The Drum's New Year Honours: Best ads, apps, innovations and viral campaigns of 2014

This week The Drum has been taking stock of the past twelve months and awarding its New Year Honours to agencies, people and brands.

2014 was certainly a year of innovation – from viral selfies to augmented reality apps, agencies took briefs to a whole new level in order to adapt to the digital age.

Here we take a look at some of the most striking campaigns from the last 12 months.

Best TV ad: Ikea ‘Beds’

Ikea furthered its ‘Wonderful Everyday’ campaign with a downright dreamy offering to promote its range of bedrooms.

Directed by Juan Cabral of Cadbury Gorilla fame, the 90-second spot opened with a woman waking up on a bed high within the clouds. Set against an excerpt from Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’, the Mother London creative sees the advert’s star take a cinematic tumble through the clouds – and past numerous Ikea beds – to land safely in her own bed. The stunning mix of CG and in-camera footage had us hooked.

Best online ad: Honda ‘The Other Side’

Interactive advertising reached a whole new dimension with the release of Honda’s slick effort ‘The Other Side’. Promoting the car manufacturer’s new sporty Civic Type R, the Wieden+Kennedy London creative seamlessly merged the two sides of the Honda Civic with the story of a man who leads a double life – father by day and undercover cop by night. Shot in perfect sync ‘The Other Side’ enabled viewers to switch between the two narratives and explore the Civic’s light and dark sides with the touch of a button.

A devilishly clever piece of work and a rare example of an interactive experience you want to participate with and, most importantly, share.

Best retail app: L’Oreal ‘Makeup Genius’

The cosmetics counter went digital in 2014 with the introduction of L’Oreal Paris’ Makeup Genius app.

After seven years of research, the brand’s innovation incubator created the app with augmented reality technology borrowed from the gaming industry.Thanks to a facial mapping system, the app can capture 64 facial data points and 100 different expressions, allowing users to try products in real-time using their phone or tablet as a virtual mirror. Since its launch in May, the app has hit over 1.7m downloads.

Best viral campaign: Samsung ‘Oscar Selfie’

In March last year Samsung inked a deal to sponsor celebrity selfies at the Oscars, which included having its Galaxy smartphone integrated into the show.

The best plug came when Host Ellen DeGeneres and a crew of A-listers, including Brad Pitt and Meryl Streep, lit up Twitter with a selfie that almost broke the microblogging site – taken on the brand’s Galaxy Note tablet. The star-studded photo scored 32.8m impressions within 24 hours and became the most shared tweet in history, with over 3m retweets to date.

Best use of Tinder: Immigrant Council of Ireland ‘Campaign Against Sex Trafficking’

It was only a matter of time before Tinder played host to a campaign, and eightytwenty’s work for the Immigration Council of Ireland was one of the first global ads on the controversial dating app.

The agency created several fake profiles on the app which told the stories of victims of trafficking. Users initially saw images of attractive women, which when swiped exposed more images of models with cuts and bruises.
The final image was a message urging users to consider the issues faced by women affected by trafficking.

Best tech innovation: Nivea ‘Sun Band’

‘Wearables’ may have taken the buzzword crown in 2014, but amidst all of the hype, FCB Brazil managed to produce a genuinely innovative and useful wearable for Nivea.

The ‘Sun Band’ campaign consisted of a magazine ad which contained a strip that could be torn out and turned into a tracker bracelet for kids. An accompanying app, Nivea Protégé, linked to the device and let parents set a distance that their child could roam before an alarm was triggered.

As well as alleviating the anxiety of beach-going parents, the cross-platform creative proved that marrying print and digital can be effective.

Best video: Greenpeace ‘Everything is Not awesome’

The controversial ‘Lego: Everything is Not Awesome’ video was part of Greenpeace’s campaign urging Lego to cease its endorsement of Shell.

The film by London creative agency Don’t Panic focuses on an Arctic Lego scene, complete with Shell oilrig, which is flooded with an insidious creep of oil from a spill. Finishing with the line ‘Shell is polluting our kids’ imaginations’, the ad hammered home the far-reaching repercussions of oil drilling. The campaign had a massive impact and in October the Danish toy company announced that it would not renew its longstanding partnership with the oil major, removing Shell’s logo from its bricks.

Best charity ad: Save the Children ‘If London was Syria’

‘Just because it isn’t happening here doesn’t mean it isn’t happening’ was the message from Save the Children as the third anniversary of the start of Syrian conflict approached.
The charity released a one-second-a-day video and photo timelapse showing drastic changes in an ordinary child’s life over the course of one year, but brought the issue closer to home by featuring a young British girl.

Developed by Don’t Panic, the campaign ran alongside the #SaveSyriasChildren fundraiser and aimed to increase awareness of the impact that war has on young people.
In a landscape cluttered by charity advertising the campaign stood out from the crowd and clearly struck a chord with the public, racking up 42m views and counting.

Best out of home: Pepsi ‘Live for Now’

As part of its wider ‘Live for Now’ campaign, Pepsi Max greeted stunned travellers on the streets of London with aliens, a tiger and some giant robots.

The stunt, crafted by AMV BBDO, saw a typical London bus stop use digital technology to create the illusion of a see-through display, which showed an array of incredible scenarios unfold on the street. Pepsi also closed the gap between social and out of home with a UK-wide real-time campaign which invited customers to send in Vines using the hashtag #LiveForNow.

Category innovation: Robinsons Squash’d

Robinsons Orange Squash is a staple of British childhood but when Robinsons decided to go after the 25-34 year-old market it shook up the stalwart of the FMCG scene with the introduction of Squash’d.

Sold in handy (quite literally, they fit in the palm of your hand) packs instead of one litre bottles, Squash’d targeted those on the move and demonstrated that parent company Britvic really did mean business with its plans to open up new opportunities for growth. While the product, packaging and everything that comes with it is groundbreaking in itself, the viral campaign promoting Squash’d from Iris and Oscar-winning VFX shop Framestore helped the new comer gain traction at lightning speed in cramped marketplace.

Most controversial ad: Sainsbury’s Christmas

There is no denying that advertisers pulled out all the stops for Christmas 2014 and little over a week after Monty the Penguin stole our hearts for John Lewis, Sainsbury’s swooped in with a World War One-themed epic that divided the nation.

Devised by AMV BBDO, the campaign was hailed as ‘cynical’ and ‘wonderful’ in equal measure and while the emotional depth of Sainsbury’s recreation of the 1914 Christmas Truce – when rival soldiers laid down their weapons to play football – or the quality of the creative was never in question, what made people uncomfortable was whether or not using such a poignant narrative to shift mince pies was all a bit tasteless.

Most inexplicable use of an orangutan: SSE ‘Seeing energy through fresh eyes’

Scottish and Southern Energy had hoped to make us see the world through a fresh pair of eyes when it introduced CGI orangutan Maya; instead it left us asking ‘What the hell does an orangutan have to do with electricity?’

Launched in October the campaign was the brainchild of Adam&EveDDB and saw Maya explore a busy urban environment – shop windows, escalators, Piccadilly Circus –and all its wonders.

And while the TV ad was slightly confusing, the print campaign, in which Maya stared wistfully into the middle distance beside a series of vaguely SSE-themed backdrops, was nothing short of baffling and made absolutely no sense without prior knowledge of the TV commercial.

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