Two Ads I Like and One I Don’t – Jon Ip

When we talk about advertising and creativity, we talk about creating something that did not exist before. I believe that as a creative, we not only have the responsibility to deliver the highest possible quality, but also a culturally relevant product that positively impacts a community, while simultaneously communicating the brand’s purpose. I selected two ads which in my opinion did exactly that.

Two ads I like

“My Life As A NPC” – Ubisoft

There is so much I like about this ad as a gamer. Most video-game advertisements, or social campaigns in general, focus on giving a stage to the game’s ‘hero’ (or in the case of any other social campaign, the KOL). The ‘hero’ character is often the only element that is remembered about a socially-driven campaign. The people behind this advertisement used a brilliant method to create social content, by using the actual content that they want to promote.


This campaign heroes the game’s NPCs (Non Playable Character – supporting cast of the story) as crucial characters with backgrounds and personalities of their own that make the game worth playing. In doing so, the ad simultaneously showcases the beautiful craftsmanship in the game world and sets it apart from others, through is a simple yet brilliant way to draw attention to all the right aspects of the game.

Piracy Blockr

This piece is a great example of how creative problem solving together with advertising and technology can be combined to give back to the community. The people behind this project invented a method to solve an enduring business challenge many creatives have been dealing with for years, IP rights. This is less a campaign in traditional terms and more an enduring solution, but demonstrates how advertising can have both a broad definition and impact.

And One I Don’t

Marketers should always be aware of their cultural surroundings and understand the nuances that exist within that culture. A global brand brief or style guide does not always translate outside of the context it was created in.


In general, advertising pieces I dislike are the ones that showcase cultural insensitivity, or the ones that send out a culturally irrelevant message. The CNY campaign Burberry released last year is an example of that. The work on its own is aesthetically beautifully done. However, the message they aimed to send out, and the context it was put in was a mismatch.

The theme here across the board is one of not just genuine insight, but the use of that insight as a seed for creative problem solving which unites both the brand and consumer. Thoughtlessly following consumer trends is a fast way to lose brand value, meanwhile an inflexible brand runs the risk of being seen as irrelevant at best – or finding themselves at the center of cultural firestorms.

Jon Ip

Jon Ip

Jon is the Executive Creative Director at AKQA in Shanghai

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