Droga5 CCO Ted Royer picks his Desert Island Ads

Ted Royer is chief creative officer of Droga5 New York, the flagship office of arguably the world’s hottest creative agency.

Droga5 was founded by Australian Dave Droga (now creative chairman), a former Saatchi & Saatchi London creative chief. The agency recently announced that it was to build a new global network and opened its first office in London.


1. Nike Move

Shot by Jake Scott a while back.

For me, it’s the perfect Nike ad. Nothing but pure athletic movement, but each action leads to another action. No special effects, just hard cuts. The little kid falling back into the bed moment is genius. The music is the best I’ve ever heard on an ad. Ever. By the time the snowboarder jumps in the air I don’t just feel good for sports, I feel good for the human race. My favorite ad ever.

2. Guinness Surfer

How the fuck did they sell this? This isn’t copy, it’s poetry. A simple idea executed flawlessly. The little details send this soaring into the stratosphere – the freeze frames, the use of silence, the not-so-good-looking lead, the slight zoom on the product at the end. Someone sweated this, and it was worth it.

3. Halo 3 Believe

A great film, great because it doesn’t feel the need to explain anything; it just throws the audience right in and lets them figure out what’s going on (I know there was the whole back story bit, but I didn’t know that when I first saw it). Who knew tiny models could be so powerful. And actually hilarious in a way, because its over-the-top emotion works in a super-serious way and in an “aren’t games amazing” way. And when Master Chief’s head raises up at the end I cheer. It made me buy the game too.

4. Dumb Ways To Die

Sweet, dark, funny, grim, and an unforgettable message. Obviously a great film, but for me it’s the best film in the world right now, because it’s the ONLY film in the world that stops my eight-month old son from crying. Seriously, the only one. He’s mesmerized. Magic.

5. Little Caesar’s Focus Group

This ad made me want to go into advertising.


Aspen and Snowmass campaign from the early 90’s

I spent my time in ad school the first couple years of my career trying to basically imitate this campaign and never came remotely close. Bold use of type, layout and attitude in the writing produced work you could not not look at. Still would clean up in award shows today.


1. Honda Internavi

Hondas in Japan come with an interesting feature: Internavi. It’s a real time data gatherer that reads traffic flow from the movements of each car. During the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that wrecked Japan, Honda did a remarkable thing. It turned Internavi into a tool that helped rescue relief by finding out which roads were accessible. They open-sourced the info so everyone could see. Toyota and Nissan followed suit. And now the whole world has a new tool to save lives with.

2. We Choose The Moon

An interactive experience where you can relive the moon landing in real-time updates, hear all the conversations with the astronauts, and have the whole week build up to the video of the moment Neil Armstrong took a step. When aforementioned crying son becomes aware enough, I will do this with him.


1. Diamond Shreddies

A hilarious screw-you to every company who ever took their “product innovations” way too seriously. All they did was tilt the cereal on its side, and instead of squares, they called them diamonds. Some people even swore they tasted better.

2. IBM Watson

So instead of just doing ads about how cool their computers are, IBM made a computer that played Jeopardy. Then it put the computer on the show. And it played really well. An awesome mix of highbrow and lowbrow culture.

One Comment

  1. Ted…
    Thank fuck you changed your picture in the intro. In the old one you looked like an evil serial killer. In the new one you look like a slightly less evil serial killer.
    I’m with you on the Little Caesar’s Focus Group spot. I’ve attended every single one of those, even the last one with the chimps. Don’t wear yourself out while Dave and Andrew are fucking off around the world.
    Cheers/George “AdScam” Parker

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