How 3 of the Darkest, Most Unexpected Ads Challenged Creatives to Step Up Their Game

Droga5 London's David Kolbusz shares his favorite spots ever

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Even when sitting in the sun, David Kolbusz is a man who appreciates darkness.

Adweek sat down with the CCO of Droga5 London to talk about his favorite ads of all time, and Kolbusz was quick to name three campaigns and spots that, while considerably different, share an undercurrent of dark and surrealist humor.

Check out the interview with Kolbusz above to get his full take, then watch the full work he mentions below.

First up in Kolbusz’s list is Saatchi & Saatchi London’s “Beware of the Voices” campaign for U.K. True to the tagline, the spots tell compelling stories of poor decisions being made on the road to career advancement, with the hook being that Monster offers more sound advice than your own inner monologue might.

The creative director on the 2001 campaign was a rising star named David Droga, who would go on to found Droga5 five years later, with a stint as Publicis’ worldwide CCO in between.

Another spot Kolbusz looks back on fondly is Guinness’ 2001 ad “Dreamer,” directed by Jonathan Glazer and created by London-based AMV BBDO.

Kolbusz admits the spot is often overshadowed by Glazer’s more celebrated “Surfer” from the same campaign, but he argues “Dreamer” is “just a little more bizarre, and there’s levels to it. If you go back and watch it, there’s a lot of rewarding stuff in there.”

For his third pick, Kolbusz cites a campaign so unnerving, he actually believes it’s “fucking horrible.” Of course, he’s referring to the grim nature of the content, not the quality.

BBDO New York and cable network G4 created multiple, tremendously dark spots for its Midnight Spank programming block in 2006. In each, a talking animal issues bone-chilling threats to those who might be planning to skip the late-night lineup of shows. Kolbusz specifically picks “Home Gym” (featuring a mysteriously powerful deer) as a favorite, though all three of the Daniel Kleinman-directed spots are worth revisiting:


@griner David Griner is creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek's podcast, "Yeah, That's Probably an Ad."
Publish date: May 17, 2018 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT