Whether it’s a photography shoot, radio recording or a bells and whistles brand film, knowing that the execution of your idea hinges on children or animals can be terrifying, but when it goes right, you get undeniable impact. Here’s a few of my favourite examples...
Volkswagen - 'VW Polo: Dog'
Agency: Owens DDB Dublin
Photographer: Jo Sax
I’m going to kick things off with an old favourite of mine. Having a dog seek cool air inside a car window is such a clever way to showcase air conditioning. And they found the perfect pooch for the job too. Works equally well in outdoor or film. It’s the kind of idea that made me want to get into advertising in the first place.
John Lewis - 'Tiny Dancer'
Director: Dougal Wilson
Who knew home insurance could be so much fun!? The little girl undoubtedly steals the show, but the little brother surely deserves a best supporting gong of some sort - and it’s not just dancing for the sake of it. Each move brings the audience from one potential mishap to another, perfectly capturing the product benefit while also featuring some high-end homeware from your local John Lewis store.
KFC - 'The Whole Chicken'
Director: Siri Bunford
A slightly controversial choice in that this piece received more complaints than any other TVC in the UK that year. And I get the argument, maybe a
majestic chicken so full of life shouldn’t be used to promote fried drumsticks. But this video never fails to bring a smile to my face. The direction and editing mean the film is bursting with pomp and attitude, and if anything, imbues a newfound respect for poultry.
Swim Ireland - 'Be a Lifesaver'
Sound: Mutiny Child
A bit of a gear-shift for this pick, but easily one of my favourite radio spots in recent memory. Hearing the same attention seeking phrase over and over against progressively more dangerous waters is so clever. And the direction of the child’s performance - alongside wonderful sound design - really makes for a chilling piece of work.
Dogs Trust Ireland - 'Life Sentence'
Director: Matthieu Chardon
My final entry is a social campaign that my agency recently launched for Dogs Trust Ireland. I’m not including it because the puppies are adorable, or even how sad the mum dog looks at the end (although both are true), but because it highlights a very important issue that the public needs to act on now. Ireland is currently the European capital for puppy farming, a horrible industry that shouldn’t be allowed to profit from cruelty, and the only way change this is to enforce harsher punishments for perpetrators. Hopefully this campaign can help make that happen...