I'm torn.
Here's a brand new campaign from At&t advertising its global roaming capabilities. I've been watching it unfold in the pages of the New York Times over the last few weeks.

It's beautiful, visually lush.
I believe it is a precursor to multicultural advertising of the future; i.e., it is cross-cultural and therefore, truly multicultural.
At the same time, it picks up cues, graphics, icons, that are specific to individual cultures/locations.

That's the good part.

The bad part: where's the insight?
This is not a multicultural campaign of course, but to be honest it fails utterly despite the stunning art direction.
A campaign for global coverage running in the US is surely targeted at global travelers from the US visiting or working in the world's largest countries and fastest growing economies.

C'mon guys. It should have hit you like a brick.
The sum of all things Chinese is not the Great Wall.

India is not all caparisoned elephants or the Taj Mahal.

You have to rise above those hackneyed images.
Get with the times, cause they're a-changin'
Why do people want better coverage in India or China?
Because they're doing business there.

Think Shanghai, not the Great Wall.
Think Mumbai or Bangalore, where the money is made and your software is written.
Find a symbol that isn't the same damn symbol that everyone has ever used.

This campaign probably starts in some feebly educated American mind, wherein the rest of the world must be reduced to cliches, so as to effectively communicate with other feebly educated American minds.

No? Am I oversimplifying?
Have I offended some American friend or colleague who resents my generalization, and doesn't like me reducing Americans to a cliche?

Ads via Ads of the world.
Article: Creative Commons License 2008 Gavin Barrett

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 Canada License.

This one comes from sunny Australia. Damn them for their summer in January. And, oh yeah, their good advertising.

Consider this simple immediate ad - for scooters.
Not buses/brt/lrt.

Still, I thought it illustrated perfectly the advantage of the vehicle over the kind of gridlocked traffic that is becoming ubiquitous the world over. And as such, worthy of pushing buses.

Article and blog copyright Gavin Barrett 2008.

A while ago I promised I would feature great ads on this blog from the major multicultural "home markets".
By that, I meant ads from India, Hong Kong and China to start with. Ads that show exactly how high the bar is in those markets and how sophisticated those audiences are. The Nike ad from JWT India I posted a while ago is a good example.

Now, my kid brother Russell (he's a Creative Director/Writer at Leo Burnett Mumbai) has given me more material for the series.

A campaign of his for Luxor highlighters won 2 Gold Lions and 3 Bronze Lions at Cannes and a One Show Gold pencil to boot.
And a NY Art Director's Gold, and 2 Silver Andys...
And got into the D&AD annual - which is surely the toughest award show in the world to crack.

Is it multicultural in any way? No.
Does it exploit an insight into the way Indians use highlighters? No.

I'm sharing it simply because it's a great campaign with a great idea behind it, and it truly demonstrates the power of the product. Nothing more, nothing less. Nothing else matters.

Enjoy the ads.

Article: Creative Commons License 2008 Gavin Barrett

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 Canada License.

A funny, direct campaign for the French national Railway SNCF.
A classic technique: exaggerate to make a relatively ordinary message memorable.
Mind you the train looks nice enough to make you want to believe the claim: you won't miss the road.

Article and blog, copyright Gavin Barrett 2008.
A spot with no words, accompanied by a beautiful piece of classical music, makes the Madrid Metro rise below it all. An elegant, restrained, stunningly filmed spot, with a message that's crystal clear.

Article and blog, copyright Gavin Barrett 2008.

A simple, effective campaign done in 2002 by Aaron Kwapisinski, a young art director friend of mine, for the now defunct agency Flavour. In his own words "We took the cost of all the things one would fork out annually in order to maintain their vehicle and compared it to the cost of riding the TTC for a year. The difference was enough to illustrate the benefits." Thanks for sending this in Aaron.

Art Directors: Aaron Kwapisinski & Drew Pautler
Writer: Karin Djelaj
Creative Directors: Craig Cooper & Briony Wilson

Article and blog, copyright Gavin Barrett 2008.

From a campaign for the Tube in London.
Four tubes to sell the Tube.

Brilliantly simple. Simply brilliant.

Article and blog, copyright Gavin Barrett 2008.

A now-classic (late 80s), edgy, award-winning TV spot for Oslo transit, promoting monthly passes.

Article and blog, copyright Gavin Barrett 2008.

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