Creative Showcase: Creative directors from R/GA, BBH, FCB Inferno and more pick their favourites of 2014

Over the last year we've had creative directors from the likes of R/GA, BBH London, SapientNitro, FCB Inferno, 72andSunny Amsterdam and more choose their favourite pieces of work from our Creative Showcases.

Here we bring together all of their picks to highlight some of the best creative work from the last 12 months.

Prominent work includes Mother London's dreamy 'Beds' creative for Ikea from late summer; Grey London's Sunday Times Richlist 'fat cats' and Adam&EveDDB's Christmas classic 'Monty the Penguin' for John Lewis.

Adam&EveDDB: Bulmers ‘Live Colourful’

Chris Williams, creative director, R/GA

It’s fantastic to see a campaign where an agency has collaborated with British artists (Alan Murray, Thoman Bürden, Duncan Edwards, Paul Knowles). The work has an edge over the bombardment of grey advertising we see each day. It stirs an emotion of spring/summer, a relevant brand association that makes me want to get out and enjoy life. The result is a truly eye catching campaign with Thoman Bürden billboard execution fully embodying the ‘Live Colourful’ campaign. A lovely piece of work from Adam&EveDDB.

Executive creative director: Ben Priest, Ben Tollett, Emer Stamp

Creative director: Steve Wioland, Matt Woolner

Retouching: Stanleys Post

Design/typography: Paul Knowles

Creative producer: Laura Smith

Planner: Tom Sussman

Managing partner: Mat Goff

Account director: Lauren Tomlinson

Account manager: Joseph Mishon

Artists: Alan Murray, Thoman Bürden, Duncan Edwards, Paul Knowles

Grey London: News UK ‘Sunday Times Rich List’

Nick Kidney, creative director, BBH London

The Sunday Times Rich List has proved fertile territory for the creative folk lucky enough to have worked on it in recent times. The downside of doing great work, however, is that next time the bar gets raised a little. It’s the curse of the long running campaign. That fact alone makes the latest crop of ads in this series all the more worthy of praise. A simple, irreverent idea executed memorably. Whatever Nils Leonard and his creative colleagues are putting in the tea over at Grey, it’s definitely working.

Executive creative director: Nils Leonard

Creative director: Dave Monk

Creative team: Jo Sissons Kate Allsop, Miguel Gonzalez

Creative producer: Kevin Noble

Photographer: Tim Flach

Beats by Dre ‘The Game Before the Game’ by R/GA

Nigel Vaz, European MD, SapientNitro

Beats by Dre has struck a rich vein by viral-seeding its products with elite athletes and gatecrashing the London 2012 Olympics. There’s no reason the brand or category should be synonymous with sport, but now they’ve gone and done this – create an instant classic World Cup ad.

‘The Game Before the Game’ is as slick and star-studded (Neymar Jr, Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge, even LeBron James and Serena Williams cameos) as anything Nike has done. Yet it’s not derivative.

The thought is powerful and explores new territory not hit upon too many times – focus and preparation for the big game. The idea and execution have perfect relevance to the product. The music, naturally (‘Jungle’ by X Ambassadors’ and Jamie N. Commons), the filmic quality by music video director Nabil Elderkin, its pace and sheer coolness – all suggest we’re witnessing the birth of a new giant among epic sporting event advertisers.

Director: Nabil Elderkin

Executive creative director: Rodrigo Sobral

Creative director: Rodrigo Sobral, Iain Robson

Copywriter: Edwin Latchford

Art director: Ciaran McCarthy

Associate design director: Malte Gruhl, Andy Bull

Design director: Anders Svensson

Visual designer: Alejandro Larramendi

Head of film production: Kat Friis

Executive producer: Kia Zokaei

Producer: Kelly Wood, Souad Setti

Saatchi & Saatchi London: Toyota Aygo’s ‘Who’s Driving’

Lucas Peon, executive creative director, Possible

The piece that stands out to me is Saatchi & Saatchi London’s ‘Who’s Driving’ for Toyota. The campaign is social at its core and everything is right about the execution. They are creating content people want to watch and share without forcing the brand into it, just letting the car fit in naturally. They are tapping into existing web heroes without asking them to betray the essence that made them successful, which is respectful to their fans and it will mean more support.

Executive creative director: Paul Silburn, Kate Stanners

Creative team: Brittany Poole, Todd Grinham

Planner: Paulo Carvajal

Account handler: Theresa Risdon, Mauro Messina

Producer: Rebecca Williams, Michael Hanney

Director: Jamie Rafn

AMV BBDO – Kids Co ‘See the child’

Paul Bentley, London director, BJL

My favourite is the work from Kids Co. by AMV BBDO just for its sheer ambition. Going from a fundraiser to an agent for change and forcing the government and the establishment to rethink their policy, the ambition really stood out. From a creative perspective when you watch the film it’s very evocative and you’re forced to find out more. The film balances a point of view of the child really well whilst also turning the spotlight on the establishment. It’s a really smart piece of creative and I’d be hoping for its success in the future.

Creative director: Andy Clough, Richard McGrann

Art director: Jim Hilson

Copywriter: Toby Allen

Additional Credits: Agency planner: Louise Nolder, Ila De Mello Kamath

Agency account man: James Walker-Smith, Jane English, Francesca Warner, Nancy Fuller, Sarah Douglas

TV producer: Verity Elvin, Sara Flood, Claire Toms, Polly Lowles

Designer (print): Mario Kerkstra

Planning: Louise Nolder, Ila De Mello Kamath

Community management and digital: Will Kennedy, James Rowley

Studio & retouching: Emma Vincent-Pagden, Mark Deamer

Project management: Rachel Ardeman, Caroline Whale

AMV post-production: Bea Bowden, Tom Sorbie

AMV art production: Hannah Jones

AMV business affairs: Maxine Thompson, Mathilda Millin Reade

Media agency: Mindshare

PR agency: Fishburn

Digital agency: Lean Mean Fighting Machine

Production company: Gorgeous

Director: Chris Palmer

Production co. executive producer : Rupert Smythe

Production co. producer : Jude Vermeulen

Post-production company: The Mill

Audio post-production: Wave

Mother London: Ikea ‘Beds’

Al Young, chief creative officer, FCB Inferno

The good people at The Drum sent me a stack of work to review with one simple instruction; choose your favourite. Pretty much the first link I looked at was the Ikea ‘Beds’ spot. After wading through 28 other links it turns out Ikea was my favourite all along. By a country mile. I love it. Visually, it’s a belter - and just a little bit unsettling.

Ikea have resisted the category cliches of snuggling down in fluffy duvets. Instead, we see a girl’s vertigo-inducing dream journey set to Prospero’s ‘Our revels now are ended’ speech from The Tempest.

The narrative is disjointed, just like a dream. The words and soundscape add eerie eloquence to the dream. The shot of the rocket ascending through clouds will stay with me for quite some time.

As will the girl reflected in the office window as she plummets to earth in slow motion. Ikea and Mother have both built their brands on doing it differently. This beautiful film is an elegant summation of that admirable philosophy. As Prospero says, “We are such stuff as dreams are made on”.

Director: Juan Cabral

Producer: Stephen Johnson/Rudi Rossouw (Stillking)

Executive producer: Debbie Turner

Photography: Eric Gautier

72andSunny Amsterdam: Samsung Electronics ‘Every day is day one’

Will Barnett, executive creative director, Adjust Your Set

I’m Apple everything. iPhone to Powerbook. Cut me in half and you’d find pips. But recently I’m being wooed. I feel a little guilty just thinking about it, but Samsung is seriously flirting with me. First it mocked my kind waiting loyally in a queue for an iPhone, then later as we search in an airport for a charge point. It did a deal with Jay Z – has no one told it Apple owns music? Now this, a beautiful film highlighting its sponsorship of the Association of Surfing Professionals.

Featuring seasoned pro surfers to those just starting out, it tells the story and captures the emotion, adrenalin and satisfaction of surfing addiction. It seduces you with amazing cinematic photography cut to a haunting rendition of the track ‘Absolute beginners’. Summarised with the line ‘Everyday is day one’, the phone is seamlessly integrated into the story.

Executive creative director: Carlo Cavallone

Creative director: Paulo Martins

Writers: Lee Hempstock, Damian Isaak

Lead designer: Robert Teague

Designer: Renee Lam

Group brand director: Caroline Britt

Senior brand manager: Rebeccah Lowe

Brand co-ordinator: Nicholas Rowland

Director of film production: Stephanie Oakley

Film producer: Eline Bakker

Grey London: The Times and The Sunday Times ‘For the moments even we can’t describe in words’

Nicky Bullard, executive creative director, LIDA

I’m not neat. My clothes drawers aren’t neat. My hair isn’t neat. I don’t even eat neat. But what is neat, and tidy, is the Times’ ad for their football video highlights. Probably a tricky brief this.

The Times is known for its brilliant writing, but they want to talk about our new video offering, where they’re not writing anything at all. A cracking little line does the trick. ‘For the moments even we can’t describe’. Think the sound effects could have been better, but still a neat (have I used that word?) job.

Deputy executive creative director: Dave Monk

Creative team: Pauline Ashford, Mike Kennedy, Felipe Montt, Henrik Dufke

Agency producer: Natasha Johnson, Elaine Coyle, Harriette Larder

Creative producer: Sarah Benson

Planner: Mike Lean, Hamish Cameron

Account team: Natalie Graeme, Tamsine Foggin, Albert Ponnelle

Media agency: M/SIX

Editor: Xavier Perkins

Post production: GPS

Audio post-production: 750MPH

BBH London: Axe ‘Monday, Wednesday’

Simon Poett, executive creative director, Tribal Worldwide, London

BBH’s ads for AXE, or Lynx, as we know it in the UK, are known for being big and event-like. However, these feel different, less ‘stunty’ than previous work, and are instead more like filmic expositions; they could be trailers. These are great executions with cool photography, tight editing and killer music.

The music choices in particular, ‘Defiant Order’ and ‘Lady’s Scream’, are brilliant; the vocals laid on top meld seamlessly to the point where you’d be easily mistaken to believe they are part of the original track. It’s a very well packaged piece of advertising. If it was a movie I’d go see it…

Deputy executive creative director: David Kolbusz

Creative director: Gary McCreadie, Wesley Hawes

Creative team: Peter Reid, Carl Broadhurst, Charlene Chandrasekaran, Dan Morris

Team manager: Dan Gearing

Team director: Krista Nelson

Strategy director: Agathe Guerrier

Strategist: Tom Callard

Adam&EveDDB: Temptations ‘#TimeToPlayBall’

Cindy Gallop, founder, IfWeRanTheWorld and MakeLoveNotPorn

I loved Adam&EveDDB’s Temptations Tumblers ‘Time To Play Ball’ for a host of reasons.

I love the creative subversion of what appears in the opening seconds to be yet another clichéd inspirational Nike-style sports ad. I love the fact that the athletes featured are a diverse, gender-equal mix. I love the startling revelation that this involves cats. I love the fact that the product is central to and the reason for the action. I love the subverting of more inspirational sports ad executional gimmicks (the fingertip twirl, the leap, the drop, the shaking off of water droplets). I love the fact that this film represents the perfect convergence of our industry’s technical craft skills at their best. And I love that this reminds me of something I was grateful for back when I was running BBH New York; I sat in fifteen million creds presentations/pitches/ interviews showing our showreel, but because the work was so brilliant I never got tired of watching it myself. I could watch this over and over and over again.

The only thing I don’t love is that I would like to see the brand name on the end frame – which wouldn’t have spoilt anything. I’m old-fashioned that way.

Executive creative director: Emer Stamp, Ben Priest, Ben Tollett

Creative director: Richard Brim, Daniel Fisher

Art director: Steph Ellis

Copywriter: Rory Hall

Planner: Michelle Gilson

Media agency: Digitas

US Production company: P for Production

Director: Adam & Will

Editor: Jonathan Casey

Post-production: Smoke & Mirrors

BuroCreative: DF Mexico ‘DF Mexico Brand Identity’

Steven Anderson, group creative director, Smith & Milton

My favourite piece has to be the DF Mexico brand identity work by BuroCreative. Its bold, in-your-face graphic style packs a punch while expertly avoiding lazy ‘Mexican’ clichés. BuroCreative is also behind restaurant chain Wahaca’s identity – which for me is again a fresh and powerful take on what Mexican can mean.

As a whole the DF Mexico identity hangs together really well. At first glance it may seem eclectic and that ‘anything goes’, but as a system it gels perfectly. The creative uses a simple set of consistent elements interpreted in varied and inviting ways. It’s a great example of how a strong identity allows a brand to play more in its design, and needn’t conform slavishly to consistency.

As long as you have clearly recognisable elements you can push boundaries and create individually interesting pieces of work within the larger system. In this case: through the core red and black colour palette, the condensed font and its application, and finally the slightly bonkers set of icons that make up the only three design elements the brand may ever need.

Creative Director: Roly Grant

Designer: Peter Ryan

Copywriter: Roly Grant, Peter Ryan

Illustrator: Peter Ryan

Photographer: Interiors by Steven Joyce

Interior design: Softroom

VCCP: Royal London ‘We’re so Yesterday’

Shaun Moran, creative director and founding partner, Soul

This may not be the slickest creative work in the showcase, however the beauty in VCCP’s work for Royal London is in the fact that it dares to raise a very low bar.

has been a stagnant, methodical and somewhat patronising approach to ‘creativity’ in the over-50s life cover sector in recent years; the stock retired actor, the deadpan stare into the camera and, not forgetting, the free pen giveaway that life insurance campaigns seem obsessed with. I’m not within this product’s target audience yet, but when I do tip into that group, I want to be entertained, not served the actors of yesteryear reciting terms and conditions within a scene as bland as their recent acting portfolio.

It may be easier for a client to stick with what works, but Royal London didn’t; something we should all be grateful for. Now, if an over 50s life cover TV ad brief comes your way, you might just get away with actually being creative and interesting.

Creative director: Marcus Woolcott, Jamie Bell

Art director: Jonny Parker

Copywriter: Chris Birch

Agency producer: Ed Mueller

Planner: Andrew Perkins

Account director: Joe Godsell

Media agency: VCCP Media

Media planner: Holly Todd

Production company: Park Pictures

Director: Nathan Price

Post production: MPC

Producer: Tim Kerrison

DOP: Ray Coates

VFX lead: Bruno Fukumothi

Colourist: Jean-Clement Soret

VFX producer: Philip Whalley

Editor/editing house: Paul Hardcastle @ Trim

Sound: Ben Leeves @ Grand Central

BBH London: World Animal Protection ‘Before They Book’

Mat O’Brien, creative director, Space

The genius of this campaign is in its message and choice of media. It borrows from familiar channels, subverting them to grab your attention. Other well known examples include cleverly disguised personalised mailers or savvy graduates using Google AdWords to get noticed by future employers. It’s refreshing to see this method used in the public space for a good cause.

BBH’s campaign acutely targets the travelling ignorant. The execution is convincing and effectively sinister enough to leave a lasting mark on the viewer. One might say as lasting as a bull hook in the poor elephant’s back!

Creative director: Dominic Goldman

Creative team: Matt Fitch, Mark Lewis

Strategist: Damien Le Castrec

Business lead: John Harrison

Team director: Krista Nelson

BBH producer: Charlie Dodd

Production company: Biscuit

Filmworks UK Director: Jeff Low

Executive producer: Orlando Wood

Producer: Kwok Yau

DoP: Deane Thrussell

Post production: The Mill

Editor/ editing house: Saam @ WorkPost

Sound: Sam at 750mph

Producer: Laura Graham

Developer: Rick Burgess, Tomasz Szarzynski, Luke Kidney

UX: Alex Jones

Design: Elliot Owen & Eric Chia, Addicted Pixel

Hi-Tec: ‘Walkumentaries’

Rob Fletcher, creative director, Isobel

Hi-Tec has produced a series of filmed content, called ‘Walkumentaries’. This one features the steady cam operator who shot Pharrell Williams’ 24-hour music video, Happy. He walked 11 miles backwards, for 10 days, in busy cities holding a heavy piece of equipment. I like this because it sets out to be different.

Your Nikes and Adidas have become filmically samey - sporting legends, edgy editing, everything you’ve come to expect. Hi-Tec is walking a different path. It feels more intelligent, smarter. More daring. Less brash. The film isn’t extraordinary or mould breaking, but it does misbehave in the sports shoe category. Always good in my book.

Creatives: Philip Brink, Hugo van Woerden

Photographer: Remco Bikkers

Title design: Paul Freeth

Directors: Philip Brink, Ilja Willems

Post production: Storm

Post production, Amsterdam Editor: Joseff Iping

Executive producer: Francine van der Lee

adam&eveDDB: John Lewis 'Monty the Penguin'

Carlo Cavallone, executive creative director, 72andSunny Amsterdam

Everybody loves the new John Lewis Christmas advert. I love it too. Damn, how can you not love it? Monty the Penguin is so Christmas-y, so warm and full of wonder. Like Frozen or The Hobbit - and thanks to the magic of CGI - it brings to life a completely fanciful and fantastical universe: one where a six year old kid has an active life, watches black and white Hollywood classics, and chooses voluntarily to play with a stuffed penguin toy (even asks for a second stuffed penguin for Christmas) instead of frying his brain on Minecraft, or watching Minecraft broadcasts on Twitch.

As a father, it touches me deeply, and it gives me hope for a better future. As someone working in advertising and marketing, it leaves me a bit skeptical: I am not sure stuffed penguins are going to trump in-app purchases this Christmas.

Happy holidays.

Executive creative director: Ben Priest, Emer Stamp, Ben Tollett

Art director: Richard Brim

Copywriter: Daniel Fisher

Additional credits: Planner: David Golding

Managing director: Tammy Einav

Business director: Sarah Coleman

Account director: Caroline Grayson

Joint head of integrated production: Matt Craigie, Cave Ellson

Digital producer: Joseph Walker, Olivier Guitton, Agne Acute

Media agency: Manning Gottleib OMD

Media planner: James Parnum

Production company: Blink Productions Ltd

Director: Dougal Wilson

Producer: Ewen Brown

Executive producer: James Studholme

Production manager: Ellie Britton

1st assistant drector: Jim Cole

DOP: Joost Van Gelder

Steadicam: Paul Edwards

Art director: Andy Kelly

VFX: MPC

VFX supervisor/CG lead: Diarmid Harrison Murray

VFX supervisor 2D: Tom Harding

2D creative director/shoot supervisor: Bill McNamara

Lead animator: Tim Van Hussen

VFX executive producer: Sarah Walsh

Grade: MPC

Colourist: Jean-Clement Soret

Editor: Joe Guest @ Final Cut

Soundtrack Name: Real Love

Artist: Tom Odell

Audio post-production: Factory Studios

Sound: Anthony Moore, Neil Johnson

Digital production: Stink Digital, Supergoober

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