Samsung, Channel 4, Mozilla & more: Creative directors from 18 Feet & Rising, Now, JWT London and more choose their Creative Work of the Year

By Gillian West | Social media manager

December 15, 2016 | 9 min read

So, we’ve heard what the public think with The Drum readers voting for Lovehoney and Brave's 'Fuzzy Buzzy Slinky Kinky' as their Creative Work of the Year, but what do the professionals think?

From BETC Paris’ clever Instagram campaign for Addict Aide to Channel 4’s Superhumans and The Donald’s pledge to ‘Make America Great Again,’ creative director’s from J. Walter Thompson London, 18 Feet & Rising, Tribal Worldwide and more have shared their 2016 standout creative moments.

Check back tomorrow for some more Creative Director’s 2016 picks including Ogilvy & Mather’s Mick Mahoney, Al Young of St Luke’s and The Partners’ Katherina Tudball.

BETC Paris: Addict Aide ‘Like my addiction’

Maybe I’m Christmas-ed out. Big, pricey TV ads where the agency has literally got in the most expensive director they could afford (Wes Anderson!!!) to bring the magic. With the same media formats we’ve been looking at for the last five years and a half-hearted nod to digital – Snapchat filters are this year’s Google Cardboard - I’m not coming away thinking ‘what a great idea’, I’m working out how much the whole thing cost.

Online is an incredible space, but as they say in adult entertainment – you’ve got to do it like you mean it. So my choice for Campaign of the year is Like My Addiction – BETC’s Instagram campaign for Addict Aide. A super-smart stealth idea they use the media as the message, creating Louise Delage – a fun-loving millennial who’s seemingly never without a smile on her face or a drink in her hand. With smart hashtagging and authentic posting Louise picks up thousands and thousands of likes and followers only for it to be eventually revealed (in a posted film) that by continually liking her photos you’re actually missing and even encouraging her addiction.

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What a cracking idea. A small production budget, it earned its own media, and like all great campaigns I’m left with the clarity of one distinct message – am I missing the addiction of someone close to me? - Iain Hunter, executive creative director, Stack

R/GA: Ad Council ‘We Are America feat. John Cena’

I really enjoyed watching this and it was one of the very few pieces of work I felt compelled to share this year. Yes, it could be seen as typical US rhetoric and patriotism, with the all-American street on parade and military tunes to boot. But with everything that was happening in the election, I loved the timeliness (released 4 July) and the use of relevant data to make a powerful statement; it all came together beautifully. And using WWE superstar John Cena was perfect casting. - Matt Salmon, lead creative Europe; Naked Communications

Donald Trump: Make America Great Again


Four words. Four small, simple words. But when put together and stitched onto a baseball cap they proved enough to convince angry America to vote for a candidate wholly unqualified for the role of most powerful man in the world.

Those four words did a lot of heavy lifting for the president-elect. Those four words made it possible to be a president without political experience, without policies, without manners and seemingly without a care for the rest of planet.

Make America Great Again isn’t the most creative communication written this year. Unfortunately, it is the most powerful. I hope whoever wrote those words doesn’t live to regret them. - Rob Potts, executive creative director, Saatchi & Saatchi London

Nitto Tokyo: Ocedel Lighting ‘Firefly Man’

My favourite ad of 2016 is the firefly man for Ocedel, Japan. It may have slipped under the radar in the UK but it did win a Cannes Lion for craft.

A beautiful story of a family who can’t afford electricity – so the father of the family steps up and does what he has to do. He turns into a giant fire fly, bringing love, laughter and most importantly light to the family.

The film takes a dark twist when the son suddenly screams ‘adult fireflies only live for one week’. The Father firefly promptly falls from the ceiling, bringing the spot to an abrupt end. All the more reason to switch to LED lights from Ocedel. - Anna Carpen, creative partner, 18 Feet & Rising

BBH Sport: Samsung ‘School of Rio’

Samsung’s ‘School of Rio’ for the Olympics featuring Jack Whitehall is my pick of the year. I love Jack Whitehall’s cheeky nature, and nothing is better than seeing him poke fun at Olympic legends like Bradley Wiggins, Steve Redgrave and Ellie Simmonds.

The ads have some real laugh out loud moments, with Jack playing up his naivety and dishing out his schoolboy banter to some brilliant awkward silences. I love seeing global brands getting under the skin of a national mind set, Samsung really nailed this campaign by getting Britain’s least capable to have a go at the profession of the nation’s most. - Guy Bradbury, founding partner and executive creative director, Atomic

BIMM Toronto: WD-40 ‘Haunted door app’

Often we wonder about the Eureka moment that teams enjoy when the cry goes up “I’ve got it”

Transport yourself to the WD40 brainstorm. The impossible challenges including:

  • ‘blow the category wide open’
  • ‘take the brand from the household isle to a wider audience’
  • ‘make WD40 more fun and entertaining’
  • ‘build us new consumer data base’
  • ‘spoil us with PR’
  • ‘crack millennials’
  • ‘create a brand ritual’
  • ‘own a holiday occasion’
  • ‘shock me’

Impossible, right?

Wrong - my favourite ‘thing’ this year is the WD40 Haunted Door App, oh how I wish I could have bumped into that team in the pub post brainstorm. - Mike Kettles, executive creative director, Momentum Worldwide

DDB Berlin: Pink Ribbon Germany ‘Check it before it’s removed’

Check it

This year I have enjoyed the rise of the smart new ‘hack’ creativity. It’s all about ideas that fit in platforms naturally and concepts that have been born in these channels. I've particularly loved the hacks in Minecraft, Instagram and Facebook.

The campaign that stands out for 2016 is Check it before its Removed. A breast cancer awareness campaign that played with Facebook as it removed bare breasts off its pages following its censorship algorithm of no breast flesh. It created an uproar then a movement from breast cancer sufferers and supporters who chased the censorship of Facebook. A clever, smart, simple idea that touched me. - Victoria Buchanan, executive creative director, Tribal Worldwide London

4Creative: Channel 4 ‘We’re the Superhumans’

The first Channel 4 Superhumans ad was a fantastic piece of work and rightly won loads of awards. I think the new ‘Yes I Can’ follow up is even better. It’s quirky, original and clever.

The extra layer of the band playing ‘Yes I Can’ and featuring in the ad make it so watchable. It’s full of interesting observations, from the reveal of the feet playing drums at the start through the archery, piano playing and blind football. It’s a blend of sport, music and everyday tasks, all with the charismatic singer and his orchestra on the sidelines to heighten the entertainment. The director has done a wonderful job on a very ambitious script. - Russell Ramsey, executive creative director, J. Walter Thompson London

Palace: Palace Skateboards ‘Reebok Classics’

I remember the first time I saw this ad.

It’s the sort of ad that while you’re eating a lunchtime burrito, you spit it at your laptop screen as you revel in the ads shinny brilliance.

And it really is burrito spitting brilliant.

It throws out all usual tired advertising constructs. It’s not filmed well. Hell, Jonah Hill isn’t even filmed there. And then he says the clients name wrong, twice. Funny. Knowing. Perfection.

This is the sort of thing I want to watch while taking solace in a tasty burrito in between twenty thousand daily meetings. - Remco Graham, executive creative director, Now

Johnson Banks: Mozilla ‘Rebrand’


There was a fantastic variety of work, my favourites being from brands like Deliveroo, Just Eat and Co-Op. But the Mozilla rebrand by Johnson Banks to put Mozilla back at the ‘core of internet’ stands out for me as it was fresh, lively and fun.

I was also inspired by the approach the team decided to take, by opening the brief and embracing the opportunity to include the Mozilla community in the process, they get to influence the outcome. The brand welcomed feedback from the public throughout the design journey via comments on their blog, therefore challenging the industry's traditional design processes and putting the power in the public’s hands.

This is exactly what we should all strive to do more of and I think a lot more agencies and brands will be calling upon ‘people power’ next year. - James Ramsden, executive creative director, Coley Porter Bell


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