Tom Denford of ID Comms picks his Desert Island Ads

Tom Denford is co-founder and chief strategy officer of ID Comms, the media change consultancy. As an advisor to the world’s most ambitious brands, the company helps CMOs and media directors guide their organisations through media transformation and work productively with their agency partners.


Tom also hosts a weekly YouTube show called #MediaSnack with co-founder and ex-Nike media head David Indo. By their own admission they are media experts not creatives, in fact the one episode they dedicated to discussing creative is by far the worst performing of all the 54 #MediaSnack shows to date. Bodes well for this exercise then….

Desert Island Ads

If you want to know about great media strategies behind great ads, you’d do worse than simply read the AdWeek Best Media Ideas list. But in terms of pure creativity, wholly subjectively, here are some of my favourite. I’ve excluded anything which is commonly known by one word e.g. Cog, Balls, Photo-booth, PuppyMonkeyBaby, Flashmob, Puppies, Interception etc and instead, I’ve used the brilliant Dave Droga formula of judging a great ad (below) to help me pick these seven.


Robinson’s – Dad and Son

My favourite ad and probably the most moving piece of film I think I’ve ever seen. As a father, gets me every time. And it’s for orange squash. Great example of creative building a deep brand empathy with clever storytelling.


PlayStation – Double Life

TBWA’s epic. The delicious Sanctus from Fauré’s Requiem sets the tone – the line “…and conquered worlds” still makes me shiver. The casting is so brilliant, watching it back years later all the faces seem so familiar, especially love the cockney Bill Murray “I have set morality aside…”


Nike – Make It Count by Casey Neistat

Casey got asked by Nike to make a movie about Fuel Bands, but instead spent the money on a round-the-world trip with his friend Max. After ten days they ran out of money. Casey is such an amazing video storyteller, it feels like you’ve watched a whole movie but then you realise it is only 4.5 minutes long. Epic. Has accumulated over 20 million views. One of the most cost effective ads of all time surely. Breaking news – his unique creative style and deep understanding of how to utilise the power of social video just saw CNN acquire Casey’s video company for $25m.


Berlitz – German Coastguard

Res ipsa loquitur


Geico Un-skipable

A brilliant example of media and creativity working in harmony together. Not just unskippable, still entirely unrivalled. If car insurance can do work this good, there is no excuse for anyone else.


Samsung Galaxy S3 – The Next Big Thing

72andSunny’s brilliant S3 launch which went aggressively after Apple by mocking their evangelists with humour. Its a fine balance between satire and selling, executed brilliantly at a time when Apple was seen as unstoppable. It makes you feel silly for even owning an Apple device and segmented millennials (usually considered an homogenous marketing segment) into the smarts and the fanboys. I keep watching it, very powerful.


HSBC – Commercial banking
So beautifully crafted, you could not change a single thing about this film to make it better. There’s a great behind the scenes/making of video out there too which is fascinating. Plus it inevitably gives me a shiver of adrenaline as a business founder on the same roller-coaster journey. However, anyone who’s been to ID Comms Towers knows that our lift is an entirely depressing experience rather than any source of inspiration.

So, after some serious number crunching today I can tell you that all the ads above score 8 points or higher on the Dave Droga scale – genius – that man should make ads.

Back to top button