Argentine Del Campo Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi's forte might very well be product innovation. Known for creating the Teletransporter for Andes Beer, the agency came up with another brilliant creation this year, for BGH Microwaves. The beeping of your everyday microwave doesn't live up to the excitement you actually feel when your food is ready, so the agency created this limited edition line of 1000 ovens that actually play a tune when the time is up. The ovens sold out immediately, but will be going into commercial production for real, next year.
Graubunden Tourism: Obermutten Goes Global
Arguably, this was the feel-good campaign of the year. A tiny Swiss town boasting not even 80 residents earned the global spotlight thanks to this Facebook effort created out of Jung von Matt Limmat. The village of Obermuttten, and its fellow tiny towns in Switzerland's Graubunden region, aren't exactly the biggest tourism magnets, given that you need to take a five-hour ride in a 4x4 to even reach them. But once you do, you'll discover that they're known for the warm, personal attention they give to visitors. JVM wanted to convey that very feeling with this Facebook page featuring videos of its mayor promising that anyone who Liked the town would get his or her profile picture posted, in real life, on the local bulletin board, the town forum for big announcements like weddings and births. The campaign earned the town more than 9,000 fans, media reports in more than 20 countries and left residents in a bit of a kerfuffle finding room to accommodate fans' pictures. (The billboard filled up very quickly, and the townspeople had to resort to borrowing the walls of nearby barns.)
Hall's Green Grape Sculptures
There's a particular cough drop in Brazil that locals apparently eat like candy--Hall's Green Grape. So it's not hard to imagine its fans' ire all over social media channels when the brand decided to pull the flavor from its shelves. So what did Hall's do? It not only decided to bring the flavor back, but, working with Espalhe Guerilla Marketing, it decided to honor its most ardent supporters by immortalizing them in one of the most noble materials ever-Green Grape candy. The agency hired a group of local Brazilian artists to sculpt Green Grape busts of three of the most passionate fans (each required about 5,000 candies) and held a contest on Facebook to find the fourth person to be preserved in cough drop history.
Heineken: The Entrance
The best time of the year may have been had by the super stud--and everyone he encounters--in this festive Heineken spot that brought the brand back to form, created out of Wieden . Kennedy Amsterdam and directed by Fredrik Bond. Here, a dashing, tux-clad gent sweeps into a grand ballroom drawing fun, excitement and even a bit of kung fun with each step, culminating in his flute-playing accompaniment alongside the spot's soundtrack performers The Asteroids Galaxy Tour.
We could have filled this list with Ikea work alone, given that over the last year, the brand littered Creativity's proverbial pages with fabulous campaigns from all over the world. Just a few examples: a partnership with local home renters and sellers in Sweden that allowed the brand to showcase its new couch in their real estate ads-and vice versa, out of SMFB Norway; Forsman & Bodenfors' collection of lullabies covered by modern day Swedish artists to promote Ikea's Sultan line of mattresses; and an eco-conscious effort from Ikea France out of La Chose that encouraged people to carpool to the store by promising 1000 Euro gift certificate to those who happened to give a ride to Ikea's mysterious passenger. But one fun stunt from down under made us especially love the brand--and wish we had the XY chromosome combo. Ikea Australia took the idea of its kids' playgrounds, found at every store, and tweaked it for another sort of customer--men. At Manland, boyfriends and hubbies could kick up their heels, eat a hot dog and enjoy some foosball or Xbox while the rest of the clan checked out the furniture.
John Lewis: The Long Wait
This John Lewis ad out of Adam & Eve came out during the holidays, so perhaps we were already predisposed to be warm and fuzzy about it. But, frankly, it could make us tear up any time of the year and stands out as one of 2011's overall best. Expertly directed by Dougal Wilson and featuring Slow Moving Millie's heartfelt cover of Morrissey's "Please Please Please, Let Me Get What I Want," the spot depicts the anticipation of a young boy counting down the hours, minutes and seconds until Christmas Day. What's he waiting for? The reveal will surprise you.
Skittles "IX" campaign
We've seen plenty of great work that has elevated the idea of "interactive," while we've seen other advertising campaigns that are are sheer comedic genius. This Skittles effort, out of BBDO Toronto succeeds at both. A series of online spots invite online viewers to "Touch the Rainbow" on the brand's YouTube channel, recruiting their various fingers to become part of the action on the screen--as a licking post for kitty, or even, to help fight crime.
Tesco/Homeplus Subway Virtual Store
This idea out of Cheil USA, South Korea turned insight about the working person's busy life into a retail innovation. Awarded the Media Grand Prix at Cannes this year, retailer Homeplus made shopping so much more convenient for the harried by bringing the aisles of the store to them--while they were waiting to catch a ride home. The brand recreated life-size images of actual store aisles on the walls and columns of subway stations. Shoppers could shoot the products with their mobile phones to buy them, and the goods would make their way to shoppers' doorsteps by the time they got home.
NTT DoCoMo: Xylophone
For this remarkable feat of in-camera and on-mic magic, Japanese agency Drill Inc. created a massive wooden xylophone in the middle of a forest. The xylophone was set on an incline, and a wooden ball rolled down it to play each key, which made up individual notes of Bach's Cantata 147, aka "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desire." Everything was captured in the wild, with no visual effects or added soundtrack, all to promote NTT DoCoMo's wood-encased SH-08C phone.
VW: The Force
This now classic spot out of Deutsch L.A. has probably gotten enough press, but we'd be remiss to not include it among our favorites of the year. Yes, it came out just this year. Directed by Park Pictures' Lance Acord, one imaginative boy gets his Force on, with the help of his sneak papa and his handy VW remote keychain. The spot was remarkable not just for being a perfect piece of storytelling, but also for the risky marketing move behind it. Going against big game tradition, Volkswagen had released the longer version of the spot online before its Super Bowl debut, for which it could only air a :30. The spot that audiences remember, and cherish, of course, is the much better :60.