Carlo Cavallone

Executive creative director, 72andSunny Amsterdam

As we enter the holiday season and the spirit of Christmas, Kwanzaa and Hanukkah descends upon us, advertising mutates into the usual display of evilness. Brands and agencies alike compete to release the most shocking, ungodly, terrifying pieces of work.

Let’s start from the grindhouse gore-fest that is the guts film for the mobile provider Giffgaff. Oh, man, that’s a lot of blood and intestines in 90 seconds, but I reckon they are well used (and make for a rewarding spectacle). I love the wrongness of this ad. The team who worked on it definitely had fun, and it shows. Jonas & François did a great job with this – I really like how they referenced 70s splatter movies in the photography. My only two comments: Why didn’t they fill the entire pool with blood? Budget? And why include a hipster with an Afro? Come on, the film is cool enough without him. If you are going to cast a hipster in a film like this, the least you can do is decapitate him.

Speaking of the beheaded, it is good to see Eddard Stark (Sean Bean) with his head reattached for the Fairy and Make-A-Wish Foundation film. As any "feel-good" ad at this time of the year, it features a velociraptor with laser-beam eyes and toothless pirates. Good stuff; solid. The only part I wasn’t sure about is when they reveal, at the end, that Bean survives the explosion. That was a bit saccharine.

More evilness can be found in the Lego film. I love Lego, and that company can do no wrong in my eyes. Neither can We Are Pi, an agency I am a big fan of. The only drawback here is that I never liked playing Lego with my dad because he was a quite lousy builder and, whenever I would point it out, he would make me eat tiny Lego pieces as a form of punishment. This film definitely brings back repressed memories. That said, a big plus for me is the kid’s voiceover. What an amazing homage to  The Shining. That voice sends chills down my spine every time  I watch this ad. You just know that the mother isn’t featured  because those two have stabbed her to death. Excellent.

Next up is the Sony film. Someone could just say: it’s the brand’s "balls" commercial, this time with petals. Boom! But  dig deeper here and it’s easy to see how this film – using a typical horror-movie device – sources stunning photography and  whimsical music to turn a terrible event (such as a volcano erupting, wiping out a village and its inhabitants) into something beautiful and mesmerising.

And, finally, there’s the Lexus film. I hope I don’t get into trouble here, but there might be something bigger at stake and  it might be dangerous to even talk about it. The first five times I watched this film, I truly didn’t get it. It’s very well-produced, it has a classical-music vibe and it references a Christmas movie  like Night At The Museum, but it doesn’t make any sense. That is,  unless you read it as a prophecy, a foreshadowing. This film  announces modern warfare, the rise of the machines, the end of the world as we know it and a new world order. The swarm of drones taking over Manhattan and the arrival of the ominous black car at the end are certainly images destined to remain in our subconscious forever… or until that day comes. Scary stuff. Anyhow, happy holidays, everybody!


Matt Edwards

Chief executive, WCRS

Music is one of the most powerful advertising weapons. It shoots straight to the amygdala and gets the viewer to feel something before the rational brain can kick in. This week, we’ve got five blockbuster TV ads, all of which are driven by music. So insert your preferred Private View linking idiom here (let’s see which ones strike a chord/hit the right note/are music to my ears) and let’s go.

Giffgaff are clearly music fans as they’ve taken Antibang’s All These Toys video and remade it. Sexy young things in white chuck blood and body parts at each other to demonstrate  that "different takes guts". Unfortunately for Antibang, they’ve been replaced with Deap Vally’s Walk Of Shame. The track fits  perfectly and I expect the ad will succeed in getting talked about. But with a young, socially savvy target audience, the ambition of positioning the brand as original and different sits very uncomfortably with the "borrowing" of the Antibang idea.

Lexus has come a long way since 1994, when I worked on it. Back then, we just had US car footage, a library track and a Joanna Lumley voiceover. Today’s team have brought together the impressive quadrotors, a fantastic Jonathan Goldstein score and a 56-piece orchestra to play it. I assume this "amazing in motion" campaign is the brand displaying its peacock’s tail, with the heavy lifting of selling individual models left to separate product campaigns. It’s a smart strategy that makes Lexus feel both contemporary and technologically advanced, and this film is a bold and immaculately executed piece of advertising.

Lego is positioning itself as a bonding agent for fathers and sons. This is a likeable ad that perhaps started as a pitch mood film since the boy’s voiceover tells us: "We conceive the inconceivable, we bridge the unbridgeable and, when we’ve built as far as we can fathom, I see a guy who will always go the extra brick with me." It’s stirring, pitch-winning stuff but not something a child would say and makes the ad more corporate and less emotive than it should have been. A simple and effective piano score accompanies the dad and lad bonding – we can only wonder at how close they would be if they had been drinking Robinsons squash at the same time.

Sony has remade its "balls" ad with petals. It’s so similar in approach that it even has a dreamy, folksy music track on it. What in 2005 was stunningly original is now, well, eight years out of date. For a brand whose endline is "make.believe", surely the best part of a decade is long enough to think of something fresher.

Fairy is supporting the Make-A-Wish Foundation and here we see a wish come true with a child directing Sean Bean on a movie set. Sean is typically brilliant – fighting people, talking Northern and making jokes about pies – supported by a rich, filmic score that John Williams would approve of. When you’re asking people to hand over an extra 50p to buy your washing-up liquid and not the own-label brand, you need to give them a pretty good reason – and what better one could there be than helping children with life-threatening illnesses?

So, some strong music choices here but, every now and again, music does something really magical. It brings tears to the eyes and sends shivers down the spine. There’s nothing quite like that here, but look out for a bear whose eyes widen in wonderment set to Keane’s best chorus and you’ll know what I mean.