MullenLowe CCO Jose Miguel Sokoloff’s Desert Island Ads

Jose Miguel Sokoloff is an internationally awarded and respected advertising creative and peace proponent. His philosophy of employing soft power over force for effective behaviour change manifests in the communications he has designed throughout his career to address cultural and societal issues in ways that transcend borders and challenge norms. Native to Colombia, Jose Miguel’s most recognised work for the Colombian Ministry of Defense has propelled him from advertising creative to cultural figure, having spoken and appeared across a variety of widely recognised platforms with mass audiences such as TED Global, NPR’s This American Life and Wired.


Desert Island Ads

Desert Island ads is a tricky choice. By definition in a desert island where there’s ads there would have to be somewhere to see them. My first instinct was to choose only print, to use beautiful and witty ads as part of the decorations of my desert island dwellings. Eventually I chose a single campaign with endless executions that would remind me of the beautiful world I left behind. All my other choices are ads that I love to see over and over. Ads that make me think. That make me wonder and that marked my advertising career in some way. But even if I had nowhere to enjoy these ads, the ads on this list would pop up in my mind and accompany me. I hope my desert island is warm and welcoming. The ads need to make it better. And these ads in my opinion, would.

Guinness – Sapeurs

Just watching this film brings me joy. It is joyful and beautiful. I love short narratives that tell big stories. This is one of these films where the number of individual ancillary stories is huge. None are told, but all can be imagined. It works for the brand and it works for me.

Benson & Hedges – Swimming Pool

I first saw this film in a U-matic editing suite on a small but very good monitor. I was alone during a lunch break and had chosen to spend my lunch hour looking at the Global Highlights reel Leo Burnett used to send to its offices around the world. I had to look at it again and again. I still look at it and see the crazy extravagance and wonder how it would have researched.

Nike Air – Revolution
This is a musical favourite for me. I had loved the song forever. And this ad was as powerful as the music, it was raw and dynamic. And it included a simple product demo. This may have been the first Nike ad I saw in my life. (Colombia did not have Nike ads until the late 90’s). I can still see the slow-motion demo of the air technology when I remember this film.

Apple – Get a Mac

This is the ultimate side by side campaign. It embodied everything we Apple users used to think about our brand and pcs. It was clear and didactic. And it was so well written I used to wait for the next series to break anxiously.

Fedex – Fast talker
This is another old classic. Fun to watch and you want to get the words. There is a permanent sense of discovering something every time. And there’s a “mistake” which is incredibly sticky.

FedEx– ‘fast talker’ –


You did not dream of a Mitsubishi when you were a kid. No, you did not. And this ad captured this powerful truth, un-apologetically and in your face. The car looks sexy and the headline sold the brand to me. I don’t think I ever read the copy, but It does not matter, I’m a sucker for a good headline.

Apple – Shot on an iPhone 6

Again, a simple demo. Beautiful imagery shot by all of us and curated with impeccable taste. “The best camera is the one in your hand” was not only demonstrated by expert Chase Jarvis, but by all of those who whip out their phone to snap something at the exact moment when it is at its most glorious. That is the power of a good camera with you all the time, and this campaign proves it. Additionally, it challenges us to shoot some epic moments secretly hoping our shots are good enough to make it into the selection.

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