Grey Europe’s Javier Campopiano picks his Desert Island Ads

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Javier Campopiano recently joined Grey as CCO for Europe and Global Clients. He joined Grey from FCB Mexico and prior to that spent four years at Saatchi & Saatchi where he helped to produce the Cannes award-winner ‘It’s a Tide Ad.’ He began his career at Ogilvy Argentina.

Desert Island Ads

Each time I have the chance to talk about stuff that I love, I try to give a little flavour of some work from my native Argentina.

There was so much great stuff when I started in advertising, and actually many of those pieces inspired me to take my chances in this business. So if you hate my work, blame Argentinian advertising from the mid ‘90s. Of course you´ll see some picks from around the world, but the stuff I love is always (or almost always) based in strong human insights, and also makes you feel something.

I hate stuff that doesn´t make me feel anything. It is the biggest waste of our clients’ money. I won´t mention any stuff from my current network, and of course, none of my own. There´s a nice, diverse bunch here. Too many films, maybe? OK haters, bring it on.

Renault Clio MTV – Gueropa

I still don´t understand how these guys came up with this idea. I guess that´s the highest form of praising. Everything here is genius, even the line in the end that can be kind of pretentious works perfectly.

Telecom – Yawn

Same agency, different team. This was Agulla & Baccetti, the agency that transformed Argentinian advertising. The creative teams in that place were on fire for at least ten years, creating one hit after another. In this particular case I remember yawning right after the spot ended the first time I watched it, and I got so freaking envious. Amazing insight, perfect execution.

FedEx – Jenkins

FedEx was on fire for a while. I think that, on a more profound level, its ads managed to criticise corporate America (as they did on this one too) while selling the perfect solutions for it. The idea that you can make a career repeating the same stupid phrase even if you are a nasty alien is a perfect observation.

Wendy´s – Fortnite

I am not following a chronological order as you can see. Just stuff that pops from my memory and that I know I wished I had done. With this one, you have to be really crazy to come up with the idea. You have to be so aware of everything that´s happening in a certain community, and know your brand so well. And also, have the sense of urgency to make it happen in this wonderful, sublime manner.

Harvey Nichols – Sorry, I Spent it on Myself


This is all about the importance of craft. The attention to the detail to take a little joke to the next level, and actually make those undesirable objects a gift you want to have and keep. And the irony and dry sense of humor, which is still a thing that many clients don´t dare to do.

Tide – Talking Stain

If I could exchange my entire book for one piece of work, this would be it. Here´s everything I love about advertising: a strong concept based on a human truth. No one pays attention to anything you say if you have a huge, stupid stain in your shirt. An execution that takes no prisoners: there´s no middle of the road here; the stain mumbles hilariously; the guy looks like a loser; the whole thing is sad and extremely funny. It´s just 30 seconds of magic.

Channel 4 – Meet the Superhumans

I remember thinking “so, suddenly, one of the biggest fears one can have, which is having what people call a ‘disability,’ is turned into an aspiration.” This film did that. It´s the most moving portrait of people that are actually the closest to real life superheroes we know, but I had not seen this through that lens until this ad came along.

BGH Air Conditioners – Dads in Briefs

Another one from the motherland. This was done by peeps I had the luck to work with at different stages of my career. Argentinian advertising at its best. Irony, insight, a delicate sense of humor and comedic timing, and yes, some opera. Believe it or not, we´ve all seen our dads walking around the house in briefs at some point of our lives. The summer in Buenos Aires is tough.

The New York Times – The Truth is Worth It

I have admired this brand since I was a teenager. I had my subscription way before I even moved to the US. So, seeing a campaign like this one, that reflects the values of a brand that equals great journalism without preaching and with this level of craft, gives me goosebumps. Everything is there, the construct is simple but perfect, it feels like a journalist´s idea, not an ad. The sense of urgency and danger, but most importantly, the fine line between unveiling something the world needs to see or give up and leave it buried forever. I got a little bit poetic there, which is clearly not my thing. Apologies.

T-Mobile – Dance

It’s easy to forget this one, buried under all the bad imitations that came afterwards. But when it went out, it was like “wait, what, so we can do this kind of stuff?” It opened an era of work that was just pure gut feeling. But this one is the best of the bunch. I was watching it a couple of weeks ago and I was blown away by how greatly executed it was. I had the chance to meet Paul Silburn when we both were at Saatchi´s and I always admired his funny stuff mostly, but this one was as great while hitting a completely different note.

John West – Bear

I just mentioned Paul Silburn, so I can´t leave this one out. I remember showing the Cannes Reel to my siblings (because that´s what I´d do in some family gatherings) and they would die laughing with “Hey, there´s an eagle.” Pure, simple advertising. Popular and refined in its conception and execution. The bear looks great, without CGI. All the decisions are the right ones.

Halo 3 – Believe

Just mind-blowing. I couldn´t care less about games – I still don´t – but this made me stop and think that I needed to try. It´s an integrated campaign in the true meaning of the concept, with a hero film that gives you goosebumps every time you watch it. If I care about craft it’s because of this ad, this one helped me understand the difference between good and fucking great. The ending is simply amazing.

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