David Harris of gyro picks his Desert Island Ads

David Harris is chief creative officer at gyro where he’s been for three years. He’s on a mission to prove B2B can be just as creative as B2C. Previous roles include ECD at Wunderman, Draft FCB and IMP London. He was also the co-founder of LIDA, part of M&C Saatchi.

Desert Island Ads

Although there are moments in the day when I long for the opportunity to be alone on a desert island, I know I’d get lonely really quickly. I like being around different people. And I’ve realised while writing this that the qualities I like in people are reflected in my desert island ad selection. The ideas I’ve chosen are brave, clever, original and entertaining. They’re all quite beautiful too (hope that doesn’t make me shallow).

Volvo Trucks – The Epic Split

This campaign has achieved over 80 million YouTube views and a 31 per cent increase in sales according to the Wall St Journal. The ‘live test’ series of films that made up this B2B campaign demonstrate how a single, outrageous idea can help redefine a brand. It’s simple and very original. I guess music is going to be important on my desert island and, although I’m not really a fan, this Enya track works brilliantly.

Levi’s – Creek

Talking of music, this Stiltskin track is inspired. BBH’s Levi’s campaigns used music in a famously memorable way. Of all the ads I think this is the most perfect, with epic Ansel Adams style photography, a great guitar riff, clever editing and a gag that works, at the end.

Erdem & H&M – The Secret Life of Flowers by Baz Luhrman

I have watched this film over and over. It’s captivating. I’ve never worn Erdem clothes and probably never will, but I’m left wanting to be part of this world. And I want my garden to look just like this.

Guardian – Points of view

We all have an ad that’s the reason we got into advertising. This is mine. The format and rather formal VO clearly date it, but the script, timing and direction make it as powerful today as it was when it was first screened in 1986.

The Independent – Litany

Sometimes an ad can influence you beyond the expected ways. This spot introduced me to the poems of John Cooper Clarke and encouraged me to start piano lessons. The counterpoint of the quickfire black and white images with the Bach piano soundtrack along with Cooper Clarke’s VO listing the ‘Don’t’ restrictions that society uses to control us, combine to make this a simple yet powerfully brave and effective film.

The UNICEF Tap Project

When an idea becomes a movement, it transcends being advertising. I admire ideas that set out to make the world a better place. The concept of paying $1 or more for something you get free is a great PR hook especially when people are happy to pay for ‘posh’ water. Since 2007, the Tap Project has raised $2.5 million for water and sanitation programmes for children.

Honda – Grrr

‘Hate something, change something’ is a great philosophy for life. This idea, which ran across numerous channels including an online game, was a totally different approach to car advertising, not featuring a car but a cast of animated characters reacting negatively to the clanking of a diesel engine. It then cuts to songbirds and choreographed flamingos who introduce a new quieter diesel engine. ‘The Power of Dreams’ campaign has spawned some brilliant ads, but I love this for its charm and originality.

Audi – Odd couple

Another ad that totally sold me on a career in advertising. A captivating piano track and a precision-crafted VO telling us how ‘as well as studying automotive design’, the people at Audi study people design. Simple, clever and engaging.

Mercedes – Skid Marks

In contrast, here’s a car ad that features a car. And it’s a beauty. I like ideas that work on different levels yet are articulated with brutal simplicity. Here we don’t need a clever headline or any of the usual copy selling 0-60mph stats to tell us how awesome this car is. Just a load of perfectly placed skid marks.

Epuron – Mr Wind

Lastly, an idea that dramatizes energy with human relevance. This funny, poignant representation of the wind as an irritating social misfit is a brilliant example of how we can emotionally connect with brands – even if we have never heard of them before.

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