Creative Director’s Choice: Midnight Oil's Michelle Azzopardi on the smart promotion of The Grinch

The Grinch on a bus side in Los Angeles

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

This week, Michelle Azzopardi, executive vice president, creative at Midnight Oil, talks about how the out-of-home promotions for the movie, The Grinch, stood out in a sea of holiday movie promos.

Driving through the streets of Los Angeles provides a constant onslaught of advertising, especially for movies. There is no escape. Images are everywhere! To cut through the clutter is a great achievement.

One morning on my regular commute to work, a bus pulled up next to me and I literally laughed out loud. The bus featured an ad promoting Universal Pictures and Illumination’s The Grinch.

There beside me was a bright green, simple image of the titular protagonist and a signature copy line full of snark and sass. 'Keep picking your nose…eventually you’ll get that booger', accompanied the knowing look on the Grinch’s face. It was especially funny as the guy in the car next to me, was indeed, working on getting that booger.

What makes this campaign stand out is not just a funny (and somewhat gross) copy line, but the sheer volume of copy lines produced to promote the film. Each one, artfully written in the Grinch’s voice, provides commentary based on the location it is posted.

The specificity of the choices and the connection to a location elevate a regular out-of-home campaign to one that you start seeking as you drive. When you see the green approaching, you don’t divert your eyes because you already know what you are getting.

Instead, you strain them in an attempt to read a copy line you know will be clever and – more importantly – different than the one you just read three blocks away. The studio already knows kids will see this film, but the ad campaign provides the important clarity that this movie may also have something for adults. That’s box office gold.

Michelle Azzopardi is executive vice president, creative at Los Angeles-area marketing agency, Midnight Oil.

To see the latest creative ads and campaigns, visit The Drum’s Creative Works section. If you would like to feature a creative director in our Creative Director’s Choice, please contact Creative Works editor Kyle O’Brien.

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