World’s best ads ever #10: Epuron’s ‘Mr Wind’ still breaks sustainability ad stereotypes
We asked our readers to vote for their favorite commercials of all time. Top creatives from the World Creative Rankings and The Drum’s Judges’ Club then ranked the ads. Now, we bring you the definitive 100 best TV and video ads of all time.
In today’s purpose-obsessed advertising world, would the ‘Mr Wind’ ad have ever been made?
German energy company Epuron wanted a campaign that would speak to its investments in wind power. Working with the German Ministry for the Environment, it also needed something that would change the public’s perception of this new energy source and make it an attractive prospect for future investment.
A brief like that today would probably result in something very different to the bizarre, somber and darkly comical ‘Mr Wind’ that German agency Nordpol Hamburg pitched in the early 2000s.
The success of the spot lies in the ambiguity.
It opens with a man, clad in black and wearing a hat that appears to be two sizes too small, telling the audience that he’s “misunderstood”. The next scene is him lifting an unsuspecting woman’s skirt.
In the two minutes that follow we see the man throwing sand at children, ruffling hair, tipping a gazebo and destroying umbrellas as glum piano music plays. But why? Who is this depressed, hulking figure voicing his frustrations that people don’t appreciate him?
As confusion peaks, the film ends with a much-needed explanation to the viewer that he’s been given a job that finally makes him feel like he has a place in the world: ‘The Wind. His Potential Is Ours’, the endline reads.
It was produced by Paranoid and directed by The Vikings, a creative collective which later told press that the goal was to engage the audience without making them feel like they were being lectured or preached to – something so many brands now fail at when delivering a sustainability message in their marketing.
The casting of that particular character goes a long way in achieving this. Guillaume Delaunay was reported to have been the very last actor the directors met with during auditions.
“The biggest challenge was casting, finding an actor who was ‘believable’ as the wind. We looked at tons of people. We all knew immediately that he was the one,” The Vikings said in a 2008 interview.
‘Power of Wind’ ultimately won a host of awards, including the Cannes Gold Lion in 2007.