Creative directors pick their favorites `There’s one that caught my eye’

Shelley AmbroseVice-President, Group Creative DirectorJ. Walter Thompson, TorontoFavorite out-of-home advertising: Ontario Science Centre by Axmith McIntyre Wicht, Toronto.Like a lot of people out there, I have happily avoided anything with the suffix 'ology' since high school.And then along comes a campaign...

Shelley Ambrose

Vice-President, Group Creative Director

J. Walter Thompson, Toronto

Favorite out-of-home advertising: Ontario Science Centre by Axmith McIntyre Wicht, Toronto.

Like a lot of people out there, I have happily avoided anything with the suffix ‘ology’ since high school.

And then along comes a campaign for the Ontario Science Centre that makes me want to rediscover the wonders of velocity and light.

Just how much force is required to get an object at rest to start moving in the direction of the Science Centre?

All it would take, it seems, is truly inventive creative that jolts, intrigues and rewards.

Whether it is a vivid demonstration of a laser beam cutting through a board, 3-D figures scaling the side of a poster, or simulating a broken window in a transit shelter, each component of this campaign playfully pushes the boundaries of the medium.

The work also manages to be intellectually rewarding, without being esoteric or daunting. What a pity some of my teachers never learned how to make education as entertaining as this.

I remember when I first turned the corner and saw the rock wall poster, I was absolutely shocked. The image was so visually scandalous, so unexpected.

That, of course, is the litmus test of good outdoor. It should ambush the viewer, hit you between the eyes and lodge in your mind before you have a chance to recover.

We have all seen a lot of calls to action in advertising. Rarely do we see an invitation which is so irresistible.’

Rick Davis

Senior Vice-President, Creative Director

Young & Rubicam, Toronto

Favorite out-of-home advertising: Royal Ontario Museum by Geoffrey B. Roche & Partners Advertising, Toronto.

I like the work done for the Royal Ontario Museum, particularly the ‘Bored Stiff’ board.

It’s provocative, it’s intrusive. And it makes the rom appear fun and enlightened, not boring and stodgy. It promises something interesting, both intellectually and emotionally.

It’s entertaining, yet informative. It’s simple. And it doesn’t insult someone’s intelligence.

Stephen Blair

Group Creative Director

McCann-Erickson Advertising, Toronto

Favorite out-of-home advertising: Milkbone by Harrod & Mirlin; Crunchie by Leo Burnett; Levi’s by Harrod & Mirlin.

Only a few billboards are aesthetically pleasing, amusing, or involving enough to save the medium from being landscape pollution.

This is a pity because you cannot turn the landscape off like a tv, or turn the page on it like a magazine.

Outdoor advertising that I like is sensitive to the consumer’s respect for the landscape.

I like the Milkbone billboard. Its ingenious graphic solution gave the benefit immediately and you weren’t aesthetically injured by its impact in the process. I loved the fact that it did not have a headline.

The Crunchie ‘Fast or Slow’ transit poster was great. It added relevance to the product’s core creative idea by using high octane, road energy graphics, which is very appropriate imagery for the street. Putting another landscape into the landscape can be very effective.

I also liked the Levi’s Christmas billboard with the snowman dreaming of himself wearing Levi’s.

It put a smile in my head on a cold, drizzly panic-laden shopping day. It made me feel good about the brand and, like all the best in outdoor advertising, it was aware of its place in the landscape at a particular point in time – enhancing it, rather than just junking it up.

Bill Durnan

Senior Vice-President, National Creative Director

MacLaren:Lintas, Toronto

Favorite out-of-home advertising: The Toronto Sun by Ambrose Carr Linton Kelly, Toronto.

My favorites are The Toronto Sun: We’ll be there ads.

In particular the Chuck and Di, and Brian Mulroney/Jacques Parizeau ones.

I always look for the simplicity – provocative and unique. I think it’s an idea that has depth, in the sense that it does engage on every level.

The ‘fantasy news’ theme is brilliantly effective and hilarious.

I particularly like that the themeline acts almost as a headline, which offers a foundation that can be used again and again. It’s a pity they didn’t stay with it longer.

Outdoor creative should smack you right between the eyes, make you slow down your car and have a little chuckle or whatever mood they want to arouse.

Brian Harrod

Executive Vice-President, Creative Director

Harrod & Mirlin, Toronto

Favorite out-of-home advertising: The Gap (in-house)

I really liked the bus shelter posters for Gap and Gap Kids. They were consistent in look and attitude and appeal to everyone.

The photographs gave the stores and clothes a real quality, they made you stop and look. The children’s ones definitely launched Gap Kids – they were clever, without being gooey.

When a board can communicate without words, it’s great. One word is better than two, but none is best. If you can do one or two boards that everyone talks about, that become an event, it almost becomes television or theatre.

I also really liked an outdoor board for Magnet beer in England; every couple of days they would stick something up on it like a refrigerator. It became an event.

There was also a moving one in Minneapolis where a family of four had been killed in a car accident [involving a drunk driver.]

They stuck the crumpled car on a board and said ‘how does a family of four stop a drunk driver.’ It was very effective.

Doug Linton

Director of Creative Services and Vice-Chairman

Ambrose Carr Linton Kelly, Toronto

Favorite out-of-home advertising: Levi’s by Harrod & Mirlin.

Having chaired the Billi judging for the past dozen years or so, and looking at virtually everything posted, which averages about 1,400 boards a year, one gets to peruse an amazingly large amount of communications crud, as well as some wonderful cream which rises to the top.

Last year, I especially admired the Amstel and Clorets transit shelter work, as well as all three horizontal winners: Evian, with Wanda the Fish snorkeling; the Milkbone toothbrush; and the McDonald’s Pizza board.

If I had to salute one outdoor campaign advertiser for consistent excellence over the years, it would be Harrod & Mirlin and the fine folks at Levi’s.

They must work at it very hard. From ‘ouchless’ to ‘the stories they could tell,’ the Levi’s boards are always right on the money.

Geoffrey Roche

President and Creative Director

Geoffrey B. Roche & Partners, Toronto

Favorite out-of-home advertising: cne by McKim Baker Lovick/BBDO, Toronto.

I really liked the cne bus ads: ‘When this door opens, someone will get in free to the exhibition’. They were part of a campaign that I thought was excellent.

I believe the ttc banned it after a week or so because people kept asking the bus drivers if they could get their tickets to the cne. It was the classic Canadian overreaction; we can’t let anyone have too much fun.

I thought it involved the consumer; that it engaged people emotionally, and you got nice smile.

I also liked the laser billboard for the Ontario Science Centre. This one worked well, too; it was a new use of the medium.

John McIntyre

Partner/Creative Director

Axmith McIntyre Wicht, Toronto

Favorite out-of-home advertising: Royal Ontario Museum by Geoffrey B. Roche & Partners.

My personal favorite? ‘Get an Afterlife,’ from Geoffrey B. Roche & Partners for the Royal Ontario Museum.

Coming at it strictly from the writing side, it is a really smart line. It tells me what the show is about. It makes me laugh. If you think of museums, generally, as solemn mausoleums, it invited you to think again.

There is something startling, almost metaphysical, about the way it takes a not exactly fresh piece of street talk and pops it into the cosmic.

It is sophisticated. It does not just say ‘Come and see the stuff,’ so much as see where the stuff is coming from. It is a call to action. And all they had to do was add a word. Nice work.

Norm Lehman

Creative Director

The Case for Advertising, Toronto

Favorite out-of-home advertising: The Gap (in-house); Ikea by Geoffrey B. Roche & Partners Advertising; Coca-Cola by McCann-Erickson Advertising.

I pay a great deal of attention to out-of-home because I believe it is one of the most persuasive and efficient tools we have available to us.

The three campaigns I have singled out here are, in my opinion, good examples of interesting creative ideas that work well outdoors. There are many more.

The Gap: If it is true that great advertising flows from great clients, then The Gap must be some kind of place.

Its long-running ‘celebrity’ poster campaign is a perfect example of work that is an accurate reflection of the thing being advertised.

There is no deception here. If you like the ads, you’ll love the clothes.

I feel that the campaign is interesting aesthetically, emotionally and intellectually.

If all you get is a glimpse of a Gap poster as the subway pulls away, the clean design, elegant typography, and perfect logo treatment send you an appropriate message about The Gap and its attitude.

Then if you spend any time with the work, you are treated to superb photographs of engaging people, executed with subtlety and affection. These are posters people will steal, and it’s work I wish I’d done.

Ikea: Another retail example. ‘Wet your beds’, ‘Acquire a left-handed pitcher,’ ‘Gesundheit,’ etc.

Yes, they are plays on words and that is a Bad Thing. Yes, clever bits like this have been done before. Who cares? This stuff is fun.

This work uses the media properly (big type, clean photo treatment, simple design), it is amusing, it is appropriate to Ikea, and it expresses an attitude with clarity and precision.

Always Coke: Of all the executions in the new Coke campaign, I like the outdoor most.

Second place goes to that whirlwind high-tech ‘RollerBlade Runner’ cinema spot.

The virtue of this work is simplicity. There is only one message: Coke is always cool. The posters are emotional, they are beautiful, they are intense, and they understand their audience. Great work.

Great out-of-home advertising is like sex. The moves are easy to learn, it takes lots of practice before you get it right, and attitude is everything.