Giant Pacmen and Nightmare Faces: 5 Ads You Should Watch Right Now

A man is turned into a giant Pacman, footballers get hated on and Microsoft makes a design interface that Tony Stark would be jealous of. Yep, it’s just another week in AdLand!

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

Enjoy!

5. Bud Light – Real Life Pacman

If you didn’t think the Super Bowl was spectacular enough already, Bud Light has supplied a little life-sized ’80’s nostalgia to kick things up a notch. As part of their freewheeling ‘#UpForWhatever’ campaign, the beer brand turned a real person into video game icon Pacman for the evening. As you do.

As with last year’s game day commercial, the spot finds an unsuspecting member of the public drafted into insane situations, all in the name of low calorie beer. Lured into PacMan’s maze, like Theseus after the Minotaur, our plucky hero eventually wins the day and is handed a Bud Light. He concludes, clutching a Bud Light as prize, “I love this life”. Can’t say fairer than that.

4. Old Spice – Nightmare Face

As the novelty of bright, shiny January turns into slightly deflated February, let’s be thankful for the things that never change. Among them, the resilient insanity of Old Spice advertising campaigns.

With larger-than-life spokesman Terry Crews back for more servings of weirdness, latest ‘Nightmare Face’ finds Crews having an eerie encounter with several different versions of himself, including an old man and his own spouse. He also eventually shaves himself out of existence. If this isn’t making any sense, you’ll have to check it out for yourself.

3. Prince’s Trust – Can You See Their Potential?

‘Can You See Their Potential?’ is a moving and well-produced PSA from The Prince’s Trust, illustrating various social issues faced by young people in Britain, from domestic abuse, to homelessness and street crime. As the title suggests, the spot asks viewers to examine and contextualise the potential of young people.

This is achieved through a clever technique of juxtaposition, with actors describing admirable characteristics for a job applicant, all the while contending with issues of social inequality. Phrases like “hard worker” or “possesses good communication skills” are turned from trite CVisms into a statement with a social conscience. It’s a simple but affecting premise that captures The Prince’s Trust’s aims succinctly.

2. adidas – There Will Be Haters

Certainly one of the more self-satisfied ads of the year so far, adidas’ ‘There Will Be Haters’ offers the reasonable hypothesis that when you’re the absolute best at what you do, some people are liable to hate on you. Ironically, if you star in an ad proclaiming you’re the absolute best at what you do, more people are liable to hate on you.

This is more or less exactly what happens with Gareth Bale, Luis Suarez and a couple other players in the ad. Standing against a backdrop that flashes their achievements, the players bask in hyperkinetic visuals while a narrator explains what’s quite so great about them. What it lacks in modesty, it makes up for in pulsing lights.

1. Microsoft – Hololens: Transform Your World With Holograms

If you’re familiar with the television show ‘Black Mirror’, you’ll know that skepticism of new technology is more or less de rigueur these days. That being said, if anything can make a case for abandoning the old ways and living completely in the loving embrace of the web, then its Microsoft’s Hololens.

Seemingly the hologram advance we’ve been dreaming of since ‘Minority Report’, Microsoft promises never-ending wonders in their jam-packed 2 minute spot. Floating Skype interfaces? Got. Turning your living room into a MineCraft playground? Why not. A design interface to make Tony Stark jealous? Oh, you guessed it.

While Microsoft gives no indication when such a product will hit the market, I’d suggest going camping or taking a hike somewhere before it does. Because I can’t imagine there’ll be a huge amount of going outside once these things take over.