Wunderman ECD Abi Ellis & co. pick their Desert Island Ads

In the last two decades Ellis has been a creative director at creative agencies in both London and New York, including roles as group creative director at Digitas LBi and executive creative director at Cult LDN.

She is passionate about encouraging diversity in the agency and also has a passion for technology and how we can harness it to make better, more compelling creative which delivers results for clients.

Desert Island Ads

Deeds not words. That was the tattoo I spontaneously inked on my wrist last week, while I was attending a Wunderman Women in Leadership event in Miami (yes, Miami!)

As you may well know, it’s the slogan adopted by the women’s activism movement in the early 1900s. And, as an organising thought, it led to women getting the right to vote.

So, I’ve decided to choose creative solutions that reach beyond mere advertising – stuff that stands for something, that bellows for change, or provokes others to make a stand. These “ads” will help me take the action needed to survive on my desert island.

And I asked fellow Wunderman superstars Hannah Green, Stacey Neumann and Georgie McCarthy to collaborate with me in making the selection. Because deeds are best done together.

Bumble – Be the CEO your parents always wanted you to marry

This is not just the world’s first “female first” dating app. It’s a movement. And one that takes action. No empty words here. For example, following the tragic Parkland shooting, you can no longer post pics that show you posing with a gun (that’s actually a thing). Swinging on a trapeze or playing the French horn is a way better look, anyhow.


Period pants. An innovation, marketed innovatively. This film is actually funny. No whiff of condescension here.


Two words. That unleashed a debate that still rages. It’s not an ad but, to me, it’s digital copywriting at its finest: insightfully pithy.

Land Army Girls WW2

Girls wearing the trousers. Literally. My granny told me how amazing it felt to wear a pair of slacks for the first time, and these posters helped endorse and normalise that. The way we represent human beings in our ads sends a message – so choose wisely.

Campbell Addy x Getty Images

We come in all shapes and sizes. In all hues. In all genders. Freckles, scars, wayward hairs and missing bits and bobs help define us. And that is the beauty of who we are and how we project ourselves. This gorgeous collab brought diversity into the mix. When you are next tirelessly searching through stock imagery, demand better if you can’t find images that represent the glorious diversity of the lives our customers live.

Spotify and Smirnoff IWD graphic equalizer

So, your music tastes. Admit it, you’ve been in an Uber and sung along to Shake It Off. But when it comes to the music you consume on your own through Spotify, what floats your boat? This timely, relevant and smart widget launched in celebration of IWD, showing us the gender split in the artists we listen to most. This not only created conversations that rippled through social, but my friends and I listened to a message way deeper than most lyrics: as consumers we may need to change our behaviour.

Labour’s pink bus

To survive on my desert island, I will need a reminder of how not to go about things. Here it is. A pink bus! To help encourage women to vote. I mean, really.

Right. Enough words. I’m off to do some deeds.

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