When you're pitching a luxury product, one rule of thumb is to surround it with other luxury items. That's why we don't see Rolex ads set in a Waffle House. (No offence, Waffle House, you rule.) So when Johnnie Walker and agency Anomaly were deciding on where to set a short film for the brand's posh Blue Label elixir, it should come as no surprise that they settled on a rare sailboat anchored off the coast of St. Lucia populated by gentleman actors Jude Law and Giancarlo Giannini.
That, of course, might have been enough for most people. But no. "A Gentleman's Wager," directed by Jake Scott, is a fun, classy-looking short that not only leaves you wishing you could see what happens next, but also gives you the means to outfit yourself as the gentleman you (probably?) are via a partnership with Mr. Porter. And despite the presence of two brands and a shopping link, none of it has the icky feel of a sales pitch.
See it for yourself, and the rest of our picks for this week's best in brand creativity.
What: A long-form piece with star power. Jude Law and Giancarlo Gianinni and a pretty sailing ship star in a story about a gentleman's wager and the true value of things.
Who: Johnnie Walker, agency Anomaly, director Jake Scott
Why We Care: In a world where "storytelling" and "content" have lost their meaning—just ask Stefan Sagmeister—here is a prime example of what's possible when a brand and agency embrace a great idea and swing for the fences.
What: An unexpected gift from an unexpected source surprises and delights customers and the Internet.
Who: TD Canada Trust, Diamond Integrated Marketing, Leo Burnett Toronto
Why We Care: Banks, man. Just when you want to hate them with the burning heat of a thousand suns, they go and fly a nice old lady to Trinidad to see her dying daughter. Or send a huge baseball fan to throw out the first pitch to his favorite team. Or just had out $20 to thousands of random customers. It almost makes ATM fees worth it. Okay, no, still not at all. But with more than 2.7 million views in less than a week, it's safe to say this bank made a lot of people smile. Which is about as rare as that Johnnie Walker boat.
What: Vending machines that popped up in New York and that offered Nike goods, not for free, though—in exchange for just doing it, as demonstrated by Fuelband points.
Who: Nike, agency Huge
Why We Care: Nike takes its action ethos, and Fuelband points and turns them into currency.
What: A doc-style spot that tells the true story of Scott Rigsby, who lost both his legs 20 years ago, and the role Julie Hilton, the owner of Panama City, Florida's Holiday Inn Resort, had in both his physical and mental recovery.
Who: Holiday Inn, Ogilvy & Mather New York, director Stacy Peralta
Why We Care: A big recognizable brand with a seemingly predictable voice goes and gets real. Rigsby's story is a touching one, and the approach is risky—some viewers will be moved, some will wonder if they're being emotionally manipulated (more sadvertising). But solid execution makes the story undeniably compelling. Everyone talks about the mandate for brands to do good—this is a small-scale, yet powerful demonstration.
What: Some of the biggest cats on the web teamed with the environmental group to help some of the biggest cats in the wild.
Who: Greenpeace, agency Mr. President
Why We Care: C'mon, it's tough to resist the simple, good idea that is combining rare and endangered animals with some of the Internet's most beloved creatures. If you want something passed around online, you could do much worse than Lil Bub, Princess Monster Truck, Venus the Two-Faced Cat, and Captain Pancakes.