A long and packed Advertising Week came to an end on Friday with "Night of the AdEaters," an all-night finale screening party. The commercials shown were all apparently hand-picked by AdEaters founder Jean Marie Boursicot, and spanned the globe, going back as far as the 1950s. What follows are my picks for five fairly recent ads from various countries that left an impression—some funny, some clever and some dealing with serious subjects bound to make a few viewers uncomfortable.
—Posted by Elena Malykhina
Budweiser/60Frames: "Whassup"/ "Whassup 8 Years Later" (U.S.)
Created by 60Frames, a firm that develops original Internet programming, the ad features Budweiser's original "Whassup" guys eight years later, and shows their present—and worrisome—lives in a recession. The politically loaded ad ran around the elections and encouraged Americans to vote. The spot concludes with an image of Barack Obama on TV, as one of the characters proclaims: "Change. That's whassup."
Chevrolet Aveo: "Dancing Robot" (Netherlands)
This ad tries to convey what happens when you have a car that just doesn't want to cooperate, despite all the bells and whistles. In this case, the vehicle is a Transformer-like robot that starts to dance when the owner approaches. Meanwhile, a different car owner gets into his Chevrolet Aveo with no problem and drives off. The moral of the story? An Aveo just works—kinda like Apple's MacBook ads.
SciFi Channel: "Adopt Sci-Fi" (France)
If you haven't watched the movie ET in a while, this ad will make you miss the cute little creature. It shows a young alien being brought to a human orphanage, where he gets picked on and bullied by the kids. The ad really pulls at your heartstrings, as the outcast with large teary eyes is shown struggling on planet Earth. You think you're watching a short film, until the tagline at the end asks you to "Adopt SciFi."
Quercus: "Animals" (Poland)
Quercus, a Portuguese environmental organization, didn't want to sugarcoat the impact of global warming on our planet and its animals. With a dramatic piano solo playing the background, McCann Erickson Portugal used animation to show depressed animals in their changing environments. At the end of the spot, the animals commit suicide: A monkey hangs itself in a tree, a polar bear falls off an iceberg, and a kangaroo jumps in front of a train. Some might call the ad disturbing, but it sure got the message across in a powerful way.
Ministry of Social Affairs: "Animals" (Lebanon)
Abused children are always a touchy subject when it comes to PSAs and goodwill advertising. That's why I found this ad by the Ministry of Social Affairs so tasteful and effective. The spot shows different animals cuddling with their young and a little girl with a black-and-blue eye hugging her teddy bear. Then the text follows: "Some kids wish their parents were animals." The images and the message at the end are enough to make an impact on anyone who's watching.