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Five ads I wish I’d made, and one I did – by Cristiano Tonnarelli

Merkle ECD Cristiano Tonnarelli picks ads on the theme of 'Unskippable ideas'

Cristiano Tonnarelli, executive creative director at Merkle (Dentsu MENA)


Cristiano Tonnarelli (centre), executive creative director, Merkle (Dentsu MENA)

Unskippable ideas

These are magnetic ideas that attract people, don’t look like ads and help brands build value and trust.

Impossible to ignore, they have an impact through being provocative, fresh, brave and relevant, they spark conversations and get media exposure only for their inner strength. They add value to people’s lives because they solve small or big problems, make people think or behave differently, educate or entertain, and move.

Because people love to laugh, cry, be surprised, learn, solve their problems and improve their life, even with the help of brands.

In these time, most of us are thinking what this industry will become next. Creativity is our core business and starting from what creativity is able to do, it is the best way to re-invent ourselves.


These are the five ads I wish I’d made…

REI #Optoutside – This is the best demonstration that having a relevant brand purpose is important but is even more crucial to act coherently. And when you do it, and show that you genuinely and naturally care, people are always ready to reward your brand.

 Venables Bell & Partners San Francisco – 2016


Harvey Nichols – Perfect and brave campaign, beautifully crafted. 100% on-brand, disruptive for the category, able to generate infinite executions and millions of earned media. It is not only fun, it also makes people feel less guilty and provides original ideas for Christmas gifts.

ADAM&EVEDDB London– 2014


 Carrefour – Black supermarket This idea had a deep impact in the society. The brand is not only saying but also doing. It won many awards, for both creativity and effectiveness (Effectiveness Grand Prix in Cannes). Because doing, rather than only saying, sells.

 Marcel Paris – 2018


Volvo – Life paint

This idea solves a problem, giving Volvo a key role on street safety, even if the product is not directly connected with the car.

Grey London – 2016


Gatorade – Reply

I will never forget this campaign, for many reasons. The same year I won several golds at Cannes for Heineken, and this idea hindered us to win 2 Grand Prix. So, probably this is the main reason why I wish I did it.

But also, because I have to admit the idea is brilliant, created a strong emotional bond with a community, very relevant for the audience, 100% on brand, generated hours of branded content and earned media. With the purpose to improve life of inactive people.

TBWA Chiat/Day Los Angeles – 2010 



And one I did…


Samsung Maestro Academy – Leo Burnett Milan 2014

I’m proud of this for many reasons.

We applied a brand purpose and brand’s products to solve real problems.

It provided solid opportunity for younger generations and inspired them to preserve and innovate the most precious Italian heritage.

The platform is still live and working after 5 years https://maestrosacademy.samsung.it/?lng=en

One of the outputs of the platform was a bike prototype, now archived at MOMA in New York.

After 3 years from its launch, Samsung smart Bike was produced for real by Italjet in partnership with Samsung.

It was awarded by Innovation Cannes Lions.


Digital platform


The Smart Bike