(Wieden & Kennedy, London)
This won at Cannes, and everywhere. A colorful animation along "Yellow Submarine" lines, the spot called "Grrr" featured Garrison Keillor. Fun to watch, fun to sing, fun to whistle along with, it also sold the technological advancement and reassuring hum of the Honda diesel. So, it was actually about the product-and, as it happens, about advertising itself.
2. Carlton Draught
(George Patterson Partners, Melbourne)
In Cannes, Guinness will go head to head (Get it? Head to head!!!) with this Australian lager, which spoofed ridiculously extravagant advertising (especially British Air's) with an epic convergence of motley foot soldiers shot from above. "It's a big ad," they chant, to the orchestration of Carmina Burana. "My God, it's big. Can't believe how big it ii-issss!" The final lyric was: "It better sell some blooo-dddy beeeer." It did.
(Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, London)
Two stout drinkers go back in time all the way to pre-evolutionary slime. The tagline is "Good things come to those who wait." The reference is to the slow stout pour, but the analogy is evolutionary history. Brilliant execution of a brilliant idea, cut irresistibly to Sammy Davis Jr.'s "Rhythm of Life." Swingin, Daddio.
(The AdStore, New York)
No work of art, but still the highlight of the Super Bowl: a busty bimbo testifying to a Senate committee. Sure, it was blatantly sexist and juvenile, but that was the point: spoofing government censorship and the craven surrender to the morality police. Plus, all eyes were on her as she repeatedly mentioned the company's URL and the precise details of the offer.
( McCann Erickson, New York)
Poor Levi Strauss & Co. The erstwhile arbiters of bluesy cool find themselves overwhelmed by the likes of Lucky and Nudie, and utterly declasse. So they fought back, declaring the frou frou competition just sooooo gay. It isn't homophobic, though; it's counter-metrosexual. "Life getting too complicated? Uncomplicate." Exactly what this advertising did.
6. Dairy Queen
(Grey, Los Angeles)
While Burger King was playing class clown for teens and McDonald's was positioning Ronald McDonald as a dietary role model, Dairy Queen was comically displaying product features. They're all funny, especially the one giving people third arms to take care of business while eating the Grill Burger-like the father haphazardly poking a bottle near his infant's mouth, while stuffing his own face.
( Leo Burnett, Chicago)
This should be about Dove and its celebration of women of a certain size. But in the end it was just disingenuous advertising making familiarly false promises. So by default we recognize Always for allowing women not only to accept their menstrual periods but embrace them as a monthly window of self-indulgence. "Have a happy period," is the admonition. Excellent idea.
8. Angel Soft
( DDB, New York)
The campaign is called "Bathroom Moments." Kids peeing on the floor. Wives falling into open commodes because freakin' Ralph left the seat down. Historically, slice of life stopped dead at the bathroom, but here we discover wonderful vignettes of funny human truth. OK, it's a little thin on product benefits, but we're satisfied that the brand name pretty much covers that.
9. Fruit of the Loom
(Richards Group, Dallas)
Look here, this is advertising for briefs with the word "fruit" in the brand name, and the target is Middle America. Tough sell. So a country-music video isn't a bad idea. But to populate the video with musicians dressed in fruit costumes and make it a ballad titled "You Can't Over-Love," and the thing you can't over-love is your underwear...well, that's just plain beautiful.
10. There is no 10.
In 52 weeks writing about 90-some ads, we couldn't fill this list.