Alistair MacCallum is UK CEO of Kinetic Worldwide, WPP’s Out of Home advertising media agency under the GroupM banner.
Desert Island Ads
If I’m stuck on a Desert Island by myself then I’m hoping it’s on a sun lounger rather than as a result of surviving a shipwreck/plane crash/dystopian disaster. If I’ve got ads for company, then I’d want them to reflect what I’ve loved about 25 years in the industry. Brilliant work that has entertained me, made me smile or moved me. Ads with brilliant insights, art direction and soundtracks, or perfect copywriting. Ads I am happy to watch, read or see again and again whilst I wait for someone to come and take me home.
Hamlet – Photo Booth
Probably the campaign that first made me curious about advertising (and from when CDP were at their best). I later ended up working at CDP sitting next to someone who chain-smoked Hamlet all day. I now retch just thinking about cigars.
Sainsbury’s Xmas ad – Soldiers’ Message
I’m currently stuck on a desert island and missing my kids. The bit when daddy comes home would probably hit more than the first time it brought a little tear to my eye. In the golden era of the epic Christmas ads this was just simple and lovely.
Southern Comfort – Whatever’s Comfortable
At the time the brand was trying to get people to move away from view of Southern Comfort as something that made you sick at 15, having drunk it with lemonade.
From a ‘trainer’ spirit to one for those that were comfortable in their own skin. ‘Whatever’s Comfortable’ peaked with Mel Shampain strutting along the beach, wearing those trunks, to grab a Southern Comfort with Odetta’s ‘Hit or Miss’ as the soundtrack. His dropping the shoulder moment always makes me smile.
Utterly bonkers and it’s got Harrier jump jets in it. ‘Come on France’! People often reference ads that wouldn’t get made today. Given where we are in relationships with our European friends this one might be too close to Farage-land to be anywhere near sign-off. Its still really good though.
Jack Daniels tube ads
The beauty of these long copy Underground ads was that that you wanted to believe the Jack Daniels stories were true, but always assumed they weren’t. Stories of barrels, bottles and Lynchburg, Tennessee. Most of them were actually real. Lynchburg is just as it’s portrayed. The ‘tell not sell’ strategy was so deeply ingrained into JD’s marketing and these posters sat at the heart of the media plan for decades. Always used to be a good read on the Central Line back to Wanstead. It’s a shame they moved away from them.
Women’s Aid ‘Respite’
There have been some very thought provoking and challenging campaigns produced for Women’s Aid. The ‘Blind Eye’ outdoor work used OOH facial recognition technology to ‘heal’ bruises the more people looked at the image and was both smart and powerful. The ‘Respite’ film reminds me that the best work can be uncomfortable whilst being creatively exceptional.
Paddy Power ‘Traitor Tony’
Any Paddy Power ad from 2008 to 2015 would be a reminder of what working with great clients can be like. So many brilliant ideas generated by their ‘mischief’ and marketing teams, alongside media and creative agency partners. From Miracle of Medinah skywriting to Rainbow Laces – if the idea was good enough the client would run it, wherever it came from. ‘Traitor Tony’ was just one idea amongst many that made working with them so much fun.
Obvious. But it’s still amazing every time I watch it.
Honda – ‘The Impossible Dream’
Working with W&K across the early phases of ‘The Power of Dreams’ was creative agency planning and imagination at its best. Unleashing the magic of Honda’s engineering. Like some of the best development arcs the early work wasn’t so memorable. The ‘OK Factory’ ad wasn’t a great success it was just a bit weird. However, it led to Cog and ultimately this incredible and very cool product catalogue. From memory seeing it in the cinema was better than the movie that followed.
McDonald’s – ‘One’s Loving It’ (Jubilee)
We are now in an OOH world that is being transformed by technology and data to create brilliant new ways for brands to entertain and connect with people. But some of the consistently best work I’ve seen is just clever use of a humble paper 48-sheet and a few words. And this McDonald’s work would remind me why I love OOH.