Thousands of ads are uploaded to The Drum's Creative Works platform each year, a sign of the immense amount of competition brands now face to make themselves heard.
So what does it take to gain mass attention? Whether it's making use of some strategically chosen influencers, drawing on the values of cause marketing or buddying up with major entertainment franchises like Game of Thrones, there are ways of rising above the noise.
Here we bring you 10 of the most viewed ads in Creative Works from 2019 so far.
Amazon: ‘Not Everything Makes the Cut’
First broadcast during the 2019 Super Bowl, this ad for Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa boasts a wealth of celebrity cameos as well as some humorous scenarios depicting what could happen when Alexa is adopted by inappropriate products.
Forest Whitaker is disappointed when the Alexa in his toothbrush plays his favorite podcast - but he’s unable to hear it while brushing his teeth. In another skit, Harrison Ford’s dog becomes a source of annoyance when its Alexa-powered collar automatically orders food whenever the dog barks. Other guest stars include Broad City actors Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson, and real-life astronauts Mark and Scott Kelly.
Produced in-house by Amazon, this 90-minute spot was a hit due to its heaps of top talent and gentle self-effacing humor.
Audi’s vision of Shangri-La and the cars we will find there also made its debut during the ad break of the Super Bowl this year.
The ad sees a young man return to his childhood home across an idyllic field of wheat, where he is greeted by his grandfather. His grandfather embraces him and welcomes him indoors where he reveals Audi’s electric E-Tron series car. Excitedly, the man takes to the wheel only to be brought roughly back to his reality: a dull office block, surrounded by colleagues gathered to watch him choke on a cashew. As the ad closes, the caption ‘A thrilling future awaits. On Earth’ flashes up on the screen as ‘Spirit in the Sky’ by Norman Greenbaum plays us out.
The ad was created by San Francisco-based creative agency Venables Bell & Partners.
River Island: ‘#ThisIsFamily’
In the ads for its SS19 Collection, high-street fashion retailer River Island celebrates the dynamism of the modern-day family.
This inclusive range of ads by the clothing company features an ethnically diverse range of models, all in their own unique family environments. While one ad centers on a family of same-sex parents with their child, another shows an Asian single mother and grandmother with their son. These ads reveal River Island’s re-imagining of the traditional nuclear family and represent the more diverse family structures present in society today.
The ads were created in partnership with ad agency Studio Blvd.
Bud Light: ‘Bud Light x Game of Thrones’
Another one from the Super Bowl ad break, this creative piece saw a mash-up between AB InBev’s Bud Light and the hit HBO tv series Game of Thrones.
The ad opens on a somewhat whimsical medieval jousting scene, where we are introduced to competitor, the Bud Knight. As the Knight is knocked from his horse by a mountain-like figure and is subjected to a similar death to Oberyn Martell, it is then that the audience realizes they are actually watching a promo for the final series of Game of Thrones.
This ad was realized by advertising powerhouse Wieden + Kennedy in collaboration with HBO and Droga5.
Hennessy XO: ‘The Seven Worlds’
Premium cognac brand Hennessy XO teamed up with Oscar-nominated director Sir Ridley Scott to produce a lavish mini-movie to promote its signature spirit. The ad debuted at the 2019 Oscars ceremony.
Envisioning seven luxurious extraterrestrial worlds to match the seven tasting notes of the cognac, this four-minute-long spot showcases the best in visual effects that film has to offer. Closing with the evocative caption, ‘Each drop is an odyssey’, the ad perfectly captures the indulgence of Hennessey XO.
This ad was based on an original idea and campaign by DDB Paris.
Nike: ‘Dream Crazier’
Following Nike’s divisive 2018 campaign ‘Dream Crazy’ featuring former 49ers quarter backer Colin Kaepernick, the sports giant dropped the ‘Dream Crazier’ ad at the beginning of 2019 to rapturous applause. It signalled the brand’s increasing move into cause marketing.
Starring and narrated by tennis legend Serena Williams, the ad encourages women in sports to fight back against gender bias and unfair stereotyping. This ad is particularly powerful given the scandals that Williams had to face on the court throughout 2018, including criticism of a catsuit worn by the athlete at the French Open due to pregnancy complications and her unfair punishment that contributed to her loss of the US Open final. With its unapologetic message and emotionally evocative writing and music, the ad was a viral hit.
The ad was created by longtime Nike creative partner Wieden + Kennedy Portland and debuted at the Oscars 2019.
This ad was released in February 2019 and was the third and final instalment in a series of ads that highlighted the clarity of game graphics, as seen on the PlayStation 4 console.
The ad is set during WWI, in the middle of the chaotic trenches where an army general is addressing his men. A private interjects to remark upon the blueness of his superior’s eyes and the rest of the troop, as well as a German soldier, chime in to express their appreciation of his eye color.
The ad was created by advertising agency BBH New York.
Gillette: ‘The Best a Man Can Be’
Love it or loathe it, there is no denying the attention generated by Gillette’s hugely divisive 2019 ad. Jumping on the #MeToo bandwagon, the razors giant decided to address the issue of toxic masculinity and engendered a stormy reaction on social media and across the ad industry as a consequence.
The ad follows the experiences of men, from their subjection to playground bullying and later life catcalling, in a move to tackle the toxic culture of machismo that permeates modern society. Signaling a departure from Gillette’s early all-American brand image, the ad certainly divided the public on its merits.
The spot was directed by Kim Gehrig of ‘This Girl Can’ fame and was produced by Grey New York.
National Geographic: ‘Missing Cat’
This campaign saw National Geographic enlist the talents of street artist Den Zeus Colman to raise the public’s awareness of the sharp decline in African wild cats, due to poaching and environmental issues.
The stunt involved Colman creating artwork typical of a 'Missing Cat' poster in a London square. As passersby got close, they saw that it instead advertising the loss of Archie the lion from the wild.
To bring this campaign to life, National Geographic commissioned PR agency Tin Man.
Stella Artois: ‘Change up the Usual’
To promote the beer brand’s Pour it Forward campaign, Stella Artois enlisted the aid of two of the small and silver screen's most recognizable characters and their favorite drinks.
Set in a busy restaurant, the ad sees Sarah Jessica Parker reprise her role as Carrie Bradshaw and cause widespread shock when she opts for a pint of Stella Artois, instead of her usual Cosmopolitan cocktail. The shaken, though not completely stirred staff, only begin to collect themselves when Jeff Bridges as Jeffrey Lebowski enters and orders a drink at the bar. Again, instead of his characteristic White Russian, the Dude opts for a bottle of Stella. Closing with the line “Changing can do a little good”, the ad asks viewers to mix up their usual drink order, opt for a Stella and improve access to water around the world.
The ad was produced by Mother New York.