Standout: Epoch Films

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Samsung could say it owes some of that newfound cool to Epoch Films, whose Michael Downing directed what might have been one of 2012's most viral spots: Fanboys. The spot featured lines of Apple fans waiting to buy the newest iPhone, and poked good-natured fun at their fanaticism.

Downing also worked on a couple of other, well-received efforts for the company, including "Work Trip," which raised many questions in the blogosphere about what exactly is in the file the wife touch-shares with her husband before he heads off.

Everynone, the directorial trio who in 2011 made waves with their gorgeous work for Prudential, showed more subtle emotion, most notable with "Smiles," a series of close-up shots that showed people smiling and laughing, for Volkswagen.

Meanwhile, Greg Bell showed us that kids could be hard-nosed when it came to their Mac 'n Cheese, with the pleasing "Negotiator" spot out of Crispin Porter & Bogusky.

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