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BBDO Creatives Dissect Breakthrough Spots

Execs from New York, London and Mumbai highlight three examples

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CANNES, France—In an effort to drill down to the essence of truly great creative, David Lubars, chairman and chief creative officer of BBDO North America, convened a panel of three fellow BBDO creative executives on Wednesday at Cannes tasked with presenting one ad that represented what they considered breakthrough craft.

First up, Greg Hahn, executive vice president and executive creative director, BBDO New York, selected the “Long Live Play” spot for Sony’s PS3 by Deutsch L.A. in which gaming characters descend on a tavern to tell their stories and then rousingly celebrate “Michael,” the gamer who gives them life and the ability to perform feats of strength, fantasy and magic.

Hahn lauded the ad’s tone as slightly mocking, but not so much as to be a diss to the client or its end users. “It’s one of the best-edited pieces I’ve seen in a long time" he said. "Pacing starts to build as opposed to a mad run to the finish.”

Both Hahn and Lubars also noted the close attention to tiny details—not lost on gaming fans—and that the nod to the generic Michael is a great reductionist idea that rendered the ad both clear in purpose and dramatic.

Next up, Josy Paul, chairman and national creative director, BBDO India, showed an absolutely searing ad for the tabloid Mumbai Mirror, by Taproot India, which drew loud applause from the audience in the Palais’ Debussy Theater.

“I’m here to deconstruct a city,” said Paul, before playing the spot. “This is really not an ad but an act.”

The intense black-and-white film shows street scenes of four Mumbai residents angrily shouting into megaphones laments on censorship, hygiene, extreme poverty and political tensions. They each dramatically declare: “I am Mumbai.”

“The film makes you uneasy; it’s why I picked it. It was a complete guerrilla shoot with four hidden cameras,” said Paul, who added that the four residents, who were not actors, were not told where the cameras were placed to ad Big Brotheresque tension. “They live the issue we are presenting here.”

Paul also pointed out that ad is full of nuances. The music for example, Paul said, is a “plaintive rising cry, rising into a scream that blends into the sounds of the train” which he said is the constant soundtrack of Mumbai, a city constantly on the move.

The paper itself is shown just briefly flapping in the hand of a commuter clutching the side of an onrushing train.

“The brand is hanging precariously on the edge,” said Paul. “This is Mumbai…This is where craft meets culture.”

Third to deconstruct was Paul Brazier, executive creative director at London’s AMV BBDO.

Brazier selected the “The Bear” by BETC Euro RSCG, Paris for Canal+. The spot shows an action film being directed by a highly animated bear rug. Brazier said the ad was able to meld humor, the proper blend of music, CGI tech and tone into a memorable execution.

“What makes great creative? You have to get everything right,” said Brazier. “They made it look effortless.”