Ad Age ad critic Bob Garfield's April column, which portrayed this spot -- about a pixie or fairy -- as a homophobic slur masquerading as a Dodge Caliber commercial, generated an enormous amount of debate that went on for months.
MTV Europe Foundation's "Streaker," JWT/London
Although it initially appears to be a peek at the antics of a female streaker at a soccer match, this spot actually takes viewers behind the scenes of a very ugly issue: forced prostitution. What starts with scenes of leering and cheering male soccer fans ends with somber text that asks, 'Still cheering?' and notes that thousands of women and girls would be trafficked into Germany during the World Cup and forced into prostitution.
Guinness' "Noitulove, " Abbott Meade Vickers BDO, London
Winner of the Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival, this spot would have been better titled 'Devolution.' The mesmerizing visuals morph three beer drinkers back through all of evolution from contemporary humanity to land-crawling fish with appearances along the way by some other very interesting creatures.
Tag's "Teen Strip Poker, "Arnold, Boston
Tag, the P&G line of deodorant sprays that come in phallic black canisters and are hawked to teenage males with sex-heavy commercials, took us into the basement on this one. The teen sex spot depicts a strip poker game suddenly interrupted by an angry father.
Patron Tequila's "Perfect," The Richards Group, Dallas
The scene opens on a bedroom floor, with the camera panning over a wild scatter of rapidly shed clothing, a one-third-empty bottle of Patron Tequila and a bed where a naked couple lay tangled in purple silk sheets. Curiously, the code of the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. prohibits this in ads: 'graphic or gratuitous nudity; overt sexual activity; promiscuity; or sexually lewd or indecent images or languages.'
Secret Deodorant's "I Told," Procter & Gamble
Designed to entice consumers to spill their personal secrets on camera, this ad campaign for P&G's Secret deodorant drives viewers to the ShareYourSecret.com website where they can enter their own secrets into a public online database. In this spot from the series, one young woman admits to her sister that she told their parents about the sister's first sex encounter.
Decathlon Sports' "Throw in Air," Fuse, Boston
There are some products that just don't need any sort of fancy ad creative beyond a quick visual demonstration. This ten-second ad for a two-second tent is classic in this regard. Once you've seen it, what else is there to say?
Canal+ Movie Channel's "March of the Emperors," BETC Euro RSCG/Paris
Made in France for the continent's Canal+ movie channel, this 'March of the Emperors' is an absurdly funny takeoff on the era's penguin-centric movies.
Allstate's "Girls Day Out," Leo Burnett, Chicago
Here's a tale of how three Nascar groupies became so engrossed in their sex fantasies involving star driver Kasey Kahne that they trigger an accident that ends up destroying his car. Directed by Tom Routson of Tool of North America, the spot is an ode to lust as well as the magic of special effects, the latter which was provided by Chicago's Sol Designfx shop.
Gov. Schwarzenegger Campaign's "Skies," Strategic Perception, Hollywood
Backwards. It's a simple trick of video editing but one that took on potent meaning when applied to major political campaigns such as that between California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and his Democratic opponent, State Treasurer Phil Angelides. The Governator's ads struck first -- showing Angelides moving in reverse on everything he did. Angelides then retorted with an ad showing Schwarzenegger going backwards on his motorcycle.