3 great ads I had nothing to do with #1: Nick Gill on Cresta, Levi's and Channel 4

Nick Gill, executive creative director, BBH, reveals the three ad campaigns he admires but had nothing to do with.

Nick has been in advertising since 1984. He worked at BMP DDB for 13 years, became a founding member of Wieden and Kennedy’s London start-up and joined BBH in 1998.

He was made executive creative director of BBH in July 2008, and sits on the BBH Group Board.

During his career, Nick produced award-winning work for, amongst others, Volkswagen, Schweppes, John Courage, The Guardian, Batchelor’s, Budweiser, London Transport and the trade union Unison and has creative-directed accounts including Vodafone, Levi’s, KFC, Boddingtons, Perfetti, Surf, Microsoft X-Box, Britvic and Barnardo’s.

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Nick's choices

Cresta "it's frothy man!"

Cresta was a frothy fruit-flavoured drink produced from the early 1970s through to the beginning of the 1990s. It originally came in four different flavours; strawberry, lemon & lime, pineapple and orange with blackcurrant added later.

Cresta is widely remembered for its 1970s advertising campaign led by a cartoon polar bear (also called Cresta). The bear's widely quoted catch phrase "It's frothy man!" summed up the difference between Cresta and more traditionally fizzy soft drinks. Dialogues would include bouts of chicken noises and occasionally cries of Rimsky Korsakov when inspired by swigging the drink.

This campaign was created by John Webster of Boase Massimi Pollitt, who also invented the Smash (instant mashed potato) Martians and Honey Monster for Sugar Puffs.

Levi's "creek"

Levi's marketing style has often made use of old recordings of popular music in television commercials, ranging from traditional pop to punk rock. Notable examples include: Ben E King, Stand By Me; Percy Sledge, When a Man Loves a Woman; Eddie Cochran, C'mon Everybody; Marc Bolan, 20th Century Boy; Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Heart Attack and Vine; The Clash, Should I Stay or Should I Go? as well as lesser known material, such as Falling Elevators and The City Sleeps by MC 900 Ft. Jesus and Flat Beat and Monday Massacre by Mr Oizo.

Many of these songs were re-released by their record labels as a tie-in with the ad campaigns, resulting in increased popularity and sales of the recordings and the creation of iconic visual associations with the music, such as the use of a topless male model wearing jeans underwater in the 1986 adverts featuring Wonderful World and Mad about the Boy and the puppet, Flat Eric, in the ads featuring music by Mr Oizo.

Channel 4 "meet the superhumans"

Channel 4 launched its biggest ever marketing campaign on 17 July to promote coverage of the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Set to the track, Harder Than You Think by hip hop legends, Public Enemy, the film showcases the abilities of some of the leading UK Paralympians and the herculean efforts that have gone into their preparation for the Games.

The TV campaign formed the second phase in Channel 4's marketing campaign for the London 2012 Paralympic Games, which began earlier in the month of July with a series of promotional trails introducing leading British Paralympic athletes. In the build-up to the Games, the campaign also encompassed major outdoor poster, press and digital activity as Channel 4 delivered on its commitment to bring a new audience to the Paralympic Games, raising awareness of Paralympic sport.

The campaign was commissioned by Channel 4 marketing, and conceived and directed by Tom Tagholm, for Channel 4's in-house agency, 4creative.

About this series

In this series of short films, leading Thinkbox Creative Academy members have the tricky task of selecting just three TV ads that have inspired them: brilliant commercials, old and new, that they admire but had nothing to do with.

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 encourage the advertising industry to even greater heights.

About The Thinkboxes

The Thinkboxes are the first awards to celebrate the UK's world-beating TV ad creativity, in all its forms, at regular way-points throughout the year. Created in association with Haymarket Brand Media (Campaign, Marketing and Brand Republic), these bi-monthly awards are judged by the Thinkbox Creative Academy; made up of over 200 advertising luminaries.

We hope you enjoy the films.

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