Top 10 press ads

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1. Audi S7, ‘8 cylinders when you need it’

The Audi S7 attempts to bridge the gap between saloons and traditional coupés by mixing luxury and sleek looks. And this ad, which combines the faces of a big cat and its domestic counterpart, is almost hypnotic in the way it communicates the S7’s power and style. The result is an arresting piece of advertising that is streets ahead of so much of the pedestrian print work in this sector.
Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty; writer: Simon Pearse; art director: Emmanuel Saint M’Leux

2. MI6, ‘recruitment campaign’

Who says the art of long-form copywriting is dead? If this recruitment ad on behalf of Britain’s spooks is any indication, then it is alive and well and living at M&C Saatchi. This is an ad that deliberately sets out to not appeal to everybody – and certainly not any James Bond fantasists – but to serve a very specific recruitment purpose. Sadly, the identities of the writer and art director of this ad, so elegant both in its design and writing, remain confidential. The agency could tell – but it would have to kill you.
Agency: M&C Saatchi; writer: n/s; art director: n/s

3. Harvey Nichols, ‘summer sale excitement’

Say what you like about the Harvey Nichols summer sale campaign – and there are many who do – but nobody can deny the Knightsbridge store has been the standard-bearer for edgy advertising in a sector where much creative work is banal. This campaign, featuring models wetting themselves at the prospect of a bargain, drew claims that it was ill-judged and patronising. But it still scooped a Press silver at this year’s Campaign Big Awards.
Agency: Adam & Eve/DDB; writers/art directors: Nikki Lindman, Toby Brewer

4. British Airways, ‘don’t fly’

It takes a lot of balls to run advertising that actually sets out to dissuade people from using your services. But British Airways called it right when it came to gauging the patriotic fervour surrounding the Olympics and Paralympics. The result was a campaign – albeit tongue-in-cheek – that encouraged Britons to stay at home and make the most of the "home advantage" by cheering on the Team GB. The work certainly impressed Newsworks, which names this as one of the best.
Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty; writer: Matthew Moreland; art director: Christopher Clarke

5. Marmite, ‘corgis’

A lot of advertisers were so bedazzled by the Olympics and Paralympics that they failed to see the potential for capitalising on the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Not so Unilever, which produced a special limited-edition "Ma’amite" jar branded with a Union Jack, along with advertising featuring a couple of royal corgis alternately loving and hating the 110-year-old spread. The TV spot extended the joke even further by having one unimpressed corgi pissing on the royal breakfast tray.
Agency: Adam & Eve/DDB; writer: Jonathan John; art director: David Mackersey

6. Specsavers, ‘wrong flag’

A gold medal, surely, for this piece of Olympic-standard fleet-footedness by Specsavers, which seems to come up with a steady output of very funny creative work – unusual for an advertiser whose briefs are handled in-house. This execution zeroed in on the first major gaffe of the Games, when the electronic scoreboard at Hampden Park displayed the South Korean flag ahead of the North Korean women’s football match against Colombia. The team marched off the pitch in protest.
Agency: In-house

7. Lynx, ‘sorry Harry’

Not that Specsavers had the field to itself when it came to smart tactical work. When Prince Harry got snapped with a nude young woman in a Las Vegas hotel room, Bartle Bogle Hegarty was quick off the mark to promote the seemingly aphrodisiac-like effect of Lynx. Las Vegas city officials, who also launched their own tongue-in-cheek ad based on the prince’s antics, reckon the incident earned them $23 million worth of PR.
Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty; writers/art directors: Dominic Goldman, David Kolbusz

8. Financial Times, ‘The Run to Monaco’

The influence of the great poster artist Cassandre, whose iconic work in the 20s and 30s reflected the newly arrived industrial age and consumerism, is clear in this striking ad promoting the Financial Times-sponsored Run to Monaco. Held over four days in May, the event was led by recent Formula One champions. It began at Hampton Court and ended at the Monaco Grand Prix.
Agency: WCRS; writer: Richard Nott; art director: David Dearlove

9. John Lewis, ‘never knowingly undersold’

Amid all the hullabaloo created by the emotionally charged John Lewis TV campaigns, it can be easy to forget some of the retailer’s less glamorous but nonetheless important print work, which does the more prosaic job of reminding customers what it does on a daily basis to sustain its "never knowingly undersold" proposition. This campaign does the job in a clear and unfussy way.
Agency: Adam & Eve/DDB; writer: Rupert Jordan; art director: Nici Hofer

10. Sky, ‘believe in better’

Having committed itself in 2011 to raising spending on original UK TV programming to £600 million annually over three years, Sky has been running a series of print ads detailing how it has been delivering on its pledge. One execution features some wind-up false teeth to draw attention to how much of the folding stuff the broadcaster is investing in British writers and comedians. Clearly no laughing matter.
Agency: In-house