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
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.
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 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
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