Beale's best in show: BBC Olympics (Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R)

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The Independent Online

When the fireworks go up over Beijing's birds nest stadium on Friday night, it won't just be the athletes holding their breath. Some of the world's biggest brands have fame and fortune riding on the 2008 Olympic Games.

Interestingly, many of the Games' official sponsors have concentrated a lot of advertising firepower on wooing Chinese viewers. Well, there are expected to be more than a billion of them, so perhaps we should forgive advertisers such as McDonald's for running campaigns there that proclaim "I'm loving it when China wins." (Presumably they're hoping all the other competing nations can't translate the local language).

Meanwhile Olympic-themed ads have been thin on the ground here, which makes the BBC's ad to promote its coverage of the event even more of a joy.

It's by Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R with the help of Gorillaz co-creators Damon Albarn (who's composed the addictive soundtrack) and Jamie Hewlett (who's directed the spot).

The ad is a lovely animation based on the Chinese folk story Monkey King (you might remember watching the crazy TV series at tea time on BBC1 as a child). It's a riot of colour and life, and rewards a lot of viewings, when you're likely to notice references to some sporting events you missed the first time round. The BBC is on a real advertising roll, and this latest is one of its best.

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