Ad blasts from the past

Ralph Lauren’s new ‘film’ for the launch of their perfume Notorious, featuring Laetitia Casta, is out in the UK today. It’s directed by the award-winning Wong Kar-Wai, so I thought it would be something interesting. In line with his expertise, it’s a very visually appealing, sexy video, but not ground-breaking. I was expecting something more. 

Film is a serious interest of mine, so I did a bit of a search for the best commercials directed by film directors. Not all of them are great – recently, Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Come Walkabout’ ad for Tourism Australia got quite a bit of flak from the advertising community. This list, though, seemed the most comprehensive:
10. Sony, The Third Place (2001) – David Lynch
9. Guinness, Surfer (1998) – Jonathan Glazer
8. Amex, My Life My Card (2006) – Wes Anderson
7. Adidas, Mechanical Legs (2002) – David Fincher
6. Apple, 1984 (1984) – Ridley Scott (this is a classic, of course)
3. Smirnoff, Smarienberg (1998) – Michel Gondry
2. BMW, Beat the Devil (2002) – Tony Scott
1. Gap, Pardon Our Dust (2005) – Spike Jonze
Always good to refresh the memory. My favourites are the Apple and Smirnoff ads, which came out in 1984 and 1998 respectively, which, if you think about it, was a time when the internet wasn’t so big (it didn’t even exist in ’84), and consumers didn’t have this huge bridge across which they could communicate globally. Does that say anything about the increasing influence of the interactive form of communication over the traditional, and the consequent need to move with the times? Your guess is as good as mine.  
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2 thoughts on “Ad blasts from the past

  1. Thanks for the list, Anjali. Some great ads there and it brings back a lot of memories. More than that, however, it made me start thinking about my own favourite ads of the last twenty years or so. And, the spooky thing is, I couldn’t really think of them.

    I had some vague ideas and some images and music and lines but then couldn’t match them to a product.

    It could be me getting old, of course! Equally, it could be that the very nature of an ad is so transient – however much its producers my wish otherwise – that unless it chimes exactly with some other event in your life, it simply becomes the opposite of memorable. I had to see the ads listed to remember them rather than bring them to mind myself.

  2. Thanks, Graham. I agree with you – most products/brands nowadays have campaigns that are not particularly memorable unless they chime with an event in your life. I could remember the Smirnoff ad for example – because it came out when I was growing up. Interesting viewpoint!

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