Zoe Osmond of NABS picks her Desert Island Ads

618After a career spanning many agencies and indeed countries as a global business director, Zoe Osmond (left) joined NABS in 2010 with a task to make it more relevant to today’s advertising industry and in doing so, strengthen the UK industry’s sense of community spirit.

Prior agency experience included WCRS, M&C Saatchi and more recently JWT on the agency management team, Zoe has worked on an array of brands including Unilever, Smirnoff, Nestle, Coty Rimmel and even Playboy.


So much choice, so many great ads, so many years of working in this fantastic business but ultimately my choice has to come down to what I could watch over and over again – bearing the test of time whilst continuing to entertain and engage. All chosen ads have a simple idea at their core but all are highly original in terms of craft and execution – and most make the absolute best of music to punctuate the message and up the magical ingredient of emotion to the message.


Levi’s – Laundrette

This classic ad from BBH has to be first on my list. It’s a timeless, iconic piece of creative for Levi’s that is as enduring today as it was then. The thumping guitar intro marks the start of a campaign that turned the prevailing trend for the female sex symbol on its head.


Maxell – Me Ears Are Alright
Another golden favourite that uses music and humour to punctuate the message is Maxell tapes. Whilst the product is no longer, such is the pace of technology, the idea, influenced by Bob Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues, is timeless and has been much parodied through the years.


(Here’s Bob)


Sony Bravia – Bouncy Balls

This ad was one of the first of its kind to dramatise a message with such a large scale metaphor – a beautifully simple way of showcasing the quality of the product with a fantastic endline: colour like no other. It’s an ad that will also be remembered for the song that launched the career of Jose Gonzales.


Honda – The Power of Dreams

I’m sure we’ve all got this song trapped somewhere in the back of our heads. As soon as the intro begins you know what’s coming. ‘Hate something, change something’ is such a great mantra which set against the backdrop of a beautifully crafted dreamscape creates a powerful execution that placed Honda at the forefront of innovation in its industry.


Bob Monkhouse – Prostate Cancer

Let’s face it, us Brits are terrible at facing up to our own death, but the appearance of a post-humous Bob Monkhouse forced us to reconsider the topic. An incredibly innovative if morbid way to illustrate the threat of prostate cancer that bought a whole new meaning to celebrity endorsement.


British Heart Foundation – Hard and Fast

A brilliantly executed film that gives a whole new life to the demo – what a way to show how you could save a life. The follow-ups were great too with a parody by children to teach CPR in school, as well as nice stories of how people were genuinely ‘staying alive’ by following Vinnie’s and the Bee Gee’s guidance.


Transport for London – Share the Road

We all have to contend with a commute to work and as much as I love London, this ad from Transport for London strikes a particular chord – highlighting the stress we deal with by just getting around. But just as we tell attendees at our resilience workshops, many of whom are keen to shut off from stresses from work and the outside world: “Breathe in, breathe out; the moment has gone”.


O2 Refresh – Be More Dog

A classic of our time, with plenty of life left in it. Not only is it entertaining, featuring a requisite of our time, a cute animal, it also includes an aspiration of many to be something or someone different – a trait we must all relate to, however momentarily.


Smirnoff – Sea

I’ve chosen to close on a campaign that I was more than proud to work on when I was at JWT. It ticks all the above criteria with aplomb. It nails the product message and metaphor, it’s well executed and of course it has a fantastic soundtrack.

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