The Guardian says no to oil ads; h-e-e-ere’s Cranston, and W+K’s first work for McDonald’s

The Guardian says no to oil and gas ads

British newspaper The Guardian announced Wednesday that it would no longer accept advertising from oil and gas companies.

“Our decision is based on the decades-long efforts by many in that industry to prevent meaningful climate action by governments around the world,” said the company’s acting chief executive, Anna Bateson, and chief revenue officer Hamish Nicklin in a joint statement.

Like every newspaper in the digital age, The Guardian has developed new financial streams beyond traditional advertising, although ads still make up 40% of Guardian Media Group’s revenue.

“It’s true that rejecting some adverts might make our lives a tiny bit tougher in the very short term,” said Bateson and Nicklin in their statement. “Nonetheless, we believe building a more purposeful organi[z]ation and remaining financially sustainable have to go hand in hand.”

Cranston channels his inner Nicholson in MTN DEW Super Bowl ad

The Super Bowl ads are coming fast and furious in the lead-up to Sunday’s game, and perhaps one of the most intense is one from MTN DEW recreating the infamous “Here’s Johnny” scene from Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining.

The ad, titled “As good as the original. Maybe even better?” features Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston as the axe-wielding Jack Torrance character made famous by Jack Nicholson. He chases down his wife Wendy (played to perfection by Black-ish‘s Tracee Ellis Ross) and hacks down the door, just so he can share a bottle of MTN DEW Zero Sugar.

The creative concept here is that a modernized version of MTN DEW can be just as good as the original. We’re almost certainly in the minority here, but we think Kubrick’s movie version of the Stephen King novel is actually an overwrought, over-acted mess, with perhaps the worst score ever committed to celluloid. (Ed. Note “we” = Chris Powell.)

McDonald’s USA caused a stir last September when it hired Wieden + Kennedy New York as its new lead creative agency. W+K is inarguably one of the most successful agencies in the world, famous for its breakthrough work for clients including Nike and Bud Light. What could they do for the house that Ronald McDonald built?

At the time, McDonald’s said the hiring was part of its “Bigger Bolder Vision 2020,” and W+K was tapped to “develop creative ideas that will influence culture and drive customer excitement.”

We got our first taste of that work this weekend with the release of six 15-second Quarter Pounder fetish ads narrated by Succession star Brian Cox. Each spot focuses on a component of the iconic burger—bun, onions, cheese, pickles, fries (put them on your burger, says Cox), and the beef patty itself. Cox delivers a quirky ode to each ingredient explaining how they contribute to the “juiciest Quarter Pounder yet,” before closing with the tagline “It’s perfect, made perfecter,” though he doesn’t actually say why the burger is “perfecter” than before.

Snickers proposes a solution for society’s ills

Grown men riding scooters, babies named after produce, the surveillance state and a rise in robocalls are just some of the world’s ills addressed by Snickers in a decidedly cynical Super Bowl ad called “#SnickersFixTheWorld.”

Created by the brand’s longtime agency partner BBDO New York, the 75-second teaser is a contemporary take on Coca-Cola’s famous “Hilltop” ad (AKA “I’d like to teach the world to sing”), featuring a chorus of people singing about giving the world an oversized Snickers to make it feel like itself again.

It’s a logical extension of the brand’s enduring “You’re not you when you’re hungry” campaign, embodied by the super at the end of the spot:”Maybe the world just needs a Snickers.” Digging a giant hole and dropping in an impossibly huge Snickers bar to solve everything. If only it were that easy.


David Brown