Campaign Agency of the Decade shortlist: VCCP

This week, Campaign is publishing (in no particular order) its shortlist for Agency of the Decade and showcasing the best work from these contenders over the past 10 years. Next on the list, VCCP.

O2: 'Be more dog' was named 2013's Campaign of the Year
O2: 'Be more dog' was named 2013's Campaign of the Year

From price-comparing meerkats and Jean-Claude Van Damme to a cat living its dream of becoming "more dog", VCCP has powered through the trials and tribulations of the decade, earning two Campaign New Thinking Agency of the Year awards along the way.

2010: Müller 'Thank you cows' 

Müller’s £9m campaign proved to be a roaring (or mooing) success for the brand, helping to boost sales for Müller Corners by 17.5%. 

"Thank you cows" followed a cow (called Mary) who dreamed of being a horse. As a thank you for her contributions to the brand’s "natural dairy goodness", Mary was given a once-in-a-lifetime chance to gallop across a beach, moving in slow motion like the majestic stallion she always knew she could be.

2011: Coors Light 'Closest to cold'

2011 marked action star Van Damme’s first appearance for Coors Light, hailing the brand as the "world’s most refreshing beer".

Van Damme went on to star in a series of spots for the brand, including 2012’s "Imprints", 2014’s "Ice bar" and 2015’s "Do the Damme".

The work was written by Charlie Hurst, art directed by Eddie Fisher and directed by Keith Schofield through Caviar.

2012: Comparethemarket.com 'Coronation Street'

In an unlikely collaboration, Comparethemarket.com’s Aleksandr Orlov stepped up to the microphone to perform a Russian-influenced cover of Coronation Street's opening theme, marking the price-comparison site's sponsorship of Corrie.

The work was written by Javier Romartinez, art directed by Stephen Misir and directed by Darren Walsh through Passion. Post-production was by Rushes.

2013: O2 ‘Be more dog

An instant classic, O2’s "Be more dog" followed a cat (voiced by Julian Barratt) who, after becoming bored of his monotonous life as a feline, decided to run out the doggy door and become a life-embracing pup. The ad was named Campaign's 2013 Campaign of the Year and helped VCCP scoop Advertisig Agency of the Year.

It was created by Nathaniel White, Ben Daly, Daniel Glover-James and Elias Torres, and directed by Keith Schofield through Caviar.

2014: Royal London 'We’re so yesterday'

VCCP brought fun to the world of pensions with its debut spot for Royal London, featuring a time-travelling narrator, cheese-loving Vikings and a turnip-seller known as "Screaming Pauline" to emphasise Royal London's classic values.

Followed by a second spot in October that year, the medieval-themed ad was hailed as one of VCCP’s highlights of 2014, alongside Comparethemarket.com’s Christmas ad, "Farewell", in which Aleksandr and Sergei waved goodbye to their adopted son, Oleg.

The work was written by Chris Birch, art directed by Jonny Parker and directed by Nathan Price through Park Pictures.

2015: First Utility 'HD electricity'

Starring a blessing (yes, that’s the term) of unicorns, the ad jokingly promoted First Utility's cutting-edge "HD electricity", which made "streetlights shine whiter, televisions brighter and food cook quicker". The ad’s magic came to a halt, however, when the narrator pointed out that there’s no such thing as HD electricity.

It was written by Pete Bastiman, art directed by David Aylesbury and directed by Agustin Alberdi through Stink.

2016: Nationwide 'Voice of the people'

Nationwide enlisted the lyrical talents of British poets for a campaign exploring relationships, growing up and stepping on to the property ladder. In the first ad, Hollie McNish talked about becoming a mum, while later ads featured London’s Laurie Bolger and former Roundhouse resident artist Erin Bolen.

While Nationwide later insisted it didn’t want to be known as the "poems brand", "Voice of the people" was shortlisted for Thinkbox’s award for TV ad creativity, although it ultimately missed out to Malteaser’s "New boyfriend". 

The ad was also hailed as one of Campaign’s most popular in 2016. It was created by Jon Wicks and Anstice Murray, and directed by Jon E Price through VCCP Kin.

2017: Canon 'Boundaries'

In an attempt to remarket the digital camera, Canon launched the "Live for the story" campaign, repositioning the brand as sentimental storytellers with a decade-spanning spot, "Boundaries".

The spot saw VCCP nominated in the Consumer Durables & Furniture category at the Campaign Big Awards, with the agency winning Campaign’s New Thinking Agency of the Year in 2017. 

It was created by Ben McCarthy and Seb Housden, and directed by Megaforce through Riff Raff.

2018: Cadbury 'Mum’s birthday'

VCCP won the nation’s hearts in its first work for Cadbury, "Mum’s birthday".

The ad followed a schoolgirl as she attempted to buy a bar of Dairy Milk for her mum’s birthday, using a button, a unicorn toy and a plastic ring as tender. It was created by Chris Birch, Jonny Parker, Peter Reid and Rob Ellis, and directed by Fréderic Planchon through Academy Films. 

Cadbury’s endearing film was nominated for a Campaign Big Media Excellence award, while 2018 marked VCCP's second consecutive win of Campaign’s Marketing New Thinking Grand Prix.

2019: Paddy Power 'Save our shirt'

Paddy Power launched its tongue-in-cheek campaign encouraging brands to stop "bastardising" football kits.

Set to the tune of I Love My Shirt by Donovan, the ad showed football fans as they showed off a series of strange and unfortunate brand logos, including "Little Blue Pill", "Mr Softy" and "BetBetBet.Bet".

A voiceover concluded: "Wouldn’t it be great if your footy shirt looked less like a billboard?"

It was created by Kevin Masters, Christine Turner, Chris Willis and Paul Kocur, and directed by Peter Cattaneo through Academy.

The campaign opened up a wider conversation about the role of brands in football, with Paddy Power launching sponsor-free kits for its partnership with Huddersfield TownMotherwell FC and more.

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