CR’s Advertising Picks of the Year

As the year draws to an end, we’ve been reflecting on our favourite ad campaigns of 2011. Despite the global financial gloom, there’s been some excellent work produced this year, so here, in no particular order, are our ten picks of 2011…

As the year draws to an end, we’ve been reflecting on our favourite ad campaigns of 2011. Despite the global financial gloom, there’s been some excellent work produced this year, so here, in no particular order, are our ten picks of 2011…

2011 was bookended by two ads that prove that if you get the formula right, children can still be advertising gold. Adam & Eve’s John Lewis ad has had people sobbing this Christmas and was pitched perfectly at its core market, but the juggernaut that is Deutsch LA’s The Force for VW wins the cute kiddie ad place on our list. It first aired in the US during the Super Bowl and has since racked up over 45 million views on YouTube alone making it the most shared ad of the year (honourable mention should also go to Saatchi’s incredibly popular T-Mobile Royal Wedding spoof which was also a massive online hit but not quite on the scale of The Force).


The Cravendale Cats With Thumbs ad by Wieden + Kennedy London tapped into the well-established internet cat film phenonemon, but added some surreal hilarity. Other quirky animal ads this year deserving honourable mentions are Saatchi + Saatchi’s return of the Wall’s Sausages dog and the Skittles Touch cat ad from BBDO Toronto.


The Bear is the latest in an excellent series of spots for French TV channel Canal+ from BETC Paris.


We loved Perfect Fools’ Converse Canvas Experiment, a giant interactive installation where Converse shoes perform the role of pixels on a screen. The screens were placed in the windows of Converse stores: the case study film above shows them in action and more info is on Perfect Fools’ website here.


BBH’s film about the day of the life of an Audi driver starred Le Mans driver Allan McNish and featured a mix of live action, hand-drawn sketches and stereoscopic techniques. It captivated audiences when the full length, two-and-a-half minute version was played on TV during the Rugby World Cup, and also enjoyed a following online.


101’s beautifully shot ad for the Avios’ airmiles scheme saw a number of household objects flying through the countryside. What made the spot extra special was that everything was done for real, as the charming making-of film revealed. Two other ads featuring mechanical everyday objects deserve honourable mentions here too, despite them being remarkably similar to one another: Electric Life for Renault by Publicis Conseil and Gas Powered Everything for Nissan from TBWA Worldwide both envision a world without electricity where everything is powered by gas.


This year saw a number of brands dabble in apps but AKQA’s StarPlayer app for Heineken stood out by offering football fans a new way of engaging with the beautiful game. Linked to the UEFA Champions League, the app allows players to predict what will happen live at key moments in matches to win points. Players can form leagues with their friends and can share their scores via Facebook.


Jung von Matt/Limmat created a Facebook page to help raise the profile of the small Swiss mountain village of Obermutten. The twist was that the local mayor made a promise that users who clicked the ‘like’ button on Obermutten’s page would see their profile picture posted on the town’s official noticeboard. As the film above shows, the board quickly filled up and the profile pictures ended up covering the houses in the village.


While Chrysler and Wieden + Kennedy caused a stir at the Super Bowl with a film starring Eminem talking about the importance of Motor City, it was this quieter rapper-on-design film that really charmed us this year. Created by TBWA Chiat Day LA, it features Ice Cube giving an insight into the work of Charles & Ray Eames, and forms part of a series of films for Pacific Standard Time, a project that aims to promote the cultural heritage of Southern California.


We finish our list with an ad campaign for Benetton that proves that it’s still possible for a good old-fashioned set of posters to prove hugely controversial. The Unhate campaign uses a bit of Photoshop trickery to show world leaders with their lips locked and aims to encourage “the leaders and citizens of the world to combat the ‘culture of hatred'”. Created by Fabrica in cooperation with 72andSunny NL, it served as a reminder of Benetton’s seminal campaigns of the 80s and 90s and got a lot of people in a froth: one poster, featuring the Pope kissing Ahmed Mohamed el-Tayeb was pulled (as Benetton must surely have expected) after complaints from the Vatican. See our original post on the story here.




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