Throwback Thursday: DDB’s Chris Brown recalls his fave campaigns of all time

In our inaugural edition of this new Throwback Thursday column, the president and CEO of DDB New York takes a trip down memory lane to share his most favorite ever ad campaigns with us.

Welcome to Throwback Thursday, our now-weekly walk down memory lane with brand and agency executives. These people are revered for their creativity so we thought, why not give you an exclusive look at the kind of creative that inspires them?

Chris BrownEach week, we’ll pose the same question: What’s your favorite campaign of all time (that you didn’t personally work on)?

For our first Throwback Thursday, we spoke with Chris Brown, the president and chief executive (CEO) of DDB’s New York office.

Brown, who thinks picking your favorite ad is as difficult as picking your favorite song, narrowed it down to two.

The Guardian – “Points of View”

This 1986 commercial for The Guardian, shows a man running down the street and grabbing another man. At first glance, it looks like he’s trying to rob him. But when the camera angle changes, you see that he’s actually pushing him out of the way, saving him from getting clobbered by an avalanche of bricks from a construction site. The idea is that you should look at things from every angle, which The Guardian newspaper will help you do.

“What I love about this is, it starts out with a wonderful truth that plays to human behavior, and is also unbelievably on-brand with The Guardian and what it stands for,” says Brown, who adds that the raw, black-and-white, documentary style draws the viewer in.

“It has an unbelievably powerful message, really well-told from a storytelling perspective. And the insight at the heart of it transcends; it’s as powerful today as it was 30 years ago.”

Sony – “Balls”

“Balls,” a 2005 ad for Sony’s Bravia LCD TVs, opens with a birds-eye view of San Francisco. A pair of balls bounce down one of the city’s crooked streets. They’re suddenly joined by an orange ball. Next thing you know, there are 170,000 of them, descending upon San Francisco like a plague of neon locusts.

Not one word is spoken in “Balls.” Brown likes that simplicity and thinks all the elements make it work perfectly. (He’s clearly not alone in that, as the ad won a Gold Lion in Cannes in 2006.)

“The action that you’re seeing – the unbelievable colors, the music – all comes together to create an ad that’s impossible to ignore,” he says. “The business challenge is, how can you differentiate Sony’s television based on the richness of the color? It’s like a product demonstration that you’ve never seen before with a fantastic line: Colour like no other.”

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