Neil Dawson, interim European executive creative director, Innocean Worldwide Europe
I worked in South Africa in 1994, the year Nelson Mandela came to power. Under the new constitution there were 13 official languages. As creatives, clever use of language was not going to cut it – we had to think visually. This has served me well over the years, particularly in OOH work.I love great OOH – its scale, the fact that it’s an idea’s sternest test. It’s a great way to sense-check an idea – how would it work in OOH? It’s the idea in its simplest, purest form. It’s not easy. Michelin’s “Hands” is a great example. Its bold simplicity is striking. No words, not even a logo.
A great test of any ad, especially OOH, is to keep removing elements and ask: “Does it still make sense?” If it does, that element is probably redundant. Simplicity gives you impact.
If you’re very lucky you can get down to two elements – image or headline and logo. Here they’ve managed a single image. “Hands” says so much about Michelin in one image. It had a big head start – a world-famous brand icon. But that could have been a curse. It would have been so easy for the client to insist on seeing Bibendum’s smiling face, or impose rules for using the character; the art direction and storytelling would have been at odds. Bravo Michelin for seeing the idea for what it is.
The use of Bibendum is sublime. He’s reduced to just what is needed – his hands. This gets the viewer involved, leaving it to them to complete the circle. This campaign works so well for many reasons, not least its scale. The hands are large within the executions and huge when up on the roadside. That sense of a big brand with a long history of keeping you safe is told deftly in each scenario.
So much OOH is reformatted press executions. How refreshing to see an outdoor campaign in its purest form. How refreshing, too, to see a campaign that looks unlike conventional advertising. Just one image that says everything necessary.
Vicki Maguire, joint chief creative officer, Grey London