As the world begins looking toward 2015, we thought we’d take a moment and reflect back on 2014. It was a great year for advertising — there was a lot of social marketing, bold messaging and successful campaigns for both our agency and agencies globally. So, we rallied our staffers and rounded up our favorite ads from 2014.
Always, “#Like A Girl”
One of my favorite ads this year was the Always’ “Like A Girl” Campaign. Always/Procter & Gamble, along with other companies, worked together to bring awareness to the negative associations of feminine behavior through marketing campaigns.
In my opinion, 2014 has been a breakout year for female empowerment. Between various marketing campaigns (Lifetime’s Ban Bossy and Under Armor’s I Will What I Want) and strong women leading the way (I’m looking at you, Sheryl Sandberg), there has been an extraordinary increase in encouraging young women to express themselves and follow their dreams. I believe that you shouldn’t be defined by gender, but by your actions.
I love this ad’s message AND mission—to turn a phrase that was once viewed as negative, into a positive. That’s my favorite type of marketing—powerful and meaningful.
Coca-Cola, “America is Beautiful” Super Bowl Ad
My favorite ad of 2014 was Coca Cola’s commercial that first aired on the Super Bowl. It beautifully recognized America’s melting pot through the voices of young girls from many different cultures singing America The Beautiful in their native or family’s cultural language.
The ad campaign however, caused much controversy. I enjoy advertising that disrupts the norm, although I do not think this was Coke’s intent. The ad’s debate proves how divided we are as a country. The twitter feeds went crazy with some very nasty and bigoted posts. Coke quickly posted behind the scenes, aka the making of the commercial, YouTube videos, explaining their thinking through the voices of the girls who sang in the commercial. This PR response was pretty brilliant.
John Lewis TV Advert, “Monty the Penguin”
My favorite marketing campaign is the John Lewis Christmas TV Advert with Monty The Penguin. Other than being a beautifully shot and edited spot, this is actually much more than a great commercial. The accompanying website offers everything from an opportunity to buy the penguins that were in the spot, a Monty book, Monty apps and virtual reality goggles to experience the penguin’s world to an opportunity to put your favorite cuddly toy into Monty’s Magical Toy Machine at the Oxford Street shop and watch it come to life on screen.
There is a chance that as a kid I had a crate full of stuffed penguins who’s names all started with a P (except for Opus) that I played with and brought with me almost everywhere, so I might be a little biased on this one.
GEICO, “Did You Know?” Campaign
GEICOs advertising has been following the same formula for umpteen years: use a fresh, satirical creative concept to set off the most consistent benefit message in the business. Every script follows the formula:
[humorous scenario] + [15 minutes could save you 15%] = Commercial
And it’s worked. GEICO is the nation’s second largest auto insurer, and spends over $1 billion per year in advertising.
Their latest campaign takes the same approach, but with an important difference: the satire is turned inwards. Now, instead of simply re-stating the tagline, it’s worked into a conversation that acknowledges just how embedded it is in the American Psyche. It’s a new level of tongue-in-cheek for a brand that redefined the phrase.
And it’s still damn funny.
Geico, “Horror Movie” spot
I’ve always been a fan of the Geico TV spots. The Gecko, Maxwell Pig, the “Did You Know” series, the motorcycle insurance spot with “One Headlight” soundtrack- I love them all. But this year they scored an all-time high on my list with the “Horror Movie” spot released in 2014. It’s a delightful tongue-in-cheek parody that manages to deliver the message “we don’t always make good decisions” in a humorous and memorable way. Having this spot launch at the beginning of October was also timely and added to the humor. Still not sure I would make the switch to Geico for my insurance, but I’d love to be on their creative team!
Åhléns, Instagram Video Campaign
The most fun and innovative marketing campaign I came across this year was from Åhléns, a department store in Sweden. The store created three stop-motion Instagram videos that featured many products available in the store, including clothes, shoes, handbags, makeup and furniture. All of the items moved through the videos very quickly and the store challenged followers to get a screen cap of an item in the video to get it for 50% off. If they did, they had to post the image on their own Instagram account using the campaign hashtag, and then show the post at the store.
It sounds easy, but I tried it myself (not that I would actually go to Sweden to get the discount), and it was very difficult. But it was also a lot of fun. Some may even call it addicting.
I love this campaign because I think it’s great to see brands do something new and clever with social channels. There are so many opportunities to reach customers in different ways, and a little gamification never hurts. See it here.
Newcastle Brown Ale, “If We Made It” Campaign
One of my favorite spots from this year was a Super Bowl commercial that wasn’t really a Super Bowl commercial at all. It was, in fact, a fake, behind-the-scenes, post-mortem to the original online concept storyboard for a Super Bowl commercial that the advertiser couldn’t afford to purchase anyway. New York’s Droga 5 ad featured actress Anna Kendrick in a spot complaining about, well, here’s a piece of the monologue: “Newcastle Brown Ale - the only beer that ever promised me a high-paying role in a Super Bowl commercial and then backed out at the last f#*%ing second like a bunch of d*¢&s. Suck it.”
Newcastle didn’t have the money for a Super Bowl buy, but they had a fun idea and their series of faux Super Bowl ads reportedly generated 5.2 million views in the week leading up to the big game. They followed up this summer with another excellent group of ads called “What If We Won,” featuring British comedian Stephen Merchant for the 3rd of July (“Independence Eve”) lamenting on how great America would have been if the Brits had won the Revolutionary War. The spots are great fun, but I wonder how they translate into sales? If I’m drinking a UK beer, it’s a Fuller’s London Porter or Old Speckled Hen, and I’ve never seen ads for them.
Panda Cheese, “You Don’t Say No to Panda” Camapign
One of my favorite campaigns is the Panda Cheese commercials. Here’s a compilation of some of them.
They’re creepy and a bit disturbing, but I find them super hilarious. I like when companies bring fun & humor to ordinary products. Humor is the best way to evoke a response out of me when it comes to ads.
The Home Depot, “Let’s Do This” Campaign
Walking through Home Depot this fall dragging my feet searching for some items to spruce up my apartment, I saw a simple, yet motivating message painted across the side of the stacks off wood lining the shelves; “Let’s Do This.” It definitely got my attention, and motivated me to stop procrastinating and get it done (which ultimately led my boyfriend and I to spend more money at the store).
In addition to their creative use of owned media, The Home Depot got my attention this with their inspiring and highly visible television spots for the “Let’s Do This” campaign. Each spot highlights a unique promotion or sale with fresh and relatable creative, most notably the “piggies” and “take back the backyard” spots.
This campaign definitely worked on me, and I don’t even own I home. I can only imagined it reached several home owners across the country \and drove them to get their home projects done.