Ikea’s first Christmas ad

Ikea has a reputation for creating refreshingly unconventional ads. Recent campaigns have featured everything from breakdancing curtains and cushions to recreated versions of the lounges from The Simpsons, Friends and Stranger Things.

The retailer’s first Christmas campaign in the UK and Ireland also eschews sentimental festive clichés, instead opting for something a little more obscure.

But with a number of quick home fixes, they soon manage to shut up their inanimate critics, and can crack on with their dinner plans unfazed.

While it’s good to see Ikea steering clear of festive schmaltz, the suggestion that we have to cover up that crack in the wall or replace an outdated but well-loved mirror at a time of year when we’re already up to our eyeballs leaves a slightly bitter aftertaste, meaning this ad ultimately lacks some of the charm of Ikea’s other recent campaigns.

Agency: Mother
Production Company: MJZ
Director: Tom Kuntz
Creative Director: James Sindle
Production Designer: Chris Oddy
Director of Photography: Chris Soos
VFX: Electric Theatre Collective

M&S Christmas Jumper ad

When a seemingly innocent festive jumper takes on a life of its own, however, it swiftly turns into an all-singing and dancing extravaganza soundtracked by House of Pain’s 90s party anthem Jump Around.

The retailer brought in the director behind Beyoncé’s Single Ladies music video, Jake Nava, to help bring its vision to life, while the jumping metaphor is even carried through to a bouncing version of the M&S logo.

Creative Agency: ODD
Executive Creative Director: Nick Stickland
Associate Creative Directors: Turhan Osman, Loui Bowes
Art Director: Emma Jordan
Production Company: Cherry Studios
Director: Jake Nava
DoP: David Johnson

M&S Christmas food ad

Ready for your tastiest Christmas yet? Welcome to our winter wonderland: the M&S Food Christmas Market – where good food and festive fun collide to create a truly magical Christmas experience. Join Paddy Mcguinness and Emma Willisofficial as they meet our very own product developers and try this year’s festive food stars: sweet Torched Berry Pavlova (find it in the freezer section), ooey gooey Brie En Croûte and the ultimate centrepiece, The Perfect Turkey. After all, #ThisIsNotJust food… this is M&S Christmas Food.

MENstruation

For its first ever national TV ad campaign MENstruation, period-absorbing underwear brand Thinx asks if people would be more comfortable with periods if everyone had them.

Titled MENstruation, the ad opens with a teenage boy getting his first period, before addressing leaks, dropped sanitary pads, and the dreaded string peeking out. Of course, these clumsy ‘slip ups’ and awkward interactions double as a selling point for Thinx’s products, which are designed to absorb period blood and ultimately avoid these experiences.

Speaking of the campaign, Thinx Inc. CEO Maria Molland highlights that “people with periods are taught from a young age that one of our body’s natural processes is something to be ashamed of, and something we should go to great lengths to conceal. We’re taught to hide our period products in our sleeves on the way to the restroom, and constantly check our clothes for any leaks or stains. In fact, 80% of teens [with periods] report a negative association with periods, and say they are gross or unsanitary.” To combat this, the campaign aims to normalise the subject of periods by extending the conversation to the half of the population that doesn’t experience them, namely cisgender men.

 

Agency: BBDO New York
CCOs: David Lubars, Greg Hahn
VP Creative Directors: Bianca Guimaraes, Peter Alsante
Associate Creative Directors: Jenn Tranbarger, Jess Rello
Production company: Biscuit
Director: Rachel McDonald

Guilt-free chocolate?

Guilt-free chocolate just took on a whole new meaning thanks to Nestlé’ Japan replacing the plastic packaging on their miniature Kit Kat bars. 

Back in January, the beloved candy company announced that it would only use reusable and 100% recyclable packaging by 2025 and it looks like they’re beginning to make good on that promise. 

If you purchase the original, matcha and dark chocolate flavors of Kit-Kat miniatures, you will find the usual plastic wrapper replaced with origami paper. Kit-Kat is a hot commodity in Japan, with over 4 million units sold each day. The company includes instructions on how to take the paper and turn it into a crane, in a move that makes packaging sustainable and interactive. The shift in the material is said to decrease the company’s plastic use by 380 tons per year.

Editorial photograph

The Testaments

It’s been 35 years since the release of Margaret Atwood’s seminal tome The Handmaid’s Tale. Shortlisted for the 1986 Booker Prize, the novel paints a vivid picture of a modern day America that has been transformed into the totalitarian state of Gilead: a patriarchial, Puritan society where fertile women are forced to produce offspring for childless couples.

There is one central element of The Testaments’ plot that is alluded to with its distinctive cover design by Noma Bar: two of the book’s narrators are believed to be Offred’s daughters (the first of which was snatched from her and raised by a Commander family, while the younger girl was born during the course of her escape from Gilead).

Bar’s brief from the publisher was to create a contrasting image of the two sisters seen on the front and back covers, playing up to the fact that they are in wholly different situations, locations and circumstances. While the front cover bears a generic resemblance to his design for The Handmaid’s Tale cover, featuring the handmaids’ distinctive cloak and bonnet, the back cover depicts a girl that would be recognisable to most of us today, wearing earrings and her hair tied up.

“The main thing I wanted to do was to show the parallel worlds and lives of the two girls by reflecting and mirroring the sisters,” says Bar. “We chose the design as a double cover as I wanted to highlight the two characters’ presence – it’s not about one sister, it’s about two worlds.”

 

yahoo! rebrand

They say that all publicity is good publicity, but Yahoo has been particularly prone to the bad kind in recent years. A series of data scandals combined with doubts over Yahoo’s relevance in the modern marketplace together paint a pretty sombre picture.

However, the brand is still looking to the future, which it’ll go into with a new visual identity created by Pentagram in a project led by New York-based Partner Michael Bierut. With the refresh comes a new logo that sees Yahoo do away with its former goofy typeface in place of a slick, lower case sans-serif.

The new logo is said to throw back to the original 1996 design, though the logo itself hadn’t changed radically over the subsequent 20 years, the tilted exclamation mark having been a staple of its logo throughout this time.

Today, the branding is decidedly sleeker and neatly ties all of Yahoo’s sprawling sub-brands under one identity. Meanwhile, the vibrant purple palette (comprising ‘grape jelly’, ‘malbec’ and ‘hulk pants’) packs a punch, while the overall simplicity does push the exclamation mark to centre stage. Images showing the new look splashed across billboards in a real-world context look significantly more pulled together and representative of a contemporary tech brand.

Fast food made beautiful

TBWA\Paris has pulled off the impressive feat of making processed food look beautiful in its campaign for McDonald’s all-day breakfast menu in France.

The agency worked with 3D animator Matthieu Braccini on a series of gifs that show different elements of making the fast food chain’s famed Egg McMuffin.

 

Credits:
Agency: TBWA\PARIS
ECDs: Benjamin Marchal, Faustin Claverie
Creative Director: Maud Poilpré
Creative Lead: Nicolas Barrès
3D Illustrator: Matthieu Braccini
Sound: Adrobski