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Michael Olaye of Dare and Oliver picks his Desert Island Ads

Michael Olaye is CEO of digital agency Dare and chief technology officer of owner on-site agency specialist Oliver Group. He was a founding member of creative agency U-dox, where he spent nine years working on projects for the likes of Adidas, MTV and Nike.

He then set up the current in-house digital team at Havas Worldwide London before joining Dare.


Desert Island Ads

I really struggled to remember many stand-out ads.

Maybe that’s the wrong thing to say on a website called More About Advertising. But honestly, truthfully, I struggled to remember anything outside of my three main passions: cars, gaming and sport.

But the ads within those three sectors are incredible. Even recent ones have, in my eyes, earned iconic status. People say you can never beat the classics, that no Marvel film will never be as good as Casablanca, but that’s just not true. The ads I’ve picked tell stories, they make me feel, and they make me want to seek out more information about their product or go and buy whatever it is they’re selling.

Honda – The Other Side

Day. Night. Good. Evil. Children… people robbing a museum? The Other Side is a glitchy, hyperactive experience, following a run-of-the-mill, Joe Bloggs bloke who’s dropping off his kids in a daytime scene and orchestrating a heist when night falls.

It’s a brilliantly shot, perfectly paced short, highlighting the duality within us all. It also neatly displays the difference between the Honda Civic and its racier partner, the Honda Civic Type R. As a campaign, it truly immersed you in the narrative, initially allowing you to hop between storylines by punching the ‘R’ key. But even with that function now unavailable, it’s still a brilliant piece of film.

PlayStation – Greatness Awaits

“Who are you not to be great?”

The question is asked by a man who, admittedly, bears a striking resemblance to the ultra-violent Boss from Saints Row, but the point still stands. Who are you not to be great, when you’re immersed in a world of unlimited possibility, in a world where one punch can send enemies flying, where dragons roam and people live forever? Shot in one take – well, not really one take, but you know the technique – and blending the worlds of gaming with reality, Greatness Awaits is a real feast for the eyes.

Manchester United – Here to Create

David De Gea smashing the drums with his bare hands, which are on fire. Of course they are. What’s not to like about that? Here to Create is a bizarre turn for Manchester United, the team’s players displaying their creative flare through a variety of effects-laden activities including catwalking, rapping and more. Still not entirely sure what that Mighty Boosh-style bunny’s doing there, but it just adds even more to the sensory overload you experience here. Plus, José Mourinho pops up at the end and – sort of – gives his seal of approval.

2014 Audi R8 V10 Plus

Sometimes, you don’t need a convoluted script about ‘finding’ or ‘unleashing’ yourself. You don’t need people. You don’t need music. The sound of a V10 engine sells itself. This genuinely sent shivers up my spine; call me sad if you like, but that’s surely the sign of an effective ad.

Xbox One X – Feel True Power

Just to spur the Xbox/PlayStation feud even further, here’s an ad that’s ready to go toe-to-toe with Greatness Awaits. In typical, emboldened Xbox fashion, it’s called Feel True Power. It’s labelling the device as ‘The World’s Most Powerful Console,’ and the backing track is..yep, Power by Kanye West. Rifling through iconic sporting, gaming and film clips from entertainment’s recent history, this is a properly cinematic, hairs-on-the-back-of-your-neck piece of work.

And what more could you ask of an ad? Nothing’s shocking, everything’s been done, but these ads got an actual reaction out of me. Not by doing something controversial or having a punk icon sell butter. By just being good.

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