This week: “Real beauty” takes a back burner to real cringey, an alternative to the metaverse, a truly life-saving campaign and more.
The top 5 creative campaigns you need to know about right now
5) McDonald’s: Imaginary Iggy
Agency: Leo Burnett London
McDonald’s has consistently tugged on the heartstrings with its “Reindeer Ready” holiday campaign from Leo Burnett, which centers on the chain’s “rebrand” of its packaged carrots as “Reindeer Treats.” Over the years, the ads have focused on the theme of childhood wonder and the sadness that arises when kids stop believing in Santa and his trusty sleigh-pullers. This year’s ad features neither Kris Kringle nor a reindeer, but a girl named Matilda and her adorable, shaggy blue imaginary friend, Iggy. Their relationship fades the older Matilda gets, until she sees a reminder of the joy she once felt.
4) Mars Celebrations: The Lonely Bounty
Agency: Taylor Herring
This ad for Mars Celebrations, the brand’s assortment of miniature candy bars, brings the warm and fuzzy you'd expect from a holiday ad, tied up in one big hilarious bow. It tells the story of a Bounty, which ranks as Mars’ most “unloved” bar in the pack, who finally finds a soulmate, “Love Actually”-style, in a similarly unpopular vegetable. There’s a fun product tie-in too that lets consumers exchange their uneaten mini Bounty bars from their Celebrations bags for the more popular Maltesers Teasers.
3) Dove: Mothers make you sweat
Agency: Slap Global
To promote its antiperspirant to a teen audience, this Dove campaign highlights moments that make them sweat: when their moms dance, lip-synch or pretend to be cool on TikTok. Created out of Slap Global for the Argentina market, the ads show real mothers showing off their moves on the social platform as their daughters look on, mortified, which makes for the perfect moment to plug deodorant. The spots do double duty by amusing the mamas too—perhaps all the way to the checkout counter.
Last week, Mark Zuckerberg and his Meta aspirations got the ultimate trolling with this hilarious video, which offered an alternative “new” world to explore. It starred a black-shirted “chief visionary officer” not unlike the Facebook founder. But instead of inviting viewers to the metaverse, he showcased the allures of the “Icelandverse,” which turned out to be the country of Iceland and all the palpable, real-world wonders it has to offer. “It’s completely immersive, with water that’s wet ... skies you can see with your eyeballs,” he says.
1) Canadian Women’s Foundation: Signal for Help
Agency: Juniper Park TBWA
It’s not often that you can say a campaign saved a life. But we found out that this one did when news hit about a teenager who was reported missing in Kentucky in early November, only to be found in a vehicle making a signal to other cars passing by. One motorist recognized her gesture—four fingers clasping down on a bent thumb—as a sign of domestic violence that had been making the rounds on TikTok—ultimately leading to the girl’s rescue. The signal was conceived out of Juniper Park TBWA for the Canadian Women’s Foundation but has since become widely adopted around the world. Ad Age originally covered it back in May of last year, but it’s clear the idea has traveled far and has made a real impact.