Trevor Robinson is executive creative director and founder of Quiet Storm, the London-based advertising agency and production company. He began his career at HHCL, working on some of its most famous campaigns including Tango, Martini and Golden Wonder Pots. He founded Quiet Storm in 1995.
A long-time champion of diversity he was awarded the OBE for services to UK advertising in 2009.
Desert Island Ads
It’s ridiculously hard to pin-point ten ads – a bit like doing your top ten movies, coming up with under a dozen is near impossible. The ones I have chosen are here because they’ve affected me in different ways emotionally and or had an impact on my career and my outlook on life. A bit like someone’s musical taste, this says a lot about me and my headset – not all comfortable – and, as a result, I’m not quite sure I like that it’s out in the world…
The Guardian ‘Points of View’
This is one of the commercials that made me go into advertising. It’s so simple and clever that I thought I’ll never be able to make anything as good as that. The Guardian is the best seller of a product I’ve ever seen.
PlayStation ‘Double Life / #20 Years of Play’
This ad by the late, great Frank Budgen still makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. It’s brilliantly cast, superbly directed and feels like a generation-changing advert. Over the years since, there have been so many rip-offs we have almost become used to this style of ad in which normal people talk and speak poetry. But this ad was made nearly 20 years ago and it’s originality still stands out, no matter how many times you watch it.
Zazoo ‘Little Boy’
This commercial is such a simple thought told in such a brilliant way that even though you don’t see the gag coming, it really does nail what a condom should be all about in people’s minds. It resonates to anyone who’s ever experienced that situation, whether it’s your own or other people’s kids, and you just think: ‘Fuck, I’m glad that little shit is not mine.’ I think this must have worked so well on the potential target audience as it’s completely universal.
Canal+ ‘The Bear’
There is probably an emerging theme in that most of my favourite ads feature a strong twist at the end. And this has the most powerful twist, by far. I guarantee no one can predict the ending to this, and it works brilliantly in terms of selling a TV channel. Every time I meet up with my old creative partner we still say the line from this – ‘I don’t give a shit’ – with a strong French accent.
JC Penney ‘Beware of the Dog House’
A fantastically quirky ad that accentuates one simple thought: don’t mess up with the person that you buy for, your loved one, or you’ll most certainly end up in the dog house. But done in a brilliantly hilarious way.
Logitech Revue with Google TV ‘Kevin Bacon’
This came out at a time when Kevin Bacon was seen as incredibly naff and talentless, and this ad rebooted his whole career. The idea is so brilliant, and it shows how talented and funny Kevin really is.
It’s the stand out epic commercial, the ad we all wish as creatives we’d done. But deep down you know you never could have.
Loctite ‘Positive Feelings’
Where the fuck did this concept come from? It’s genius from casting to choice of music – such a random way to sell super glue. I think they must have struggled to do another ad in this vein as it is so random and so brilliant.
Panda Cheese ‘Never Say No to Panda’
This is surely one of the most repetitious, one-scene gags that I’ve ever seen in a commercial. However, I find these hilariously watchable every time. Although the content is dark and weird, I’ve never seen anyone watch them and not find them hilarious. From the repetitious music to the strangely terrifying bear, this is an awesome ad campaign.
X Box 360 ‘Stand off’
This is one of those annoying commercials that you wish you’d done, but as soon as you’ve seen it you know you can never go near it again as it is too ownable now. Brilliantly choreographed and the playfulness element is just genius.