The ADLY: Independence Day 2016 Ads – Part One

hmc-blogIndependence Day found us flipping through the daily newspapers to see what the agencies and creative talent in T&T had come up with for #ID16. We were not disappointed – even in disappointment, you can always find something worthy of some advice, improvement or a laugh. Except for RBC’s ad, but that’s a story for the post itself…

The ADLY’s are meant to be fun, the result of what we would call Trini ole talk about one of the most difficult things to design for – the countless holidays in T&T. So take it as you may, it’s just our, and some of our freelancers’ opinions. We had fun creating it, hope you have fun reading it. Anyway, #huckit, let’s go!

bhp billiton

Photo 08-09-2016, 10 24 37 AM.png

There’s a nice use of white space here with a seemingly local silhouette of children , a little induced sunset and a strong, bold flag. The image works on the surface level but closer inspection reveals four elements that we really shouldn’t see distinctly: the 1. flag on top of the 2. image of the children superimposed with the 3. sunset and the 4. website text below. The typography is fantastic however, with use of brand colours and a generally nice wording. It’s the kind of lingo that Kamla used to use – a lot of fanciful positive words that generally walk you down a rose-coloured street in your mind with flowers on both sides, but the road itself doesn’t really lead anywhere. “Independent, unique, journey, individuality, growth, harmony, sustainable, togetherness” – it’s almost like Oprah’s teleprompter played word jumble then spat out a Siri-like sentence. Still, we like it.

Guardian Media Group


Oh, poor little scared Scarlet Ibis. It should be, Trinis love ah reds. (Seriously, it’s protected, do not hunt or eat our national bird please) So couple things, nice photo of the Savannah and NAPA undergoing a demolition exercise (probably cuz of all the *alleged* asbestos), nice bird, nice rock, nice fireworks. Altogether it pops, but there was a Trinidad somewhere under there, but after all those layers, we just see Tobago. The Savannah image could have been narrowed a bit too, to exempt the crane and building. Side note: at least the awful NIB Building that was just built isn’t prominent in this shot.

National Petroleum

photo-08-09-2016-10-23-25-amForward + life’s journeys. We like this one. Nice clean stripe, using the dark waters between our twin islands as the black in the mix of national colours. It’s not the destination but the journey wordography works for the brand. Logo needs a little hey-aaaa though. Definitely an improvement in their advertising overall though.



Hello, it’s me. I took all the birds in our history, all three. I added the words known since childhood, you and me. Such glee. We have never seen a flying cocrico though, so that’s cool. Wonder if they’re flying away from all the petrochemicals the company (allegedly) donates to our beaches, swamps and seas? Who knows. But c’mon, this is the laziest possible #ID16 ad possible. John Dickinson puts more effort into copy book covers. You are our NATIONAL oil company, you’re really gonna let the international companies make us look good? Is that a Cazabon painting behind the flag? Bai…

National Insurance Board


Another bird, it’s like Scarlet Ibis thanksgiving day. BUT, nice use of faces incorporated into the bird. Headline is a little, I mean, a little cliched, but it’s clean, simple, states what the NIB does below their logo and has a simple message. We really like the brush strokes though. Wish their graphic designer had some input to their new building on the Savannah which is pure national disgrace. Have you seen it?

New India Assurance Company

photo-08-09-2016-10-24-13-amThe Ganges met the Nile in one Rudder classic and in this one, T&T’s colours meet India’s. This is pretty well-done, nice idea and attempt to mix two very divergent colours. There’s something a little flat about it, including the text. Maybe blue was’t the right mesh colour here, but it is what it is. And the message is clear.

National Flour Mills

photo-08-09-2016-10-24-11-amWell, we can’t avoid the Ibis here can we. Wonder how many Trini’s licked their lips at the sight of so many Ibis one place. Seriously, you cannot eat it. Anyway, <3’s this one.  This is some stellar work in the photo – that floury imprint of T&T is fun, friendly – the kind of thing you would do as a kid when your Daddy-ma wasn’t looking at you while she turned to flip the sada with her bare hands off the tawah (that still impresses us when we see it) Anyway, well done. Independence font works (not cursive, amen) and the photo works so well we may have a gluten-attack just staring at it. The heavy black is unnecessary for the text and isn’t it implied that the ‘Board of Directors and staff blah blah blah’ are the ones wishing us this without saying it. Do you ever see “The Board of Directors of  Apple would like to wish…” No. You just see, “From Apple”. So, maybe we can work on dropping that for Republic Day. Besides, many of these State Board appointments are a bunch of crony-ism friend favours anyway, so we don’t need to be reminded of them – we rather just see your brand. And our national bird. Sigh.

First Citizens

Photo 08-09-2016, 10 20 02 AM.png

The indigenous bank works hard to remind us of their local roots and really does it exceedingly well. The message is always clean, clear, simple. The artwork appears local with nice colours for the occasion and they haven’t forced the “Board of Directors etc etc” down our throats, or their website, or their anything other than their logo. Take note major brands. Most people will search you on Google anyway, so no need to type all your details below your logo. Nice work! By the way, it’s not First Citizens Bank, it’s just First Citizens now, they don’t like when you add the bank bit. Kinda like it’s just Madonna. Or Monk Monte. Go with it, brands (and people) should get to be whatever they want to be.

Jimmy Aboud, The Textile King

photo-08-09-2016-10-23-59-amWhoever advised this one – yuh win. You deserve a raise. Or a bolt of cloth or something. You used local faces, original photography and your product and found a unique way to intertwine the #ID2016 message with your brand’s message. You’re a winner. Keep up this messaging.

Servus Facilities Management

photo-08-09-2016-10-24-08-amThis was a smaller-sized ad with the generic motto etc off the Coat of Arms, but hey at least they used their staff and had a really nice candid photo in there. Maybe a few too many things going on with at least four different fonts and the logo in the white box, but we still appreciate the sentiment.

Coca-Cola Trinidad

photo-08-09-2016-10-23-36-amFull disclosure, we’re in our fourth week of a no-Coke diet. We been Coke fanatics for years but we asked our staffers and some freelancers to switch the awesome fizz for green tea, yoghurt and other things for a change. (Yeah, we’re experimenting for our upcoming health bloggy goodness!) And yes, we miss it. This ad is, of course a little lazy, kind of the way the black fizz made us feel after a while. It’s a stock image, likely not even local and does the exact job it’s supposed to – make your mouth water for that black, sugary, fizzy goodness. But the brand could have done a more original photo. However, that would have probably taken six weeks to get approval between the client, the agency, international and the brand guide and more. Get started on Republic Day, Coke!

The House of Angostura

photo-08-09-2016-10-23-19-amWhat a breath of fresh, rum-infused air. Beautiful image, original too. We highly approve. As a home-grown brand you definitely put the work required in for this ad – it’s modern, bold, relevant, and actually uses the national bird in a laudable way. The Angostura brand is emerging as a modern and relevant one, with refreshes to the White Oak, Forres Park and Black Label logos as well. On that note, we also really love those digital billboard ads for rum. As much as we hate those digital billboards overall. This is stellar work Angostura, now give those folks at your agency (McCann) a pat on the back. [post-publishing: we received a FB message from Thais advising us that this particular gem of creative work was done by the folks at Lonsdale, Saatchi and Saatchi who also created the Great Taste is Timeless campaign for the brand earlier this year. Nice work LS&S!]

[End Part One]

We know – design is tough and sometimes there are so many cooks in the kitchen that the final design isn’t anyone’s fault. But there’s no excuse for bad design – it’s what represents your brand on so many levels. So, if you didn’t get the kudos you deserve, Republic Day is around the corner!

So, who’s your winner? We will announce ours next Friday. And Part Two premieres next Tuesday. Comment, comment, critique, like, love – we wanna know!

– Huck


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