Two Ads I Like and One I Don’t – Thierry Halbroth

In typical fashion, I am late submitting my review – but with good reasons. I was struggling to find creative pieces that would inspire and truly strike a chord on various levels.

MORE: Two Ads I Like and One I Don’t – Laura Kantor

See, we all tend to spend a lot of time looking at ads or judging them but each time, the takeaway is different. Depending on whether we are just bored and browsing or specifically looking for something (i.e. art direction, script, production values, etc.), or analyzing the overall impact.


I chose to focus on the latter as it is most often where the stuff I’d wish I’d made is. And generally, that’s the stuff you want to watch over and over again, which is what good advertising should do. To get to this takes time as I had to eliminate all of the scams and irrelevant – those ideas for ideas sake with no brand relation whatsoever.

While one can quickly put the blame on the agency or creative team involved, let’s not forget that clients play a big part in what eventually comes out, both good and bad.

When it comes to the stuff I don’t like, it’s often too easy to criticize and yet again, many parameters have to be taken into consideration. While one can quickly put the blame on the agency or creative team involved, let’s not forget that clients play a big part in what eventually comes out, both good and bad. And the truly bad is generally a case of too many fingers in the pot.

On that note, the following pieces of work are often part of my showcases and best (and worst) practice examples.


Two I Like

Georgetown Optician by Design Army

This, for me, is an absolute masterpiece. It is both a visual feast and delightful story that perfectly plays into the brand’s very own story. More importantly, it demonstrates a strong bond between the agency and client in breaking the optical category to rejuvenate a 30-year old family-owned-business.

Everything is in the details and I love the fact that that the execution perfectly plays into the luxury territory without taking itself seriously, wrapped in a story paying lip service to the very own history and essence of the business. Yes, you won’t help notice the Wes Anderson influence and this is something you’ll want to freeze frame on every scene to absorb the details.

Actually, the whole campaign (and branding) since its inception is just a treat.  

Another I Like

Ajinomoto Stadium- Husky Girls by Dentsu

This one is not so much a visual treat but more so a powerful demonstration of a very simple insight, again tightly linked to the brand. I remember judging this piece back in 2005 and making the comment that while it was a typical wacky Japanese piece of creative, the insight was totally universal and could relate in any language. Many found it too simple, I just found it to be perfectly simple.

One I Don’t Like

Hyatt – For a world of understanding by MullenLowe

It’s the kind of ad you want to like, but simply end up hating. I’m sure that it started from a good place but the insight is simply too generic and by wanting to play safe and be politically correct, ends up, alienating any frequent traveler with its patronizing tone and mundane visuals. It’s the kind of ad you slap any other hotel brand as a tag on…and it will ‘work’.

Sorry, Hyatt, you may understand strangers but you most certainly don’t understand the new traveler of this world.

For a best practice on the same insight, look no further to the Ogilvy’s Shangri-La “It’s in Our Nature” campaign. It effectively turns the insight into something a lot more aspiring, intriguing, category disrupting and beautiful.

Thierry Halbroth

Thierry Halbroth

Currently based in Hong Kong, Thierry has held executive creative positions at some of the world's most well-known agencies.

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