1. “Made of More” – Guinness
Typically, when we think of beer commercials, we think of the iconic Budweiser Frogs, girls in scantily clad attire, and “guy” humor in general. Yet, in the recent ad by BBDO, New York for Irish stout manufacturer, Guinness, we see a very different kind of guy code.
Takeaway: The power of this ad is the poignant reference to sports and friendship within male culture. Instead of taking the general approach to market to males, this ad perfectly illustrates that men should be defined as much by their character and compassion as by their physical strength and abilities, it inspires a guy to be a better person.
2. “The Power of Together: Copilots” – Petco
Playing off of the “co” in Petco, the pet retail brand strayed from many of the other animal ads out there and opted to appeal to the heart rather than humor. The ad created by San Diego agency, Vitro, incorporates many “co” words that represent togetherness and complements the “Power of Togetherness” campaign well.
Takeaway: For anyone who has ever had a pet or spent time with animals, you understand that there is in fact “something extraordinary that happens when two species connect—a chemistry that can only be understood by those who’ve experienced it.”
3. “Little Brother” – Heinz
In another male-centric ad, for “Heinz Beanz” as they’re known in the U.K., an older brother’s love and support for his younger brother shines through, despite the many shortcomings of his unathletic, silly little “bruver.”
Takeaway: The brotherly love concept is nothing new, but AMV BBDO, London managed to execute this ad with a genuine and realistic approach, especially as the all-knowing older brother gives the naïve little one an endearing extra scoop of “beanz.” This ad serves as a reminder that while our family members may not be perfect, it doesn’t mean that we love them any less.
4. “Day to Remember” – National September 11th Memorial & Museum
In the wake of each September 11th, we always see an emotional outpouring from the media, communities, and individuals—the 12th anniversary of 9/11 being no different. However, this year a very simple PSA narrated by Robert De Niro delivered a powerful message through the use of motion graphics. The 30-second pro bono spot (also created by BBDO, New York) encourages us all to “take a day”—putting reflection and remembrance at the top of everyone’s mind.
Takeaway: The unique thing about this ad is that instead of using the photos, videos, and imagery that are often tied to that day, the PSA uses minimalist graphics and a simple script. In essence, it allows viewers to come to their own conclusions about what that day means to them.
5. “Possibilities” – Nike
“Just do it.” This motto is forever tied to the founding father of athletic brands and while Nike is celebrating the 25th anniversary of this slogan, Wieden+Kennedy had to come up with yet another way to reinvent the longstanding motto.
Takeaway: You can go beyond your limits. Even if you don’t have a fraction of the abilities of the featured athletes, this ad, narrated by Bradley Cooper, manages to challenge you. “If you can run a mile, you can run a race—run a marathon.” You can even take part in the Nike+ challenges. It’s a great way to remind everyone to “just do it” without beating them over the head with the well-known slogan.
6. “Kenya Bucket List” – WATERisLIFE
I have in fact saved the best for last. In an unbelievably moving follow-up to last year’s #FirstWorldProblems – the highly praised “Hashtag Killer” campaign by DDB, New York – 4-year-old Nkaitole takes us on an amazing journey with him in just two minutes and makes way for the emergence of a new hashtag #5YearsToLive.
Takeaway: Between Nkaitole’s adorable little voice, his genuine expressions, and the poignancy and depth with which he speaks, this ad truly inspires us to cherish life and gives new meaning to the term “bucket list.”