Collective’s Stephen Barnes picks his Desert Island Ads

Stephen Barnes is co-founder and ECD of multi-discipline agency Collective.

Desert Island Ads

If this was a real desert island, you can guarantee I would have packed too much. 5 pairs of shorts, 3 ‘spare’ phone chargers, perhaps even a couple of coat-hangers. And there I would be, sat in the scorching sun with a case the size of small house, wondering why I didn’t pack a parasol.

The same could be said when trying to choose 5 ads. Just 5? I’d want to take hundreds. So, in a valiant attempt to overcome this existential crisis, I’ve chosen 5 ads from very different disciplines. At least then I’ll have a bit of variety. That said, you can guarantee I’ll have forgotten something really important…

Print – Norwegian airlines: The Flag of Flags

Print has always been my first love and for me this is the perfect embodiment of the art.
Beautifully simple, impactful and really bloody clever.

Just imagine how the creatives felt when one of them said, ‘Hang on, I can see another flag in there, and another…’ Wondrous.

Digital – Requiem for a Dream website

Requiem for a Dream Website from Alexandra Jugovic on Vimeo.

Less of a website more a visceral assault on the senses. This site from August 2000 played with the concept of decay to deliver a narrative that made the user ‘feel’ what the film was all about (without giving them a chance to think about it). So different to anything that had come before. This experience really opened my eyes to what was possible in the wonderful world of the web.

Social – Burger King: Stevenage Challenge


Another eye-wateringly clever idea from those lovable rogues at Burger King. Sponsoring bottom of the table Stevenage in real life to gain exposure in the world’s biggest online game. So much to like about this, although it might make me start fantasising about Bacon Double Cheeseburgers on my deserted island. Not ideal.

TV – Honda: Impossible Dream

This was a tough one, but I’ve gone with an ad that I would never get bored of watching. Everything about this production screams ‘craft’. From the casting right through to the locations, everything is on the money and draws you into the Honda universe. For me this is Weidens at the peak of their powers and was the pick from an amazing canon of Honda work in the UK.

Branding – 2012 Olympics

What I love about this is how a piece of work can go from zero to hero in the blink of an eye.
When first released, it was front page news for all the wrong reasons but roll forward a few months and it had become an integral part of an event that captured the imagination of an entire country. I was lucky enough to work with the toolkit for the 2012 Olympics as we delivered the social ‘games’ – and it was an absolute joy. Everything hung together with a cohesion and clarity that seemed to embody the spirit of the Olympics.

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