Ad Agencies That Did Great Creative Work in 2006

(Even Though 'The Consumer' Got All the Recognition)

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There are certain things you just don't want to see after the holidays (Christmas trees, the joy on a little child's face). A "Year in Creative" look back is
Dove's 'Evolution' was a monster hit in 2006. | ALSO: Comment on this review in the 'Your Opinion' box below.

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Ad Age Agency of the Year: The Consumer
John Doe Edges Out Jeff Goodby
surely among them, but I feel justified undertaking such a thing in light of Ad Age's recent citation of you, the consumer, as the best agency in the land.

Profound change
There is logic in Ad Age's choice, given the profound change effected by consumers' increasing ability and inclination to actively participate in branding.

But I'm taking a last, loving look at the year in ad creative precisely because there was so much great work that came out of actual, two-plus-person agencies. It's worth noting here that YouTube's Top 60 videos of all time (read: "of the last year or so") include three brand-related clips, each created by an agency (the videos were: Sky One's live-action "Simpsons" intro; Nike's Ronaldinho crazy feats clip; and 2005's Sony "Balls").

Some of the best
Here are some of the rest of the best examples of brand communications that you, the consumer, didn't create.

Web sensations with maximum media impact came from agencies of every size and orientation: the almost-seditious Ecko "Still Free" from new-model startup Droga5; the monster hit Dove "Evolution" from Ogilvy & Mather, Toronto; the refreshingly ribald Philips Bodygroom "Shave Everywhere" site from Tribal DDB; Goodby, Silverstein & Partners' ingenious Saturn/Google Maps "Get to Know Your Dealer" campaign; Mother, New York, and the Barbarian Group's beer-cannon escapades for Milwaukee's Best Light; and the excellent Adicolor films, born from agency/creative connector Idealogue, a plugged-in producer and the unfettered imaginations of a group of young filmmakers. (Creativity described one of the films thusly: "a post-pubescent girl ... is bathed in what looks like strawberry milk and then covered in a skintight crust of fuchsia sequins, while her teddy bear comes to life and observes with adoring curiosity." I just love that this refers to branded content for a major advertiser.)

Other blockbusters
Other broadcast and web-originated blockbusters cut new paths in their categories: Charmin's "A Little Bit Rude" gave us a graphic depiction of "touching cloth"; McCann San Francisco's "Mad World" for Xbox "Gears of War" introduced a vulnerable video-game killing machine; Geico's "Airport," from the Martin Agency, brought performance virtuoso to insurance advertising. TBWA/Chiat/Day New York's Combos campaign, "Man Mom," and Skittles spots "Beard" and "Trade" redefined the snack-ad genre; DDB Paris' truly wonderful "Mr. Patate" for Hasbro did the same for toys. Spot highlights were many: Berlitz's "German Coastguard" from BTS United, Oslo; Fed Ex's "Stick" from BBDO, New York; Leo Burnett Milan's "Underwater World" for Ariston.

Yes, there were a few missteps in the name of attempting innovation, but out of the efforts came a number of successes. Among them: the R/GA-facilitated synergistic sensation that was the Nike-Plus tie-in with Apple; Fallon London's Tate Tracks, which united music and art in the coolest way; and TBWA Auckland's "Be the Ball" for Adidas.

Burger King video games
And then there are Crispin Porter & Bogusky's Burger King video games, among Xbox's 10 2006 best-sellers. I guess it's no Super Bowl spot or fun with fizz. But creating brand-relevant entertainment, an ongoing connection with the consumer and even a new revenue stream for your client? I'd like to see you do that.

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Teressa Iezzi is the editor of Creativity magazine and E-mail your big ideas to her at [email protected]
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