The best creative campaigns of the year, as voted by adland

The votes are in. Adland has crowned its favourite creative campaigns of the year, and the results may surprise you.

5. NRMA – Until Then via Bear Meets Eagle on Fire

NRMA’s brand platform, ‘Until Then’, has been one well loved by the industry.

Created by indie shop Bear Meets Eagle on Fire (BMEOF), new campaigns have built on the brand, which first launched last year.

Reunion’s creative partner, Ollie Beeston, said: “An extension of an exceptionally simple idea, great craft throughout. The influence of Micah’s (chief creative officer at BMEOF) Fallon days really show through here in the style of execution.”

Jess Wheeler, creative director at SICKDOGWOLFMAN, added: “Brutal simplicity of thought, lovingly executed. Stuff happens, that’s why you need NRMA.

“This is as complicated as any insurance ad should be.”

4. Sydney Opera House – Play It Safe via The Monkeys

Celebrating 50 years in October, Sydney’s iconic Opera House recruited Aussie composer Tim Minchin to launch a musical tribute to its history.

It was created in partnership with The Monkeys.

“A stunning production from beginning to end that manages to feel current and nostalgic at the same time,” said Jeremy Hogg, ECD at Howatson+Company.

“It’s fun, big, enjoyable, well-crafted and populist. It also manages to capture the spirit of the Opera House and the wider creative industry, rather than just being an ad for it.”

Justin Graham, Australian group CEO of M&C Saatchi, said this was his top campaign of the year.

“It’s a great celebration of an icon that I wonder at every day as I walk into our Sydney office. It’s such a cracking insight about the shell of the building, but more importantly the attitude of the great creators and performers that for 50 years have made it what it is,” he said.

“At the time of launch, I liked this comment from the collaborator Tim Minchin about his inspiration coming from the famous building to write and perform the song: ‘To remind us that our not-entirely-mythological ‘larrikin’ spirit is the same spirit that allows us to be bold and brave and not care too much what other people think”‘. It’s a campaign that’s as clever and creative as the building it is celebration.”

Jardin Anderson, head of creative at MONA, added: “Jealous of the Sydney Opera House 50 years. I wrote my uni dissertation on Utzon’s vision, and this one hit me in the feels! I’m a major Kim Gehrig fan-girl, but there is so much I admire about this piece of work. Most of all, the generosity of collaboration to rally behind a four and-a-half minute celebration of unbridled creativity.

“I also massively back the indulgence in duration. There’s a sense of liberation in not pandering to the culture and platform-driven editing style here that’s especially fitting for a piece of content dedicated to an icon built on challenging conventions.”

3. Heaps Normal – Just Say No To Water via in-house creative

Ahead of Dry July, non-alcoholic beer company Heaps Normal launched a retro-inspired spot, encouraging Aussies to reject water and pick up a non-alc beer instead.

It had the look and feel of a 90s ‘war on drugs’ video, and starred musician Donny Benét.

“This year, Heaps Normal made an enemy out of water, a tactic I’ve never seen before,” said CHEP Network’s ECD Paul Meates.

“Strategically, ‘Just Say No To Water’ was a surprise. Without any meaningful competition, water has only had itself to conquer, which has resulted in petty squabbling over isotopes or jostling for the most thirst-quenching waterfall origin.

“Along comes a non-alcoholic beer calling it “a dangerously boring drink” and the beverage world is up ended.”

2. Aldi – Shop Aldi First via BMF

In its first campaign of the year, Aldi positioned itself as the first shop Aussies visit, before they go to the other supermarkets.

Created by BMF, the spot shows an understanding cashier saying “its cool” that shoppers might need to go to its competitors.

Wheeler said: “Too often brands try to paper over their cracks instead of lining them with gold.

“Great advertising is truth well told, and sometimes that means taking a perceived negative, owning it, and making it a positive.”

1. Telstra – This is Country Footy via The Monkeys

Topping the list is Telstra with its ‘This is Country Footy’ campaign.

The integrated campaign championed Telstra’s history of NRL and AFL sponsorship, shining a light on its commitment to local footy, with creative from The Monkeys.

Hilary Badger, ECD at Ogilvy said she “really loves Telstra Country Footy”.

“It’s the right combination of populist and conceptual. So well crafted,” she said.

BMF’s creative director, David Roberts, agreed: “I love everything about this one. Insights, casting, use of the word ‘yonks’.

“Congrats to Telstra clients for having the courage and wisdom to tell a ripping yarn their target audience will enjoy watching,” Roberts added.

Gayle While, CEO of Havas Host, added: “Beautiful craft and awesome talent, this campaign really taps into Australia’s passion for footy. Both an entertaining and joyful way to celebrate our sense of mateship, community and competitive spirit.”

Jim Ingram, national chief creative at Thinkerbell, said: “I’m not sure if this is global award-winning type of work, but strewth, it spoke to the inner country bogan in me.

“Good old fashioned storytelling, executed with absolute precision, riddled with brand equity and a superb line “This isn’t country footy, it’s footy country”. It’s my #1 pick for this year.”

Special mentions:

Aldi – Go Big on the Little Things via BMF

Dan Monheit, CEO of Hardhat, said: “I love everything about this. It’s fun, tells a great story, nails the point of difference and carries Aldi’s signature quirk.”

Beeston added: “A Christmas campaign done right. Humor, seasonality and product scattered throughout in a bold way.”

Stella Insurance – It Takes Boobs via Cocogun
QLD Health – You Do The 5, You Survive via CHEP Network

Dee Madigan, ECD at Campaign Edge, said: “I really like the new sun safe campaign from the QLD government.

“Government campaigns are notoriously bland but this is fun, engaging and gets the message across to a difficult audience. Bravo.”

Qantas – Feels Like Home via The Monkeys

Beeston said: “Beautifully crafted piece of storytelling for a beloved brand which was under fire at the time.”

Honest Eggs Co – FixChix via VML

“I gotta say, it’s the kind of idea when I first saw it I called BS, but I’ve seen it in the real world, I’ve watched it unfold and I can’t deny it,” Ingram said.

“In fact, I love it. It extends on previous innovation and creativity for the brand and it’s the kind of idea that builds value into the brand well beyond the media spend. Cracking idea (see what I did there).”

Uber – Magic via Special Australia

Wheeler said: “‘A celebrity’ can be a shallow or non-existent idea unless you make them the idea, and this is the perfect example. I’ve always loved ‘rabbit hole’ ads that just keep going deeper and deeper and then too far into a scenario. Good fun.”

Hunt & Brew – Always Hunting via Sunday Gravy
Macpac – Weather Anything via The Monkeys

Psembi Kinstan, group ECD at DDB Melbourne, said it was a “standout spot”.

“It’s hard to beat. A perfectly-funny product demo, impeccably crafted as well as any comedy spot in the world this year. Very jealous.”

Shift 20 Initiative

Developed by Special Australia and the Dylan Alcott Foundation, some of Australia’s biggest brands re-shot their commercials to include a person with disability, in support of better representation in Australian advertising.

Simone Gupta, co-founder of Supermassive, said: “A campaign highlight, for me, was related to creating an inclusive future.

“The Shift 20 Initiative, led by our friends at Special Group and the Dylan Alcott Foundation and backed by Australia’s biggest brands. Creativity and community with impact.”


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