3 great ads I had nothing to do with – #67 with Shelley Smoler

Shelley Smoler, chief creative officer at Droga5 London, shares three great ads she admires but had nothing to do with

3 Great Ads is a long-running Thinkbox and Campaign series. The idea is not only to explore some of our greatest ads in the company of people who know a thing or two about making them, but also - because of the proven link between creativity and effectiveness - to inspire the ad industry to even greater heights.

Shelley Smoler is chief creative officer at Droga5 London, which she joined in 2017. She works across the agency's entire roster of clients, leading much of the global Amazon business and nurturing creative talent. Before Droga5, Shelley and her creative partner were creative directors at Bartle Bogle Hegarty London, working on brands including Audi, Google, Heineken, KFC, Mentos and The Guardian. They were also part of the team that created a campaign for The Zimbabwean newspaper which would go on to receive over 50 awards, including a D&AD black Pencil and a Cannes Grand Prix.

Smoler’s Choices

1. Net10 “Bill & Homeless Greyhounds”

Directed by Joaquin Baca-Asay, a documentary style is cleverly used to bring to light how some cell phone companies overcharge their customers, with a delicate mix of emotional storytelling and humour bringing it all to life.

In this ad, which is one in a series for the brand, we see Bill who rescues greyhound dogs that have been retired from racing but still have years to live. Bill is a kind man who finds them homes. When his cell company cheats him by overcharging, they might as well be cheating those sweet, innocent dogs. And, surely, they’d have no qualms about cheating you, the narrative goes. Smoler’s take: the docu style made the film feel “authentic, real and no bullshit”.

Agency: Droga5 New York Creative team: Eric Quennoy, Duncan Marshall Client: Net10 (Tracfone) Production company: Biscuit Film Works Director: Joaquin Baca-Asay

2. Nike “Addiction”

Brazilian agency F/Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi takes running and gives it an edgy make-under in this Nike ad that brings all the mores of drug addiction - sniffer dogs, users and cold-turkey struggles - and applies them to the ostensibly healthy pursuit of going for a run.

The film is built on the insight that running can indeed be addictive - and gives it a memorably dark twist. Smoler admires its bravery in breaking convention and taking the brand to a more rock-and-roll, edgy place.

Agency: F/Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi, São Paulo, Brazil Creative team: Fabio Fernandes, Eduardo Lima Client: Nike Production Company: Delibistrot Director: Jones+Tino

3. David Lynch Coffee “Barbie”

Many may have thought the movie Barbie was the first time the Mattel doll had starred in a film, but here she is in an ad from renowned film maker David Lynch.

Promoting his own brand of Fair Trade coffee, Lynch brings his unique style to this commercial. The slow pace of his conversation with the Barbie doll head, seen only in close-up, and the long duration of the ad, makes it a slightly unsettling watch, even without anything happening. Mesmerising and dream-like, with a dark edge, it’s a piece of work that defies logic and yet entertains. It may not make sense but it makes you feel something.

Written, directed and acted by Lynch


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