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, Laurent Leccia, executive creative director at FF New York, talks about Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman doing cross promotions for their own brands, Aviation Gin and Laughing Man Coffee, respectively, after a social media ‘war’.
Jealousy. That was my feeling the first time I saw this piece. Not much for the idea itself; the mechanism of stars using self-derision to sell a product is known and I would say is overused. No, I was jealous of the fun they certainly had working on the idea. I would have loved to be present at their brainstorming. I don't know if it happened around a coffee or a glass of gin, but it must have been a lot of laughers.
It is co-branding pushed to another level: two friends brands saying bad stuff about each other to create love (no matter if it's about the product or the owner of the brand). It's a huge bet on their audience, many focus tests would have advised them not to release this ad, saying the message not clear enough, or saying that it will not resonate with your target.
But they have understood something important – don’t take yourself and/or your brand too seriously and do what you feel is right. Audiences want to feel connected to a brand, and it's sometimes the imperfection, the self-derision, that creates this proximity.
It is also a solid lesson of brand content that is integrated into a social media ecosystem. It all started with a tweet feud between two big stars: was it part of the strategy since the beginning or did they arrive at this idea to really solve their problem in the most profitable way? It doesn't really matter. In both cases, it's a genius use of a social platform. And as a cherry on the cake, Ryan Reynolds created an OOO auto-response linked to this topic on his mailbox.
They took this joke very seriously, they invested a lot into it; time, energy and talent. All that for a "viral video" – something that few people do. Somehow viral resonates with cheap, fast, but this is the proof that investment is worth it. And It's amazingly played. The proud look on Reynolds’ face after he shows the Laughing Man Coffee ad contrast so perfectly with the embarrassed/surprised attitude of Hugh Jackman, it catches me every time.
Too often we forgot how fun our job is, or at least how fun it should be. This piece is a great reminder. Ads don't always have to be funny but they have to be fun to create. From the conception to the way we release them, passing by their production it has to be a blast, or we are doing something wrong.
Here is to an ad that didn't change the world, but definitely made lots of people's day.
Laurent Leccia is executive creative director at FF New York.
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