1. A&E, 'PARANORMAL STATE'
Innovative gimmick or brain invasion? A&E provoked both praise and controversy with its New York billboard for sci-fi series "Paranormal State." Its "audio spotlight" technology transmitted voices into the heads of passers-by. It irked some of its SoHo neighbors so much they stole the ad's speakers from the roof of the billboard building.
2. LEVI'S, 501 JEANS
What better way to demonstrate the wearability of 501 jeans on a billboard than to create a billboard wearing 501 jeans? That was the no-brainer question Levi's answered with its eye-catching 3-D billboard, making inventive use of the tagline "Live unbuttoned."
3. CINEMA BECOMES THE NEW TV
As TV ads get more disproportionately expensive with collapsing live ratings, more marketers turned to the movies. Kraft, Procter & Gamble, Gap and JCPenney are just some of the marketers who shifted TV dollars to the cinema this year to reach more audiences live.
4. BUSES GO DIGITAL
A handful of buses in New York and Chicago began testing digital bus ads this fall, animating advertisers like Oreo, Dunkin' Donuts and Sony's "Quantum Of Solace." The buses come equipped with cool GPS technology that lets advertisers target their messages by neighborhood and even language.
5. HISTORY CHANNEL,
'CITIES OF THE UNDERWORLD'
If New York's MTA had to resort to wrapping an entire subway car in an ad, we're glad it was for this appropriate History Channel series, which greeted commuters with the opening of a sewer grate.
6. ABC, 'PUSHING DAISIES'
To promote the quirky (now canceled) drama's second season, ABC set up shop in 10 cities with a mobile recreation of the show's diner, the Pie Hole. Visitors enjoyed free pie, a tour of the show's set pieces and an "outgoing" wait staff that tied into the show's post-mortem theme.
7. TV FOLLOWS VIEWERS OUT
OF THE LIVING ROOM
NBC became the latest broadcast network to make out of home a major part of its media strategy with the formation of NBC Everywhere, a group that puts NBC content everywhere from taxis to New Jersey Transit trains to gas stations. The Peacock joined long-standing outdoor groups at ABC and CBS.
8. INTERACTIVE IN-STORE SHOPPING
Who needs irritating sales clerks? Companies like AT&T and JCPenney began testing digital, mouse-free screens where shoppers could browse merchandise, find product information and complete a transaction with a wave of their hands, thanks to gesture-based technology pioneered by companies like Monster Media, Gesture Tec and Reactrix.
9. L.A. TIMES GOES DIGITAL
Los Angeles commuters don't need a newspaper, phone or computer handy to get the latest headlines now that 10 digital billboards in the City of Angels have been equipped with content from the paper.
10. HBO DELIVERS THE MAIL
To promote its "John Adams" miniseries, HBO sponsored a vintage John Adams quote that appeared on more than 3 billion sales receipts and cancellation notes. "Let us dare to think, speak and write," the quote goes. Returned mail never sounded so noble.
Top Olympic Moments
1. THE AGONY OF DEFEAT
China's most famous athlete, Liu Xiang, shocked the country by pulling out of the games. His departure was a psychological blow to China and an economic hit for his many sponsors, which included Nike, Coke and Visa.
2. AMBUSHED AT THE START
Legendary gymnast -- and sportswear magnate -- Li Ning lit the torch, even though Adidas was the official Olympic sponsor.
3. NO STOPPING LI NING
In another stellar example of guerrilla marketing, Li Ning partnered with China Central Television, the country's national broadcaster. Nearly all of the CCTV correspondents reporting around the city sported golf shirts with the CCTV Olympic logo on one side and the Li Ning logo on the other.
4. BABES AND THE BEAC
Beach volleyball and cheerleaders came to Beijing for the first time.
5. J&J SNAGS GOLD
Johnson & Johnson's Olympic Green pavilion was, hands down, the crowd's favorite for a rare exhibit of China's terra-cotta warriors.
6. BIGGER IS BETTER
Coca-Cola created a massive installation at the Place in Beijing's Chaoyang district with the world's largest LED screen and LED Coke bottle.
7. PHELPS DELIVERS BIG TIME
Michael Phelps took the gold in every swimming event he participated in, a dream scenario for his existing sponsors, which included Speedo, Visa, Kellogg and AT&T, and no doubt many more to come.
8. PUMA GETS A JOLT FROM BOLT
Puma scored big when Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt set Olympic and world records in the 100-meter and 200-meter races.
9. KNOCKOFF CULTURE PAYS OFF
Forget the MyPods. Many marveled at China's ability to produce other fakes: fake fireworks, fake singing, even fake buildings.
10. A BRIEF RAY OF SUNSHINE
At last -- but only for two weeks -- China's government allowed uncensored feeds of CNN International and BBC World and punched a hole in China's internet firewall.