The best ads of 2016, so far

Here you go, ad-marketing-tech-PR-brand-digital people: something for you to read on the beach this weekend on your stupid smartphones. (Though I hope your kids bury them in the sand.)

I committed myself to doing this post after rounding up the worst ads of 2016, so far, last week.

But collecting terrible ads is ridiculously easy: I chose the five worst out of about 1,000 horrendous ads. This week, it wasn’t so easy. I chose five pretty good ads/campaigns out of zero great ones.

I was hoping a great ad or two would materialize this week, but ha, yeah, no.

Rekorderlig Cider, Sweden: “Silver Skaters”

Let’s start with my favorite. This 60-second version first ran last year, but the :30 just won a Yellow Pencil at the U.K.’s D&AD Awards. The :60 is much better. The press note for the spot is interesting:

“Set on the frozen Torneträsk Lake in Lapland, Sweden, the commercial centres on two skating brothers Henrik and Anders (named after Rekorderlig founders, Anders Nanne and Henrik Dung), and their coach/singer Jarmo. (…) The routine is complex, yet effortless, with all three men working together in synch to create a sequence which in its heart is intended to be quirky, yet beautifully Swedish just like Rekorderlig…”

Making a spot that’s equal parts weird and cool, and nicely positions the product makes this a winner. Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi, London.

ITV, U.K.: “Summer Of Sport”

Not a great spot, but it makes it here because of French soccer great Eric Cantona’s delivery and because it makes fun of wanker British sports fans — which is extra funny because Cantona ended his career with Manchester United where he helped them win four championships in five years.

“So, put down your cucumber sandwich that you wash down with the wrong beer. … Because life is too short to eat meat pies on sodden benches.” (*snort*)

Spot was conceived in-house, directed by Nadav Kander.

Robin Wood, Germany


Most every print ad I’ve seen this year hasn’t just been not-good; it’s been appalling — especially the art direction. But this campaign for German environmental activists Robin Wood is the exceptional exception.

I don’t like to include NGO/nonprofit work in “best of” roundups, but this concept is so powerfully executed — it is emotional art direction. And the copy, “Destroying nature is destroying life,” is perfect: It doesn’t get in the way or try to do too much.

Created by Grabarz & Partner, Hamburg. See how the ads were put together here.

Brazil—Special Dog: “Bondage”

Howe bout some sick humor? A new campaign for Special Dog dog food out of Brazil fits the bill.

I like this commercial because of the mystery of the umbrella. The music in the spots is spot on. See the other spots here. Agency: DM9DDB, São Paulo, Brazil.

The U.K.—“Don’t”


We end with a fake ad for nobody.

Everything “Trump” goes viral now, and the anti-Trump billboard, at left, went flying back and forth across cyberspace earlier this month. Many thought The Economist had erected it in Times Square. (Without its logo?) It was actually a Photoshop job for an internal contest at London agency AML (it won). You can read the complete backstory on Adweek.

What that article and everybody else failed to mention was that The Economist did once run its own anti-Trump ad (above right) in 2006.

Notes: This “Endless Possibilities” video for Getty Images will win a lot of awards, but it didn’t excite me like the rest of the ad world. It’s just a party trick of an ad. And, no, none of the GEICO ads deserve to be here.

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