When word came a couple of days ago that Accenture Interactive bought Droga5, there was no doubt why. The formerly independent firm named after founder David Droga has shown brilliance one time after the next in its work.
Ads are tough. They have to sell a product or concept and yet be intriguing or funney enough on their own to keep people watching. Some ideas are good enough to ultimately become a form of entertainment on their own. The stakes are high. Here's hoping that Accenture doesn't smother what it wanted in the first place.
In the meantime, here are some great Droga5 ads from the past.
1. Starting with the impossible tag
The first big piece that caught international attention was from 2006. Fashion brand Ecko Unlimited was going mainstream, which was a problem as its head was Marc Ecko, graffiti artist. There was too much chance of losing the original street cred. So Droga5 helped put together a stunt: Ecko tagged Air Force One, the presidential aircraft. Impossible, right? Absolutely. The whole viral video was faked. (You didn't really think that the government was going to cooperate on something like that, right?) That the Pentagon had to deny the stunt actually happened multiple times just added to the mystique.
2. Game of brews
Sometimes the best way to get attention for one brand is to bring another along and capture the confusion and surprise of consumers. Droga5 did that for Bud Lite and Game of Thrones with a medieval setting and joust that ran during the Super Bowl.
3. Extreme views
One approach that Droga5 has taken on multiple occasions is to tell a stunning visual story and connect a brand only at the end, after the audience has been wowed. This add for Hennessey brought together the imagined trips a father and son pair took decades apart: August Piccard was the first person to reach the stratosphere back in 1931 and 29 years later, son Jacques was the first to reach the bottom of the ocean.
4. Pull over, someone wants brats
Don't assume that an agency's strength is purely in creating attention-grabbing ads and stunts. A smart group will understand how to work with a company to develop concepts that work. Part of the Johnsonville Sausage brand is a focus on the involvement of employees. Droga5 took ad suggestions from some of them, turning the ideas into emotionally compelling, or very funny, pieces. Or, sometimes, just odd. First up, the employees pitching ideas. Then, some of the results.
5. International house of what?
Remember the stories when the International House of Pancakes, or IHOP, decided to become the International House of Burgers? This was more than the ad below:
It was an entire marketing campaign, with social media teasing on what the "b" might stand for, and, according to Droga5, a resulting 28,000 broadcast segments and articles. (I guess it's now 28,001.)
All smart work from a smart agency. Hopefully they'll get to keep the edge.