tbwa/chiat/day, playa del ray, Calif.
Three years ago, we believed the iPod silhouette campaign was the year's best in the world. This year, it's the same agency's Mac vs. PC. How is it possible that the amiable banter between two actors could so personify two brands, and so underscore Mac's charms, with nary a trace of meanness? All that, plus a litany of product advantages. We stand in awe.
Whatever lingering reservations we had about the "Real Beauty" campaign-on hypocrisy grounds-were obliterated with this viral about a plain-looking woman tricked up into cover-girlness. The time-lapse is amazing and eye-opening-and genuinely forces you to confront the impact on young women, and the whole culture, of promulgating artificial, anorexic standards of beauty.
amv bbdo, london
Oh, this? Just a perfect TV commercial and Cannes Grand Prix winner, demonstrating the ultimate example of slow-draw Guinness being worth the wait. To a swingin' Sammy Davis Jr. track, three blokes sipping at a bar devolved through all prehistory into the primordial slime. So fun to watch. So cool to listen to. So eloquent about stout's unique appeal to the most fully evolved.
4 sony bravia
This one was actually a U.K. launch in late 2005, but didn't make a splash state-side until awards season. Among the most beautiful spots ever made, it was a magnificent reminder that digital effects do not a spectacle make. Thousands of brightly colored Superballs bounced down the hills of San Francisco-to the haunting lyrics of Jose Gonzales. The pitch: "Color Like No Other."
5 sprite twist Lemon
lodedu leo burnett, johannesburg
Yes, Cannes is Self-Indulgence World, but the festival always yields a few treasures, such as this little Sprite radio campaign marking the name reversal from Lemon Twist. Tweaking the government's actual linguistic revisionism, a fictional official called actual people to inform them that names dear to them are being Africanized. The perfect convergence of social satire and brand news.
bbdo, New York
Love Parker Posey. Can't stand Jimmy Fallon, mainly for ruining almost every "Saturday Night Live" sketch he was ever in by giggling and breaking character. But their madcap street dance, in which a swig of Pepsi transformed them into happy-go-lucky rug cutters, was irresistible. The goofy swipe at the swill industry's ridiculous "Joy of Cola" ethic was 2006's pause that refreshes.
tbwa/chiat/day, new york
Two guys in a locker room, debating whose Sprint phone is superior. One claims his has "crime deterrent." "Try and take my wallet," he says, and when the friend reaches over, the first guy wings the phone at his head, point blank. Maybe it's not great advertising, but at the Super Bowl it made us blow a nacho-cheese bubble from our nose.
8 las vegas tourism
r&r partners, las vegas
No more missing Shriners. This inspired evolution of "What Happens Here Stays Here" merely hints at Sin City's lurid temptations by citing its more mainstream pleasures-such as fine dining and live shows. The wicked twist is, you can't be sure if the characters have really sampled restaurants and theater or are just papering over their actual activities.
9 Arnold for Governor
Strategic Perception, Hollywood
Before this spot ran, Arnold was about 1,000 points behind Democrat Phil Angelides. Then came this "Dusk Again in America" vision of California moving backward under an Angelides governorship. We're no fan of the Governator, but the moment we saw this moonwalk of an ad, we declared him a shoo-in. And, despite the routing of Republicans nationwide, lo and behold, he was.
10 hammerhead advertising
Yeah, it's telemarketing. But what a subversive wrinkle on the excruciating-for-everybody business of rainmaking. You pick up your office phone and hear a conversation between someone at Hammerhead and a third party-in one example, absurdly, a strip search in progress. The acting is brilliant, the jokes good and the temptation to slam down the phone all but obliterated.