There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t see something by someone else and ask myself: “why the hell didn’t I think of that?” I’m constantly trying to come up with new ideas, and just for a second I convince myself of their greatness and novelty.

Every time though, the idea has either been done or is actually really rubbish. Last Tuesday (2nd June), a selection of CS Creative Directors came together to discuss just this. Each speaker was given a short eight minutes to talk about an advert/ creative idea that they thought was great from this year and then from all time.

The audience were asked to vote too (on post it notes), and so the room was brimming with excitement. Here’s a few snapshots of what the speakers had to say:

Flo Heiss (@Floheiss), Creative Partner, Dare

stressed the point that we shouldn’t wait around for ideas to just come to us, but instead to go out and search for them. From this year, he searched and came across Steller, an app you can download to create instant stories, but in an old fashioned way.

Of all time, Guinness’s ‘Surfer Ad’ did it it for Flo, mainly because it was based on truth; when you order a Guinness you have to wait and the ad reflects that. I was surprised that he gave so much emphasis to the brief zoom in the end frame, but it totally makes sense as it is, as he put it, a “goose-bump moment” and someone really bothered to put that zoom in!

Simon White (@purpleisme), Founder, Formation London

Simon chose Honda’s ‘The Other Side’ ad from the past year, and this definitely would have been one of my favourite choices too. The effectiveness of this campaign comes from the fact that the story is interactive and on the web.

If you press the ‘R’ key, it swaps between two stories set around the Honda car. Simon had even gone to the great effort (and paid $25) to get see if the frames (all 2000 of them) of the two videos matched up. Of course, it was absolutely perfect and even though as he said, “it’s just a bloody product demo”, the outcome is fantastic and very smart.

Nicky Bullard, (@Noddynoonah) Executive Creative Director, LIDA

“What a Shit bloody question!” Was Nicky’s first response to picking a favourite ad of all time. Because, she said, there are just too many. She recounted growing up with brilliant brands, that were so powerful because they made their way into the vernacular. Adverts “with legs” (a term that was being bounced around when she first entered the advertising industry), were the ones that people actually talked about in the real world. She therefore showed a series of three ads for Carling’s Black Label. The campaign lasted over 15 years or so and therefore ensured longevity and success:

Jon Burkhart(@jonburkhart), Founder, TBC

I loved Jon’s interactivity with the audience at CS. He filled the room with even more energy by giving us all orange balls to throw him, to help him choose a favourite from five adverts that he’d selected. Each had a story to them and an element of surprise.

The important thing here, he said was speed, which he related to Newsjacking (a concept he coined in 2010, in which he wanted people to start highjacking culture and the news). So we weren’t allowed to deliberate; it was important to make instantaneous decisions. I threw my ball fervently when he showed this advert for the German radio station post world cup:

Bo Hellberg (@bohellberg), Executive Creative Director

Adverts that are disruptive and original are the ones that do it for Bo. One advert from the past year that he thought was particularly effective was Nike’s ‘Make Every Yard Count’ campaign. This is because it transformed a sport that looked really boring and that he just didn’t get, into something incredibly fun and cool. The advert also resonated with him particularly because when visiting India, he witnessed how cricket is such an essential part of everyday life, and so in that regard the advert picked up on an innate truth about culture.

Panel Discussion

A lively evening was brought to a close with an interesting panel discussion. The Creatives were joined on the sofa by one audience member, who had successfully persuaded everyone that the Vangardist magazine’s campaign to change misconceptions of HIV, by printing an issue with the blood from HIV positive people, was the best of all those put forward.

One question asked was: “How difficult is it to do work in an age when you still enjoy past things?” Nicky asserted that we tend to over complicate things too much and need to get back to just one simple, brilliant idea and Jon advised to keep returning to fans of the brand, to listen to them and to maintain a continuous, strong brand idea.

Another question was: “Do consumers appreciate the craft as much as they do technology? And is it the technology or craft that they appreciate the most?” I liked Bo’s answer the most, as he said that people do appreciate the craft, and that it is the idea that comes first, and then technology is how you make things happen.