3 great ads I had nothing to do with #15: Darren Bailes on Kia-ora, Volvo and Levi's

Darren Bailes, executive creative director, VCCP, reveals three great ads he admires but had nothing to do with.

Darren began his career at WCRS, working on accounts for Speedo and Butterkist. After a brief stint at DDB London he moved to Mother, and spent the next seven years creating campaigns for clients including Pimm’s, ITV Ditigal, PG Tips, Yellow Pages, as well as a Europe-wide phone launch for Siemens’ Xelibri.

In 2008 Bailes moved to VCCP to become creative director, overseeing iconic campaigns such as’s Meerkats, O2’s Be more dog and Coor’s Lite’s ads featuring Jean Claude Van Damme.

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Darren's choices

Kia-ora "Too orangey for crows"

The brand takes its name from a Maori greeting which has entered New Zealand English, and means literally "be well". The brand became popular in the 1970s and 80s in the UK, and was widely available in cinemas where it was sold as a ready-to-drink product in rectangular plastic cartons that were supplied with a drinking straw.

Created by John Webster for BMP DDB, the now somewhat controversial cartoon shows a young boy denying a crow a drink of his Kia Ora. The surreal backdrop, colours and drawing style are reminiscent of 50’s cartoons, but the ad was made in the 1980’s.

Early advertising used the jingle "We all adore a Kia-Ora". Later ads show the dog's design change, and included a song by Caramba called 'Fido'. The ad received a Nomination in TV & Cinema Advertising for Boase Massimi Pollitt.

Volvo "Twister"

This ad is about a twister’s destructive power, with dramatic footage of a storm interspersed with shots of a single Volvo handling the rampage. Beautiful cinematography and an affecting score add emotion to the ad, heightened by a voiceover explaining the importance of a reliable vehicle.

The ad was written by Tom Carty for AMV BBDO, art directed by Walter Campbell and directed by Tony Kaye. It scooped 4 silver as the 1996 D&AD awards and gold in the direction category.

Levi's "Drugstore"

Part of what makes this 1994 ad so affecting is the juxtaposition of black and white footage and 1920’s setting, soundtracked by an unnerving late 90’s techno song.

The commercial was never aired in North America because of the suggestive content involving purchasing latex condoms. But, according to the Guinness World Records 2004, this ad holds the record for "Most awards won by a TV commercial".

The ad was created by John Hegarty and directed by Michel Gondry for BBH London, and in 2004 broke the record for the highest number of awards won by a  TV commercial.

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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