Chris Harris (left) is a partner at global executive search firm Grace Blue, specialising in placing leadership roles in the advertising and media sectors. He began his career at Saatchi & Saatchi before joining BBH in 1990, becoming CEO Asia Pacific in 1998 before returning to London as president – international operations. Before joining Grace Blue he was president and CEO of Cheil UK.
Alkaseltzer: Mamma mia
I remember seeing this commercial when I was a kid and thinking ‘I want to do that’ – it captures that wonderful dry American humour combined with the directness of their creativity before it all went wrong.
Coke: I’d like to teach the world to sing
Or was it this one that made me want to get into the industry. A wonderful commercial and political zeitgeist and reminder of a time when songs written for ads could become hits in their own right, before we got lazy.
Sainsburys: Supreme pet food
My first ever TV ad so it holds a special place in my heart. But it also shows how creativity and charm could be got into a promotional ad that ran for one week and was briefed on a Monday and ran two weeks later….in 1983!
And yet, while I was making the Sainsbury’s ad someone was doing much bigger things in the same building. This is where I learned what we mean by a big idea.
Brands have souls. Nothing captures it better.
Nike: Shade Running
Nike used to have a way of capturing what we love about the sport we play or watch. Every runner will get this one!
Can you believe how much discussion and heartache went into Levi’s moving away from classic rock/soul…and how right they were to do so.
Audi: Number One
There are so many great Audi ads I cannot decide between this and the one with the Mullers, the Schmidts and the Reinharts – but I can’t find that one on YouTube. Just brilliantly observed and capturing the moment in time, with perhaps the best characterisation ever. Perhaps inevitably, the German brand owners didn’t get it!
Heineken: The Blues
A classic from a classic campaign, and I’ve cheated with the link so you get the sequel too.
Boddingtons: Face Cream
BBH excelled at zagging when the world zigged and this is one of the best combinations of both strategic and creative zags.