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TikTok Don't Make Ads. Make TikToks Advertising

Legendary adman Tim Delaney uses Covid-19 as inspiration in TikTok challenge

By Olivia Atkins, Writer

August 24, 2020 | 5 min read

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Creativity has proved more important than ever during lockdown. A challenge set by The Drum and TikTok challenge urging creatives to take to TikTok is proving that the outbreak might be upending traditions.

Don't make ads

This week, Leagas Delaney founder and chairman Tim Delaney brilliantly recreated his

The ‘#dontmakeads‘ initiative encourages creatives to reimagine iconic ads on TikTok, using its in-app tools, including audio, transitions, text and effects.

Leagas Delaney founder and chairman Tim Delaney and his creative team Lucy Collier and Sarah Glover have joined fellow creatives in the initiative.

Inspired by lockdown living

Their offering reworks the iconic 1997 BBC spot, Perfect Day – originally conceived by his eponymous agency – which brought together 31 of the world’s top performers for a star-studded rendition of Lou Reed’s track of the same name to promote the BBC’s work showcasing diverse talent.

The original advert featured legendary musicians and singers such as Lou Reed, David Bowie, Gabrielle, Elton John, Bono and Suzanne Vega, to name a few, and became such a hit that eventually the track was publicly released and entered into the charts, which it topped for several weeks.

While Delaney’s reinterpretation didn’t have access to these megastars, the Leagas Delaney staff members and their families did a great job of impersonating them and they creatively decided to alter the lyrics to better reflect our current Covid-19 realty.


Do you remember the astonishing all-star BBC ‘perfect day’ ad? @dontmakeads ##dontmakeads ##maketiktoks

♬ original sound The Drum

Using the voiceover tool, Delaney‘s TikTok version rejigs the original words, changing them to ‘Imperfect Day‘ and using familial cameos to reveal what life indoors has been like.

It’s a comic and rather accurate retelling of how a lot of people have been living during lockdown – stuck at home with their relatives, bingeing on Netflix and drinking too much.

Below, he discusses his reimagining of the spot and dares other TikTok users to send in their versions if they think they can better his attempt.


See Leagas Delaney ECD and chairman Tim Delaney’s reimagining of hisclassic ad @dontmakeads ##dontmakeads ##maketiktoks

♬ original sound - thedrum_

Creatives, get involved!

Four adland creatives have already participated in the challenge, with Quiet Storm’s founder Trevor Robinson kicking things off a month ago. He re-enacted his memorable Kids advert for Haribo, humorously overlapping an adults’ conversation with children’s voices.

VaynerMedia’s executive creative director Becky McOwen Banks then reworked Sony Bravia’s colourful ‘Ball‘ ad, much to her dog’s delight, before getting TikTok’s Skinner to have a bash at the challenge. He opted to recreate Guinness’ striking Surfer spot, helmed originally by Jonathan Glazer, embracing many of TikTok’s technical functions, before bravely jumping into a Guinness-filled bath.

Videos are released each week, inviting creatives a to respond to their nomination.

The reworkings have been posted to the @dontmakeads and The Drum’s TikTok accounts. All submissions will be judged in a live chat between The Drum and TikTok’s head of creative lab, Neil Boorman. The best creations will be reposted and made available under both the TiKTok channels.

“For brands, this opens an entirely new window of opportunity to create content that speaks to people, to invite the community to join in the conversation, Make TikToks,” says Neil Boorman, head of Creative Lab, Europe at TikTok. “We've an impressive roster of creatives getting involved already, I can't wait to see how the industry runs at this challenge.”

Another ‘#dontmakeads‘ video will drop this week, so keep your eyes peeled and get TikTok-ing. May the best creative win!

You can see more of the initiative here.

TikTok Don't Make Ads. Make TikToks Advertising

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