Creative Director’s Choice: Laughlin Constable’s Jon Laughlin on the docu-style humor of Amazon Prime’s NFL preview spot

Jon Laughlin, creative director at Laughlin Constable

Creative Director’s Choice gives creative directors a chance to highlight the current work they think is the best out in the ad world – the ads and campaigns they believe are making a difference.

This week, Jon Laughlin, creative director at Chicago's Laughlin Constable, talks how Amazon Prime's docu-style ads for its NFL games, by CP+B LA, bring back smile-based advertising.

People who know me know this: nothing makes me happier than the Amazon, grizzly bears and fishermen in galoshes. When an ad debuted a few weeks ago where all three things collided, I took notice.

Amazon Prime Video is now showing select NFL games on its streaming platform. This is big news — huge news, really — so it needed to be communicated in a huge, bold, way.

The idea of using a nature show isn’t something new, but putting bears and packers on the banks of an Amazon stream makes me smile. And you know what? There isn’t enough smiling in advertising these days. It feels like every time I’m sold something, it comes with a lecture. I remember back when Cliff Freeman was running his own shop. The ads they created worked, and they made you happy. Yes, some agencies today carry the torch — I look at the work of Barton F. Graf as the exception — but we’ve gotten away from ‘smile and sell.’ I think it’s a formula we should look at again.

My criteria for judging ideas always starts and ends with, “Do I wish I’d come up with this?” One viewing of this Amazon Prime spot and I was nodding my head. I loved how straight the narrator played it, and the edit delivered the punch lines with a dart champion’s precision. I also appreciate the art direction and realism of the scene. The casting, costumes and practical effects all added to the magic. Without its thoughtful execution, this spot would have fallen short. It goes without saying that you need a great premise, but to have content that really slaps people across the face, it’s all about the little things.

Maybe these new channels will challenge us to create hilarious, or even goofy, spots that sell as much as they make us smile.

Jon Laughlin is creative director at Laughlin Constable in Chicago.

View the campaign by clicking the Creative Works box below.

To see the latest creative ads and campaigns, please visit The Drum’s Creative Works section. If you or your creative director would like to be featured in our Creative Director’s Choice, please contact Kyle O’Brien at kyle.obrien@thedrum.com.

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