Pip Bishop of Y&R picks her Desert Island Ads

Pip Bishop is head of creative at Y&R London. She has been a creative partner at the agency since 2000 and began her career at TBWA. She has won awards for Nissan, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Trains, M&S fashion and M&S food.

Desert Island Ads

Very occasionally, I see a piece of work that makes me say ‘yep, that’s why I got into advertising’. To garner that response it has to be one of four things – clever, simple, beautifully crafted or entertaining. Preferably all four.

These little advertising highs might be rare, but they’ve occurred often enough to keep me interested, and jealous enough to try and beat them.

I’ll start with the ad that really did get me into advertising – Benson & Hedges ‘Swimming Pool.’ This campaign, along with Silk Cut, totally redefined advertising by turning it into a surreal art form. I was entranced. It was so epic. So off the wall. I decided there and then that I wanted to go into advertising when I grew up. Even now, the sight of the helicopter’s undulating shadow travelling over the rocks gives me goosebumps. The combo of director Hugh Hudson, art director Alan Waldie and agency CDP produced this very expensive piece of genius.

I struggled a bit over my next choice. I knew The Economist posters had to be in there, but which one? No one can write headlines like this these days – lines that convey so much meaning in so few words. I got it down to a final two – ‘Great minds like a think’ and this, my final winner. Why? It’s simple, brutally clever and sums up everything you ever need to know about the brand in five big words and four little ones.

I remember feeling physically sick with envy when this Nike ad came out. I’m no fan of football, but I’m a sucker for great art direction and an effortlessly clever headline. I’m sure the addition of the delicious Mr Cantona did nothing to sway me. Much.

This incredible piece of work took two of advertising’s regulars – the jingle and the cartoon character – and took them to a completely new place. It was beautifully written, exquisitely crafted, and took Honda to the top of many people’s consideration list. Pity Honda didn’t take note and put some of this inspired thinking into its car designs. Which are still pants.

Wow, I loved this Lego campaign. Like the Economist, it encapsulates everything you need to know about the creative possibilities of Lego and handsomely rewards you for ‘getting it’. There were a few in the series – tank, ship, plane, but dinosaur is my favourite. I know creative shadows have popped up a few times in ad history, but when it’s done with such wit and charm, it’s forgivable (and it was five years ago).

It’s tempting to say that ads aren’t what they used to be. But this relatively recent Channel 4 spectacular for the Rio Paralympics really took my breath away. Resisting the urge to ‘look edgy and contemporary’, they went all retro in a really cool and irreverent way. The references to old musicals are inspired. The editing and shot transitions are sublime. It’s joyful, empowering, entertaining and hands down my favourite piece of advertising of the last five years. Yep..that’s why I got into advertising.

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