World’s best ads ever #92: H&M gets the Wes Anderson treatment in stylish seasonal short
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.
As this very list of the world’s best ads attests, Wes Anderson isn’t the first filmmaker at the peak of their powers to be lured to direct a big budget commercial. Ridley Scott, Spike Jonze and even Steven Spielberg (though his BP epic, hot off the back of Jurassic Park, doesn’t make our cut) are among those to have trodden this path before. The difference in this case, however, is that the resulting film is so unmistakeably in the mold of its creator, you could be forgiven for wondering if it’s even an advert at all.
That may sound like a criticism, but it’s not. Set in Anderson’s staple symmetrical universe, few commercials in any category – not least fast fashion – have ever looked so stylish. Clocking in at a four minutes – miniscule by Hollywood standards but massive by Madison Avenue’s – the short was deemed compelling enough to be both reviewed as a motion picture by film critics (Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian gave it three stars out of five) and commercial enough to claim pick of the day in most of your favorite trade titles.
’Come Together’ stars one of Anderson’s most frequent collaborators, Adrien Brody, as a train conductor who has the unfortunate duty of relaying to his handful of passengers that, thanks to weather conditions, mechanical difficulties, and alternating of the tracks, the journey will be delayed by 11-and-a-half hours, meaning they will not make it home for Christmas. And so instead, over a John Lennon soundtrack, we see Brody and co set about bringing Christmas to the train.
As ever with a Wes Anderson production, there’s bucket loads of symbolism at play in the rich visual styling that fills every inch of his trademark tracking shots. But in marketing terms, ’Come Together’ also symbolizes something else, something more fundamental, and that’s the industry’s swing from traditional advertising to what is now amorphously regarded as branded content. The ‘Winter Express’ train’s clean lines on the H&M Lines may not, on the surface, appear to hold a deeper truth about the marketing business. But look a little more closely and you’ll see an ad industry where the lines between form and format are now more blurred than ever before.