Adweek has unveiled the Top 10 ads of the year, and the 2015 list includes beautifully creative craft, compelling storylines, filled with new smart phones, crazy stunts, the best Christmas ad, and PSAs about guns and LGBT rights. Here are the best ads of the land as we open a new chapter on 2016. The Spin Cycle reveals Nos. 10-6 this week, and 5-1 next week.
10. Android “Friends Furever”
Droga5 prides itself on making some of the most original advertising around. Ironic, then, that its biggest hit in 2015 contained nothing but found footage. Not that the agency minded. This viral Android spot, featuring pairs of animal friends from different species, adorably illustrated the brand statement, “Be together. Not the same.” And while David Droga admitted during Advertising Week that it was “a challenge to the way we create things,” you can’t argue with the staggering reach. With 6.5 million online shares, it’s the most viral ad ever, according to Unruly. “We knew we might get some flack from industry folks, but we didn’t make it for them. We made it for everyone else,” say group creative directors Ray Del Savio and Jerry Hoak. “Great work can come from anywhere. You just have to be open to it.”
9. Nike “Short a Guy”
In a year of typically grand Nike productions, this playful spot was a mini masterpiece, gleefully following an ordinary kid through a series of pick-up games with pro athletes (everyone from Anthony Davis to Mike Trout to Mia Hamm) who are all “short a guy.” The fun, frenetic visuals and the truly fantastic audio – both the energizing sound design and the infectious soundtrack, “Surfin’ Bird” – turn this spot’s hot summer day into the essence of cool. Behind it all, say W+K copywriter Derek Szynal and art director Jason Campbell, is an implicit commentary on the specialization of youth sports in America. “The attitude of playing anything and everything that comes their way will make young athletes better athletes,” they say. “And it’s fun. Which is the whole reason to start playing sports in the first place.”
8. Loterías y Apuestas del Estado “Justino”
Britain tends to have the most transcendent Christmas ads, but this Spanish gem beat them all this holiday season. The long-form animated lottery spot, like a little Pixar movie, tells the story of Justino, a lonely overnight security guard at a mannequin factory who delights the daytime staff by setting up the figures in amusing poses. In the end, his colleagues repay his kindness in an unexpected way. Beautifully made and deeply poignant, it’s now the envy of most other Christmas marketers. And it was a labor of love for the Burnett creatives, who included “inside jokes, such as the agency team’s moms’ and dads’ names on the lottery list,” says creative director Juan Garcia-Escudero. Ludovico Einaudi’s gorgeous 2004 piano track “Nuvole Bianche” caps it off perfectly, but almost wasn’t used—it was a last-minute addition.
7. Shiseido “High School Girl?”
Leave it to a Japanese cosmetics brand to make the year’s most remarkable ad about gender, a topic that hit a cultural flashpoint in 2015. The spot isn’t overtly political. Indeed, it’s an elaborate product demo. With its artful camera move through what we think is a group of high school girls – and then back through the same group, when a different reality becomes clear – the spot indelibly makes it point: Shiseido can do more than make girls prettier; it can (spoiler alert) make boys look convincingly like girls. Beyond the perfect cultural timing, the ad is also a triumph of craft, from the music to the seamless visuals that required the talent to sit still through a seven-hour shoot to accomplish the effect. “Anyone can be beautiful,” says the tagline – an almost too-simple coda for this mesmerizing masterpiece.
6. States United to Prevent Gun Violence “Gun Store”
Branded prank videos were largely on the decline in 2015, but this was a powerful exception. Working for a gun control group, Grey opened a real-looking gun store on Manhattan’s Lower East Side and invited people to check it out, with hidden cameras rolling. The would-be buyers weren’t prepared for the tags on the weapons, though, which sickeningly indicated which models had been used in particular mass shootings, unintentional shootings, homicides and suicides. The pallid looks on their faces said it all. “We wanted to dispel the myth that owning a gun makes you safer,” said executive creative directors Stephen Krauss and Ari Halper. “But rather than trying to reach everyone, we spoke directly to the people who needed to hear it most: first-time gun buyers. It turned out to be more of a conversation starter than we ever anticipated, and we champion our brave clients for helping us start it.”
Google Sees More Clearly With Updated Glass
Nearly one year after Google pulled sales of its consumer version of Google Glass, its team is back with plans for a revamped version of the futuristic eye wear that fixes previous concerns about privacy and portability.
While no release date has been set, the latest filings from Google posted this week on the Federal Communications Commission’s website show how the company addressed the biggest concern that dogged the first edition of Glass – its camera.
The new plans for Glass include a green light that will turn on when a user is recording video, according to the FCC filings.
Restaurants, movie theaters and strip clubs had banned the device over concerns users could surreptitiously use the eyewear to record video.
The latest plans for Glass are reportedly aimed at business users instead of everyday consumers. While Google has made some design tweaks, Moorhead said, “size and style aren’t as big of an issue” with the latest version.
Glass went on sale to the public in May 2014 for $1,500. Earlier this year Google vowed that the public would see a next generation of Glass. Less than a year later, it appears Google is making good on that promise.
Shamed Mic | Bill Cosby’s Reputation Continues Downward Spiral
Bill Cosby’s star has officially faded into oblivion. Last week, he was officially charged with aggravated indecent sexual assault against former Temple University employee Andrea Constand.
The incident in question took place at his Elkins Park, Pa., mansion in January 2004. The charge is a first-degree felony, which carries a statute of limitation up to 12 years.
Kevin Steele, first assistant district attorney, Montgomery County, Pa., noted some solid information came forward in July 2015. After due diligence and some serious vetting, the information is not only credible but solid.
The evidence shows Cosby “established a relationship” through Temple University’s women’s basketball program. He cornered Constand, 42, and made two sexual (and rejected) advances. For some reason, there was another instance in which he gave her pills and wine, and she took them. The drugs temporarily incapacitated her, she couldn’t move, and he committed “aggravated indecent assault.”
These acts go beyond inexcusable – they are criminal, and now the former family-friendly star has plunged to the depths of shame, despair and nausea! It appears Cosby will soon be trading in his stage clothes for stripes behind bars – and the only TV this creep will star on is prison surveillance! For that, he gets a Sleazy, Shamed Mic!
Each week, The Spin Cycle will bestow a Golden Mic Award to the person, group or company in the court of public opinion that best exemplifies the tenets of solid PR, marketing and advertising – and those who don’t. Stay tuned – and step-up to the mic! And remember … Amplify Your Brand!
» Todd Smith is president and chief communications officer of Deane, Smith & Partners, a full-service branding, PR, marketing and advertising firm with offices in Jackson. The firm — based in Nashville, Tenn. — is also affiliated with Mad Genius. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow him @spinsurgeon.