Some of the industry’s most creative thinking is expressed in food and drink advertising: alcohol kicks open doors in the imagination that are barely keyholes to most other products. Food – photographed well – creates a physical and mental desire that the very cutest line of copy could only wink at, and other drinks, you know – the ones without booze in them – slip so seamlessly into our lifestyles that we don’t even notice the ads until well after they’ve worked.
We like food and drink ads. Not all of them – obvs. But quite a few. So – what have we spotted?
As Game of Thrones fans, we love beer. Hang on… as beer fans, we love Game of Thrones. Oh, you know what we’re about to say…
You might not know this, but Game of Thrones was quite popular, so it’s probably quite canny (and undoubtedly expensive) to make sure your ad is aired during the most popular show on earth. (At the moment, anyway.) Especially if your ad is noteworthy it’ll provoke a reaction and might well form part of the conversation round the water-cooler the following day. Do offices still have water-coolers? We’ve got one of those boiling hot/freezing cold tap things – it’s brilliant, but now I think about it, I’ve never seen an impromptu gathering gossiping round it. Unless they’re leaving me out…
Here’s the ad if you haven’t seen it.
It’s a 30-second spot accompanied by a soundtrack performed by popular Swedish extreme metal band Meshuggah (I say popular, I mean noisy, really). Some have labelled it “Obnoxious and self-important” and others have been less kind. Whether you like it or not, it’s sparked quite a bit of debate. It’s been called “the most honest ad ever” which is a little over-the-top – it’s quite simply a good ad. It’s very ‘on-brand’, it’s memorable, it’s got talkability, it’s challenging: ‘Go one then, Brewdog – sell me a beer and make me feel like that.’ And it’s really, really simple.
You can’t help noticing it. It also looks cracking on the side of a bus!
It’s like a really good version of the rather self-indulgent and rather silly ‘knowing’ ads you used to see. The ones where spoof creatives reluctantly admit that they’ve spent the client’s budget on something ridiculous (they can’t help it: they’re really cool and wacky).
Anyway – we like it.
Talking of spoofs, it’s not often that you see a brand spoofing its own enormously successful campaign. M&S almost created mass-market food porn – utterly gorgeous photography, a breathily, capitatingly convincing VO and really very good products. This isn’t just advertising, it’s Marks and Spencer’s advertising: a cut above. It ran for years. And then didn’t. M&S sort of lost its way as it tried to find itself in the new century.
Twelve years later and it’s back on our screens. The products are still good (can’t knock M&S) but the ads don’t make sense. If you’re a recent arrival at the age where you have to buy your own food, you won’t know what they’re on about – your memory of advertising in 2007 is the magnificent Cadbury’s Gorilla performing that iconic Phil Collins Drum solo. You’ve no real context.
Those of us who’ve been buying our own food for a while now (I need to find another way to measure myself, I really do…) have such great memories of the bar M&S set (even though in that example I swear she mis-pronounces ‘Courvoisier’), they went on to – arguably – top with their superb art direction – and so we have great expectations. For me, unmet expectations.
I still love you, M&S, but this, really?
This year’s Chip Shop Awards
Run every year by The Drum Magazine, The Chip Shop Awards celebrate ‘creativity without limits’ – that’s to say, advertising without a client brief or – crucially – client sign-off. These are adverts that never ran. And that’s probably why they’re so much fun!
Famously Blended for Famous Grouse is great: really simple drawings, full of charm and imagination.
There’s a nice Guinness ad on there and a decent one for Heinz. In fact, just go and have a look at all of them. You can select Best Food and Drink from the menu.
Yes! Greggs! There can’t be many people left who don’t know that Greggs offer a vegan sausage roll. And there are many, many people who have tried it: Greggs have attributed the press coverage of their daring break from tradition to a 10% increase in sales so far this year. And press coverage is probably where most people heard of it – but they did produce a nice ad (alongside a funny press launch) to promote the vegan roll’s introduction to our lives.
The ad’s a parody of an Apple epic – beautifully lit, confidently pared back, etc. It makes you smile. They even sent the roll to journalists and influencers in an iphone-esque box, complete with cool, white branding in the (successful) hope that they’d make unboxing videos. Much of this work was overshadowed by Piers Morgan declaring the whole idea as unwelcome creating an amusing ding-dong between the two brands – Morgan and Greggs – that the bakery won, hands down. And rightly so.
A sucker for a good line, always.
It’s just a nice idea. On brand, on theme. On my list. (And yes: I do like Marmite.)
Eat like Andy. A Super Bowl ad and not the kind of advert that would usually play. It’s a piece of art. They took the footage from ’66 scenes from ‘America’ a film Warhol participated in about Americana. It’s quite fitting that they should use him for this as most of his work drew from the notion of advertising. Showing an iconic artist eating iconic food in an iconic time, Burger King have managed to create buzz around their brand with a man 32 years after his death.
I wonder if they tried to buy a 15 minute slot.