Celebrating ads that push it real good

Great ads are in fact like great sex: You feel it in your gut — or thereabouts.

In ad school, you are taught — if your instructors are any good — to “push” your ideas, even if you’ve made a good ad. Good ads will get you noticed; great ads will get you hired.

Back in 2010, the School of Visual Arts in NYC put up this cute “push” the envelope door installation.

Unfortunately, out here in real ad land, we don’t often have the time to push our ideas, especially now in the digital age. That’s just not right. Against the odds, there have been a few ads recently where the idea was obviously pushed. Take a look.

Kwiff, Droga5 UK

Just before the start of the English Premier League in August, sports betting app Kwiff launched a campaign showing you what it’s liked to be “Kwiffed.” Gambling advertising is heavily regulated in the U.K. You can’t show people winning or really anything positive about betting. The general concept — “What it feels like to use our product” — has been executed a bazillion times. But the Droga5 creatives pushed it into a new, wonderfully surreal place with the above “Caught Glass” spot. Fucking brilliant, as the Brits say.

Lax-A-Day, Brad Montreal

Being funny in constipation ads is easy. Being unexpectedly funny, not so easy. Brad (a real agency, not a guy) dropped this impressive piece in September. Nice idea, better execution — the music, the styling. Way to push it, creatives. It’s the shit.

Hyundai N series, R/GA London

Auto ads, for years now, have been sucking hard; beauty shots with a breathy voice-over spouting hyperbolic bullshit. (Check out the terrible copy in this recent Lamborghini ad).

This refreshing new U.K. campaign from Hyundai pushes the whole category over the cliff. It’s got the breathy female voice-over spouting bullshit, but on purpose. The above horsepower spot is my favorite, but all three executions are excellent (see them here, director Tom Kuntz).

Klarna, DDB Stockholm

While this “Smoooth” campaign for the Swedish e-commerce company is from last year, it just went viral in September because of the “Mermaid Dog” execution, which was a nice-looking ad. But for my gut region, the above “Fish” spot pushed the smooth idea better and further (as did this mildly disturbing stocking foot-bread ad). The beautiful commercials were directed by The Perlorian Brothers.

Advil, Taxi Toronto


Showing “strength” in a pain reliever ad is old. Showing a strong man making many metal “balloon” puppies is new. Pushed just enough to satisfy.

Citroën, Havas Brazil

Lastly, a personal favorite. Choosing Muttley, one of the best laughs in cartoon history, as one of the discarded co-pilots is, well, pushing it good. (The other two executions were the much more predictable Robin and Chewbacca.)


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