Finding the stable’s top campaigns of 2019 wasn’t meant to be a difficult job. But it was. A quarter of the way in, I had to set some ground rules to help with the curating process. The big award winners were given a handicap, the list was going to be presented in date order. Initially, I also culled campaigns that relied entirely on emotive storytelling, however, there were two I had to let through.
- Hafod: Christmas campaigns are so often about the magical powers of stories. This one too. But it was conceived and produced by a shop owner and his mate for £100. That’s not its only point of difference – watch:
- Dorian & Daniel: Dozens of emotive ad stories were sidelined while making this list. This one was too good not to include.
- Uncommon showed its creative might this year. Campaign after campaign sparkled with difference. This poster campaign for Brewdogs also sparked controversy and was eventually banned, but before that happened it made its message clear with spectacular simplicity.
- Ogilvy Sydney: Sign up for a KFC wedding?! KFC’s young audience thought it was a wonderful idea. The media thought it was hilarious. Win-win for KFC in a very, VERY competitive market.
- Oatly: It’s an agency dream to befriend young audiences by “talking their language”. This brand did so without an agency.
- 4Creative: The world is full of haters. Most big brands resort to spin and mea culpas to sweep social media hate into a quiet corner. Channel 4 didn’t. The idea has been nicked since by an Australia broadcast channel. Because it’s really, really good.
- Thinkerbell: Here’s one Australia didn’t nick from the UK. Vegemite calls on national pride at the most perfect time and place.
- FCB NZ: Hnry is a little brand that got the whole of New Zealand talking about one little person’s plight.
- The Glue Society: You can never unsee this spot. And that’s absolutely fantastic
- Burger King’s relentless heckling of its competitor is always amusing, but in the middle of a less than happy year this idea stars.
- Vodskhod: At last. Someone found a way to give AI a truly relevant role in a campaign.
- Jakob Marky: When it comes to anti-smoking campaigns, the world is already filled with “you can do it” promises and dire warnings about what happens if you don’t. This campaign took smokers “by the hand” through the difficult journey of giving up. That seems to be more useful.
- FCB NY: Ad games became a fad towards the end of 2019 but this appeared before that. It used a new device to reach a slippery target market. OK, the campaign falls into the dire warning about what will happen if you don’t give up smoking category mentioned above but kids think “it won’t happen to them”. In this game, kids to experience that it does.
- CLM BBDO: Most agencies don’t understand older people. In this campaign, this agency does.
Special Group & Revolver Will O’Rourke. Uber Eats invaded the Australian Open. Brilliant. But it won a lot of awards.
Special Group & Sweetshop: Uber Eats gets Kim Kardashian. Brilliant, but – well, KKW is cheating a bit when it comes to attention.
The Glue Society: What a cyber attack feels like in the real world. Very, very impactful. It was difficult not to include this one.
McCann NY: What to do in a mass shooting by a young girl. Shock value x 1 million, but won too many awards.
Amazon: Completely OTT. Brilliantly conceived. Only just missed out.