Mullen proved it had its finger well and truly on the audience's pulse this year with intelligent use of social media and a number of well-timed tactical campaigns.
One of its best moves -- and one of the year's finest reactive ad moments, was the fake Craiglist ad for Breaking Bad character Walter White's Mexico home, just hours before the finale of the show, for real estate marketer Century 21. Later in this year, another ad for the brand identified the midpoint between President Obama and Speaker Boehner's homes in Hawaii and Ohio and invited them to sort out the government shutdown there.
The agency led another client, Jet Blue, in another smart social media move and quickly came out in support of gay NBA star Jason Collins with a well-timed Facebook post. The airline's "Air on the Side of Humanity" spot that compared people flying with other airlines to pigeons, also brought a welcome, human approach to airline marketing. It included an app that taught consumers how to "speak pigeon" on their smartphones.
TV work for Google continued to be inventive; this year there were funny and topical examples of different well-known characters using Google Play in which the viewer was invited to guess the user. The mystery searches turned out to belong to the likes of Cookie Monster and Khaleesi from Game of Thrones.
The agency also brought history to life for the National Geographic Channel to promote its Killing Lincoln and Killing Kennedy documentaries, sourcing new material (such as StreetView photos of relevant places) for companion websites to make the stories fresh and interesting even when people knew the outcome. The Killing Kennedy site even synched with live airings of the movie to give viewers a second-screen experience.
And Zappo's Baggage Claim stunt, which surprised passengers at Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport with a Wheel-of-Fortune style surprise at the baggage claim, was one of the most delightful stunts of the holiday season.
Notably, Mullen's impact is growing stateside, and its San Franciso hub made its own waves with AirB&B's' "Hollywood and Vines" campaign, created with B-Reel. It asked consumers to contribute their Vine films to become part of a short movie about travel and adventure (eventually broadcast on the Sundance channel).