2022 really upped its game when it came to advertising. Artistic cinematic mediums meet subtle yet effective CTAs and important social causes were – from Queer Pride to sustainability – were brought to the front.
The Nostalgic Choice
Asda: Have your Elf a Merry Little Christmas
Agency: Havas U.K.
Every year, my dad states that his favourite Christmas film is It’s a Wonderful Life and while he does love this dearly his favourite Christmas film really is Elf. This year ASDA cleverly made use of VFX to integrate the beloved Will Ferrell character into their seasonal advertising. The spot seamlessly weaves scenes and dialogue from the original movie into the spot via VFX, matching every minute production detail to bring Buddy to life within the store.
The Sexy, Glossy Choice
Belvedere Vodka: Daniel Craig
Daniel Craig looks suave as ever and now that his adventure as Bond has come to an end, he, rather attractively, takes the piss out of his own suave persona as directed by Taika Waititi. Daniel Craig glides and spins through the streets of Paris with effortless pizzazz, clad in a skin-tight vest. The LVMH brand certainly drummed up fan attention on social media for this surprising spot.
The Political Choice
Courageous Conversations: What If They Were Black?
Agency: Goodby Silverstein & Partners
Courageous Conversation Global Foundation, the organisation founded by Glenn Singleton to improve racial equity in the U.S., kicked off 2022 with a jolt in yet another eye-opening push marking the one-year anniversary of the Capitol riots. It created a series of limited-edition tees that imagined if the insurrectionists had been Black. Styled in the form of “RIP shirts” worn in the Black community as part of the mourning process, they featured Black individuals in the places of familiar rioters, and on the back, stats such as the fact that Black people are five times more likely to go to prison.
The Proud Choice
Pantene: Hair Has No Gender
Agency: Valtech Radon
During Pride month, Pantene’s spot really stood out among the crowd. The P&G brand expanded its multi-year “Hair Has No Gender” campaign to offer salons resources on how to be more inclusive for LGBTQ+ patrons and employees. The campaign is built around the power hair has in self-expression and the importance of hair particularly to the transgender community. It featured a heartfelt and educational documentary, featuring members of the community discussing the power of hair.
The Subversive Choice
Virgin Atlantic: I Am The Way I Am
Agency: Lucky Generals
If there’s any spot that deserves an award for subversion this year its Virgin Atlantic’s glorious celebration of diversity. Set to a cover of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Am What I Am,” the spot breaks down the idea of a clean-cut and conservative air hostess and instead celebrates the diversity of airport staff. It was a vibrant standout from typical travel ads, and coincided with the return to travel during the pandemic while bolstering cultural conversation around inclusion.
The Sustainable Choice
Agency: L&C NYC
Dole and agency L&C NYC brought a sustainable leather substitute from pineapples to the masses. Piñatex, which went on to win the Cannes Lions Grand Prix for Creative Business Transformation, utilised byproducts from pineapple farms that would have otherwise gone to waste, which also boosted income for local farmers in the Philippines. Though the product was originally created out of vegan leather startup brand Ananas Anam, Dole’s support amplified Piñatex through over 1,000 brand partnerships, including H&M and Nike, and brought in $100 million in additional revenue for Dole.
The Out of Home Choice
Coors Light: Chillboards
An example of the unique ways out-of-home is being utilised, Coors Light took to the roofs of Miami buildings to cool off residents. Utilising reflective white paint, the environmental effort from DDB put branded “chillboards” (the colder version of a billboard) over black rooftops to replace the heat-absorbing colour with one that would repel rising temperatures, helping lower bills for residents who might otherwise pay high electric bills to cool off. Coors Light also distributed 5,000 gallons of additional paint so the good deed could spread further.
The Arts House Choice
British Airways: A British Original
Agency: Uncommon Creative Studio
The first work for British Airways from Uncommon had at its core a compelling creative idea: the common question travellers fill out on landing forms when they travel, asking what is the purpose of your visit? The answers—not business or leisure, but a third, more intangible option—fed into over 500 different executions, some playful, some daring, some emotional, running over multiple platforms. The campaign combines a potentially evergreen idea with some of the cleverest airline copywriting we’ve seen for years; we’ll have to see if it can help revive the floundering airline’s fortunes, though.
The Quirky Choice
Ocean Spray: Power your holidays
This surreal Thanksgiving campaign for Ocean Spray centred on the jiggliness of its cranberry jelly. Orchard’s new chief creative officer David Kolbusz, fresh from the U.K. scene, served up the kind of outlandish comedy we don’t usually see in a U.S. holiday campaign; a spot directed by Jeff Low went all out to liven up a boring family Thanksgiving dinner, as a family erupts into dance moves after being transfixed by the jelly. A social extension invited people to duet with the wobbly jelly on TikTok, and the campaign extended into Christmas later with a 10-hour “yule log” video —featuring jelly logs, of course.
The Black Excellence Choice
Google: Real Tone
Agencies: Gut Miami, T Brand Studio, Wieden+Kennedy, Essence
This idea, which won a Mobile Grand Prix at Cannes, saw Google engineers teaming up with Black photography and directing talents to develop “Real Tone” technology designed to more accurately capture a diverse range of skin tones. The innovation was promoted in a Super Bowl spot from Gut that starred Lizzo, in launch work from Wieden+Kennedy and also in a native advertising campaign with The New York Times’ T Studio.
The Funny Choice
Liquid Death: Blind Taste Test
Liquid Death’s unorthodox marketing earned it a place on Ad Age’s Marketers of the Year list. From its promise to send a witch to the Super Bowl to its gory Halloween spot featuring Martha Stewart, its campaigns have consistently delivered the unexpected. Perhaps its most eye-catching stunt was its subversion of the classic blind taste test, in which it sought to prove the luxury of its canned water by pitting it against the world’s most pricey delicacies, like Spanish squid ink, $51 Wagyu beef and Beluga caviar. Only, those luxuries were mashed into disgusting, vomit-worthy concoctions. Gross—and totally hilarious.
The Moving Choice
Dove: Deepfake Tutorials
Dove continues with its powerful campaigns designed to help protect girls’ self-esteem, which recently have focused on the toxic effects of social media. In this latest project it used deepfake technology to an incredibly unsettling effect, bringing together a group of moms and daughters to watch beauty tutorials by “influencers.” But these were revealed to be deepfake versions of the girls’ real moms giving harmful, even toxic beauty advice of a kind perpetuated by influencers on social media—think recommendations to file down your teeth or get a chemical peel. The idea: your mom wouldn’t talk to you like this, but influencers do.