United Kingdom

Emotional Abuse Is Hiding in These Clever Ads That Say Different Things at Different Angles

In 2015, Women's Aid released "Look at Me," a digital billboard where the bruises on a woman's face faded when more bystanders looked at her. Created by WCRS, it was a powerful way to remind us of the red flags in plain sight that often slip past our attention.  But domestic violence doesn't always leave bruises you can see. It's often more insidious—manifesting itself in a person who progressively takes control of your bank account and monitors your phone or even the food you eat or the amount you exercise.  These patterns of controlling behavior, which slowly pare away at a person's sense of autonomy and self, are called "coercive control." But this is a pretty abstract idea for people who don't have direct experience with it, or aren't sure how to recognize it. How do you convey damage happening on the inside? 

This Remarkable VR Film About Going Blind Is Hailed as the Format’s Most Empathetic Yet

This summer, the Sundance Film Festival hosted the premiere of Notes on Blindness. It's a film about John Hull, a theologian who spent 16 years chronicling his degenerative blindness in an audio journal before total darkness fell in 1983.  Alongside the film, Agat Films/Ex Nihilo and Audiogaming released "Notes on Blindness: Into Darkness," an immersive VR project that builds on that audio odyssey, and both supplements and promotes the original work. Funded by ARTE, the studios used binaural audio and real-time 3D animation to give people the sense of going blind alongside Hull—a neat juxtaposition to how the National MS Society used VR to help MS patients "relive" certain passions.

Virgin, Unsurprisingly, Gets a Little Smutty While Discussing the Pleasures of Train Travel

Why take a car when you can take the train? It won't get your back all sweaty.  In a pair of risqué ads by TMW, British transport company Virgin Trains is using couples to illustrate why trains are better than cars or planes. In each ad, a couple talks about a good experience on the train; another talks about a bad experience on either of the other transport options. The hook is that you can't quite tell who is who, and it kinda sounds like they're all talking about sex.

All the Ads in This London Subway Station Have Been Replaced by Pictures of Cats

It isn't often in advertising that we get a happy ending that isn't totally fictional and "brought to you by." But here one is, in all its furry glory! In early May, we wrote about Glimpse Collective's Kickstarter quest to replace all the ads in a London Underground station with images of cats. By the end of that month, U.K. animal rescue center Battersea joined forces with them, offering its cats up as models, in hopes that nice Londoners would experience love at first sight.  Despite that endorsement, things weren't looking good. In the last few days of their campaign, Glimpse—which created the Citizens Advertising Takeover Service, or #CatsNotAds—had raised $17,487, just over half of its objective (£23,000, or nearly $30,500). The company appealed to agency heads to provide rescue funds, and we closed our minds and hearts, awaiting the inevitable snuffing-out of a beautiful dream.  But this week we discovered God exists, and loves us. On Monday morning, commuters passing through London's Clapham Common Tube station were accosted by feline friends. 

Is Boring, Oregon, Really Boring? Find Out in This Wonderfully Weird Ad Shot There

Pop culture is full of stories about people trying to escape the boring-ass town they were born in. Not so in Boring, Oregon. As one inhabitant remarks, "Nobody leaves. They think they're gonna go, but they stay."  Just like the Hotel California!  In a short film by Ogilvy & Mather London, a brand that we won't mention until later (to avoid spoiling the reveal) takes us directly to Boring—which actually exists!—to learn its charms, attributes and history. 

Meet Leo, the World’s Creepiest, Hungriest, Most Lecherous Gambling Mascot

It isn't often you watch a 30-second spot that leaves you with feelings you can't understand. For online casino Leo Vegas, London ad agency Now has released "Carcass," the first of a two-part series featuring client mascot Leo, the "undisputed king of mobile casino."  The spot opens with Leo leaning against a bar and eyeing some (literal!) fresh meat across the way. It's an irresistible lure: He saunters over and takes its stub of a hand, leading it to the dance floor, where the pair get familiar in ways that leave us, well, queasy at best. 

These Brilliant U.K. Posters Ask Pokemon Go Players to Help Find Missing Persons

British nonprofit Missing People wants some of the millions of Pokemon Go players traipsing the country to be on the look out for something other than cartoon creatures: actual humans. An outdoor campaign from the organization, which helps search for missing persons and provides support to them and their loved ones, repurposes iconography from the popular augmented reality game, which requires users to rove their cities for digital creatures in real-world locations. The campaign, launched during a Pokemon Go event in Trafalgar Square, drew a crowd some 4,000 strong. Working with BBH Barn, the Publicis agency's internship program, Missing People created posters featuring the faces and names of those "missing near here," wrapped inside Pokeballs, the imaginary tools used to trap Pokemon.

Morose Goth Kid Busts Out Broadway-Style Moves in Ad for Fun-Smelling Shower Gel

Playing on research suggesting fragrance can lift one's mood, a new ad for British fragranced soap and gel brand Radox shows a sullen, black-clad teenager going crazy, Broadway style, to the tune of Summer Twins' "I Will Love You."

Häagen-Dazs Fills Its Instagram With Great Wimbledon Pics of Fans, Not Players

What do tennis and ice cream have in common? They're both irresistibly exciting, according to a new Wimbledon campaign from Häagen-Dazs, featuring crowd reactions from the stands of the annual London tennis tournament that's now in its second week.  Grey London hired fashion photographer Adam Katz Sinding, known for his streetside style portraits, to capture the highs and lows of courtside fans for the ice cream brand's Instagram. His crisp, vibrant shots of attendees range from unbridled joy to awe, horror, anticipation and suspense.

Advertising Leaders Say Britain’s Exit From the EU Is Disappointing but Manageable

CANNES, France—As the United Kingdom's decision to leave the European Union sent aftershocks through global markets today, the ad industry's top leaders were all in the same place to hear the news.