Monday, October 28

AICP Awards - Best in Show IMHO

Last week I attended a screening of the AICP Awards ... The Association of Independent Commercial Producers, the folks who make television advertising.  The AICP picked the best of the year's past advertising, across several categories. 

We watched the screening in an old theater in the middle of Richmond, VA of all places, because we were all in town for a Board Meeting for the VCU Brandcenter ... the #1 graduate program for branding in the country.  The Board of Directors is an amazing cast of characters from the industry, and I am so honored to be a part of it.

So here's my top 4 picks from the awards.  They will be the topic of conversation in my graduate NYU class this week (so students, if you are reading consider yourself warned)!  Should make for a lively discussion.

Volkswagon:  this little ditty debuted during the Super Bowl last year, to great debate.  Looking back, I'm not sure any of that was necessary.  I love how the creators try to capture an ownable mood for  the brand.

Durex:  this won for best "spec spot," meaning that it never aired.  Certainly shows off the product benefit without saying a word, perhaps the most convincing of advertising approaches.

Dollar Shave Club:  An entrepreneurial brand that is looking to reinvent a deep-seated category.  Awesome go at it with a real flare for engagement.

Expedia:  the show stopper by far.  I had never seen it before, and it stopped me in my tracks and brought tears to the audience.  Brilliant storytelling ... "Find Your Understanding."  I later found out that this was not only a true story, but the creator was the one getting married in it!  She's one of us!

I think the best part about the awards was watching them in a big theater on a big screen.  For one of the first times in my life, I was watching advertising as pure entertainment and didn't really over analyze any of it until much later.  Pure enjoyment ... we laughed out loud, we cried, we smiled, and we rejoiced in our industry of creativity.  Doesn't get any better than that!

What's your experience?  Jim.


  1. I remember watching the Volkswagon Ad with my family (we're jamaican, by the way) and absolutely loving it. Not because of the hilarious faux accent, but because this wasn't a commercial about selling one of their newly designed cars or even promoting a new feature. Volkswagon was selling an emotion, pulling at the viewers' sense of actually WANTING to be happy and aligning their brand with that specific need. Of course this is accompanied by the #GetHappy hashtag, which I'm sure pulled together everything they were doing online with this campaign as well. Great commercial.

  2. Volkswagon commercial focuses on the message of be happy and don't frown. Drawing the audience to this emotion and not about the new German designed vehicle. It's a great way of connecting it to their brand without really saying it.

    Dollar Shave Club is absolutely different in comparison, it is direct but at the same time sending a social message about giving jobs and saving money.

    Durex is about having fun and showing the product strength with a completely different take. Great commercial idea.

    Again Expedia portrays feelings, understanding and nothing about the travel deals more about reaching out to your loved ones and touching the hearts of the viewers.

  3. The Dollar Shave Club ad really catches my attention with its deadpan humor. Reminds me of the Old Spice "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like" commercials. They are definitely targeting men, but thinking this could be a great idea for women as well since razors are so expensive. Looking at their website it looks like they have already done some extensions and you can also purchase shave cream, which is an obvious add-on. They also offer "gentlemen" wipes, which I am slightly more confused about, but I am also a female so it could make perfect sense as well since it has to do with hygiene. In any case, it was definitely a good commercial that engaged me enough to explore their website.

  4. Expedia is a very touching ad that conected with my feelings about my family. I loved the end because it sorprised me how they integrated homosexual relationships, family and society in unique way. They show how a situacion, which can be very difficult to manage for many families, is successfully overcome by a family just like ours.

    I loved durex because they put aside the traditional ad for this kind of devices and used a very realistic story to show the main benefit of the product. I liked that is simple but very accurate.

  5. It's been a long time since I could say my teacher made me cry! I loved the Expedia commercial; all of the elements weaved together so seamlessly that the commercial really effected a strong emotional response. I took note of the partner advertising (e.g. the Hertz signage), but it wasn't distracting and didn't take away from the message. Two heartfelt thumbs up!

    I also really loved the VW commercial from the moment I first watched it on TV. I agree with the previous poster that it evokes a feeling that, like the Expedia commercial, makes you want to take action. VW really has found its niche in humor advertising - I'm currently loving their "Take On Me" ad (which I will strategically mention in class tomorrow).

    Durex was cleverly executed but I wasn't especially impressed because I've seen enough B/C/D comedy movies to make me think that it's completely derivative. But the delivery was well done and definitely got the point across!

    Last but not least, let's talk about Dollar Shave Club. First things first, can someone please give Mike my phone number? I'm a sucker for parody and a close shave. I looked up the company after watching the ad and found out that the commercial only cost $4500 to make - I just love when a commercial is both hilarious and cheap (it can't be easy; I've only been called one or the other). Brilliant stuff. I suppose I could have lived without the bear, but I definitely appreciated its absurdity. Even if I saw this commercial without any provocation I would have immediately tried to find out more about the company/product. I may not have pressed "buy now", but I would have spread the word around the officer water cooler and local watering hole. Thanks for showing this one, Jim - now I know what to get Pop Pop for Christmas!

    See you tomorrow!