Friday, October 19, 2007


Yesterday (Wednesday) morning my phone rang as I was getting ready to head out, and it was a familiar but unsaved landline number (beginning with a 25- so Kuwait City). I answered with the usual sounding "hello" I give to unknown numbers, which sounds different from the hello I use when people I know are calling me. The tone of my hello to the unknowns is actually something that I found myself picking up after living in London - it's a very English-style sing-song "he-llo?!" (think of it going down in tone on the first syllable and then up on the second). Much to my surprise, I got the exact same "he-llo!" back! It was an English accent on the other end of the line, with a lady asking, "May I please speak to [my name]?" For a few seconds, I felt like I was back in London. I certainly was not expecting to receive a call first thing in the morning from someone with a proper English accent, and I know it might sound silly but it really started my morning off right. I miss England, I miss the English, I miss the English accent, and were it not for my daily podcast downloads I fear I would start prank-calling random London phone numbers just to feel closer to them. And I actually ended up having a really good day yesterday - perhaps one of the best I've had so far since I've moved back. Go figure.

It was a (social) call from the British Embassy, by the way.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Fallon Genius

I've dedicated two posts in the past to the Sony Bravia adverts done by the international advertising firm Fallon - one on the bouncing balls ad and another on the next paint explosions ad. Well, the third "Colour...like no other" ad is out and this time its play-doh. But instead of simply writing this post about the new ad, I thought I would take this opportunity to celebrate Fallon's work in general, since they have been producing some of my favourite ads of all time lately. So, to begin...

...let's all take a moment to enjoy this brilliant new Cadbury's Dairy Milk ad. I think this is simply genius. I'm not going to get into a long discussion on what or why. I get it (that there really isn't anything to "get"), and I adore it, and most of the people I know who have seen it have had the same reaction to it. What a fantastic job. The idea is hilarious, and the passion in the gorilla's face and body language is just...inspiring! Cadbury's took a huge risk, and hit it spot on. And yes, this was done by Fallon - specifically by Juan Cabral.

Fallon's work in general is always amazing, so let me show you some of my particular favourites from recent months. There is this magical ad for the Skoda Fabia that makes me feel as gleeful as a child running down a rolling green hill. They also do the ads for Orange in the UK, and I really loved their latest campaign, specifically the Pay Monthly, Reserve Tank, and the Gigs and Tours ads. They are simple and lovely, and have a sense of innocence about them. In short, they make me want to switch from Vodafone to Orange.

And now we come to the latest in the Sony Bravia series.

I'm sure all of you are familiar with the bouncing balls and paint explosion ads by now (if not you can view them through the links provided in my old posts which are linked at the start of this post). This one is just as perfect, creative, and effective. First, it was thousands of little coloured balls bouncing down the streets of San Francisco. Then, it was a couple of apartment complexes exploding into bright bursts of paint in Glasgow. This time around, it's hundreds of coloured play-doh bunny rabbits (and one giant one) hopping through the streets of Manhattan. It's really well done. You want to stick your hand through the screen and grab one of the little bunnies and feel the squishy texture. And at one point they all roll together into a giant wave and the break is such a great moment.

One of Fallon's greatest strengths is their fabulous music selection, and this ad does it again. This time, they used the perfectly fitting "She's a Rainbow" by the Rolling Stones. You simply can't go wrong with 1960s Rolling Stones. When the ad started, the music immediately took my mind and heart back to my childhood (not in the sixties of course, but I became indoctrinated into the sounds of the 1960s British Invasion from a very early age, in my single digits) - and I thought that was very fitting considering the play-doh theme. I love the ad. It speaks for itself, just as the other two did. And again, you don't know it's for Bravia until the very end (well, Bravia ad fans will immediately identify some trademarks of creative genius, but, again, you never feel as though someone is trying to sell you something).

My favourite of the Sony Bravia ads is still the bouncing balls one though. It was the most magical and literally left me speechless when I first saw it. And, of course, the music selection in that one was perfect too.

FYI - most people don't know that the song on that ad, "Heartbeats", was not originally done by José González (the version used in the ad). It was originally released in 2003 by Swedish electro-indie-pop band The Knife. Their original version is fantastic and if you haven't heard it already you should certainly check it out (watch/download).