Passion is magnetic

Life in 2011 makes every day a gamble. There’s nothing safe about much anymore, though most of us are still up for the challenge. Gambling has a bad rep for the most part because we assume it has set out to prey on the needs of the desperate. A debate around that subject would be painfully long and boring or, worse still, start a war. It’s all about self control – so they say – of which I have none, so who am I to judge? What works for me is that one of these money-guzzling institutions can spend some of their fortune on art; a beautifully crafted execution like this 90 second commercial by Halo Advertising for Monte Casino.

More than just a script, this is an experience. It reinforces just what a big business the whole casino industry is, revealed through an exquisitely memorable story for all shapes and sizes that reminds us that the casino world is more than just its slot machines, and that there are people just like you and I that like to hang out there. It makes the casino look prettier than it is which is not entirely inexcusable; it’s no different to what all of us do before we leave the house each day.

So, what happens when you put creatives in the same room as the client, each with their own interpretation of what needs to happen? Well, it’s a gamble, isn’t it? And as they say, there is no such thing as a typical gambler. Passion is magnetic and this commercial is proof of that. That when the right minds come together with the same sense of commitment to the project, you can finish your final edit with something vivid like this.

The filmed execution was then expertly translated into this synergistically-sound print / billboard execution.

Credits: Advertising Agency: Halo Advertising, Johannesburg, South Africa; Creative Director: Dean Oelschig; Art Director: Greg Harrison; Copywriters: Michael Oelschig, Clayton Bond.


© Copywriter Dylan Balkind

Never ever cower, tremble or shake

In the US, there are over 3 million reports of child abuse made every year – and some reports involve more than one child. There were 3.2 million reports in 2007 that involved approximately 5.8 million children, and it doesn’t look any prettier any place else. These are just statistics to most people that you may read on a page or blog like this one; the sad reality is that we all move on – and no doubt too quickly. It’s no secret that the story of child abuse is one that needs to be told, but until you are driven to do something about it that makes a difference, how action-engaging is reading these statistics then anyway?

Ogilvy from Dublin, Ireland, punches the air out of you with this PSA for the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC), bringing the story of one abused little boy to life. He struggles to be heard while he asks for the basics in life by way of one of the most profound performances you will ever see. You may have to swallow back a lump in your throat or wipe tears from your eyes… Either way, it will be because you have finally been engaged and reminded that there are some things that may never be excused.

Never ever cower, tremble or shake. Join the fight for children’s rights.

Credits: Advertising Agency: Ogilvy, Dublin, Ireland; Creative Director: Colin Nimick; Art Director: Des Kavanagh; Copywriter: Laurence O’Byrne; Director: Richie Smyth.


© Copywriter Dylan Balkind

Barbie is a serial killer

You can’t say this characterisation of camp-Ken is entirely original; Toy Story 3 had his socially ambivalent, nonchalant, self-centredness down to a tee! An astute depiction mind you while stating what we all already knew anyway… wink wink. No matter, it is tempting to see how GREENPEACE have appropriated that character to showcase their plight and leverage awareness for the destruction of the Rain Forests by giant toy manufacturer, Mattel.

More so than just the actual packaging needed, this viral video attempts to highlight the knock-on effect that the disappearance of these forests means, and how mankind will ultimately sacrifice the endangered clouded leopard, Sumatran tigers and Orangutans… though the list is long.

The power of viral is interesting because the PR-spin ultimately does one side of the camp a favour, while creating a horrible headache for the other. It has been reported that the Barbie page on Facebook closed its comments section to their 2 257 662 fans. Seems the audience that loves the plastic blonde is the same as the one that loves the thought of pirdy tigers living unharmed; a tricky conversation to negotiate when they see a clip like this one and start airing their concerns and questions online. It is exactly this element of transparency that organisations can leverage through social networks like Facebook – however in this case, more like run from.

No doubt, Mattel will create their own viral about how Barbie cares and what she is doing to minimise her carbon footprint.

Barbie-schmarbie. There is no appropriate retort Mattel.

Clean up after yourself! End of story.


© Copywriter Dylan Balkind

Find your voice, squirrel!

There are a lot of tepid commercial-stories on TV, vying for your attention in an attempt to convince you to buy something you probably don’t need. Luckily, most of the rubbish ones are forgettable enough for you to suffer no impact whatsoever and you will have forgotten them within minutes.

Then there are others that come from the same unnameable place of ideas that Napoleon Dynamite, Dodgeball or Death Becomes Her came from. Case in point: Halls latest TVC – Squirrel by Ogilvy, Cape Town. It may have been conceptualised and scripted after a serious hot-box session with only the finest Durban Poison, but, no matter how, still manages to be one of the most memorable ads on TV at the moment.

Although absurd, this 60 second story for the power of voice is no small feat by anyone’s standards. It’s a big, expensive production that takes a serious shot at strategy in the hopes of delivering ROI for client and agency alike – and it works if you ask me. It may be above or below your own sense of humour but, either way, guarantees memorability of the story and its product for a long, long time. It taps into a uniquely South African sense of humour in a way that Roman’s Pizza tried hard to, but never quite achieved, and leaves you with a strangely satisfied smile on your face. By ticking the boxes for creative storytelling and brand memorability in a truly unique – albeit very odd – message, this TVC is proof that you can have fun in a brainstorm and, if you are really charming, you may even sell your idea to the client.


© Copywriter Dylan Balkind

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