Behind the windows of this very special Drum adVENT Calendar you’ll find a different member of the creative industry venting their feelings on a Christmas ad, or ads, they love or loathe. Today it’s Nick Darken, executive creative director at Albion.
Coca Cola may lay claim to "the holidays" with their artillery of sanitised symbology, but Irn Bru sticks two fingers up to all that with this Christmas gem. The mystery of The Season is why nearly every advertiser resorts to emotional clichés and glossy celeb endorsements instead of just doing something laugh out loud funny. Maybe there is just too much risk in funny. Funny inevitably means taking a position on Christmas - god forbid, you may even offend someone."The Snowman" is a beautifully animated, faithful rendition of the original. The early distortion of the lyrics "We're walking in the air, we're sipping on an Irn Bru" gives an inkling that something is not quite what it seems. I can only imagine the negotiation with the original rights holders; there is the hand of a genius producer at work here.When the kid is dropped to his doom as the snowman snaffles his Irn Bru, every Scot must be joyfully shouting at their telly whilst downing a dram "Die you wee fucker". Sadly the kid isn't lanced on the steeple of a church in a gruesome, bloody end. Inevitably there is the shot of the kid rising through the snow to his feet bemused. Perhaps this was the compromise. In a 2012 remake we would seed several alternate endings on Youtube, each even more twisted than the last.But what makes the spot so great is not the kid being disposed of in favour of the Irn Bru. It's the Snowman chucking his own carrot nose so he can get his beak in the can. This is what makes the spot deserve repeat viewing.Bravery earns fans.Nick Darken joined Albion in 2004 as creative director, a six-strong team under chief executive officer Jason Goodman who believed that an agency was needed who were genuinely capable of doing integrated without 23 partner agencies to screw it all up. During his career Nick has worked for clients such as McDonald’s, Cadbury’s, British Airways, and Honda. In 2004 Nick directed a music promo that aired on MTV for a band that probably didn’t deserve to be on MTV.Smells like Christmas Spirit for Arnold Amsterdam's Colin Lamberton in his 15 December adVENT.
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