Film--still one of the most powerful ways to reach the consumer, and frankly, this year we were quite surprised by how creatively fertile the category was in the last year. Here are Creativity's picks of the 2012 television, online video and branded content work, representing a perfect balance of idea and execution.
Wieden + Kennedy, Portland
While some advertisers like Volkswagen proved that "holding out" until game day isn't necessarily a winning strategy, Ad Age Marketer of the Year Chrysler and Wieden+Kennedy Portland showed that there's still something to be said about saving yourself for the big night. The automaker dispensed with the pre-game online tease and unveiled this moving film directed by Chelsea Pictures' David Gordon Green and starring Clint Eastwood. In it, he gives the country a moving pep talk a la Frankie Dunn. Now only if we could forget about the chair. (See full credits here.)
#9: TNT "Belgian Arrival"
Duval Guillaume Modem
Now this is a stunt: Deliverer of drama (or so their tagline says) TNT makes a grand splash to tell the people of Belgium that it had arrived in their country. Duval Guillaume and the network placed a large red button in the middle of an "average town square" in a small Flemish town and invited people to "push to add drama." Archetypal plot devices come to life in a grand spectacle representing what to expect when you watch TNT.#8 BGH "Dads in Briefs"
Del Campo Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi
Leave it to Del Campo Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi to use fat hairy dads in their underwear to sell air-conditioning. The multi-awarded effort continues to keep us in stitches, and it's hard to believe that a client bought into what seems like a ridiculous idea. But it had a sound strategy and David Beckham helped to sell it in. Later on in the year, the client went on to use more scare tactics to sell its appliances, but of a different, creepier sort.
#7 McDonald's "Why Our Food"
Why does McDonald's food look so good in ads (plump bun, juicy patty, leafy lettuce) and so flat in real life? Does the meat really come from tubes? Why is Micky D's so cheap? And are chicken nuggets made from crushed bones? McD's Canada took on these questions in an unusual show of transparency for the company in "Your Questions."#6 Samsung "The Next Big Thing is Already Here"
Samsung's hilarious takedown of iPhone users by 72&Sunny climbed every single viral video chart and managed to become part of the cultural conversation. The various spots employed a tactic that, oddly enough, was kind of reminiscent of the Mac's strategy toward PCs, back in the day. Even the most devoted Apple fanatics were hard-pressed not to snigger at this winner.#5 Coor Down "Integration"
Saatchi & Saatchi
CoorDown, the national association for people with Down Syndrome in Italy and Saatchi & Saatchi marked UN World Down Syndrome Day in an exceptionally creative way. Themed "integration," the campaign programmed alternative versions of well-known commercials and television shows. In collaboration with Careefour, Toyota and illy coffee, the project took inclusion to a new level, with regular ads featuring characters that have Down Syndrome.#4 The Guardian "Three Little Pigs"
The Guardian teamed with BBH London on its first major brand positioning spot in 25 years, highlighting the news organization's "Open Journalism" approach via a very familiar story, The Three Little Pigs. Perhaps you could recite the classic tale in your sleep, but now, set in the modern day, it becomes something totally different, especially if you factor in all the opinions and angles from the digital and social media world. The ad was accompanied by print efforts that pushed the paper's "the whole picture" positioning.#3 DirecTV "Platoon"
DirecTV's implausible, hilarious scenarios created one of ours -- and Bill Clinton's -- favorite television campaigns of the year. Grey New York made the company a household name with its "What if" campaign, where each spot started off with the premise that you didn't have DirecTV -- and how awful (and weird) your life became without it. It was hard to pick just one spot of the infinitely watchable campaign, so check out the rest here.#2: P&G "Best Job"
Wieden + Kennedy, Portland
You may think one of the hardest jobs in the world is being an Olympian, but this short film promoting P&G's sponsorship of the games, out of Wieden + Kennedy, Portland and directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, shows one role that may be a bit tougher than that. The two-minute short ran on on P&G's Facebook page, and shorter versions were broadcast in the lead up to the Games.#1: Nike "Jogger"
Wieden + Kennedy, Portland
Arguably, the campaign that continued to resonate with viewers well after the Olympics were over was Nike's "Find Your Greatness%u201D campaign, out of Wieden + Kennedy Portland, which focuses on the strength of the everyman athlete found in Londons elsewhere--not those commanding the stadium in London, England. But perhaps the most touching ad from the campaign was this one, featuring a lone boy runner on a country road, via director Lance Acord.
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