My Favorites in Film

While I’m on the Cannes kick, here are my two favorite pieces of film from this past year.

In my mind, there was no better crafted, more moving piece of film in advertising than the Under Armor Michael Phelps spot. There is something Homeric about its beauty, about the hero past his prime but not ready to let it go. The way it celebrates both the beauty of the sport but, as its theme line says, what we don’t see—all the things happening in the dark. What it does so well is not just show us the training—we’ve seen that a million times from a million sports companies—but the brutal everything else that comes with being a historic athlete. The cupping, sleeping in the hyperbaric chamber, sitting in a tub of ice, the pain of consuming 12,000 calories a day. Lay on top of that the haunting song from The Kills, an unlikely but brilliant juxtaposition, and you have a wonderful spot.

“Is there a limit to how much living I can live with my life?” Old Spice has tread well upon absurd, over-the-top, slapstick humor for years. Sometimes it works well for me, sometimes less so. I love this one for the sheer hilarity of the copy and the quality of the production. Playing it straight and going high production value also separates it from the Dos Equis work. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall when they sold this spot to the client. More great stuff from W+K.

#CannesLions

REI-_OptOutside_Anthem_Film_15I was happy to see my favorite campaign from 2015 pick up a Titanium Grand Prix Cannes Lion. Much of the chatter from the festival was predictable (scam ads, the importance of technology, how to deal with the emotional resonance inherent in cause-related advertising). But a few of the big winners surprised me—I wasn’t sure this campaign was going to get the recognition it deserves.

Why do I like it so much? It is a brand sticking to its values in the most important way possible. If the strength of a person’s values can be measured by what they do when nobody is looking, the strength of a brand’s can be measured by what they do when lots of money is on the line. And there’s a lot of money on the line on Black Friday.

REI_OptOutsideonBlackFriday2215.jpgREI_OptOutsideonBlackFriday1215Closing its doors on Black Friday and encouraging people to go outside instead is a simple idea. But it’s also brave and, importantly, perfectly embodies what the brand stands for. It’s not latching onto a cause or topical conversation. It’s creating its own cause: nature>commercialism.

Beyond that, it’s very well executed. The design is great. The tone is great. And the hashtag is a fantastic bit of short writing. Kudos to the teams who pulled it off. Wish I had this one in my portfolio.

REI-Ritual