Joe Alexander, CCO of The Martin Agency, picks his Desert Island Ads

Alexander, JoeJoe Alexander is managing partner and CCO of one of North America’s finest agencies The Martin Agency. Based in Richmond and New York, Alexander oversees a department of 200 creatives and producers. Major accounts include Walmart and Geico (see below). Martin has also won an Emmy for its work for The JFK Presidential Library, the first ad agency to be so awarded in the News and Documentary category. Martin is owned by Interpublic and recently opened its first office outside the US, in London.


Desert Island Ads

When you make a list like this, you inevitably leave off so much great stuff. Apologies.

I also didn’t include radio, digital, outdoor, social, etc. I stuck to print and TV – with one exception – to keep the list from getting unruly.

Two things I would say about everything here: One, the ideas and executions are timeless. They are just as relevant today as they were when they first appeared. Two, I wish I had them in my book.


VW: Snowplow
The most perfect campaign in ad history. Maybe I love this one so much because I grew up shoveling snow.


Canal+: The Bear
A bear rug turned into a walking, talking directing ass.
Yelling at the PA – gets me every time.


Rolling Stone: Perception vs. Reality
Fallon McElligott was always amazing at creating print constructs that had endless executions.

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Economist: I never read the Economist.
David Abbott’s best.



Ikea: Lamp
The music. The edit. The rain. The crazy Swede. Spike Jonze crushed this one.


GEICO: Caveman Series
The contempt the cavemen had for present day humans. Brilliant twist on the cliché.

BMW Films: The Hire
Digital content, book one, chapter one, page one. The definition of gamechanger.


California Milk Processors: Got Milk/Aaron Burr
The strategic insight here – what happens when you take milk away? – one of the greatest of all time.


Apple: Think Different print series
When ads become art.




ESPN: SportsCenter
The very first “mockumentary-style” campaign. I’ve always loved how W&K just embraced the bad acting of the athletes and anchors.


Nike: Just Do It.
The very first time the line was used was in this spot. The humble beginnings of greatness.

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