Phil Bilbrough: Love those BIG Ads

Love those BIG Ads

By Phil Bilbrough

I was in advertising and parts of me (liver, kidney) are still. Why did I get into advertising? Well I like BIG ads and when I was offered an ad job, I was unemployed.  I still likeBIG ads. TV Ads were always more exciting than our TV and ads are the only thing to look at in a magazine. Those and the naked women.

It was the BIG ads that seduced many others into the ad business. When I was there I was part of some cool things, and most remained cool regardless of the grief I took getting them out the door. But I never worked with BIG budgets… and if I had a BIG budget I would make a BIG football ad.

My brief to me. The World Cup is about the Gods of Football – both their drama and their miracle-skill. Football is my drug and the World Cup is my near-death dose of heroin. To advertise around the World Cup I need to shoot-up all the football junkies (guys like me).

And big football ads do just that. Nike get it. This perhaps is the BIGGEST football ad ever. Or it might be this one… or this older one or this one..

This one is dumb, this one funny.

Then again one of my football favourites is this goofy ESPN Sports Center ad (they makes 1000s of ads) featuring US Football player Landon Donovan. Here is ESPN’s World Cup one, and this one, I mean they are a BIG channel and I like their ads at lot.

Beyond World Cup TV ads, there is this uninspiring World Cup Facebook app. Nuff said, nothing addictive there.

ESPN don’t just make BIG World Cup ads they make a lot of ads that feature BIG sports stars (most times in their sport’s gear) many whom I don’t know except for Kobe Bryant, Roger Federer, Tiger Woods, Maria Sharapova, and Steve Irwin?

Vampires are BIG – so if your network has a big vampire hit then you do an iPhone app, create an industry niche, create a vampire cause, fuel it and create a dating service.

Coke is still BIG (I can’t get over how much shelf space Coke gets in New Zealand supermarkets) and this campaign is BIG (not in the big way that this Turkish Coke Zero ad, (trust me you don’t need to know the language)). A campaign across every media – saves an agency trying to figure (and coming with the bullshit) out which channel is best to reach the audience.

New Zealand used to do BIG ads. Remember the Anchor family? What a great drama. Did our advertising get a mention in 50 years of TV?

I might not make any BIG ads – and BIG isn’t always better – well actually it is. BIG is awe-inspiring and making BIG ads is sexy (especially for the World Cup). BIG ads satiate football fans, and they shoot up a few more people and hook’m into the ad business.


Phil Bilbrough is a freelance online advertising specialist who is blogging on the subject for Scoop at He can be contacted at

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