High Five US: September 2019
It's no secret that advertising has the power to move people, but the array of ways in which it can do so will never not be impressive. September's best ads to come out of the US include snippets of joy from a toy brand, a gaming brand and a fast food brand pretending to be a gaming brand, while a pair of wildly different PSAs share the trait of relatable realism.
LBB's Americas editor Addison Capper rounds up his favourite five below.
Fisher-Price - Let's Be Kids
“Opinions are loud, and clocks are the boss and you have to wear shoes, all the time.” As I veer head-first into the deepest depths of my late 20s, John Goodman's words never rung so true. I love buying new trainers almost more than anything, but if I had my way I'd never wear the damn things. But this joyful Fisher Price ad from Wieden+Kennedy Portland and Rattling Stick's Ringan Ledwidge, entitled 'Let's Be Kids', cut me even deeper because I sometimes fear that in 2019, in this glorious age of smartphones and technology, even kids will forget how to be kids. I guess it made me long for a time where not only I can be a kid again, but kids can too. Also, shoutout to the crew at Blacksmith for more stellar VFX work. They really did nail the balance between realism and the almost hallucinogenic qualities of a child's mind.
Overdose Lifeline - #ChooseEmpathy, The Experiment
Substance addiction affects over 20 million people in the US, including friends of Jake Reilly, a copywriter at San Francisco agency Venables Bell & Partners. In a bid to better understand their addiction and the hurdles they must overcome, he created an experiment to pinpoint the most common physical symptoms of opioid withdrawal and put himself through it. "What my friends, and so many like them, are dealing with is completely out of their control," he said. The resulting film is starkly harrowing but real enough to keep it relatable for even the most closed-minded viewer.
Google Play Games - Nintendo Mario Kart Tour
Is there a game that spans generations and geography as deeply as Mario Kart? I can't think of one and neither can the LBB gaming nerds that I consulted during deep research for this article. The Mario Kart net was cast even wider this month with the release of Mario Kart Tour, the franchise's first foray into mobile gaming by Google Play Games. TBWA\Chiat\Day LA and Golden LA's Saman Kesh have absolutely nailed the widespread appeal of the game in this trailer spot. On face value, it's just a really fun film for all to enjoy, but dig deeper and there are Easter eggs aplenty for the aforementioned nerds to pore over.
KFC - I Love You, Colonel Sanders!
How much do you love fried chicken? Probably a lot. Maybe you don't eat meat but I bet you still love some kind of fried mock white meat product (I'm speaking from experience here). Anyway. Do you love fried chicken so much that you'd quite like to get down and dirty to some finger lickin' fun with the Colonel? Well, now you can thanks to the fast food chain's foray into gaming, specifically dating simulators. ‘I Love you Colonel Sanders!’ is described as a ‘finger lickin’ dating simulator’ and was developed by Psyop, best known in adland for their animation, but with a growing indie video game division. Set in the University of Cooking School: Academy for Learning, the game sees the player take the role of an aspiring chef. As well as trying to build their career in the wonderful world of fried chicken, you can also attempt to date the Colonel himself. Good luck.
Sandy Hook Promise - Back-To-School Essentials
The strength of the Sandy Hook Promise PSAs comes in their ability to keep viewers unaware of the punchline until it'll hit the hardest. BBDO New York and Smuggler's Henry Alex Rubin have kept that approach going deftly with a seemingly harmful back-to-school style film that slowly unfolds to show students utilising their new school equipment in a bid to survive a shooting on their campus. The storytelling and craft is exquisite - it could have so easily folded into the drama with a crash, but the light touches that lead up to the conclusion make it all the more powerful.