Best of 2015: The Drum editorial team share their favourite ads of the year

What do Sylvester Stallone, cute and cuddly animals and Chris Eubank have in common?

They all feature in The Drum editorial team's favourite ads of the year (sadly all three are not in the same ad but there's always next year).

With 2015 drawing to a close, we asked our team to cast their minds back over the last 12 months and cobble together a few lines on their standout ad of the year.

So without further ado, here are some of our favourites from 2015...

John Lewis Insurance 'Tiny Dancer'

"When I saw John Lewis Insurance’s ‘Tiny Dancer’ for the first time I knew my mum would liken me to its cute, but albeit clumsy, star. Lo and behold when it appeared in an ad break she laughed and gave me a knowing look. The less said about those Spice Girls dance routines the better. Pretty sure I’m the reason my parents’ insurance premiums are still so high to this day…" – Gillian West

Warburtons 'The Deliverers'

"Warburtons ‘The Deliverers’ perfectly encapsulates the essence of Stallone's body of work and allows him to do what he is best at – poking fun of his machismo. Loved this dearly. Well done all involved." – Stephen Lepitak

Hostelworld 'Youth hostelling with Chris Eubank'

"Surely no viral ad has ever had a gestation period as long as this? 17 years in the making, Alan Partridge’s fantasy TV show idea finally became a reality thanks to Hostelworld and creative hotshop Lucky Generals.

"Cleverly capitalising on renewed interest around the Eubank youth hosteling meme on Twitter, an ad with nary any budget and no TV airtime generated an avalanche of free social media and press attention. ‘Cashback’, as Alan might say." – Cameron Clarke

Salvation Army 'The Dress'

"The Salvation Army took the biggest (and most infuriating) web story of the year and developed something positive from it. It was instantly recognisable, increasing its impact. It portrayed a powerful message in a thoughtful way without being too controversial or shocking; a difficult feat to achieve when tackling such a sensitive subject. This is positive disruption done perfectly." – Jess Goodfellow

Sport England 'This Girl Can'

"Despite launching in January, no other ad from this year makes me feel the emotion that This Girl Can still does when I watch it. Sport England claims 150,000 women have gotten back into sports as a result of the ad and I believe it; I'm one of them.

"It uses a fresh insight, the copywriting is sassy and brilliant, it's borrowed its relevant 'on point' aesthetic from Instagram and the use of Missy Elliot is the icing on the cake. It's perfect." – Charlotte McEleny

Seamless 'How New York eats'

"Seamless’s NYC-centric subway campaign includes some of the best ads I’ve seen this year. The posters are relatable, funny and never fail to me remind on my commute back to Brooklyn that ordering food from Seamless is way easier than trying to cook up a concoction in my “pre-war” kitchen." – Minda Smiley

AT&T 'Close to home, it can wait'

"This online film created by BBDO New York paints a disturbingly accurate depiction of the potential consequences of device obsession. A slow burner, it builds to a high impact climax that hits you where it hurts hardest – the realisation that it could be you." – Katie McQuater

De Paul 'There's another side to the story'

"Placed on corners around London, this clever ad for De Paul by Publicis managed to tell two different stories through just ten lines of copy.

"The left side of the posters captured the stereotypes of youth homelessness and the fears people feel, but when viewed in full the message transformed to show the positive reality of becoming a Nightstop volunteer for the charity.

"The crafty design made sure the homeless organisation's campaign stood out, while the carefully considered environment (the decals where plastered near areas where young people slept rough) was a stroke of genius."– Rebecca Stewart

Coca-Cola 'The Text'

"Academy Award winning director Dustin Lance Black directed Coca-Cola’s ‘The Text’ ad. Pereira & O'Dell helped create the moving short film which is part of Coke’s True friendship campaign. It looks at the struggle young people face with their sexuality and the fear of not being accepted for who they are." – Tony Connelly

Shine Technologies 'Fight'

"Shine Technologies has marked itself out among the myriad of ad blockers in 2015, firstly by placing itself in the camp of mobile operators proposing that they could block ads being served over cellular networks. However, more audaciously, it booked a series of ads itself in the FT to further promote its message of ads being abusive towards consumers.

"The act of irony generated massive hype, with the punchy nature of its message reflected in the choice of Mohammed Ali in the creative. The ad embodies the confrontational style of Shine Technologies chief marketing officer Roi Carthy whom, it could be argued, has single handedly propelled the Israel-based outfit to the fore of the advertising industry." – Ronan Shields

Amazon 'Little Horse'

"This rounded off Amazon's ad campaign of the year, continuing a shift to a more emotional tone in its ads and away from the more product-focused efforts it had previously relied on.

"Taking cues from John Lewis, the series featured cute kids and a puppy but the best was saved for last. It opens with a tiny pony shunned by his stablemates twice its size, before its owner takes immediate action – thanks to Amazon's next day delivery – and installs a pony door." – Seb Joseph

The Spanish National Lottery 'Justino'

"It may be the warm and fuzzy time of the season but the Spanish National Lottery's 2015 Christmas TV advert takes my top spot for the best ad of the year.

"Tearjerking and heartwarming at the same time, the animated story of a lonely night time factory worker who delights his fellow colleagues will have you dabbing your eyes and signing up for the country's lottery at the same time." – Natalie Mortimer

Umbro Velocita ‘Glory For All’

"As the camera slowly pans out from a footballer’s sweat-beaded brow this could be any ad for any football boot ever. Thankfully, things quickly take a turn towards the ridiculous.

"Unable to compete on budget with the Adidas and Nikes of the world, and lacking the obligatory big name endorsement demanded by the genre, KesselsKramer in its first outing for Umbro instead blew what was presumably a relatively meagre budget on VFX, lunging from the fantastical to the absurd in an all-out pisstake of the category.

"Good enough to be entertaining but bad enough to be clearly tongue-in-cheek, electrical surges and earth-quaking steps quickly give way to laser-beam-shooting-eyes, super-sonic speed, spontaneous combustion and massive explosions." – Thomas O'Neill

Protein World ‘Beach Body Ready’

"Protein World’s London Underground OOH campaign asking commuters if they were 'beach body ready' was, in my books, the most effective ad the year (outside of the Super Bowl and Christmas rush).

"While largely contemptible for its body shaming implications, the brand sparked anger with its unusually aggressive approach to complaints on social media.

"As brands increasingly clamped on to social justice causes in 2015, what sticks with me this year is Protein World’s reluctance to back down amid criticism and a 70,000 signatory petition calling for its ban. Its message clearly resonated with its customer base – reporting boosted sales as a result of the attention." – John McCarthy

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