Read previous issues here.

Imagine that: these ads actually enrich our life

Of course, they have commercial content - but in our humble opinion, some of these print campaigns are startling and spectacular enough to be watched with a bucket of popcorn in hands, giving you no less (and sometimes more) "bang for the buck" than your average DVD rental.

The following collection of "creative advertising" will focus mainly on visually rewarding ads, such as the ones, made for Citroen by Jaap Vliegenthart:
(click to enlarge)

(images credit: Jaap Vliegenthart)

More epic advertisement by Jaap Vliegenthart:

The Urban Trap (every building is a mousetrap of some sort) -

(images credit: Jaap Vliegenth)

Here is a great ad campaign for Tylenol, featuring people falling asleep in most embarrasing situations. Some of real life "extreme sleeping" was featured in our popular article. However, this spot uncovers some more -

The director behind this spot is Josh Miller.

An interview with director Josh Miller

Josh began his career in advertising in a very unusual way. After printing the words, "Josh Miller. A copywriter willing to start at the bottom," on rolls of toilet paper, he placed them in the bathroom stalls of Kirshenbaum & Bond, NY.

They took him literally, and he went on to create a number of fabulous ad spots also for Cliff Freeman & Partners and Team One Advertising. As a full-time Director with Little Minx, a company of RSA, Josh was recently featured in Shoot Magazine as one of "The Ones To Watch."

His most recent project? Documenting the slow degradation of commuting daily to the cold, staid industrial office complex in El Segundo - by photographing the bottom of a plane landing at LAX each time he passed! The photographs, over 350 of them, are currently being published in a book entitled, "Underbelly".

Josh Miller, Director

We asked Josh some questions about his advertising / directing experiences:

1. What was your most challenging project - and the one you’re most proud of?

I just got back from shooting a pretty hellish job in Buenos Aires... It was a long shoot, and there were all these in-camera effects, invisible cars crashing into things, and sometimes it was really difficult communicating to crew exactly what I wanted. Everything had to go through three layers of translation. There’d be 20 people in every meeting. And then to top it off, I got food poisoning on day 2 of 5. Honestly, I thought I was going to die. And it figures, it was the one day we were running three cameras. It’s different when you’re both writing and directing, there’s a lot more on the line. So, for all this, I think it’s one of the things I’m most proud of.

(photo by Gregory Crewdson)

2. Who influenced you early on, in movies, art, etc?

Filmmakers: Jacques Tati, Terrence Malick and Truffaut are a few that really inspire me. "A Thin Red Line" and "Day For Night" are two of my favorite films. And I remember when I saw "La Haine", by Mathiew Kassovitz. That really made me want to direct. Come to think of it, I patterned the reveal of the Winnebago in "Waffles for Breakfast" after the opening shot.

But I’m just as influenced by photographers like William Eggleston, Stephen Shore and Todd Hido. A cinematographer friend just turned me on to the painter, Robert Bechtle, whose compositions are so contemporary even though many were painted in the 70s. I love stories, and I think even still photographs tell stories. Look at Gregory Crewdson’s work. He does these enormous set ups, they’re like elaborate films sets, but he snaps a single frame. That’s the kind of thing that inspires me.

(photos by Gregory Crewdson)

3. How do you see advertising/promotion industry today (your opportunity to rant)

I actually think it’s a pretty exciting time. Brands are being forced to entertain people in ways they never have. On TV, the web, everywhere. And people are willing to, and actually demand to be entertained. They want to laugh out loud, or get choked up. The commercial is a 3o or 60 second short film. The best ideas, in my opinion, come from brands that don’t take themselves too seriously. And are willing to let their messages be simple and human.

(photo-realistic painting by Robert Bechtle)

4. What do you think about "subliminal advertising" (see this video for reference) and subversive product placement?

I think the word “subliminal” seems a bit paranoid and even dated. People are open to seeing logos, products, and brands everywhere. We know they’re trying to sell us stuff. It puts us, the consumers, in the power position, not the other way around. As far as product placement, as a director, maybe I’ll embrace that. Make a film entirely financed by the products that are featured in it. Kind of a reverse merchandising. Okay, that’s pretty obnoxious.

5. You're now a full-time director - what's the most challenging aspect of making your own movie? Script? Choosing actors? Camera work? Budget constrains?

For me it’s definitely the material, the script. All the other stuff would just fall into place. Financing could be another story, of course. But the most difficult part I’ve found is finding or writing the script I want to devote the next couple years of my life to.

(photo by Todd Hido)

6. Any background history behind this wonderful piece of "gritty realism" film-making "Waffles for Breakfast"?
(see this wonderfully unpredictable short movie here)

This film was done as one in a series of films that are very loosely connected with the first and last lines. The last line of one film is the first of the next, and so on and so on. I decided to take the line I was given and make it into a song to be heard over the radio of a car speeding by. That car became the Winnebago, which became one of the main characters in the story.

The rest kind of it unfolded from there. I just wanted to tell a story that had a series of little surprises, and had these unpredictable shifts of pace, with a little humor and intensity. I just wanted it to feel like a little movie, even though it’s only 8 minutes short.

7. What genres / themes would you like to explore in your directing career?

I’ve been working on what you’d call a, well, a cancer comedy.

That sounds pretty intense. Thank you Josh, for this interview - can't wait to see your future productions.

(photo by: William Eggleston)

Visually Arresting Ads

These images will make you stop and take a second look, and maybe even consider the subject they advertise:

Unfortunate Grim Reaper: World Aids Day -

(image credit: Herman Churba)

"Geek Patrol" inside the PC:

Easiest way to travel:

Great series for the "really sharp" knives:

Brute force (Mercedes) -

Apparently, using SAP Business Software can improve your financial situation:

Virus & Pest Control:

Soldiers are building the Playstation 3 Gamer Idol:
(click to enlarge)

"A different kind of construction company":

Political Commentary: "Flags of Our Fathers" -

(Agency: FCB, Cape Town)

Pork and steak demolished by Alka-Seltzer:

Exciting way to the... toilet:

"After 70 years we've seen it all" -

"Full Throttle" energy drink - by Sullivan, Lane

Eyes/Lenses Storage for AbraPhoto:

(Agency: Euro RSCG Brasil)

Composers for Kids:

(image credit: Frieke Janssens)

And finally, welcome Homer, one of The Real Simpsons! -

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4


Read all previous issues here.

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Category: Cool Ads


Visual Caffeine #8
Visual Caffeine, Issue 8

A thrilling blend of art, myths and technology

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Visual Caffeine, Issue 7

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! Thanks for the tip on some really great stuff (that real Home scared the beejeezus out of me)!

Great blog you've got running so I've bookmarked you. As you seem to have a coffee-connected team I can of course not pass on the chance to some good old fashion self advertisement: I recently made a small small film about coffee on my blog, ;)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know about those photos for the tylenol ad campaign. Reminds me too much of the 1982 tylenol murders... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tylenol_Crisis_of_1982

Sixties flashback for me. Our family had a 67 puke green Ford Country Squire with fake vinyl wood panels similar to the one int he picture...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The real name of the Dutch ad-maker is Jaap Vliegenthart, but I can understand your confusion with 'art' at the end of his name ;)

Great pictures here!

Blogger Avi Abrams said...

Thank you Franqie! All fixed.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Josh Miller is a complete failure as a director. He's also done little conceptual creative on his own. The only work that he is known for, from Cliff Freeman, was done with and by very successful creatives. Not him. He was just a tag along.

Which is the story of this guys life.


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