Unruly / Blog / Penguin Hunting And The Amazon ‘Robopocalypse’: 5 Ads You Should Watch Right Now

Penguin Hunting And The Amazon ‘Robopocalypse’: 5 Ads You Should Watch Right Now

Sainsbury’s goes penguin hunting, Goldiebox goes all 1984 on us and Amazon plots the end of the world (not really!). Yep, it’s just another week in AdLand!

So which ads have caught fire on the web over the last seven days? Here are our five picks.



5. Boots – Special Because

While Christmas advertising is more or less defined by multinational corporations trying to out-schmaltz each other, occasionally brands do find a new way to tell an old story.

Boots’ Christmas offering, ‘Special Because’, has been relatively overlooked during the seasonal deluge with fewer than 9,000 shares since release. However, it’s certainly one of the more inventive of this year’s crop so far, wrapping a clever, sweet concept up in a tidy parcel. When was the last time you saw a Christmas ad set on Boxing Day? Exactly.

While I won’t spoil the outcome, ‘Special Because’ certainly shares some DNA with John Lewis’ 2011 blockbuster. In a remarkably un-mawkish way, it’s about the fabled ‘true spirit of Christmas’ and I hope some more people watch it.


4. Goldieblox – The Big Sister Machine

Are you a fan of Ridley Scott’s groundbreaking ‘1984’ Apple advert? Are you not a fan of socially-conditioned views of idealised femininity? Then boy oh boy, this is your lucky day.

Goldieblox, an American toy company producing action figures for girls, boldly ignores its target demographic by parodying a 30-year-old Super Bowl ad, but ‘The Big Sister Machine’ is still pretty interesting. The name of the insidious fem-bot is obviously a nod to its Orwellian origins, just as the rows of homogenous drones exactly recall Scott’s ad. Oh yeah, except they’re little girls dressed as princesses.

Following hot on the heels of FCKH8’s ‘Potty-Mouthed Princesses’, it’s heartening to see this kind of discourse circulating on social media, even if the execution is variable. Judging by ‘The Big Sister Machine’s’ success, I imagine there will be a fair few Goldieblox under Christmas trees this year.


3. Beats by Dre – Ain’t No Game

Shifting tone ever so slightly, we move now to Beats by Dre’s heartfelt tribute to being really, really strong. Pushing the athletic advantages of its compact ‘PowerBeats2’ headphones, ‘Ain’t No Game’ features LeBron James and various other strong people demonstrating that fitness, indeed, ain’t no game.

Propelled by the sweat-soaked, muscle-bound energy of a Jean Claude Van Damme film, the spot’s backing music boasts a pretty excellent verse from rapper Kendrick Lamar. Not to mention, it features every kind of physical activity under the sun, including push-ups, pull-ups, weights training and whatever it’s called when you throw a heavy ball at the ground really hard.

The message seems to be that, as long as you’ve got the right tunes, you too can go harder, better, faster, stronger.


2. Sainsbury’s – Christmas Is For Sharing

Just when you thought John Lewis had the Christmas advertising season tied up and packed away, Sainsbury’s drops that adorable penguin’s toughest opponent yet. Recreating the events of the famous Christmas Truce during the First World War, ‘Christmas Is For Sharing’ is already being touted as the new ad to beat.

Sumptuously produced, Sainsbury’s decision to appropriate the centenary may draw controversy from some corners. However the combination of a real life event and its sentimental depiction might prove to set the social web alight this coming weekend.

While Sainsbury’s may have taken a risk with a bolder concept for their Christmas campaign, we’ll have to wait and see if it pays off.


1. Amazon – Introducing Amazon Echo

While the rest of us trundle along obliviously towards the Christmas festivities, the boffins over at Amazon are quietly plotting the end of the world. Well, they’re actually releasing a potentially home-transforming voice-commanded computer, but I’ve seen too many sci-fi films.

The Echo, which looks a bit like Apple’s Siri captured in a Pringle can, allows users to queue up music, write shopping lists and all sorts of handy things just by addressing the amiable-voiced robot. And it’s able to do this because IT CAN HEAR YOU ALL THE TIME. Did I mention this? Excuse me, I’ll put my tin foil hat away.

While the spot does an admirable job of making Echo look dispensable and I’m sure every home, school and bus stop will have one two years from now, it’ll take a lot to convince me to abate my skepticism. My inner conspiracy theorist keeps insisting this is the first step in the robopocalypse. To paraphrase T.S. Eliot:

This is the way the world ends.

This is the way the world ends.

This is the way the world ends.

Not with a bang but with a voice command.