The Alchemy of Ads: Jesus, Marvin and Legendary Man

5 min read
Feb 29, 2016
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the legendary man old spice whale

Welcome to the fifth episode of The Alchemy of Ads!

I’m quite sure you have already seen Best Super Bowl 50 commercials I’ve posted after a Big Game, so today we will focus on something else.

Grab a cup of tea, sit comfortably in your chair and enjoy!

Perfect storytelling: Dear Brother

If you ever wondered how an innovative, emotional, best commercials looks like, here it is:
“Dear Brother”. This spot was made by Daniel Titz and Dorian Lebherz – German students and aspiring commercial directors.

The most surprising fact about this commercial is that it was not made by the Johnnie Walker brand.
This is what Dorian and Daniel, the authors of the idea, said in an interview for Brand Channel:

We wanted to tell a story that captures the audience emotionally in a very short period. We came about the idea to tell the journey of two brothers who return to the places of their youth for one last time.

This ad is simply brilliant.

We watch the beautiful landscapes of Scotland, we listen to the beautiful poem that was written and read by Johnny Bang Reilly and we can almost see the invisible bond between two brothers visiting a place where they grew up.

It’s a storytelling from the top shelf and a proof that people are looking for more substantial content to view.

Cool my demons and walk with me brother

until our roads lead us away from each other

and if your heart’s full of sorrow, keep walking, don’t rest

and promise me from heart to chest

to never let your memories die, never.

Meet Marvin

You might remember sir Anthony Hopkins starring in Super Bowl’s Turbo Tax commercial.

This time Turbo Tax asked a different kind of celebrity to be a star in their commercial. They’ve asked for it dr. S. James Gates, a theoretical physicist and an award-winning scientist (literally a genius).

Dr. Gates explains to an “ordinary Marvin” that “it doesn’t take a genius to do your taxes.”

And it’s incredibly funny.

A very interesting fact is that the Super Bowl commercial, the one with Sir Hopkins, seemed to be destined for success. The copy was quite funny and who doesn’t like Anthony Hopkins for heaven’s sake?!

It turned out though that the spot was a big flop. It was seen on Youtube only 250,000 times while dr. Gates brought over 5,600,000 views!

It looks like having a celebrity in a commercial is no longer a recipe for success.


As epic a Lord of the Rings and as realistic as 50 Shades of Gray? It’s possible with Old Spice.

Meet the Legendary Man!

Sweat and body odor is your body’s way of saying: 'Hey, slow down, you need a break. But thanks to the new Dirt Destroyer, the most powerful body wash ever made, my body will finally shut up and let me live.

To my delight, Old Spice has created a website for other legendary people who would like to live the whale-riding adventure: Legendary Whale Tours.

Here’s what we can find there:

Our unique business structure has enabled us to overcome physical and legal boundaries to bring you the most extreme adventure known to mankind. Reserve your spot in history today!

legendary whale tours

But the legendary campaign does not end there. Old Spice has sent their Legendary Man into the desert to start his legendary race with a rocket car.

To complete the hoax, the company has created another website: Free Rocket Car Plans. It presents how to create a rocket car from scratch - if you have a 3-D printer of course.

free rocket car plans

This website looks professional: there’s “about us” section, FAQs and testimonials ("The plans are free, but we had to mortgage our house to buy a rocket thruster.").

I’ve downloaded the plans and found a couple of very detailed drawings that will be helpful once I get my 3-D printer.

Old Spice campaign is brilliant for a couple of reasons.

It’s funny and though it’s still ridiculous, it’s much easier to digest than the Terry Crews commercials. It’s also brilliantly written!

If you fill your brain with knowledge, there won't be any room for dreams.

Each ad was seen over 3 million times and I guess it’s just a warm up!

Single awareness day

To avoid accusations that I’m not romantic, I’d like to present you a not-so-Valentine-but-still-about-love commercial that has stolen my heart.

OK, maybe not heart, but definitely my attention.

It’s not easy to advertise a porn channel in a classy way, but PornHub proves that it is possible!

This funny, emotional and very dramatic spot is a part of PornHub’s strategy to advertise their website in a non-pornographic way. The company has even launched in 2014 an Amateur Advertising Contest and asked to create billboards that would be published in mainstream media.

The amateurs did just fine!

pornhub commercials

Honorable mention

This month’s honorable mention comes from Canada.

1one Productions, a creative company that organizes and records stunt events, has made a creative and controversial self-promo spot, “Jesus”. It reveals the untold story of Jesus’ walking on water stunt.


See you next month

That’s it for today.

Don’t forget to check out the next episode of Alchemy of Ads!

And in the meantime, if you’ve missed the most beautiful, brilliant or funny commercials I’ve found for you, check out previous episodes!