Volvo’s Epic Split Featuring Jean-Claude Van Damme

This is already being hailed as, “Hands down, the most successful commercial of 2013“!

The premise is simple – to demonstrate the steering precision and directional stability of Volvo trucks, they got the “Muscles from Brussels” to perform one of his famous splits while standing on the front mirrors between two trucks. The result – an epic split over 70 seconds featuring a clear, single concept; great execution; and an unexpected punch line.

Right now, as I write this, the video has already garnered 5.7 million views (and still climbing!) since it was published just under two days ago.

As a bonus, I was wondering what it must have been like to pitch the idea to Van Damme – this video answers it. Van Damme’s look from 0:00:28-0:00:30 says it all! šŸ™‚

Wishing All My Muslim Friends A Joyous Aidilfitri/Eid al-Fitr


Wishing all my Muslim friends a Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri / Eid ul-Fitr – maaf Zahir dan Batin.

May you be blessed with the wonderful fellowship of family, friends and other loved ones – amidst glorious food! If you are traveling, please travel safely too!

And, if I may; I’d like to share with you quite possibly this year’s best Hari Raya Aidilfitri TVC (it’s got a lot of local Malaysian context, so some of it may not translate across to other cultures as easily…):

Carlsberg Puts Friends To The Test

I like this – less so because it’s a cute, viral-worthy ad; but more so because it weaves in so nicely to the brand’s positioning statement, “That calls for a Carlsberg.” It goes back to what I saying last week about how it’s not just what you say, but how you say it. It’s less about communicating the product, and more about communicating what the product stands for – the feelings behind that (Beer, after all, has always been more about whom you drink it with rather than just how it tastes).

The premise: Carlsberg set up an elaborate prank where young men made desperate phone calls for help to their best friends, in the middle of the night – between 1am and 5am. Would their friends go out and help?

Would you go and help, if you received a call like that?

(I like also how the campaign ties in to a social networking element: where Facebook users can also find out whether their friends would help them in the same way. Check it out here.)

Sometimes It’s Not Just What You Say, But How You Say It – And That Takes Balls To Do It Right!

Communications is a funny thing. It’s not always what you say, but how you say it. Not only that, how you say somethingĀ  is further influenced by the context in which you find yourself communicating.

I’ve been thinking about this as I review the financial year that has been at workĀ (it’s performance review season, heh!). I realize just how much of my work this year has been influenced by this maxim as I remember just how many times I’ve had to make this “case” to my internal stakeholders as well as agencies. Sometimes, it’s less about the speeds and feeds, bullet points and such – at the end of the day, it’s how you “romance” the product or brand’s truth to the audience.

As I was giving this some thought, I was reminded of an old (well, 2005 does seem old in light of today’s rapidly changing times) TVC: Sony’s “Balls” ad, to launch its Bravia line of high-definition televisions.

It was hailed as one of the most memorable commercials in the last decade because of its simple proposition: thousands upon thousands of balls cascading down a hill in San Francisco, resulting in a video that radiates joy, playfulness and a love of color (I mean, check out the tag at the end, “Color like no other”!).

And that’s the beautiful thing about this ad – the product is nowhere to be seen – the audience is, instead, offered a feeling. They are invited to connect an emotion with Sony’s brand, rather than be wowed by the product’s technical capabilities.

Kudos, to the agency and the client, Sony, for having theā€¦ uh, balls, to sign off on this.

The making of Sony Balls:

Wishing you a prosperous Chinese New Year – Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Wishing all who celebrate (certainly at least a billion of you!) a prosperous Chinese New Year – filled with blessings of hope, joy and peace in the coming year! Above all, may this time also be a time of wonderful reunions and strengthening of family ties… perhaps, the most important blessing of prosperity in the end.

(Here’s my favorite Chinese New Year TVC to date!)