'A case of biting the hand that feeds you' - Creative Hits & Misses of the Week

Julian Obubo, brand strategy director at Manifest, casts his eye over the week's best and worst creative offerings.


Heineken, 'Cheers to all'

Heineken has managed to create a video that celebrates the fact women drink beer without coming off as patronising and sexist. 'Cheers to All' uses a simple concept that I think most people can relate to: a waiter delivering drinks to a couple and assuming the beer is for the man and the cocktail for the woman. As a man who loves ordering cocktails, I can attest that this does occur rather frequently. What I love most about it is the payoff line: “Men drink cocktails too”. It would have been tempting to make this about women drinking beer, but Heineken has managed to get the subversive tone just right. Cheers!

Nike, New Nigeria Kit

After creating the most talked-about World Cup kit in 2018, it appears Nike has struck gold again with a beautifully designed outfit for the Nigerian Super Eagles.

As a Nigerian, it was painful to see how Adidas treated us like an afterthought, creating uninspired, unimaginative kits that looked like generic green football gear with a Nigeria Football Federation badge stuck on it. Nike restored our pride (and trust me, we are a proud people). The new kit is inspired by Onaism, a Nigerian art movement, and takes design cues from Yoruba embroidery techniques. You can tell Nike has invested in research to get it right and I can’t wait to see everyone rocking it this summer (if they can get their hands on it).

Twitter, 'Valentine’s Day/Dating Advice Bureau'

It’s great to see Twitter utilise the wealth of content on its platform to create a funny and relatable campaign. Why spend the big bucks with copywriters when you have truly original copy just waiting to be discovered?

I like that it's used the tweets from real people and kept the handles in, giving the users the chance to be social-media famous, even if just for a little bit. I’m just disappointed that my date tweets didn’t make the cut. I’ll definitely be heading down to Twitter’s pop-up today.


One United Bank, Harriet Tubman Debit Card

Is nothing sacred anymore? Is nothing off limits?

One United Bank, America’s largest black-owned bank, decided that what we needed in 2020 was a debit card featuring abolitionist Harriet Tubman throwing what appears to be the Marvel Black Panther crossed-arms salute. America sure loves the commodification of civil rights heroes (remember when Ram used Martin Luther King’s sermon to sell trucks?) but this is so brazen and so crass I’m genuinely shocked that it got signed off.

One United Bank’s logic may be that because Harriet Tubman is set to be the face of the $20 bill in the near future, it might as well get ahead of the Treasury and stick her face on its products. I might have been fine if it was just her face, but the Wakanda salute? Nope!

Natalie Portman's Oscars cape

I feel a little uneasy picking this as a miss, because the underlying intention was noble. Natalie Portman wanted to draw attention to women directors who were snubbed by the Oscars – great! Love it! How did she do this? By wearing a Dior cape with their names embroidered on it. Really? Is that the best execution?

Turns out Natalie hasn’t worked with many women directors herself, nor has her production company hired women directors either. Now, of course, there are larger structural issues at play here, but if you choose to be an activist and an advocate, make sure you have your house in order first; otherwise, it’s performative, self-aggrandising and empty.

English Heritage Video Games

This is a case of biting the hand that feeds you. The good old folks at English Heritage Trust decided that their chief enemy was video games. Yes, video games. Their research told them that without video games, millions of people would be flocking to English Heritage sites every weekend. To illustrate their anger at games, they released a flyer campaign featuring a sword smashing through a video game controller with the words: "Isn’t it time to make their virtual world history?" Damn!

English Heritage Trust was rightly criticised by gamers and video-game creators for this ill-conceived campaign. Many people, myself included, gain a deeper love for history by playing video games. This idea that there is a binary choice between the virtual world and a museum is ridiculous.

The Trust realised the error of its ways and apologised, saying: “We’re sorry for missing the mark on this one”.

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