Ads of the Week: From Apple’s snowman to Google’s Black-owned Friday

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By Amy Houston | Reporter

December 1, 2021 | 11 min read

Every Wednesday, The Drum picks the top global campaigns from our Creative Works. This week Apple, Google and Ikea released standout spots from TBWA/Media Arts Lab, Daps and Wieden+Kennedy Tokyo.

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Apple: Saving Simon by TBWA/Media Arts Lab

Apple enlisted father-and-son duo Ivan and Jason Reitman to direct its heartwarming holiday commercial. ‘Saving Simon’ tells the story of a young girl who heroically attempts to keep her much-loved snowman, affectionately named Simon, preserved throughout the entire year.

TBWA/Media Arts Lab also worked with the tech giant on the spot, which is the latest installment of the ‘Shot on iPhone’ series.

As the three-minute film begins, viewers witness a young girl saving the icy snowman from being aggressively stomped on by her older brother. Taking action, she stashes Simon in her family’s freezer, much to the surprise of her onlooking parents. Outside the seasons begin to change and the snow predictably melts away, but throughout the year the girl is dedicated to sustaining her companion’s cool temperature.

Set to the tune of You and I by Valerie June, the ad sees her frosty friend go on a summer camping trip (albeit in a cool box) and narrowly survive a power cut. Eventually, when winter comes round again, he is released from the confines of the kitchen freezer and takes his rightful place at the front of the house... briefly.

Vote for the work here.

Google: Black-Owned Friday by Daps

On Black Friday, Google partnered with the US Black Chambers to re-imagine the busiest shopping day of the year as ‘Black-Owned Friday’ with an interactive campaign featuring Grammy-winning rapper T-Pain and singer Normani.

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In the short film, viewers see a woman in her apartment watching a daytime shopping channel, and upon realizing it’s Black Friday she begins to Google Black-owned businesses. After meeting T-Pain in an elevator she’s transported to an eclectic high street bustling with colorful storefronts and businesses selling an array of items, from artwork to books to haircare products, which are all linked directly to the vendor’s website.

Google worked with producer, artist and label-owner T-Pain on an exclusive soundtrack for the ad, which features the vocals of Normani. The spot is brought to life by British filmmaker Daps – known for his work with musicians including Stormzy and Kendrick Lamar.

Vote for the work here.

Ikea: Tiny Homes by Wieden+Kennedy Tokyo

Swedish retail giant Ikea launched a series of brilliantly bonkers spots featuring a well-known soft toy shark to promote small living spaces.

‘Tiny Homes’ sees Blåhaj, the cuddly mascot, brought to life in the role of a passionate real estate agent. Growing up in the vast waters of Sweden, it wasn’t until Blåhaj moved to Tokyo that he discovered the joy of small apartments and how, with the right furnishings and layout, they can provide wonderful living quarters.

In a content series created by Wieden+Kennedy Tokyo, viewers see the excitable plushy shark taking to the streets to speak to city-goers about his unique passion for renting modest homes. His mission is to find a suitable tenant for his tiny apartment located in the city center, which is fully furnished with Ikea products and available to rent for a limited period (and exclusively for Ikea Family Members) for 99 yen per month.

The teeny flat is situated in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo, where the average rent is around £319 a month, or 49,000 yen, making Ikea Japan’s flat a hugely cheaper option. The catch? The apartment is less than 10 square meters in size.

Vote for the work here.

Gay Times: Incomplete Without The T by Grey London

Media brand Gay Times and creative agency Grey London have joined forces to create a hard-hitting campaign to show their support for the transgender community.

‘Incomplete Without The T’ is a direct response to increased transphobia and hate around the globe, and aims to showcase that if you erase the letter T from any word it won’t make sense – just like removing the T in LGBT+.

As the video plays, an incoherent robotic voice begins reading out various sentences that are all missing the letter T, making them predictably nonsensical and highlighting that when you erase a letter from any word, in any language, you remove both the comprehension and the unity behind it.

The campaign was launched during Transgender Awareness Week earlier this month to a live audience of celebrities and LGBT+ allies including Ellie Goulding, Jade Thirlwall, Will Young and Rina Sawayama.

Vote for the work here.

Lacta: Don’t Ever Leave Me by Ogilvy Greece

Ogilvy Greece created a hard-hitting film for chocolate brand Mondelez’s Lacta highlighting the rise in domestic violence in the country this year.

The four-minute film titled ‘Don’t Ever Leave Me’ was directed by acclaimed Greek director Argyris Papadimitropoulos and stars two young actors in what appears to begin as a cliché love story under the hot Greek sun. However, their story takes a darker turn, and viewers get to see the manipulative ways women are being trapped in toxic relationships.

After a tragic finale, the film ends with a warning to women to be on the lookout for the telling signs of psychological and physical abuse.

Vote for the work here.

Co-op: Live Christmas Ad by Lucky Generals

Co-op became the first-ever grocer to run a live Christmas ad with a spot on ITV highlighting how people can use Community Fridges to redistribute food that would have otherwise gone to waste.

In a deal brokered by Dentsu agencies Carat UK and The Story Lab, Co-op and ITV came together to promote environmental charity Hubbub’s Community Fridge Project.

The two-minute live film aired on November 26 during Coronation Street and featured TV personality Dermot O’Leary and TV chef and rapper Big Zuu. The ad sees volunteers at the Afghanistan and Central Asian Association Community Centre in Feltham teach the pair how to cook using ingredients from a Community Fridge.

ITN Productions and Lucky Generals produced the spot, which is supported by 10-second TV cut-downs running through December. Accompanying ads will run on social, print, radio and out-of-home (OOH).

Vote for the work here.

Halo: Forever We Fight by 215 McCann

Pre-release publicity for Halo Infinite, Xbox’s Christmas killer app, invites gamers to awaken their inner hero by drawing inspiration from its faceless warrior main protagonist.

Halo Infinite: Become sees 215 McCann position Master Chief front and center of the sci-fi-adventure spectacular, described as a ‘spiritual reboot’ for the series by its developer 343 Studios.

The return of its mecha armored super-soldier marks a conscious recall of the traditional hero unburdened by self-doubt or personal demons, with simplistic pigeonholing of good and evil recalling a time before the rise of the modern anti-hero.

A feature-length film communicates these virtues to players before they pick up their controllers in earnest, establishing a rich history for the protagonist by detailing his lineage and acts of heroism through the ages from the earliest humans to the near future and beyond.

Vote for the work here.

Sekonda: Only One Job by Lucky Generals

Watchmaker Sekonda unveiled a timely print ad in The Sun newspaper to demonstrate its support of the British public’s negative views on politicians having multiple jobs.

Recently people living in the UK have questioned if MPs should be allowed to carry out work alongside their parliamentary duties, and according to a poll by Savanta ComRes, a market research company based in London, only one in five adults support the arrangement.

Lucky Generals is the creative force behind Sekonda’s ‘Only One Job’ three-quarter-page ad, which playfully taps into the notion that its timepieces don’t deviate from the job at hand.

Positioned next to a story about Theresa May making £850,000 a year from a second job, the watch brand is seeking to cement itself close to the news agenda and create reactive to events that warrant being called out.

The tongue-in-cheek visual is part of the wider ‘No Time for Nonsense’ campaign, which has been curated to cut through the ‘complexity and nonsense of the watch category.’

Vote for the work here.

Women’s Aid: The Big Cover-Up by Wunderman Thompson

The National Centre for Domestic Violence (NCDV) and Women’s Aid launched hard-hitting campaigns to mark International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

NCDV has released a multichannel campaign from WPP-agency Wunderman Thompson, which worked on a pro-bono basis, to highlight how women cover up their injuries from physical abuse.

‘The Big Cover Up’ campaign features a series of partially covered-up billboards, partially hidden films and blocked social media channels to raise awareness of domestic violence and promote the NCDV victim line. The creative is accompanied by text such as, ‘The garage door fell on me,’ ‘It happened at my Thai boxing class’ or ‘I fell over’ to show the excuses people give to hide abuse.

Vote for the work here.

Shelter: The Drive by Don’t Panic

London-based creative agency Don’t Panic has collaborated with homelessness and housing charity Shelter to highlight that many people will be spending Christmas without a place to stay this year.

The film is centered around a mother and daughter driving in their car on a dark winter evening. In a lighthearted moment the mother begins to joyfully sing Wham’s festive hit Last Christmas to her sulky, largely unimpressed teenager. Viewers soon see their car radio doesn’t work and the bags of belongings in the back seat.

Just as the mother is about to give up on cheering up her daughter, there’s a warm moment between them as she joins in the singing and presents her mother with a small gift.

As the car pulls up we start to realize that it wasn’t anything trivial that had the teen in a mood, rather that they both are spending Christmas living in the car, parked in a lonely, cold car park.

Vote for the work here.

That’s just for starters. Check out the best work from our Creative Works section here and don’t forget to vote.

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