Saturday, April 20, 2024
Influential ads shape culture with the High Five.

Influential ads shape culture with the High Five.

I grew up without a TV because my parents didn’t want my mind to rot from watching commercials. Ironically, I find myself in a career of making films, and yes, ads. But I’ve never been interested in the traditional 30-second commercial (perhaps because it wasn’t part of my childhood), but I find most commercials obnoxious. I’ve always been far more drawn to creative work that’s experimental, has a bold point of view, and actually impacts culture. It’s an honour to curate five of my all-time favourite pieces of creative brand work. In reflection, all of my picks are concept-driven, based on a simple insight or idea. All of my picks are over one-minute long and have more meat on the bone than, say, a 30, 15, or 6-second film. We’re all products of our influences, and so I’m excited to share some of the creative projects that inspire me, in the hope that they inspire you as well. PS) If you like these, I invite you to check out the work we’re doing over at
Cash Studios
. We specialise in culture-defining creative work, igniting humanity through storytelling…

IKEA – ‘Herding Cats’

Agency: Mother

I love this piece because it feels like a music video or art film, versus a commercial. The track is beautifully ambient and surreal, and the film direction is a perfect mix of cinematic and verité, so you know it’s real. The concept is just so delightfully bizarre and audacious, it keeps my attention the entire time. I love the lack of preciousness, and how simple it is.

Ocean Spray – ‘Power Your Holidays’

Agency: Orchard
Production: OPC

Director: Jeff Low
Post: Time Based Arts
Editorial: Arcade Edit NY
Sound: Barking Owl

This is the most recent pick, but it’s stayed with me since watching it and I’ve viewed it over ten times since. I love the art direction / set design, the talent performances, the music and the concept – it’s so weird and such an anti-commercial. I love that it takes a stupid idea (the jiggle of cranberry sauce) and just triples down on that insight until you’re forced to respect and laugh at the absurdity. I never thought a cranberry sauce could be so irreverent.

WREN – ‘First Kiss’

Director: Tatia Pilieva

This short film is a classic for its vulnerability and provocativeness. This film inspired so many offshoots, but none were able to achieve the same level of rawness and impact. Again, this could be a short independent art film. I love that it doesn’t try to do too much. There’s no fancy production value. It’s all about the idea and executing it with integrity. It makes three-and-a-half minutes fly by.

Boost Mobile – ‘Boost Your Voice’

Agency: 180LA
Production: The Corner Shop
Post: Therapy Studios x Cut+Run

We all want our work to matter, to make a difference. But all too often, ‘impact’ advertising amounts to greenwashing or lacking any real substance. One campaign that comes to mind that sure seems to have made a historical difference, is when Boost Mobile donated their stores to become voting booths in underserved communities. It’s all too rare for a brand to do something this generous, in helping democracy. The simplicity is remarkable, really.

Tropicana – ‘Arctic Sun’

Agency: BBDO Toronto
Production: Film Group Vancouver x Radke Film Group Toronto
Director: Samir Mallal
Sound: Apollo Studios

It’s impossible to watch this and not feel a pang of emotion. The advert takes a real pain point – this community in Alaska hasn’t seen the sun in many weeks – and gives them the sun in the form of a giant glowing orb in the sky. It results in such joy. And great call on using a track from singer / songwriter Patrick Watson to pull at the heart strings. The entire commercial is shot hand held and I love the immediacy in that. I love seeing the community’s reactions. Even though I’m sure there was movie magic and probably even some actors, I forgive whatever they did to articulate the creative vision of joy that this created. Again, a simple concept seamlessly executed.


About Astrid Jensen

Introducing Astrid Jensen, an expert blogger with an insatiable appetite for culture, art and design! With a keen eye for detail, she explores the intricacies of food culture and literature, providing unique perspectives that will broaden your horizons. Through her captivating writings, Astrid offers a fresh take on the world of art and design, leaving you inspired and eager to discover more. Join her on this journey of discovery and let your creativity soar!

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