If there was any effort last year that made us believe that brands do have the power to make the world a better place, it was 180 LA's "Find Yours" campaign. The series of online stories sought to put a human face to travel, and do so, most touchingly on one particular short "Find Your Understanding," which followed a father's journey as he came to terms with his daughter's same-sex marriage. Another moving film created in collaboration with St. Jude's Children's hospital followed a cancer survivor named Maggie who spends her days traveling around the country speaking about her own trials with the disease.
The agency was also behind "The Return" campaign for adidas, which included a marvelous spot that captured the world's shock the day Derrick Rose ended his season as well as a series of riveting documentary films following his road to recovery.
180LA also managed to make RG3 look even more scary in the menacing adidas "Weighs on You" spot and brought more fun to Mitsubishi with the "Unpretentious" app that helped you weed out your snootiest Facebook friends. For new client Kim Crawford, 180 LA pulled a fast one on art and fashion influencers during the "Undone" event, a so-called "exhibit" of work by photographer Miles Aldridge that turned the guests into the subjects of the wine brand's new campaign.
AKQA helped to push the creative bar forward this year with an assortment of work out of its offices around the globe. Out of San Francisco, it helped to reimagine the catalog for the social age with Styld.by, a digital effort that tapped various top fashion blogs and sites to see how they would style the brand's 2012 collection in their own way. The S.F. office also brought serious fun to games, with a hilarious viral video that pit comedian/actor Chris Pratt against Darth Vader, and a Halo 4 launch campaign that turned game elements into 3D holograms and sent mysterious objects flying through the London sky.
Meanwhile, the U.K. office helped to bring the Nike+ experience to Kinect and brought Bollywood to Nissan in a massive Bollywood production whose cast, was found, in large part, through social media. In Japan, the agency sent Nike fans running through Tokyo on a wild search for Flyknit-flavored prizes, for the fun Innovation Hunt campaign while New York gave a home to digital innovation for Google's Creative Sandbox.
In 2011, CAA Marketing captured our hearts with Chipotle's "Back to the Start," the heart-warming animated spot via Nexus director Johnny Kelly that followed one industrial farmer's journey back to sustainability and featured a then-new cover of Coldplay's "The Scientist" by Willie Nelson. But part of the effort's continuing brilliance was the agency and brand's decision to air it during the 2012 Grammy's, during which it arguably captured audience hearts more than any other performance of the night and skyrocketed the film to the tops of the viral charts.
The film itself went on to sweep 2012's awards circuit yet was just one facet of a more action-oriented platform that included the establishment of The Chipotle Cultivate Foundation, a non-profit that helps to strengthen the brand's philanthropic efforts as well as Chipotle's Cultivate Food, Ideas and Music Festival. The live event launched in Chicago in 2011 to a crowd of 16,000 and re-upped in September 2012, boasting a nearly 50% leap in attendance to 30,000. Meanwhile, CAA added more gas to the brand's Boorito annual Halloween fundraiser with a viral film starring Rob Riggle dressed as Frankenstein. The effort brought more buzz to the brand and topped AdAge Social Buzz chart and raised $1 million for the Cultivate Foundation. Other interesting content moves included a film that saw the return of ZZ Top for Diageo's Jeremiah Weed as well as a new unscripted series for TLC "On The Fly", for Southwest Airlines.
Former BBDO Argentina director of integrated communications Nico Pimentel had a new way of working in mind when he launched +Castro in Argentina more than two years ago. He had big ideas, new technology and invention in mind when it came to bringing clients' messages to the masses, all of which is evident in the innovation house's interesting array of proejcts. In 2012 the agency pulled off perhaps the most epic concert ever, for Trident brand Beldent. The Beldent Random Fest, conceived out of the agency's Project Fly Innovation Garage alongside Kraft/Mondelez and Contagious Insights, brought the idea of a mixed playlist to a live event. Four different bands appeared on four separate stages, but who would play was determined by a lighthouse randomizer in the middle of it all, sending audiences running in a mad frenzy across the venue.
Coming off wild 2011 moves like the Lay's vending machine that turned (or appeared to turn) real potatoes into potato chips, the agency brought more thrills to point of sale for Tropicana, for the brand's new Twister drinks, with an installation that recognizes different fruits via their H20 content.
The agency also got into the heart of the city, for Vidacol and the Argetina Cardiology Foundation, channeling the the actual pulses of Argentine citizens into a massive, thumping out of home monument.
Del Campo Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi
Del Campo Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi Buenos Aires once again proved that home appliance advertising can be a hotbed of creativity, for client BGH. The agency was behind the brilliant "Dads in Briefs" campaign for the brand's air conditioners, which presented several hirsute, scantily clad excuses for you to buy a new AC, as well as the spine-tingling "Summer Hater" spot that showed how the brand has kept the world safe from dangerous, imaginative lunatics.
The agency also turned out more clever inventions for the client's Microwave line, this time, a food saver system that keeps lunch thieves away. For longtime client Andes, the agency produced a beautiful, absurd film about a man with bottles for fingers and staged a spectacular stunt that rescued brew fans from boring family functions.
McCann Worldwide New York
Bolstered by a new cadre of Swedish creative leadership that includes former Mother New York leader Linus Karlsson and DDB Stockholm creative honcho Andreas Dahlqvist, and under the stewardship of N.Y. Chief Creative Officers Sean Bryan and Tom Murphy, McCann New York produced some of the year's most thrilling creative surprises. The agency brought fresh ideas to categories in which you wouldn't expect to find them. For General Mills' Nature Valley, it made life a lot easier for granola bar eaters--and, hikers, presumably, with the Trail View campaign for General Mills' Nature Valley, with a site that brought Streetview tech to National Parks. It culled together 330 miles of immersive content about the parks, including 360-degree panoramic views of various trails and interactive park info.
Meanwhile, the agency also made Weight Watchers worth talking about with a fabulous new spokes-dieter, Charles Barkley in drag.
Meanwhile, the agency helped to bring the Ikea Catalog to the digital age--and keep it relevant all year long, with an ambitious effort that brought interactive content to its pages.
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