Impero top creative Alastair Mills picks his Desert Island Ads

I’d be fairly handy on a desert island. As a child I used to catch fish with a hand line and cook them on a fire in the woods. On one occasion, referencing a well-thumbed 1960s edition of Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management, I figured out how to skin and gut a hare that I’d found dead by the road. I didn’t eat it, but I distributed its severed paws to my closest friends.

Landing on this idyllic but terrifying island, I would take in my surroundings and, after a slap up meal of fish and hare-paws, crack open my chest of portable ads. You never know what you’ll find in there, but today it’s mainly ads that make me laugh – valuable when you’re alone in your pants a million miles from home. And a touch of nostalgia too, which is fortunate as my only company would be a hastily rendered soft-wood carving of Bear Grylls.

DirecTV: ‘Charlie Sheen’ Funny, silly, I love the repetition in the voice over. The casting, and the tight format they could repeat again and agin – to great effect. By Grey New York.

Carlton Draft: ‘The Big Beer Ad’. I love the simple honesty of this. By George Patterson and Partners (Young & Rubicam) Melbourne.
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VW Polo: ‘Protection’ I’m a sucker for Faure’s Requiem. From this ad I get two treats for the price of one, the music and a sequence of mini dramas – and all based on a brilliant insight. By BMP DDB London.

Lurpak: ‘Where There are Cooks’ Whenever I’ve been in situations where good food is scarce, conversation inevitably turns to what you’re craving. This reboot of Lurpak’s advertising was so clever strategically and executed beautifully, it would be an essential treat. I hope I’d be able to hear it over my rumbling stomach. By Wieden + Kennedy London.

Metro Trains Melbourne: ‘Dumb Ways to Die’ 210 million views on just one of the many uploads on YouTube. My six year old nephew is obsessed with this song 10 years after it was released, which proves how potent it was. I also think it would be a good sing-along song for building shelters and pit-latrines. By McCann Melbourne.

Argos: ‘The Book of Dreams’ I’ve put this in for pure soppy delight. I’d like to do a drum battle with my daughter one day, while a teddy stage dives nearby. By The&Partnership.

Carling: ‘Dambusters’ This is a little bit of nostalgia. Dambusters always seemed to be on the telly when I was little and so did this ad. I love how it makes a hero of the enemy. And the silly ending. By WCRS.

Alastair Mills joined Impero as creative director in March 2020. He has previously held senior creative roles at AKQA, FCB Inferno and Iris. He was most recently on-site creative director at Google for Huge.

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