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The most original ad campaigns of 2018


By Dani Gibson | Senior Writer

September 4, 2018 | 7 min read

From diversity to environmental health, the ad industry has delivered some of its most original and powerful campaigns to date in 2018.

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The five most impactful ad campaigns of 2018 so far

Here at The Drum, we chart the five campaigns of 2018 that we have had the most profound impact on the industry.

With many of The Drum Awards deadline's fast approaching, we hope to inspire and encourage you to show us the amazing work you’ve created in the past year.

Zulu Alpha Kilo and Consonant Skincare: Consonant store launch

In June, Zulu Alpha Kilo and Canadian skincare brand Consonant launched its third brick-and-mortar store through an out of home (OOH) campaign that utilized the rough textures of Toronto in a unique way. To represent different types of skin challenges, the brand advertised across walls and signposts with various surface textures such as brick, wood and cracked cement in a series of ambient coupons and postings. The different surface textures were representative of the wide range of skin complaints that Consonant's products cater to. The swatches urged passersby to visit the new store if they felt their skin mimicked any of the surface textures, such as "rough as [a cutout of a brick wall]".

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Wieden+Kennedy and Nike: Nothing Beats a Londoner

Earlier this year, Nike looked to mobilize active Londoners with a new ad campaign designed to show the range of activity undertaken by people in the city.

The ad by Wieden+Kennedy London conveys the energy and passion of as many as 250 Londoners, who raced across the city and showcased their talents along the way. The ad featured subtle cameos from the likes of Skepta, Mo Farah, Harry Kane, Dina Asher-Smith and England manager Gareth Southgate

Despite split opinions on the ad and a legal dispute which ultimately removed it from YouTube, the content was highly praised. This is not the only example of Nike's divisive advertising campaigns, with other spots such as 'Dream Crazy' and 'Dream Crazier' courting both backlash and public praise.

Turkish Airlines: safety video with The Lego Movie characters

At the beginning of August, Turkish Airlines revealed a new in-flight safety video, which saw the airline collaborate with the cast of The Lego Movie franchise.

This vibrant film, heavy on self-referential humor of The Lego Movie franchise, took 16 production specialists a massive 950 days to turn 2,938,840 Lego bricks into an informative flight safety video.

Protagonist Emmet and master builder Wyldstyle are between movies and their newfound fame has led to a “flashy airline safety video”. Along with their friends and some DC Comics cameos like Batman, Superman and The Flash, the cast give their own rendition of flight safety procedures. There’s even a memorable musical number performed by Princess Unikitty.

The film is shown on all Turkish Airlines flights and has 31,515,190 views on YouTube to date.

FF New York and Sea Shepherd: The Plastic Ocean

With recent reports revealing the receptibility of audiences to brands experimenting with cause marketing, more agencies are now jumping on the social good bandwagon.

We are in the midst of a global environmental crisis, an issue which has been addressed in the marketing of numerous big-name brands, including Ikea and Corona. Every year more than one million marine animals die from plastic debris. In April, non-profit marine conservation organization Sea Shepherd, along with FF New York, decided to broadcast the dilemma of how sea life is affected by plastic pollution.

‘Plastic Ocean’ was conceived to raise awareness of this issue, and in an attempt to make young people in particular mindful of plastic usage. The campaign comprised of three still images and a video, the colorful images highlight animals appearing to swim into plastic barriers.

Hauntingly beautiful, the video serves as a chilling reminder of the repercussions of our habits for sea creatures. Beginning with recognizable creatures animals swimming with ease, quickly the turtles, dolphins, and sharks are distressingly caught up and suffocated by plastic barriers. The clip ends with a CTA from Sea Shepherd, reminding viewers to recycle in order to stop plastic pollution.

Droga5 and Covergirl: Stand Out

Social media has been demonized for the pressure it puts on young people to live up to unrealistic expectations and has been linked to exacerbating mental health issues. Yet cheerleaders for these social channels insist that the platform can be leveraged for good, exemplified by this Covergirl campaign from February. The campaign, realized by Covergirl cosmetics and the recently acquired creative agency Droga5, features model and vitiligo sufferer Amy Deanna and puts diversity at the forefront of Covergirl's brand message.

‘Stand Out’ is part of the makeup brand’s #IAmWhatIMakeup campaign by Droga5. In the short clip, Deanna applies two different tones of the brand’s TruBlend foundation. Rather than covering up, she enhances the lighter and darker hues of her skin. In a voice-over, she asks “Why try to blend in when you can choose how to stand out?”

The Drum Awards is a singular global award scheme that recognises all the disciplines that make up The Drum’s ecosystem. We have a series of competitions you may find relevant including marketing, advertising and digital.

To see the full range of our competitions and their upcoming deadlines, click here.

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