Field Day’s Geoff Gower picks his Desert Island Ads

Geoff Gower is executive creative director of Field Day, the customer engagement agency owned by Havas Media Group formed a month ago from the merger of ais London and Arnold KLP. He started his first agency on leaving university in 1997 and then joined Digital Outlook. He then had a spell developing TV formats at production company Talkback before rejoining agency land at Fullsix and then ais London, now Field Day, as a creative technologist in 2004.
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Desert Island Ads

I didn’t get into the creative side of advertising via the traditional path. I didn’t go to art school and I never got to describe myself as a copywriter or art director. So I’m never as awed by the execution as I am by the idea. The simplicity of a thought that can create fame, enjoyment; sales even, is what keeps me interested in this increasingly tough game. So the ads I’ve picked aren’t ads, they’re pretty much everything but.

Burger King – Whopper Freakout

First up is a piece by Crispin Porter when they were in their pomp. A brilliantly simple strategy for Burger King – that the Whopper was America’s favourite burger – gave birth to a whole series of fantastically brave, deceptively simple ideas that created way more media coverage than an ad could. They also seem to have stood the test of time, any one of Whopper Sacrifice, Whopper Virgins or my pick, Whopper Freakout would have won at Cannes this year.

Draftfcb Vienna – Bank Transfer Job Ad

One of the things I like in an idea is economy. The smaller and smarter something is, the more potential it has to deliver an upside. Spunk half a million pounds on a dreary ad and a further four million to force people to watch it and you’re going to struggle. Do what these guys did and transfer a few cents into your rival’s bank accounts and use the medium of the payment description to get your message across and a return on investment is pretty much guaranteed. Direct marketing at its best.

Metro Trains – Dumb Ways to Die

I’m not sure what this next piece is, it’s a song, it’s a game, it’s naïve, it’s unbelievably sophisticated, it’s definitely a bit odd but it’s the only thing my kids have sung relentlessly for weeks (apart from the seminal ‘Cambridge Kitchens and Bathrooms, The heart (fart) of your home’). For a few months back in 2012 it was everywhere. Which is some going for a train safety message from the equivalent of a local authority.

Save our Sons – The Most Powerful Arm in the World

We do a bit of work for a small charity called Harrison’s Fund. Harrison’s dad, Alex set it up to fund research into Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and it’s one of a number of charities globally that’s contributing towards defeating this cruel disease. In Australia, the charity Save our Sons partnered with Finch to create the ‘Most Powerful Arm in the World’, a case of technology genuinely enabling a really strong, really emotional idea.

Mercedes – Invisible Drive

Last, I include an idea I had. Sadly, I had a shit version of this idea based on using about a 100,000 iPhones to create a similar, much less impressive effect. Fortunately for me, my O2 clients didn’t share my enthusiasm for Heath Robinson style active camouflage and the often brilliant Jung von Matt came up with a much better execution for Mercedes. Frankly the whole ‘it’s so economical, it’s invisible’ logic is a bit of a stretch but who cares, it’s cool enough to get away with it.

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