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Creativity Innovators
Droga5 New York
By Alexandra Jardine

After winning double top accolades as both Creativity and Ad Age Agency of the Year in 2016, Droga5 continued to take creativity to another level -- whether with blockbuster films for the likes of Under Armour, or quirky surreality and original thinking for brands like Johnsonville and Clearasil.

One of the most beautifully crafted and powerful films of the year was the agency's Michael Phelps spot for Under Armour, which became one of the most viral Olympic ads of all time -- despite the fact that the brand is not an official Olympic sponsor. Capturing the grit and focus of the athlete's intense training regime, it won the Grand Prix in Film Craft at Cannes Lions. And of course, it was ultimately prescient as Phelps swept to victory after victory at the games.

Under Armour's campaign "Rule Yourself"

The Phelps spot was part of a campaign for Under Armour that started earlier in the year with the tagline, "It's What You Do in the Dark That Puts You in the Light," in spots featuring footballer Memphis Depay and the USA women's gymnastics team. Later, in a mystical spot for the brand marking the start of the NFL season, Droga5 placed Carolina Panther Cam Newton in a dark and creepy forest in a symbolic recreation of his struggle against hidden obstacles, inspired by a passage from children's book "Watership Down" and narrated by the player's mother. It also created a fun and innovative social game for Under Armour around the NBA playoffs, releasing a new Stephen Curry video every time he made a three-pointer.

Droga5 also continued to transform sausage brand Johnsonville, this time with work focused on the company's employees. In an inspired move, it invited some of them to come up with their own commercials for Johnsonville -- some of them, like "Jeff and His Forest Friends," are truly surreal and hilarious. Employees also staffed a "Sausage Support Center" in Johnsonville's hometown of Sheboygan Falls, Wisc., to answer callers' sausage-related queries.

For Clearasil, the agency came up with the "We Know Acne, We Don't Know Teens" campaign -- a platform that hinges on the idea that the brand only knows about acne, and knows absolutely nothing about how to be cool to teens. The funny ads portrayed the company's marketers floundering around trying to appeal to teens in a variety of lame ways, but also conveyed a clear product message.

The agency was behind the massive launch of Google's Pixel phone and delivered more clever work for Android, around its "Be Together. Not the Same" tagline – a cute animated spot for the Oscars brought playground game "Rock, Paper, Scissors," to life, while, in an innovative feat of engineering designed to illustrate the slogan, the agency created a piano that only plays Middle C and asked a pianist to play a Beethoven sonata on it.

Lastly, despite the fact that it wasn't ultimately successful, Droga5's ads for the Hillary Clinton campaign, which included the moving "Role Models" and "Children" spots, go down as some of the most moving political advertising we've seen in recent years. For the latter, the agency collected footage from Clinton's entire career over 40 years, turning her various speeches over the decades into a single message about her enduring passion for supporting children and families.