Creativity Innovators of the Year: The Standouts

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72andSunny continued to turn up the volume on Samsung, for a range of the advertiser's products. It kicked off the year with a celebrity-studded Super Bowl ad, directed by Jon Favreau and starring Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen as themselves alongside fast-talking marketing man Bob Odenkirk, while Tim Burton followed with an appearance during the Oscars and Jay-Z starred in a Samsung three-minute film (with free album download offer) that ran during the NBA playoffs. To promote the launch of the S4, the agency delivered fun slices of life that showed the new phone in action. It later moved onto the brand's TVs wiith some quirky family vignettes and then showed how far the brand has come with Gear, via the lens of fictional pop culture smart watches.

Activision saw another standout year in the hands of the agency, via more blockbuster efforts like "The Replacer," starring Peter Stormare, and celebrity-driven pushes for Call of Duty: Ghosts like "Epic Night Out," featuring a Megan Fox cameo, and a music video for Eminem's "Survival," track that appears within the game. 72 also debuted work for Google, including a fun "talking shoe" at SXSW, part of the brand's Art, Copy & Code initiative and a multi-film campaign for Chromecast. -- AD


AKQA had a strong 2013 with plenty of digital innovation. Perhaps its most interesting project was "Shop the Hangout," created in partnership with Google, the Council of Fashion Designers of America and Diane von Furstenberg. The campaign let you shop designer collections while hanging out with them. For Delta, it tried to make flying not just comfortable, but more fun, via a new iPad App that let you explore destinations and book flights, but also featured "Glass Bottom Jet," which let you see exactly what you were flying above.The agency was also behind the first U.S. iPad app for the World Wildlife Fund, a beautifully designed project that let you access info on animals, simulate "tiger vision" via the camera, and share animated origami videos. -- SP

Barton F. Graf 9000

Barton F. Graf 9000 continued to make viewers giggle, spot after spot, with its special brand of wacky comedy for Little Caesars and Kayak. But perhaps more interestingly, Barton also dipped a toe into a couple of more serious campaigns. For climate crisis activist org 350 Action, it asked why devastating hurricanes are given nice people names. Instead, why not name them after politicians denying climate change? Another stylistic branching out was evident with its spot for mobile game Clash of the Clans, an epic animated film that racked up six million views in three days. It will be interesting to see how the agency's portfolio evolves in 2014 with the arrival of new ECDs Scott Vitrone and Ian Reichenthal, the former W+K New York ECDs who worked alongside founder Gerry Graf previously at TBWA/Chiat/Day, New York, where they turned out memorable work for Skittles, Starburst and more. --SP

BBH, New York

2013 was the year of the video game console wars. And in console advertising, it was, arguably, the year of the Playstation. Sony can thank BBH New York for that. The agency won the business early in the year, and followed up with wonderfully watchable films as well as innovative social digital pushes. One of our favorite spots was "Perfect Day," which juxtaposed the classic Lou Reed track with in-game violence. On the digital front, BBH brought the game to life with "Bid for Greatness," which let players bit on the props and goods featured in blockbuster ads and titles. And for the racing title Gran Turismo, BBH dug into the roots of Mario Andretti to uncover his first car love, via a project that rebuilt that 1948 Hudson in an online experience. BBH also followed in the tracks of its London office with nice work for The Guardian. For its U.S. launch, BBH created an eye-opening OOH/print campaign that extended the "Points of View" positioning into stateside matters like gun control and women in the military. -- SP

Grey, New York

Grey New York once again proved that its name belies the creativity and innovation the agency is capable of. It started the year strong with one of the year's funniest Super Bowl ads, starring Deion Sanders as Leon Sandcastle and later went on to deliver more gridiron laughs with the "Football on Your Phone" video starring the Mannings, for DirecTV. For the latter, it also turned away from the humor, for a bit, with a lush, FX-heavy spot directed by Ruper Sanders that brought together sci-fi and war scenes to show the how the service delivers across devices. After the agency's big win of the Gillette account from BBDO, it showed a new side of shaving advertising in a sexy, moody dark spot directed by Mark Romanek, which homes closely in on the face of Clay Matthews as it gets battered by the elements. The agency also pulled a shocking move with a much-talked about PSA showing a terrifying day at the office, for the States United to Prevent Gun Violence. It also continued to push filmmaking boundaries with its latest for Canon and Ron Howard's "Project Imagination," which in 2013 featured films directed by actress Eva Longoria, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, Marchesa co-founder Georgina Chapman and LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy. -- AD

Forsman & Bodenfors

One of 2013's finest creative achievements was the moment when Jean Claude Van Damme, Enya, and a pair of Volvo trucks came together in the funniest stunt of the year, in the automaker's "Epic Split" campaign created out of Swedish agency Forsman and Bodenfors. But that was just the culmination of a series of amazing tricks the shop devised for the brand. Previously, the agency also put a hamster behind the wheel of one Volvo vehicle, pit Volvo against some raging bulls and stood company president, Claes Nilsson on one of the brand's-15-ton trucks--a breathtaking feat considering the truck was dangling off its own hook above Sweden's Gothenburg Harbor. Another interesting Volvo move included a bittersweet farewell to Swedish House Mafia. Last year, the popular band disbanded after five years together, and the agency made a music video the showed the trio parting ways in the brand's XC60 cross-country vehicles. -- AD

Wieden + Kennedy Portland

Our 2012 Agency of the Year delivered more out-of-the-box surprises for a range of clients. One of its most notable campaigns featured a series of fun experiments for Oreo, showing how far some some crafty creators could go to fulfill their cookie or creme preferences. W+K Portland also gave Dodge an injection of Will Ferrell in a hilarious integrated push that somehow managed to show off the brand's assets, despite his Anchor Man character's inept pitch man skills. The agency continued to turn out more funny work for Old Spice, including an offbeat campaign that put Mr. Wolfdog -- yes, a dog -- at the helm of Old Spice's marketing department. For Powerade Zero, the agency put fans through a grueling hour of practice wiht LeBron James. If they tried to pause for a bathroom break of skip ahead, Mr. James would step out to tell them that shortcuts wouldn't lead them to greatness. Wieden also was behind one of Coca-Cola's most charming efforts of 2013, the Ahh Effect, which treated consumers to 61 whimsical online surprises, all meant to illustrate the feeling you get when taking a sip of Coke. -- AD

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