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What Advertising Do You Admire and Why?

Creative chiefs at 4A's confab cite an app, packaging, TV ads

A simple question elicited varied responses today during a panel presentation at the 4A's Transformation conference: What work do you admire and why?

For Co: Collective's Tiffany Rolfe, it's app that AKQA created for Delta. The Glass Bottom Jet app enables travelers to personally track their flight in the air. The map, for example, includes pinpoints of where your friends in social media live. 

Rolfe, who first discovered the app via a story posted on Facebook, said it showed how far Delta had come from bankruptcy to being a leading travel brand. On a more basic level, the app shows a brand moving from storytelling to story-doing. "It's way more impactful," Rolfe added.

TBWA's Rob Schwartz pointed to creative packaging in his favorite work, specifically for Help Remedies, which markets over-the-counter medicines. Both the design and labeling of Help Remedies' packages impressed Schwartz. A box of aspirin, for example, was labeled, "Help, I have a headache."

"I was just very disarmed by it. It felt different," Schwartz said.

Two TV ads—for Southern Comfort—were deemed exceptional by Fitzgerald + Co.'s Noel Cottrell. Each featured a swaggering middle-aged man on the beach and a classic song from Odetta.

What impressed Cottrell most about the work, from Wieden + Kennedy in New York, was its willingness to shatter category conventions. For example, many spirits ads feature nothing but beautiful people and incorporate the brand name in the tagline. This campaign stars a man with a protruding belly who proudly wears a tight-fitting bathing suit and thereby personifies the tagline, "Whatever's Comfortable."

"I don't know how they got that through," marvelled Cottrell, before concluding, "What Wieden has done is create a real trust environment."

Given such exceptional work, panel moderator Troy Ruhanen of BBDO concluded that advertising doesn't have a creative problem, but rather a crisis of confidence. The industry needs to call out and celebrate its work more often, just as Rolfe, Schwartz and Cottrell did today, Ruhanen suggested. In short, swagger more like that guy on the beach.

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