LP/AD's Favourite Ads So Far in 2021
Rinita’s Pick (account manager & copywriter) - Nike’s maternity line campaign
Nike strategically unveiled their new maternity line in March, just in time for International Women’s Day. The ad featured mothers in various stages of pregnancy, while taking part in a range of sporting activities. Intermixed with the shots of athletic women engaging in sports, are shots of women caring for their babies. Definitely got me in the feels. And I’m not even a mom. Although, I have to admit that my favourite part of the whole bit, is that this comes a long way since Nike’s 2019 debacle following Allyson Felix’s New York Times article. The piece caused a huge public outcry, which led Nike to announce a new maternity policy for their sponsored athletes. Maybe Nike’s really learned their lesson and seeking to right their wrongs. Or maybe, it’s just advertising.
Sasha’s pick (head of planning) - Satan’s taking a job at Big Wireless
I just love everything Ryan Reynolds does and this ad is no exception. First, we fell in love with Satan last year in the Match.com commercial and now he’s back for another client of Ryan’s and his production company. In this one, Satan works for the Mint Mobile’s imaginary competitor Big Wireless, smartly positioning the provider as the industry’s rebel. I guess what’s most interesting is how Maximum Effort is building a Universe where characters are brand-agnostic and can appear in unrelated pieces from different advertisers. It’s quintessential story-telling that borrows from the likes of Marvel and DC. And that’s amazing.
Krishna’s pick (UI/UX designer) - Timothée Scissorhands
From the first time that I came across this, it’s been etched into my brain. I usually follow automotive reviews diligently and come across numerous ads related to this category. Now, why this ad is so fascinating to me is because I’m in absolute awe of Cadillac’s 'Super Cruise' feature. And using the Timothée Scissorhands character to show how the auto feature works, was just a smart thing to do. Edward Scissorhands was a movie I adored growing up. This ad made the right connection between the movie and the Cadillac Super Cruise. The connection between Timothée, not being able to use his hands and the super-cruise feature not needing any hands is amazing. That’s what I love about this.
Solomiia’s pick (account manager) - Toni Peterson singing in an oat field - Oatly Super Bowl commercial , but more importantly - the follow-up!
Say what you will about Oatly and their boldness, weirdness, or out-of-contextness… but they certainly know how to start a conversation. And how to end it, too! I chose this example because I salute the way Oatly handled the wave of hatred around Toni’s performance in the oat field.
Fighting (or anticipating?) the negative connotations that followed after the ad went live, Oatly offered to ‘compensate’ all the haters with a free t-shirt that says “I totally hated that Oatly commercial”. Needless to say, the t-shirts were out of stock shortly after the release.
I mean…can you top that?!
Mahdi’s pick (Project manager) - KFC’s Sexy Colonel Campaign
You can be forgiven for bending the rules so long as you entertain someone.
My pick exemplifies this principle because I'm going to talk about the brand-bending Sexy Colonel Sanders campaign. Also, because I’m going to interpret "favorites so far in 2021" as "It's now 2021, so whatever I want to talk about, so far, is fair play.”
In 2019, an anime-style dating simulator video game materialized out of nowhere: “I Love You, Colonel Sanders! A Finger Lickin’ Good Dating Simulator”. The concept: chase the attention of youthful cooking school senpai Harland D. Sanders. Yes, this is a whole goddamn video game about trying to date Colonel Sanders.
In December 2020, the obscure-yet-elaborate gag escalated again. Lifetime dropped a very convincing one-minute teaser trailer entitled "A Recipe for Seduction". Therein, the actual Mario Lopez plays a then-unknown young chef with a spicy secret recipe and and even spicier secret past, all wrapped up in a seriously messed-up love triangle / murder plot...thing.
The astonishing amount of effort that went into this troll had many people wondering if this could actually be a real movie. Then Lifetime actually aired the bit as a fully-produced Lifetime movie. Not only does it feature a snowy-haired, beard-stachioed Mario Lopez bashfully flexing his dimples at everyone in sight, the trailer nails every tawdry tabloid trope associated with a Lifetime Original made-for-TV movie.
Props to Lifetime for letting KFC roast them, so to speak, and to KFC for letting their agency try something insane with their brand.