The winner of the much anticipated Don’t Make Ads, Make TikToks challenge, hosted by The Drum, has been decided. And there’s a plot twist. The judges and The Drum readers have some very different views!
The initiative, by The Drum and TikTok, dared adland creatives to participate in an online challenge where they reimagined their favourite TV ads, bringing them to life using only TikTok and its powerful in-app tools . The experiment served as a creative exploration of the power and potential of the short-form video platform, tempting creatives to play with its inbuilt features such as audio editing, visual effects and AR and play into the themes and tropes of the platform .
The third and final episode of the initiative has been launched, following two previous episodes introducing the creatives who were taking part and the rising TikTok stars who reverse mentored them and provided advice on how to make the most of the platform.
Now their efforts have come under the scrutiny of two of TikTok’s very own; including executive creative director, Creative Lab Europe, Tom Skinner and Neil Boorman, head of Creative Lab, Europe. Creative rising TikTok influencers Thomas Carver – who doubles up as a creative at Grey London – and Denit Rozner, copywriter at Digitas UK, also sat on the judging panel and assessed the three entries entered.
Getting the creative juices flowing
Four creatives took part in the challenge including Digitas chief creative officer, Emma de la Fosse; VMLY&R New York executive creative director, Harsh Kapadia; and Grey London’s creative directors Aaron McGurk and Chris Lapham.
They were all tasked with reimagining their favourite and most iconic TV ads and then taught a few TikTok tricks to help bring them to life.
The judges considered each reimaging across three different areas, including their use of TikTok features; their use of creativity; and best overall execution.
Creative double act, Aaron McGurk and Chris Lapham reinterpreted Honda’s iconic Hands ad, in which the brand’s legacy is paid homage through a series of technological evolutions to show what can be created from just one cog.
Kapadia lent on his family members to create his version of Kleenex’s Embarrassing Moments, using a series of shots documented in different locations, while de la Fosse did a spoof of John Lewis’ memorable Tiny Dancer campaign, suitably dressed up in a tutu and wreaking havoc in her stunning family home.
The scores are in
The judges didn’t hold back with their verdicts and assessment of each creative’s attempts. Boorman quickly asserted himself as the “mean” judge, dishing out a series of low scores to uphold a high judging standard. In the first round of judging, the videos were measured for their use of TikTok features.
Skinner commented: “Everyone showed absolute joy at having to explore what TikTok is all about by getting really stuck in with reliving some of the classic ads.” He marked McGurk and Lapham’s version of Honda’s ad as a high scorer in this category as the duo used a series of TikTok techniques to make the spot entertaining, leaning on like ASMR sounds, VR features and swanky edits to show off their understanding of all that the app had to offer.
In the second round of judging, the creative efforts of contestants were considered.
De la Fosse looked set to be a clear winner – garnering a top score from Rozner and singing praise from Boorman – who commended her willingness to make a fool out of herself; heralding this approach as characteristic of all successful TikTok videos. He was looking for entries that would seem as native as possible to TikTok’s culture.
Carver argued that though he enjoyed de la Fosse’s ad adaption, he felt it was too close to the original to call it a complete reimagining and thought Kapadia’s creative reinterpretation of the Kleenex ad was much more imaginative.
With one more round to go, the contestants had all to play for!
The final stage in the competition saw the judges consider the best overall ad execution and it was here, that de la Fosse’s version won the judges hearts. She scored top scores from three of the four judges in this category with all of them admitting how watchable her entry was. Boorman revealed that he had watched it over 30 times.
Fosse topped the chart and her reinterpretation of John Lewis’ Tiny Dancer advert was crowned the official winner of the Don’t Make Ads, Make TikToks challenge.
The readers’ choice
The Drum’s associate editor Sonoo Singh went on to reveal that The Drum’s readers had voted very differently. Although Harsh didn’t wow the judges with his film, he scored highly with The Drum’s readers and their votes made his entry their personal favourite.
You can watch the full ads and previous episodes in the series here and if you’re still sceptical about TikTok, just remember four ad creatives were able to reimagine their favourite ads as TikToks; how hard can it be?