The Or co-founder Paulo Salomao picks his Desert Island Ads

Paulo Salomao is business leader & Co Founder at The Or, the creative sister agency of Mother London.

Desert Island Ads

So, I’m stuck on a desert island with nothing but ads to watch all day. A rather tragic scenario given most advertising out there is rather boring. And as Tom Hanks expertly showed us a decade ago a desert island won’t exactly keep me sane in other areas. Luckily, many a genius ECD has schooled me to see specifics in a brief as a great opportunity for self expression and creativity. So this bizarre brief actually turned out to be quite fun. Here’s why…


I mean, this ad is long. Tick. And hypnotic, tick. So it will certainly kill time on a desert island. Tick tick tick. I wasn’t fortunate to be part of the crew who made Honda Cog 20 years ago, but what they achieved is still a milestone in advertising history. So many things about this ad could have died if the agency-client process wasn’t stellar. The lack of VO. The length of the ad (two minutes was a movie back in 2002!). The way the car just bobbles over the finish line. All of it is so elegant and hypnotic, and any other way would have killed it stone dead. Which is lucky as this ad paved the way for a golden decade of brand work for Honda, and I’ve yet to see a golden decade like it since.


We’ve killed time, now I need some stuff to amuse me whilst I twiddle my fingers. Roll call, Expensify. Now, I’m not claiming this is the greatest ad ever made. However, it was a TV that asked viewers to expensify receipt Easter eggs in the ad which they could then use to claim prizes. A genius way of showing off how to use the product, whilst entertaining people with a bizarre music video. I mean, what’s there not to like. Watch ad. Snap receipts. Get lots of things shipped to my desert island.


Time done. Stuff in hand. Now I feel I need humour in my life. A chuckle is good for the soul if I’m going to waste away in this blazing sun. I had to tussle a few epic ads here, but in the end the Orange Cinema Spots clinched it. We talk about ‘fame’ ads doing two things to people. One, joe bloggs remembers them long after the ad existed. Two, they genuinely got excited when the brand did a follow up. I’d say less than a handful of brands have done that to people in the last 10 years, but Orange crushed it time and time again back in the day. Every one was so funny. Diving deep into phone culture and used celebrities in the greatest of ways. What was genius is that the product was integral to the entire thing. Orange was everywhere. I’d want to show all of the spots here but I’ve gone for the one I remembered first when writing this.


My island life is complete now. Although I’m sure boredom will set in at some point. So having something that can create a bit of escapism might be good. Write the Future was the first Hollywood-esque blockbuster ad I’d ever seen. So many brands have since created templates of what that ad did, using a chaotic mixed media, vignette approach to create an outer worldly experience. But this spot was the originator in my eyes. I remember watching it and wondering how on earth they did it. Everything from the music to the mentalness of each scene feels like an impossible jigsaw puzzle to put together. So watching this for the first time genuinely transported me to another world. And given I’m on this damn island I think a bit of escapism might be handy right now.

Right, I’m off to try out this foam roller I got from Expensify.

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