HSBC’s fun take on cybercrime, Travel Oregon & more: 14 top creative ads of the week

A majority of the ads suffer a fate worse than being disliked – they are ignored. Creating advertising that is noticed, remembered and liked is not easy. My weekly collection of clutter-breaking creative ads is a small tribute to teams which manage to entertain or moves us while meeting a business objective. After all, advertising is creativity with a commercial purpose (no pun intended). Here are a few ads which caught my eye this past week or so:

HSBC: Dear Customer

Serious topics such as cyber crime and identity theft get the serious treatment in advertising. Both agencies and the client would usually not opt for humour as a route to educate consumers about good practices in online banking when it comes security. Yet, we often read about how someone was cheated of their monies as they shared their online banking details with seemingly ‘credible’ people. A new ad from HSBC in Argentina cleverly compares such frauds with old-style bank heist with some clever dialogues thrown in.

During the past year, cybercrime in Argentina grew by 403%. Phishing has made criminals faster, more creative and much more effective. And the lack of information made people much more vulnerable. That’s why, together with HSBC, we decided to launch ¨Dear Customer¨, a campaign that seeks to raise awareness about how cybercriminals act and educate on how to avoid becoming a victim.

Agency: David

TVNZ+: may cost you

Content so good that you will be totally engrossed in it‘ seems like a generic promise for any OTT streaming platform. The ‘so what?’ question to such a claim leads to interesting possibilities. A new spot from New Zealand for TVNZ+ dramatises the effect of staring at a screen oblivious to the world. I also loved the line ‘It’s free but it could cost you’ to cue the unexpected effects of being hooked on to the screen.

Agency: Dentsu Creative

O2: share my clogs

Travel across Europe without the hassle of roaming costs‘ is a powerful proposition in itself for a telecom service provider. O2 has created a new advert which is primarily a montage of quirky travel visuals anchored on our by-now common behaviour of recording and uploading every moment. The ad also carries forward the distinctive brand asset – the brand mascot, Bubl.

The magic of worry-free wanderlust with the help of Bubl who shows just how easy it is to go abroad and keep loved ones updated with the latest travel content.


Agency: VCCP

Wimbledon: the stage awaits

‘The stage awaits’ is a nice summation of the anticipation around Wimbledon and its most well-known court – the Center Court which completes 100 years in 2022. Aside from an animation film, the campaign has a nicely written and art directed print campaign which highlights the small yet memorable features of the event – the ‘quiet please’ call from the umpire, and the modern facilities such as the retractable roof.

Agency: Space, UK

Direct Line: we’re on it

The fast service of insurance provider Direct Line was dramatised as ‘getting to the scene even before super heroes do‘ in their ‘We are on it’ idea. A new film takes the idea forward with a topical character which Marvel fans might enjoy even more.

Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi

Dole: leather alternative from pineapple

Gone are the days when well-made 30-seconds TV spots were celebrated in advertising award shows such as Cannes. Now, in the garb of chasing ‘acts, not ads’ agencies are mounting projects with some do-good aspect at their core. Most of them seem to be ‘made for awards’ even if made ‘for’ well-known brands. In this context, this initiative from Dole, which won the Creative Business Transformation Grand Prix at the 2022 Cannes Lions appealed a lot to me.

For every ton of pineapples harvested, 3 tons of leaves are wasted. And when left to rot could create methane emissions over 20 times more harmful than CO2. To make a change, Dole Sunshine Company, one of the largest producers of pineapples in the world, partnered with Ananas Anam to produce “Piñatex®”. A vegan, cruelty-free and sustainable leather alternative; made from the fiber of pineapple leaves.

Agency: L&C, New York

IKEA: downtown home as outdoor

Such ideas may be unthinkable in countries like India. A new IKEA showroom opened in downtown Toronto. In order to create awareness, windows of homes in that area were converted into IKEA billboards.

The actual images such outdoor creatives bring alive the proposition so well instead of conventional billboards.

Agency: Rethink

Hippo: stand up to the next problem

I thought ‘stand up to the next problem that shows up’ was a refreshingly new take in the insurance category. A big-budget production film shows a horde of horsemen come to attack a suburban neighbourhood. The protagonist is of course unflappable thanks to his insurance.

Agency: Preacher

Open University: future is open

The visual effect of one sequence segueing nicely into another to cue a transition or ‘different worlds’ works well for this ad for The Open University. In the post-pandemic world this proposition of remote learning resonates even more.

Agency: Havas

Sammontana: Gruvi kind of love

A goofy, quirky ad which primarily plays on the brand name with an appropriate pop song. What’s not to like?

Agency: Auge

Reddit: find your people

I am one of those who don’t ‘get’ Reddit. I have not spent much time on the platform but I do ‘get’ this campaign idea of ‘find your people’ based on niche interests (though I have no idea what ‘Cosplay’ is).

Beyond the film, I thought these billboards brought the idea alive.

Agency: R/GA

Birkenstock: Ugly for a reason

Crocs and Birkenstock may be among the most popular of brands which evoke polarising reactions. A new initiative from Birkenstock takes the negative perceptions head on with a bold ‘Ugly for a reason‘ proposition. It is a paid content campaign published on The New York Times and ‘shines a light on the importance of foot health and reveals why healthy shoes look exactly the way they do‘. I liked the serious, scientific approach which may overcome any hesitation a potential customer might have regarding the footwear – which was my mindset when considering the Birki variant.

Agency: T Studio, NYT

Royal Navy: recruitment campaign

A new recruitment campaign from the Royal Navy in the UK juxtaposes the choices available – a regular 9 to 5 job or a career in the navy with some clever visual and word puns between the two lives.

Agency: Engine Creative

Travel Oregon: Extraordinary Is Ordinary

Breathtaking visuals of the scenery, landmarks and monuments are standard visual takes in a tourism campaign. I loved these set of ads from Travel Oregon for the distinct look & feel. The proposition ‘extraordinary is ordinary’ dovetails well into the earlier idea of showcasing the state as a mythical wonder.

Agency: W+K

Which one was your favourite? Comment in.

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