Keep warm, make trouble


A depressingly high percentage of contemporary advertising is bland, instantly forgettable bollocks, designed not to draw attention to itself. Flicking through any newspaper or enduring any commercial break, you can smell the fear coming off this work, the desperation to conform to sector stereotypes, tropes and clichés. The mind boggles at the money and man-hours wasted on creating such anonymous corporate drivel.

However, the occasional gem shines through, the work of those rare agencies and brand managers willing to take risks, to stick their heads above the parapet. To concoct something resembling an interesting point of view on the world and their brand’s place in it, then articulate this view in a stylish/intriguing/funny/moving/clever/ inspiring/shocking way. To zig when the world zags, as BBH famously put it.

Crispin Porter and Paddy Power are one such partnership. Since the ‘Chav Tranquilizer’ ad a couple of years ago, the ‘responses to fans’ social media posts’ campaign has been consistently bold, provocative and ‘how-the-fuck-did-they-get-away-with-that?!’ funny. And with the latest execution, the ‘Taser’ ad above, they’ve outdone themselves. Daft, shocking and absolutely hilarious, it’s sure to inspire moral outrage, legal action and an outright ban. Which, in my book, is a very good thing. As Oscar Wilde said, “An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.”

While the competition is stuck in a seemingly infinite recycling of the same old tosh, Paddy Power stands out a mile. It has a unique tone of voice in the sector, each gloriously silly ad/stunt gets acres of newspaper headlines and it’s the campaign that every taxi driver/bloke down the pub mentions when the subject gets onto advertising. With each new execution, it feels like they’re pushing to see how far they can go. Good on them. This is ad of the year so far, by a country mile. “One in the bum, no harm done”, indeed.


About antmelder
Executive Creative Director at Host/Havas Sydney; passionate vegetarian; lover of books, boxing and Bruce Springsteen.

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