Our philosophy at The Public House is that boring doesn’t sell - we genuinely believe that the most dangerous thing a brand can do is play it safe. And that’s how I evaluate work - every piece here demands attention, and brings the brand / issue to the world in a really interesting way...
Swim Ireland Drowning Prevention Week - 'Be a Lifesaver'
My first pick didn’t so much tug at my heartstrings than it turned me stone cold. Boys+Girls' radio campaign for Swim Ireland thoroughly deserved its recent D&AD award. As a parent of young children, it lands why you can’t take your eyes off your kids for a second. The sound design is extraordinary, and the young voiceover is chilling. The human truth is at the core of this spot, which is what makes this so impactful.
Esat Digifone - 'The Guy from the Bar'
Production: Toytown Films
Director: Dom Murgia
We’re famous all over the world for our sharp wit, and the rug-pull of this piece is a great representation of Irish humour at its best. There’s an understandable wariness of using gags - humour is subjective so it’s easy to get it wrong - but this piece works because it doesn’t overdo it. It’s from 1999 - way before we talked about ‘cultural relevance’ - but this is a piece that is embedded in Irish culture, even if anyone under 30 doesn’t understand life before the iPhone.
Disney - 'Toy Story X-Rays'
Agency: BBDO Dublin
I’m a big fan of clean and reductive print. I feel it’s the strongest test of an idea - if the idea works in a format where the attention span is about 3”, then everything else is easy. This idea is perfect print. It has an idea, it brings a smile and it solves a problem. This is one of those ideas that you
just shout ‘export it’ - every children’s hospital across the world should have this on their cold clinical walls.
Yes Equality - 'Shred of Decency'
I’m a firm believer in advertising for good, and for six years of my career, I specialised in issue-related marketing, working on Department of Health and Department of Education public information campaigns in the UK. Because of that experience, I know how fraught it can be working on a big complex issue, which is why I absolutely love the simplicity of this campaign. Flipping the lies and the hate into something as lovely as confetti is given extra impetus by having a fundraising mechanic built in, which makes this more distinctive - and more powerful - than other awareness-raising initiatives.
SPAR x Olivia Nash - 'Fred, There's No Bread'
If ‘immortal’ is about something that lives forever, my final pick is definitely that. It doesn’t meet the brief to be a ‘fantastic’ piece of work, but it did the most important job in advertising - it was memory-making. This ad, which I first saw back in 1988 as an impressionable seven year old, was about the classic life lesson of running out of bread, with the line ‘Fred, there’s no bread’ becoming a default catchphrase in households all over Northern Ireland, and still features as a t-shirt slogan today. The actual execution is as bad and as dated as you would expect from something from the 1980s, whilst the canned laughter soundtrack feels like a precursor to 'Mrs Brown’s Boys'. But as I say, it’s certainly ‘immortal’. Don’t judge me too harshly for it.