The best Aussie & Kiwi ads of 2021 as chosen by creatives

Mumbrella asked some of the leading creative agencies in Australia to pick their favourite Australian or New Zealand ads from 2021. Contributors from BMF, DDB Melbourne, Ogilvy, Special Group and The Works share their pick.

Agency: BMF

Contributor: David Roberts

Title: Creative director

The pick: Saatchi & Saatchi NZ’s ‘Career Limiting Move’ for Global Women NZ


Roberts says:

A simple but brilliant idea brought to life with exquisite craft by Swedish animator, Anna Mantzaris. It ventures from charming to dark to funny to agitating. Quite the emotional rollercoaster in just 60 seconds.

I just love every decision they made in this film. The emotionless stares on the puppets, the ethereal chanting, the perfectly timed out-of-order supers. But most of all, the absurd tone which is just as absurd as the motherhood penalty itself.

Agency: DDB Melbourne

Contributor: James Cowie

Title: Group creative director

The pick: CHE Proximity’s ‘Where do babies come from?‘ for Genea Fertility

Cowie says:

Hmmm … let’s see. Loved Larry the Rollin’ Car insurance ball doing the Humpty Hump. And I thought ‘Stop Dreaming about New Zealand and Go’ was brilliant, surprising and funny. Oh, and then, more recently, I got a kick out of the 1000 Bathursts sponsorship for Supercheap Auto.

But at a pinch, my absolute favourite piece of work for the year is ‘Where Babies Come From’ for Genea by CHE Proximity. I mean, it’s hard to go past that opening chorus line of vaginas, penises and butt-holes singing Salt-N-Pepa. It’s a wonderfully crafted, charm-filled, insightful piece of work that I wish I had done. The film got sent to me by a non-advertising muggle while I was living in the States – always a good sign that you’ve made it out of adland and into culture.

Agency: Ogilvy

Contributor: Ryan O’Connell

Title: Chief Strategy Officer

The pick: Special Group’s ‘Tonight I’ll Be Eating’ with Simon Cowell and The Wiggles for Uber Eats

O’Connell says:

Whether it’s end-of-year fatigue, a few too many Christmas parties, or the lack of sleep associated with a nocturnal 2-year old, I legitimately can only think of one ad/campaign that deserves to be nominated here, and that’s Special Group’s Uber Eats ‘Wiggles’ campaign.

As an industry, we’ve become infatuated with ideas that are non-traditional, tech-based, or ‘stunty’, and that’s absolutely fine, as we should always be pushing creativity to its limits. Yet it often means we overlook really solid, old-school advertising. Work that mainstream Australia saw, work that mainstream Australia liked, and work that worked. Those are three pretty important boxes to tick.

The aforementioned two-year old means I was always going to be susceptible to an ad with the quartet of coloured skivvies in it, but the Uber Eats ‘Wiggles’ work was yet another fantastic example of a campaign-able idea. It was also brilliant use of distinctive brand assets, had good writing, nice use of talent, and a great media buy. Other ads/campaigns may have been ‘cooler’ and come home with something from Cannes, but few will be better examples of actual good advertising that everyday Aussies loved.

All that, plus Mumbrella said I wasn’t’ allowed to pick any Ogilvy work . . .

Agency: Special Group

Contributors: Lea Egan and Sian Binder

Title: Creative directors

The pick: BMF’s ‘Barista Bros Catfish’ for Barista Bros

Egan and Binder says:

It was a hard choice!

There are a few campaigns we loved this year.

We are huge fans of the Aldi You Can’t Overcook Christmas campaign from BMF. The line. The track. The dancing prawn. It’s a Christmas rave. It’s epic.

We also loved the Rollin’ Insurance campaign from Bear Meets Eagle on Fire. Such great design and tone of voice. Totally unexpected for insurance.

Empower Moves by The Monkeys for the UN was also a super smart and beautifully executed idea.

But there was one ad that we just couldn’t go past.

It’s not technically a campaign, but our favourite ad this year is BMF’s Barista Bros ‘Catfish’.

It proves what you can do, even with all the handcuffs. They must’ve had a very long checklist. Traditional media placement. Show convenience. Talk about taste. Show a consumption ‘moment’.

And then? Add a bunch of catfish wearing a coat. Genius.

It’s not a TikTok dance. It’s not AR. It’s not an NFT. (Although we would love a catfish-in-a-coat NFT.) It’s just an ad. But it’s perfect.

Agency: The Works

Contributor: Iggy Rodriguez

Title: Creative partner

The pick: The Monkeys’ ‘Make Lamb, Not Walls’ for MLA

Rodriguez says:

Trying to distil down a year’s worth of creative into one choice is an incredibly difficult task.

And in a year as difficult as this industry has had, we’ve been fortunate to see creativity thriving and strong.

We’ve seen a lot of classic campaigns, cool stunts, songs, innovative tech ideas, heartfelt appeals and even a couple of quirky products, but sometimes it’s hard to go past the power of simple, entertaining storytelling.

This year’s national lamb film from MLA is a particularly fun and memorable one, crafted to the max with loads of little details that add value on repeat views.

A strong global cultural context sets the tone for this year, but the wall isn’t Trump’s Mexico project – it’s right here in our backyard. Our states divided for the most part of the year by painful pandemic lockdowns, now reunited by the power of a tasty chop. Is it a bit of an absurd notion? Of course, but that’s the point. With some cameos and a few friendly barbs, even one at absent Prime Minister, it brings back a sense of humour that Australia desperately needed.

This article has been updated with DDB Melbourne’s contribution.


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