Agency A-List 2018

Production Company A-List 2018: Standouts

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Arts & Sciences

Arts & Sciences brought a modern twist to the classic '80s film "Ferris Bueller" for Dominos in Crispin Porter & Bogusky's campaign starring "Stranger Things" actor Joe Keery. Mike Warzin directed laffers for Smirnoff starring Ted Danson and Chrissy Teigen and also made cookware look sexy in Joan's campaign for Revere, which depicted a young couple who summon seemingly supernatural powers while making supper. Meanwhile, Alex Prager shot the agency's dynamic spot for Julep in which a woman literally smashes female stereotypes into smithereens. Company Co-Founder Matt Aselton contributed to KFC's Colonel Sanders saga, on Wieden & Kennedy's spot featuring Ray Liotta as the company's conflicted founder, unable to decide whether he's "Georgia Gold" or "Nashville Hot."

Bob Industries

Bob's A-Lister couple Dayton & Faris debuted their third feature in 2017, "Battle of the Sexes," about the 1973 tennis showdown between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs. But they made time for excellent commercial work too, including Anomaly's debut campaign for Prego. Nicole Holofcener was behind the camera for 72andSunny's sassy campaign for Yoplait, featuring mothers who basically say "Screw it," to mom-shaming, while ad vet Harry Cocciolo directed epic parenting "fails" for Kraft Mac & Cheese and Crispin Porter & Bogusky.

Caviar

Caviar's stable of entertainment mavens delivered more standout work in 2017, including Audi's hilarious "Spiderman" tie-up directed by Jody Hill that invited viewers into the car as Peter Parker, played by Tom Holland, takes his driver's test. Karim Huu Do brought his stylings to H&M's Fall campaign starring Naomi Campbell and other supermodels in an out-of-this-world karaoke-style trip, as well as Converse's "Forever Chuck" campaign via Anomaly.

Marielle Heller directed more "Stress Tests" for Secret and Wieden & Kennedy while director/comedian Neil Brennan capped off Battery's buzz-making "Netflix Is a Joke" campaign that saw comedy masters like Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock joining the cast of the streaming giant's popular series. On the silver screen, director Rian Johnson entered the big leagues directing "Star Wars: The Last Jedi," and is slated to helm the remaining films in the trilogy.

The Directors Bureau

If you're looking to stand out from the fray, the talents at the Directors Bureau are sure to get you there with their eclectic storytelling. Gia Coppola continued to build out her oeuvre of quirky, stylish film in 72andSunny's campaign for Yoplait's Oui yogurt about a French woman with three lovers and more "Stress Test" films for Secret and Wieden & Kennedy. Directing team The Sacred Egg, made up of Mother London creative vets Ed Kaye and Alex Mavor, shot Droga5's surreal campaign for Mailchimp that imagined what mixed-up versions of the brand's name--like Mail Shrimp and Jail Blimp--would look like in real life. Rodrigo Saavedra also brought his idiosyncratic style to Nufferton pajamas in a music video-style ad set to Niki & The Dove's "Coconut Kiss."

Epoch

Director Alma Har'el found time to get back behind the camera while devoting so much time to her Free the Bid initiative that's succeeded in getting more female talents commercial directing gigs. Most notably, she was the latest director to land a much coveted gig: P&G's Olympics spot. Her contribution was the emotional "Love Over Bias," which integrated the company's long-running "Proud Sponsor of Moms" stance with its efforts to tackle various forms of discrimination. The ever-skilled Martin de Thurah took home the Director of the Year honor at our Creativity Awards, for his excellence on spots including Under Armour's contemplative film starring Michael Phelps from Droga5. In 2017, he went on to direct an epic Super Bowl spot announcing investment firm Wealth Simple's launch in the U.S. as well as tales of world destruction and falling in love for Stubhub, via Goodby Silverstein & Partners.

Iconoclast

Home to one of the most eclectic lineups of industry talents, Iconoclast delivered stunners aplenty, including the gutsy, sensual music video The Blaze directed for its own track "Territory," winner of the Cannes Lions 2017 Craft Grand Prix. Gustav Johansson was behind Mercedes Benz's series of surprisingly introspective films that dug into raw life moments. Among them were a glimpse into a couple's struggles as they come to terms with adulthood and parenthood as well as a spot starring ASAP Rocky, who looks back on how his brother's untimely demise gave him the impetus to succeed in life. Louis de Caunes directed Fred & Farid's film for Louis XIII cognac promoting a song from Pharrell Williams that won't be heard for a century, while the Megaforce crew brought their creative exuberance to ads for McDonald's, Samsung and Apple.

Landia

Global shop Landia brought Coca-Cola's classic shirtless dude play into modern day in an ad directed by Andy Fogwill featuring a sexy pool boy who attracts the attention of not only a young woman--but also her brother and mother. Rodrigo Saavedra was all over the map and directed a Corona ad starring Diego Luna about "Breaking Barriers"--a not-so-sly dig at Trump's wall; the dazzling "Cloudcatcher" for Nissan, about a pair of farmers who chase a cloud in the hopes of bringing rain to their parched village; and a dark comedic tale about binge-watching jerks, for Fox Premium in Latin Ameria.

MediaMonks

It's not a lot of production companies that have created a space-proof bucket that could protect chicken sandwich blasting off into the stratosphere, but that's exactly what the multiplatform mavens at MediaMonks did for KFC and Wieden & Kennedy. The contraption was part of the fast feeder's campaign promoting the Zinger sandwich, and not only did it withstand the elements, it could display tweets, take selfies, drop coupons and wave a flag too. The company also assisted the Portland shop on one of its weird moves for Old Spice, a Twitch event in which users controlled a massive kraken with animatronic tentacles and helped realize the gorgeous Real Estate "Stained Glass" interactive music video that allowed viewers to color it as they watched--an idea directed by the agency's former creative leader Craig Allen, who went on to open his own shop Callen. Elsewhere, Mediamonks helped keep parents sane with "Road to Legoland," a location-based game fro VML designed to entertain and educate kids on their way to the amusement park.

Stink

Stink continued to defy its own name with plenty of spots that did anything but. Among them were Tom Green's creepy thriller for Oxfam via Don't Panic, which featured sinister masked men sabotaging a hospital. The strange story had an important point--that when big businesses don't pay their taxes, innocent people in poorer countries suffer because they're stripped of funds that would go to support their basic life needs. Other standout stories included Polaroid Eyewear's "The Fishbowl." Created out of Ming and directed by Nacho Gayan, the colorful, nostalgic tale told the story of Polaroid's ambitious founder Edwin Land and his journey to create the first polarized lens. Jones & Tino also delivered the latest out-there ad for home improvement brand Hornbach, which showed a woman literally smashing mysogynist cliches with a sledgehammer. Salomon Ligthelm brought a fresh twist to the tired world of millennial advertising in an artful, abstract ad for S7 Airlines via Stereotactic that reminded the digitally-obsessed that the world extends far past what's in the palm of your hand.

Tool

Tool leveraged its diverse storytelling skillset across a number of platforms resulting in some of the year's most interesting tales. Floyd Russ added another heartwarmer to R/GA and Ad Council "Love Has No Labels" lineup, a spot that hacked the kiss cam at an NFL game to show the love connection between a variety of people pairings--such as homosexual couples, elderly partners and multi-ethnic lovers. Feature director Marc Forster joined Walmart's lineup of directors for its Oscars campaign built around its store receipts, via Saatchi & Saatchi. The company and director Kevin Cornish also conceived the ambitious "Fall in Love VR" experiment for Oculus, which set out to discover whether people could develop a deep emotional connection with another --but through a VR headset.

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