Our Annual issue is out now, rounding up the highlights of the past year in visual communications. At the front, you’ll find our judges’ choices of Best in Book which this year includes lasers, apps and even TV commercials (remember them?)
Each May, we publish our Annual, our main awards issue (if you’d like a copy, just call +44(0)207 292 3703 for your nearest stockist or to buy direct from us). The work is displayed over 114 pages according to the month in which it first appeared but, at the front, our judges pick their favourites for our Best in Book section. This year, in no particular order, these are:
Speed of Light by UVA/Borkowski (now known as Beige) for Virgin Media
To celebrate ten years of broadband internet, PR agency Borkowski persuaded its client Virgin Media to steer clear of traditional media in favour of a spectacular laser installation created by United Visual Artists. The installation, Speed of Light, took over all four storeys of the Bargehouse on the Thames riverside in central London for a period of ten days during April of last year. Visitors to the space were invited to immerse themselves in a labyrinth of laser sculptures, built on the idea of, UVA said, “speed being light, and light being data”. Our original post on the project is here
Pot Noeldle by AKQA
Christmas ads are, by and large, of a type. Family-orientated, often rather schmaltzy, there are rarely many spots that surprise or delight anymore, despite it being the biggest time of year for consumer spending. The arrival in early December of AKQA’s Pot Noeldle spot was therefore a particular cause for celebration, as it cut through all the sparkly dross with its charming animation and witty observations on life in modern Britain. For more, see our post here
Arcade Fire: The Wilderness Downtown by B-Reel/Chris Milk
Since the release of Arcade Fire’s website for the track Neon Bible in 2008, now widely recognised as the first interactive music video, the band has continued to experiment with using digital technology to create unusual music experiences. In late summer last year, the band achieved another huge success with its innovative interactive video for the song We Used To Wait, taken from the album The Suburbs. The site was created in collaboration with digital production company B-Reel and director Chris Milk, and is designed to be used on the Google Chrome web browser. See our original post about it here
Diesel: A Hundred Lovers by Stink Digital/Anomaly
A central trend in advertising in 2010 was finding ‘normal’ people, sourced through social media networks, to help promote brands to their friends and others, and at times even appear in ads themselves. One of the most charming ads of the year to utilise this was a clothing catalogue-cum-music video created for Diesel by Anomaly and Stink Digital. The video formed part of the Be Stupid campaign, a manifesto crafted for the brand by Anomaly that proclaimed that stupidity was the way forward in life. “To be stupid is to be brave, when you risk something that’s stupid,” it announced. “The stupid aren’t afraid to fail.” To illustrate this, various images of attractive folks getting up to cheeky antics were released online. For the A Hundred Lovers film, ‘stupid’ fans of Diesel were contacted via social media sites, and invited to star in the video. In a reference to Jean-Luc Godard’s classic film Bande à Part, they are shown performing a dance routine in a bar. The dancers are all dressed in Diesel clothing, of course, and viewers are encouraged to pause the film and then click on clothing they like the look of to get more info about the garments and be given the opportunity of purchasing them directly online.
Nokia: The World’s Smallest Stop-motion Character Animation by Wieden + Kennedy/Aardman Animations
At 9mm in height, miniature animated film star Dot is officially the world’s smallest stop-motion character. So small, in fact, that to produce the charming short film for Nokia’s N8 smart phone in which she stars, Aardman Animations made 50 different versions of her in order to generate all the body movements required. Agency Wieden + Kennedy were briefed with demonstrating the potential of the Nokia N8’s 12 megapixel Carl Zeiss camera, which is capable of HD video. The animation, directed by Ed Patterson and Will Studd at Sumo Science, follows Dot on a platform game-style adventure.
Claridge’s identity by Construct
London design studio Construct gave the branding of London’s famous Claridge’s hotel a thorough overhaul, starting with the hotel’s crest and logotype, which has been redrawn using a refined weight of typeface SangBleu.
Because it is a working hotel with a huge number of items traditionally branded (from teapots and egg cups through to slippers and dressing gowns), Construct’s task of not just branding, but implementing a consistent and cohesive sense of identity throughout the hotel and the objects within it was by no means straightforward. In fact, the rollout of the branding happened throughout last year as there were so many different ideas to implement. As well as introducing a sophisticated colour palette of jade, gold, white and black, bold chevron patterns appear on the inside of bags, envelopes and on various objects, publications and goodies guests at the hotel are likely to encounter. See our original story on the project here
Nike: The Film Room by R/GA
At the inaugural World Basketball Festival–a four-day celebration of the performance and culture of the game– held at Harlem’s famous Rucker Park, Nike let kids practice and learn signature moves from NBA pros. Players Kevin Durant, Rudy Gay, Andre Iguodala, and Deron Williams were on site at the specially-built Film Room to improve the kids’ technique. Using a combination of green screen technology, HD cameras, and a custom-built computer programme to analyse footage, The Film Room deconstructed the kids’ movements frame-by-frame, second-by-second, separating the player with the ball from the background. After performing their move, kids were presented with their very own personalised, 18 × 24″ Nike poster starring themselves in action.
Nike+ GPS by R/GA
The Nike+ platform was expanded upon by agency R/GA with the launch of the Nike+ GPS app which enables runners to track and log their progress and broadcast the data via Facebook. As useful as this sounds, there were some additional elements to the new app that made the whole experience more personal. On opening the app, users choose ‘indoors’ or ‘outdoors’, the latter enabling the GPS function to track the runner’s progress. With the Get Cheers feature, the runner’s Facebook status is automatically updated, letting friends know that they have started out on a run. As the run progresses, friends who ‘like’, or comment on the status update, earn the runner ‘applause’ which is played out over their headphones. To complement this motivational aspect to the app, a range of guest stars such as Lance Armstrong and Tracy Morgan also offered words of support and encouragement. And by way of turning the dial up to 11 on one’s efforts, songs (Eye of the Tiger, perhaps) can also be cued up to begin whenever a boost of energy is required.
Nike: Write the Future by Wieden +Kennedy Amsterdam
Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam’s Write the Future spot for Nike brilliantly captured the excitement of the build up to the World Cup in South Africa last year, making it the stand-out advertising of the tournament. At its centre is the idea of what might go through a footballer’s mind when playing for their country. Will they succeed and bring glory to the nation, or return home a dismal failure? Will statues be unveiled in their honour, their story played out in a biopic; or will they disappear in a haze of tabloid fury and end up heavily bearded and living in a dirty caravan? Such is the metaphorical way of the footballer, their fate entirely dependent on how well they perform on the pitch. Of course, all the big guns are here in director Alejandro G Iñarritu’s fantastical display: Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo, Didier Drogba, to name but a few. The cameo-laden spot even features cheeky appearances from Kobe Bryant and Roger Federer, but the highlight surely is Homer Simpson falling for a rather sweet animated ‘nutmeg’ manoeuvre, courtesy of, yes, one “Ronal…’doh!”
Going, Going, Gone Red! by The Partners
To help raise money for London’s children’s hospice, Richard House, The Partners collaborated with over 100 of Britain’s top illustrators in an unusual project based around the parlour game ‘exquisite corpse’, which invites players to create a section of a drawing before passing it onto others to complete. The illustrators taking part in the project, which included James Joyce, Tom Gauld, Supermundane, and Wallzo, each contributed a unique print to the website. All of the images were created in the colour red, to remain in keeping with Richard House’s broader fundraising campaign Go Red!, which encourages participants to raise money for the charity by doing almost anything, such as eating, drawing, singing etc, so long as it involves the colour red. Aside from the colour though, the prints feature wildly different styles, from the intricate to the cartoon-like.The illustrations have been divided into three separate sections – heads, bodies and legs – which users of the site can combine to create their own unique image. Once happy with a drawing, visitors can buy it for just £60, with all proceeds raised on the site going to the Richard House charity. Only one print of each combination will be produced, but with 64,000 possible mixtures of heads, bodies and legs to choose from, the project has the potential to raise approximately £3.8 million. It is ongoing and at the time of going to print there are a number of unique drawings still available on the site.
Amnesty Death To The Death Penalty by Pleix/TBWAParis
Death To The Death Penalty was launched in October 2010 to help promote Amnesty International’s campaign to abolish the death penalty in the 58 countries around the world that still have it. Written by TBWAParis and directed by Pleix through production company Warm & Fuzzy, the film opens with a scene featuring a group of waxy white sculptural figures, not unlike pale toy soldiers. A man tied to a pole is facing a firing squad of four soldiers while an officer barks the command. Then a series of close-up shots show the figures distort and melt and it becomes clear that they are made from candle wax. The rifles begin to droop and the soldiers melt and drip.
Museum of London StreetMuseum app by Brothers and Sisters
The Museum of London launched an iPhone app in May 2010 which cleverly brought its extensive art and photographic collections out onto the streets of the UK capital, building on an approach established by its You Are Here ad campaign devised by NB: Studio. The free app, called StreetMuseum and created by Brothers and Sisters, makes use of geo-tagging and Google Maps to guide users to various sites in London where, via the iPhone screen, selected historical images of the city appear. See our original post here
The Creative Review Annual is out now, published as a special 196-page double edition with our May issue. If you would like to buy this issue and are based in the UK, you can search for your nearest stockist here. Based outside the UK? Simply call +44(0)207 292 3703 to find your nearest stockist. Better yet, subscribe to CR for a year here and save yourself almost 30% on the printed magazine. If you subscribe before Wednesday April 27 you will receive the May issue/Annual as part of your subscription.