Our Favorites Ads Of 2019

2019 – what a year. In the advertising world, a shift in culture was reflected in many of the campaigns that went viral. Marketing provoked social commentary and brands capitalized on current trends to let audiences know they were keeping up with the times.

But what makes an ad great enough to be considered one of our favorites? Well, a combination of meaningful messaging, relevancy, and strategy made these brands and their campaigns stand out. Keep reading to see who made our cut!

1. IKEA – ‘Real Life Series’ – Publicis Spain

This campaign was originally featured in the United Arab Emirates but exploded internationally soon after. Furniture giant Ikea took advantage of the new age of television to recreate fictional living rooms that we all know and love. “Friends”, “Stranger Things”, and “The Simpsons” were all chosen to leverage pop culture with the aim to be globally relevant. Created by Publicis Spain, this “Real Life Series” also had the brand launch a website that serves as decorating inspiration and to highlight the diversity of Ikea’s products. “For Real Families” is the campaign’s tagline, proving to audiences they can channel these design aesthetics in an affordable way.






2. Gillette – ‘The Best Men Can Be’ – Grey

This commercial went viral with more than 4 million views on YouTube in 48 hours. New York based agency Grey created this campaign, which plays on Gillette’s famous tagline, “The best a man can get” and replaces it with “The best men can be”. It faced a fair amount of backlash, as it references the #MeToo movement and addresses toxic masculinity and the potential dangers of the phrase “boys will be boys”. Angry consumers even called to boycott P&G. However, the ad also received a lot of praise, as it promoted a new kind of positive masculinity of pointing out dangerous behavior, helping protect children from bullies, and intervening when other men catcall or sexually harass women. Gillette also promised to donate $1 million a year for three years to nonprofits that support boys and men being positive role models. The company’s calculated gamble stands to gain more new customers because of its bold statement than it will lose.

3. New York Times – ‘The Truth Is Worth It’ – Droga5

In a time where anti-press rhetoric is on the rise, this campaign strives to portray The New York Times’ commitment to finding the truth and holding those in positions of power accountable. This series of five films, all entitled “The Truth Is Worth It”, are centered on the concept that journalists are key figures in our society that bring truth to light. The subjects range from the number of children separated from their families at the border to the Trump family’s tax schemes.  The technique in these clips mimics the twists and turns of the journey of journalists who expose the truth by changing, moving, deleting and rewriting the final headline that was actually run by The New York Times. Showing the details of the slow burn behind investigative journalism highlights its importance. It even took home the Grand Prix in the Film Craft category at Cannes Lions, a big win for agency Droga5.

4. Nike – ‘Dream Crazier’ – Wieden + Kennedy Portland

“Just Do It” has always been Nike’s mantra, but for the 30th anniversary of this marketing campaign they released a new spot to inspire the next generation of athletes to “Dream Crazier”. It features a compilation of recent moments by some remarkable female athletes who have broken barriers, including Simone Biles, Ibtihaj Muhammad, Chloe Kim, members of the US Women’s National Soccer Team, and Serena Williams, who also narrates. Williams takes negative stereotypes against women, like being called “crazy” and turns them around to be motivational. The commercial ends with Williams showing pride in being called crazy, stating “So if they want to call you crazy? Fine. Show them what crazy can do.” This campaign by Widen + Kennedy has also featured athletes like LeBron James and Colin Kaepernick.

5. Sandy Hook – ‘Back to School’ – BBDO New York

This PSA contains graphic content related to school shootings and may be upsetting to some viewers.

One of the most powerful ads of the year – and most difficult to watch – was released by BBDO New York and nonprofit organization the Sandy Hook Promise Group, whose mission is to honor the victims of the elementary school massacre and fight for gun control legislation. “Back to School” depicts young students and their new school supplies before it takes a much darker turn, showing them using these same supplies as self-defense against a gunman. At the very end, a young girl writes a heart wrenching goodbye text to her mother and the spot ends with “It’s back to school time and you know what that means. Schools shootings are preventable when you know the signs.” This is the organization’s biggest campaign to date since its other powerful PSA, “Evan”.

6. Popeyes – ‘The Chickening’ – GSD&M

Who would have thought a sandwich could have turned into a cultural phenomenon? 2019’s Popeye’s chicken sandwich took the internet by a storm after it was released in August. Not only did it sell out almost immediately, but chaos ensued. A woman in Los Angeles scraped her car trying to cut in the drive through line, and a customer and employee threw trays at each other in San Antonio. While stressful for employees, The Chickening was created by agency GSD&M and was great for Popeye’s brand and business – with an estimated $65 million in media value. However, this attention could have never happened without social media, as the tweet heard ‘round the world from Popeyes to Chick-fil-A, its biggest rival, kicked off its 3 billion impressions. With more and more brands taking a casual language approach to certain platforms like Twitter, social media remains one of the greatest tools to give your brand the voice you want.

7. Aviation Gin – ‘New Beginnings’ – Davos Brands

 Last but not least, the holidays were especially memorable this year with the infamous Peloton commercial, which showed a woman receiving a bike as a gift from her husband. It was widely criticized as sexist and almost dystopian, with many people pointing out that the way the Pelaton bike was presented seemed more like a threat than a gift. Actor Ryan Renolds unveiled the new ad by Davos Brands for Aviation American Gin on Instagram that features Monica Ruiz, the very same actress from the Pelaton ad, who is seen with two of her friends and appears lost in thought. Her friends express obvious concern for her, before she finally comments on the smooth taste of the gin and they toast to new beginnings, which goes in line with the name of the commercial. Renolds saw the opportunity to jump on and ultimately capitalize on another brand’s viral ad, which served the gin company well through humor and a multitude of impressions.

Are there any campaigns you think we missed? Drop us a line at interthoughts@interecho.com to let us know your thoughts.



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