BGH: Microwave Ovens
The forte of Del Campo Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi may well be product innovation. Known for creating the Teletransporter for Andes Beer, the Argentine agency came up with another brilliant creation in 2011, this one for BGH Microwaves. The beeping of your everyday microwave doesn't match the excitement you feel when your food is ready, so the agency created a limited-edition line of 1,000 appliances, which play a tune when the cooking time is up. They sold out immediately but will be going into commercial production for real in 2012.
Graubunden Tourism: Obermutten Goes Global
Arguably, the feel-good campaign of the year. A tiny Swiss town with fewer than 80 residents earned the global spotlight thanks to this Facebook effort created by Jung von Matt Limmat. The mayor promised that anyone who liked Obermutten would get his or her profile picture posted on the local bulletin board. The campaign earned the hamlet 14,000 fans and media reports in more than 20 countries.
Heineken: The Entrance
The best time of the year may have been had by the super stud -- and everyone he encounters -- in this festive Heineken spot, created by Wieden & Kennedy, Amsterdam, and directed by Fredrik Bond, that brought the brand back to form. Here, a dashing, tux-clad gent sweeps into a grand ballroom drawing fun, excitement and even a bit of kung fu with each step, culminating in his flute-playing accompaniment alongside the spot's soundtrack performers, The Asteroids Galaxy Tour.
We could have filled this list with Ikea work alone, given that over the past year the brand littered Creativity 's virtual pages with fabulous campaigns from all over the world. But one fun stunt from Down Under made us especially love the brand -- and wish we had the XY chromosome combo. Ikea Australia took the idea of its kids' playgrounds, found at every store, and tweaked it for another sort of customer -- men. At Manland, boyfriends and hubbies could kick up their heels, eat a hot dog and enjoy some foosball or Xbox while the rest of the clan checked out the furniture.
John Lewis: The Long Wait
This John Lewis ad from agency Adam & Eve came out during the holidays, so perhaps we were already predisposed to be warm and fuzzy about it. But, frankly, it could make us tear up any time of the year, and stands out as one of 2011's overall best. Expertly directed by Dougal Wilson and featuring Slow Moving Millie's heartfelt cover of Morrissey's "Please Please Please, Let Me Get What I Want," the spot depicts the anticipation of a young boy counting down the hours, minutes and seconds until Christmas Day. What's he waiting for? The reveal will surprise you.
Skittles' "IX" Campaign
We've seen plenty of great work that has elevated the idea of "interactive," and we've seen other advertising campaigns that are sheer comedic genius. This Skittles effort, out of BBDO , Toronto, succeeds at both. A series of online spots invite viewers to "Touch the Rainbow" on the brand's YouTube channel, recruiting their fingers to become part of the action on the screen -- as a licking post for kitty, or even, to help fight crime.
Halls Green Grape Sculptures
There's a particular cough drop in Brazil that locals apparently eat like candy -- Halls Uva Verde (Green Grape). So it's not hard to imagine its fans' ire when the brand pulled the flavor. How did Halls react? Working with Espalhe Guerilla Marketing, it decided to honor its most-ardent supporters by immortalizing them in one of the most noble materials ever: Green Grape cough drops.
Tesco/HomePlus Subway Virtual Store
For retailer HomePlus, agency Cheil USA, South Korea, made shopping convenient for the harried. The brand recreated life-size images of store aisles in subway stations. Shoppers could shoot the products with their mobile phones to buy them, and the goods would make their way to shoppers' doorsteps by the time they got home.
NTT DoCoMo: Xylophone
Japanese agency Drill Inc. created a massive wooden xylophone in the middle of a forest. The xylophone was set on an incline, and a wooden ball rolled down it to play each key -- which made up individual notes of Bach's Cantata 147 with no visual effects or added soundtrack -- all to promote NTT DoCoMo's wood-encased SH-08C phone.
VW: The Force
This now-classic spot from Deutsch , L.A., has probably gotten enough press, but we'd be remiss not to include it among our favorites. Yes, it came out just this year. Directed by Park Pictures' Lance Acord, one imaginative boy gets his Force on, with the help of his sneaky dad and a handy VW remote keychain. The ad was remarkable -- not just for being a perfect piece of storytelling but for the risky marketing move behind it. Going against big-game tradition, Volkswagen had released a 60-second version of the spot online before the Super Bowl debut of a 30-second ad. Of course, the one audiences remember is the much better, longer one.