A couple weeks ago, I was at a business school here in the UK coaching an MBA student on the topic of preparing for a brand case interview, and she asked, “What’s a great ad that you’ve seen lately?”  I found myself struggling to come up with an answer because to be honest, very few ads clear the bar for me.

The last great ad I could think of was the Robinson’s “Thanks Dad” TV ad from early 2013.  It not only demonstrates the functional benefit of rehydration, but more importantly, it also takes you on a compelling journey and offers a surprise, twist ending that made me want to watch it again and again.  The other recent brilliant piece of advertising that came to mind was the Virgin America Safety video, which just nailed the brand’s high-end, lifestyle positioning.

As someone who spent 10 years working as a marketer in the brand management industry, I’ve become quite critical of advertising over the years, and I rarely see ads that really jump out to me, those I believe deliver the emotional impact, clarity in messaging, and brave positioning that creates a memorable experience for consumers.  I watched many of the Super Bowl ads from last weekend’s game, and to be honest, not a single one stood out to me as great advertising.  However, I will admit the Bud Light “Up for Whatever” ad was very clever and in my mind.  I thought this ad was the most memorable from the evening because it really delivered on what the brand represents in a comical, memorable manner. The execution of an extremely complicated production was also impressive.

Today, I saw one of the best ads I’ve seen in a long time, done by the King James South Africa team for Bell’s Whisky.  The ad is very well made and tells a heartfelt story–one that made me want to share this ad with everyone I know.  Watch the full Bell’s Whisky ad.  You can also watch other inspiring ads on my YouTube channel.





About Joseph Liu

Joseph Liu helps aspiring professionals relaunch their careers to do work that matters. As a keynote speaker, career & personal branding consultant, and host of the Career Relaunch podcast, his passion is helping people gain the clarity, confidence, and courage to pursue truly meaningful careers. Having gone through three major career changes himself, he now shares insights from building & relaunching global consumer brands to empower professionals and business owners to build & relaunch their personal brands.

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