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Seen and noted

Guest Judges: Sanjiv Mistry + Jamie Mietz, m:united/McCann Londo

 GUEST JUDGE /BEST AD OF THE WEEK   WORLDWIDE    December 03, 2018 07:15 (Edited: December 03, 2018 18:15)
Winner: Libresse - "Viva La Vulva". Defying a category convention is hard. Defying a societal convention, well that's almost unheard of for a brand. A triumphant follow-up to 'Blood Normal', this film slash ad slash music video has been absolutely everywhere of late, conquering the world with its charm and chutzpah. Viva La Marketer for having the ovaries to back a brave approach yet again.

Runner-up: Travelers Insurance - "The Route: Phil's Unfinished Story". Yes, it's schmaltzy. But dammit it's Christmas so we think we can be forgiven a jerked tear or three. In amongst the feels, though, is a smart bit of psychology, forcing viewers to think about the massive consequences of their slight distractions when driving. And big applause, in particular, for the decision to go with a storyboard-esque animation style rather than film the unfinished story. So much the better to emphasise the imaginary nature of Philip's future.

Winner: Child Focus - "The Missing Stamp". This was not a particularly strong week for print, in our opinion, but the 'Missing Stamp' idea elevated itself above the rest, perhaps because it wasn't print at all, but a clever piece of direct marketing. It's a little hard to tell from the visual, but we do hope these stamps were die-cut to really make them something a bit special.

Runner-up: SOS Woman and Family - "The Violence Tree". Family trees are not a new visual device. Neither is the idea that the abused can grow up to become abusers themselves. Nonetheless, the combination of the two was at least eye-catching and insightful, though it would've been improved by removing the 'Teresa Rodrigues called 180' annotation, which is a touch heavy-handed in pointing out the idea.

Winner: Taco Bell - "Big Ben". As with print, this was not a vintage week for outdoor. The Taco Bell PR stunt edges itself ahead, though, by utilising a 'forgotten' national monument in a simple way that's connected to the brand identity. It may not be particularly deep or thought-provoking, but the message is clear ("the Bell is back") and it's not been done before. Always good when an idea doesn't ring a bell.

Runner-up: HBO / Westworld - "SXSWestworld". Generally, we aren't huge fans of real-world re-creations of the entertainment you're meant to be advertising. It can come across as a little literal and straightforward, especially with the rise of experiences like Secret Cinema. But if you're going to do it, do it properly. So stetsons off to the HBO team, who brought Westworld to life in all its old-timey, horsey, bar-brawly glory.

Winner: Joburg Ballet - "Breaking Ballet". Make ballet feel modern. Talk about a difficult task. Yet the agency definitively cracked that nut (swanned that lake?). In the 'Breaking Ballet' idea, there is as much beauty in the thinking as in the execution. The magic and majesty is in the colliding of worlds that our brains eternally separate, encouraging a reappraisal of the artform via a series that feels compelling, watchable and thoroughly campaignable.

Runner-up: Volkswagen Australia - "Unfail". Just when we thought we'd seen the last of briefs saying 'do us a viral video', along comes this campaign that shows it can still be done. Getting more than one of these to be successful, though, would be pretty tricky. Once the public's on to you, any viral video that happens to have a Volkswagen in it comes under suspicion as an undercover ad. Or maybe that's the agency's devious intention. Move over, Tide. "It's a VW ad" is coming. (2).jpg
This week's best judges are Sanjiv Mistry (right) and Jamie Mietz (left), executive creative directors at m:united/McCann London.

Sanjiv likes his steak bloody. Jamie is an ardent vegan. Yet despite their differences, or quite possibly because of them, they have become one of the most consistently awarded creative pairings in the world.

They have transformed McCann London's Microsoft unit (m:united) from a localisation hub into a creative force, winning 30 Cannes Lions in three years.

In a career spanning two continents, dozens of brands and, like all teams, hundreds of things that never saw the light of day, many wonderful things did.

To launch a gritty videogame, their Survival Billboard idea turned an ordinary billboard into a watchable event.

When Volkswagen wanted to talk about their eco-conscious technology, they convinced them to walk the walk instead.

And after Xbox's online store faced consumers put off by the price of controllers, they implemented "The Fanchise Model", an innovation that changed purchase behaviour and grew sales by 350%.

Between them, they have served on juries for the Andys, Clios, Webbys and D&AD New Blood Black Pencil, and in 2016, 2017 and 2018 were ranked by the Gunn Report and Cannes Lions among the top 10 creative directors in the world.

If you meet them, prepare to be confused. Jamie sounds South African, but grew up in England. Sanjiv sounds English, but grew up in South Africa. They have no idea how that happened either.

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