2020 sucked in so many ways. And yet in spite of all that happened – or maybe in some ways because of all that happened – we saw some great creative work. Here’s my round up of some of the best advertising to come out of one of the most challenging of years.
Inspired by Iceland I think we’ve all felt like screaming sometime over the last twelve months. This cathartic ad from the Icelandic tourist board encourages you to let it all out. And have your scream released into the wild artic wastelands …
Toyota NZ Remember that slew of ads from the start of lockdown scored with melancholic piano motifs encouraging us, now more than ever, to be together apart - or was it apart together? Well, this spot from Toyota New Zealand expresses our desire for human contact in a way more original format. Great writing, lovely performances.
Snickers And when it came to dramatizing our new reality, few brands nailed it quite as succinctly as Snickers …
Libresse ‘Viva La Vulva’ from Libresse is in my top ten ads of all time. It’s so good I wasn’t sure it could be bettered. But with ‘Womb Stories’ Libresse showed once again how a brand can handle human truths in a way which feels heartfelt and important.
Beats by Dr Dre The murder of George Floyd initiated a cultural conversation about race. A shout out to Beats by Dr Dre for skewering one of the paradoxes at the heart of popular culture when it comes to blackness …
Tesco Plasters And to illustrate how far we’ve yet to go when it comes to issues of race, it was only this year that Tesco became the first UK supermarket to stock plasters in a variety of skin tones. This blisteringly simple print campaign was inspired by a customer’s tweet.
Nike ‘Mamba Forever’ Kobe Bryant was just one of those we lost this year. The response to his death from Nike has, in my opinion, the best voice-over delivery of all time, thanks to the one and only Kendrick Lamar.
BBC ‘Dracula’ Sometimes advertising is better than the product it promotes. That’s how it was for me with the BBC’s Dracula - though my kids would definitely disagree. This exquisitely executed special build billboard only comes to life once the darkness descends …
IKEA And while we’re on outdoor, I loved the idea behind this series of ads promoting IKEA’s sheets, pillows and duvets. A beautifully simple creative thought. And it was shot for real too, a nice touch which lends the work extra quality.
Women’s Aid To give your message impact and make it memorable you don’t always need a big budget. Powerful copy and thoughtful art direction can be more than enough. In this execution for Women’s Aid, published in Vanity Fair, a closer inspection reveals a darker truth.
Patagonia Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia, once said, ‘A principle isn’t a principle until it costs you something’. Too many brands claimed a brand purpose in 2020 without really giving a f**k. Patagonia is a brand with a genuine commitment to making the world a better place. People who bought their clothes this year will have found an unexpected message on the label. And the asshole was indeed voted out.
Blandbook While we’re on brands I loved this brilliant pastiche of the worst kind of lazy, lame-assed brand thinking from copywriter Vikki Ross and designer Paul Mellor and friends. Why stand out when you were born to fit in?
Channel 4 The Christmas commercials this year were a pretty mixed bunch. Of the early runners the Burberry ad was my fave. But this spot from Channel Four which came out only this week is great. It takes us deep inside Mascot HQ …
Ad of the Year There’s a clear winner for me for the best commercial of 2020. It’s a brilliantly simple idea, based on a powerful human truth, brought to life with an exquisite execution. And you can’t do any better than that. I love this ad for Childline.
That’s all from me.
And from this strangest of years.
Good to know that no matter what life throws us at us creative people will continue to make great creative work.
Here’s to 2021.
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