Pixel Artworks’ Gavin MacArthur picks his Desert Island Ads

Gavin MacArthur is senior creative director at Pixel Artworks.

Desert Island Ads

Here I am ‘trapped’ on a desert island (most likely very happy to continue on the summer of sunshine in all honesty) with a mojito thinking back at the adverts that have either influenced my creative thinking, changed the way I’ve looked at a brand or just made me smile for a few moments. There are a lot running through mind as I wiggle my toes in the sand but I have whittled my choices down to the following as I feel they best represent my brain and what makes me tick.

SEGA: Cyber Razor Cut

The first pick in my selection absolutely has to be SEGA’s ‘Cyber Razor Cut’. I vividly remember sitting in my living room looking at the tiny square tv and watching this advert almost burst out of the screen with its raw energy. It couldn’t do anything more to connect with my energetic 10-year-old self who was often bouncing off the walls from the intense sugar high that was so common in the early 90’s.

Long before I knew or understood the Spinal Tap reference of ‘Up to eleven’ I was automatically inspired by this advert to make things bigger, louder and faster. To this day I will often design work in an extreme direction be it the most epic experience, beautiful love story or emotional sound score.

If only I’d designed an elaborate escape that could come in handy right now!

Coca-Cola Happiness Factory

The next advert I would have on my list would be ‘Coca Cola – Happiness Factory’. I just love, love, love everything about this advert.

From the moment we are taken through the vending machine and into this fantastical world, my eyes become fixated on the screen and I can’t help but smile from ear to ear. Long before AI was generating weird images for our amusement, this advert gave us something brilliantly weird and whacky to enjoy. The silliness builds throughout the scenes before climaxing.

I have spent so much of my creative life trying to detach myself from reality, whilst using my imagination to come up with a new idea of some description. When I’m in the ‘zone’ I’ll often close my eyes, talk to myself and wave my hands about and past friends would say I’m ‘off with the fairies’ but there were usually no fairies and instead little characters much like those found in ‘Happiness Factory.’

Channel 4 – Super. Human

Working at Pixel Artworks means I spend a lot of time anticipating what we might see during global opening ceremonies and absorbing the content that plays alongside it. This is why Channel 4’s Super. Human. advert for the 2021 Paralympics really stood out to me. They made a cultural shift from highlighting an Olympian’s physical disability to highlighting the everyday issues the athletes face and therefore so do others who are in a similar position. This key message, along with the opening lights, gave me the same excitement we get from work. The ad has purpose, empathy and strong creative – this is what every campaign needs.

Extra covid advert – ‘For When it’s time’

Possibly my favourite advert of the last 10 years has to be ‘For when it’s time’ from Wrigley’s.

It might be because Covid had such a huge impact on society, my family and me as an individual that this advert will be one that I remember for years to come.

Throughout the Covid era the only ads that were related to Covid (that I remember) were all very serious, shocking and sad and then as lockdown began to be lifted we were suddenly rewarded with an ad that tastefully focused on the ‘not so serious’ parts of lockdown.

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