Russell Schaller is ECD of Cheil UK. He has worked at Rainey Kelly, WCRS, Mother and Soul on brands including Virgin, Kiss FM, Coca-Cola, Colgate Palmolive and Uniqlo and been a partner in consultancy Tom Dick & Harry and Drugstore.
Desert Island Ads
‘Stop watching TV and try reading a book.’ That’s what my mum used to say as I sat glued to the little box in the corner of the room. ‘I hate books!!’ I would shout back without taking my eyes off Hannibal concocting another genius plan. Then last weekend, it happened. I shouted at my zombified daughter from across the room. ‘Stop watching YouTube and try watching TV.’ ‘I hate TV!!’ She responded without taking her eyes off an incredibly flexible teenager doing acrobatics in a supermarket.
Entertainment is where you find it. It has evolved beyond our wildest dreams and understanding how to entertain an audience in a meaningful and relevant way is where the genius lies.
In the beginning, for me, it was all about TV. Memorable characters and beautifully written dialogue that got repeated in the playgrounds and pubs across the country. Like this little beauty…
British Telecom – Ology
And memorable characters that got turned into multi-million dollar film franchises…
Barclaycard with Rowan Atkinson
Then, just as I was entering the business this came on the tellybox. Football + airport + Brazilian football team = Entertainment. It was the beginning of Nike’s love affair with the beautiful game and mine with advertising.
Nike – Airport football
I was actually in the business when the next one hit. Maybe it resonated with me because I wasn’t job hunting anymore, but the insight, the writing, and attention to detail…arrrggghhh it’s just so brilliant.
Monster.co.uk – Growl
…as was this wonderful campaign for the Army. The start of fantastic insight led advertising for the armed forces. Edutainment at it’s finest. Shit, did I just say edutainment? Sorry.
Army – Sunglasses
I will always love great stories beautifully told, like this one…
Guinness – Swimmer
And this one is coming on the island with me just on the strength of its opening line…
Smirnoff – Diamonds
From the small screen to the big’un. Balls out and brilliant. These I would pay to watch.
Orange – Darth Vader
Sometimes being in the right place at the right time is all it takes. Here’s a wonderful example of a brand riding a cultural wave. It didn’t just do wonders for a mobile network it also paved the way for a revolution in storytelling, where real people are the stars of the show.
The T-Mobile Dance
And it’s right about here, when things get even more entertaining. The playing field started to change. Formats, time lengths, platforms, genres all started to bend. Here’s an example of branded entertainment at its best and a potential way off the island.
Over the last twenty years, we may have changed what we watch and how watch, but a few things remain the same. People will always want to be entertained, brands will want to be talked about in pubs and I will always hate books. Sorry mum.