmas sees plenty of people thrown together for the holiday period, Silence the Critics introduces a concept that Chaudhuri describes as “home shame”.
Through the ad, a family is taunted by various ornaments around their house, who encourage them to defy their home shame. Tapping into contemporary culture, Silence the Critics flies the flag for Grime music by recruiting renowned artist D Double E, who voices the ornaments.
“We’re talking about an ad that has to compete with the likes of the John Lewis’ of the world, in that market,” Chaudhuri tells Dubois. “There’s just so many eyes on an ad like that.”
Chaudhuri adds: “It’s a really great ad on so many levels, but how it infiltrated culture is the music.”
Born and bred in East London, the BMF creative director grew up around Grime music. “I know for a fact that it was never very mainstream—it would never have got into an ad, like an IKEA ad.
“What this ad has done is taken a real sub-genre, of really underground music, and put it into the mainstream. Everyone’s talking about the IKEA ad because of the track.”
Chaudhuri also reveals why she considers Burger King’s ‘Google Home of the Whopper’, by David Miami—which won the Cannes Lions Grand Prix for Direct and made worldwide headlines upon its release—another of the best commercials in recent memory.
“Burger King are notorious for their funny hijacks and their bravery … when I first saw that I thought it was a partnership between Google Home and the Whopper,” she says. “But to learn after the fact that it was just a complete brand hijack just made it all the more brilliant.
“The idea in itself that you can infiltrate people’s homes just by saying a phrase, and take over what was the leading voice activated device at the time, to extend a 15-second ad format into a much more prolonged product description … is just genius.”
The antithesis to such an ad is, however, the big budget production. When asked what her favourite big production ad of recent memory is, Chaudhuri points to P&G’s ‘Thank You Mum’, by W+K.
For the 2010 Olympics, P&G wanted to turn its corporate reputation into a competitive advantage by leveraging its global scale, and uniting its 34 brands under one voice.
Its challenge was to create a truly global, authentic connection that linked its brand purpose—touching lives, improving life—to the Olympics, and specifically to the unsung heroes of the Olympics: mums. Since 2010, the company has released a few different renditions, with Chaudhuri pointing to the London 2012 version as her favourite.
“I know that they didn’t actually have any real athletes, which is kind of a masterstroke … it’s a truly global ad and campaign platform,” she says. “We’re talking about extremely diverse markets.”
But what is the ultimate pick for The Ads I Wish I’d Made, the ad to which Chaudhuri wishes she had her name attached? The transformative ‘Womb Stories’ for Bodyform, by AMV BBDO.
“Bodyform is basically the John Lewis of female empowerment. Every time since ‘Blood Normal’, you’re looking to see how they can top that last ad,” she says. “And again, the pressure on the creatives on that—I don’t envy them—but they do it, every time.”
In a way, she says, the narrative Bodyform is telling is the same: the reality of the female experience.
“They managed, with Womb Stories, to take it to a whole new level. It’s an incredible piece of work.”
Entries for Nine’s State of Originality are now open, with the nation’s largest creative prize, $1 million in advertising, up for grabs for creatives who can come up with an industry defining commercial for the State of Origin.
For more information and to enter, click here.