Will London’s Alan Grové picks his Desert Island Ads

unnamedAlan Grové is co-founder and creative partner at Will London. The agency creates ‘Ideas That Sell’ for clients including Slendertone, Krispy Kreme, Hiver, Trunki, Stuffa, Femifree and BMR Vital.

Originally a copywriter, since 1993 Alan has spent time working in Cape Town, New York and London at agencies including DDB, Net#work BBDO, TBWA and McCann before starting Will London in 2012.



Desert Island Ads

Choosing your top ten ads can be dangerous. Deadlines can slip, trains can be missed and children can go unfed while internal debates rage. Does Shackleton’s ad count even though it probably isn’t real? Will I be hounded out of the industry for not including anything by David Abbott? Did they get the E-trade baby to vomit on purpose? I decided to avoid all of those big questions by sticking to one simple rule; pick the first ten ads that came to mind. In no particular order, they turned out to be:

Axe: Subway – The most simple of all the Lynx/ Axe ads I can recall – and all the funnier for it.


Adidas: Just To The Signpost – Simplicity, truth and some amazing art direction – you lean in and strain to read that last line, a little like you would if you were running to it.



Imperial War Museum: Eric Heaton – Long copy is/ isn’t dead. It wouldn’t even be a discussion if there were more ads as magnificently written as this one.

Layout 1


Allan Gray: Potential – If ‘Eric Heaton’ reads like a brilliant novel condensed onto a single page, then this is a great movie played out in 45 seconds. And, just for good measure, it nails the key message about the product too.


Cadbury: Gorilla – I think I may have applauded the first time I saw this (there was definitely whooping). I loved it so much it almost made me forgive Phil Collins for ‘No Jacket Required’. Such is the power of advertising.


John Lewis: Always a Woman – I have two young daughters. I therefore did not stand a chance in the face of the emotional steamroller that is this ad. The room still gets a little dusty every time I watch it.


Bic: Infinity – Simple wins again. Along with David Abbot’s Volvo Welds ad, the best product demonstration I’ve seen in print.



Nike: Fat Kid – Sports ads are all the same these days. Superstars do super things in super boots/ super trainers/ super clothes™. And then along comes this. A triumph of sweaty truth over slick fantasy. Inspired choice of VO too.


Lego: Submarine – My favourite ad (amongst many great ones) for the best toy ever.



Tango: St George – I was determined not to include this, because everyone does. But it’s the best ad of all time. I’d happily lie in my desert island hammock and watch this on loop forever. The casting, the edit, the copy, the music, the jets. It’s perfect. And I really – really – dislike blackcurrant.

Back to top button