Creativity Creative Works

Creative Works: 10 of the best ads of the week, from John Lewis to Oatly


By Amy Houston | Reporter

November 4, 2021 | 11 min read

At The Drum, we believe great work deserves recognition and that talented creatives should get their share of reverence for the hard work they put in. So each week we will update our hall of fame, celebrating the 10 best ads from our Creative Works section. Welcome, and don’t forget to vote for your favorite.


The highly-anticipated John Lewis Christmas ad has been revealed

Christmas came early this year as retailer John Lewis brought its highly-anticipated annual festive spot forward by one week. ‘Unexpected Guest’ is all about ‘joy’ and ‘escapism,’ and was created in partnership with long-term ad agency Adam&EveDDB.

Meanwhile, Swedish food company Oatly produced a memorable ‘meta’ campaign by conjuring up an ad-within-an-ad-within-an-ad-within-an-ad-within-an-ad-within-an-ad-within-an-ad-within-an-ad-within-an-ad in one single video.

Lastly, in a hard-hitting spot, food-sharing app Olio launched a campaign bringing awareness to the massive issue of household waste in the UK. The emotive video was created by Hell Yeah and is set in a vast, dirty and overcrowded rubbish dump with a group of children solemnly singing Louis Armstrong’s 1967 single What A Wonderful World.

John Lewis: Unexpected Guest by Adam&EveDDB

John Lewis, like many others, has taken the decision to launch its Christmas advert earlier than usual this year to meet growing consumer demand for an early festive period. ‘Unexpected Guest’, created in partnership with long-term ad agency Adam&EveDDB, charts the fleeting friendship of 14-year-old Nathan and space traveler Skye.

The ad sees Nathan introduce Skye to key Christmas traditions, like sharing a mince pie, watching films and playing in the snow. Nathan’s parting gift as Skye returns to her home planet is his light-up Christmas jumper.

Smuggler is the production company behind the project, with Ewen Brown serving as producer alongside Mark Molloy, who directed.

The music behind John Lewis’s Christmas ads has become just as anticipated as the films themselves, and this year it is 20-year-old South Londoner Lola Young who takes the helm with a cover of Together in Electric Dreams, which was first released by Philip Oakey and Giorgio Moroder in 1984.

Vote for the work here.

Oatly: Meta Ad by The Oatly Department of Mind Control

Known for throwing the marketing rulebook out the window, Swedish food company Oatly has once again produced a memorable campaign – but is it the most ‘meta’ ad yet?

Reminiscent of the ‘dream within a dream’ in Christopher Nolan’s mind-boggling movie Inception, Oatly has wrapped up an ad-within-an-ad-within-an-ad-within-an-ad-within-an-ad-within-an-ad-within-an-ad-within-an-ad-within-an-ad in one single Instagram video.

Shot in The Netherlands, the spot begins with a bus stop, then includes a boat, a truck, a newspaper, a billboard, an organ player, social media and finally a mural.

The Oatly Department of Mind Control, its in-house creative team, devised the clever social media spot.

Vote for the work here.

Olio: Wonderful World by Hell Yeah

Food-sharing app Olio has launched a hard-hitting campaign bringing awareness to the massive issue of household waste in the UK. The emotive spot was created by Hell Yeah – an agency that prides itself on working with brands that want a positive future.

A vast, dirty and overcrowded rubbish dump provides an eye-opening backdrop to the ad, with a group of children in the foreground solemnly singing Louis Armstrong’s 1967 single What A Wonderful World.

As it progresses viewers see discarded toys, bags and TVs on a landfill site in Wales, shortly before the camera eventually pans out to reveal the enormity of the issue in just one single landfill.

Vote for the work here.

Lego: Rebuild the World by Lego Agency

Danish toymaker Lego has released a whimsical new ad in time for the holiday season that encourages kids to rebuild and remix its products in whatever way their imagination calls for.

The spot, developed by Lego’s in-house agency, features Star Wars stormtroopers retreating from a swarm of bees, a dragon trained to put out fires rather than start them, and cacti wearing padded jackets to better facilitate a friendly hug. The action is set to a version of The Foundations’ pop classic Build Me Up Buttercup, with new lyrics encouraging kids to embrace their creative sides.

Keen eyes will spot a range of Lego Systems sets in the ad, alongside its licensed tie-in kits – from routed First Order Stormtroopers to a flyby from the Milano, the spaceship of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy.

Vote for the work here.

HP India: Diye Se Diya Jalao by Simple Creative

HP India has collaborated with Simple Creative to celebrate the power of community during the festive season of Diwali with the heart-warming short film ‘Diye Se Diya Jalao.’

The campaign offers a message of hope to businesses that have had a tough time over the last couple of years and touches on the essence of the festival: happiness, prosperity, mutual support and encouragement.

Throughout the spot, viewers witness an uplifting story of resilience and the impact selfless acts of kindness can have on the people who need it most. This message is brought to life in the ad as we see an elderly shopkeeper struggling with re-locating his business to a quieter street, which will have a negative effect on custom.

Vote for the work here.

Hellmann’s: The Food Waste Effect by Itamar Gilboa

Unilever-owned Hellmann’s has partnered with Israeli-Dutch multi-disciplinary artist Itamar Gilboa to create ‘The Food Waste Effect,’ a thought-provoking installation that will put the issue of household waste front and center at Cop26.

The piece features over 400 plaster replicas of food items inside a glass greenhouse, representing 117kg of food waste: the amount produced by the average UK family every six months.

Through the installation, Gilboa and Hellmann’s aim is to inspire conversations about tackling food waste and help people recognize their power to have a positive impact through preventing food waste by making simple changes in the kitchen.

Vote for the work here.

Adidas: Turn Up the Movement by M&C Saatchi

Grammy-nominated rapper and baller Quavo has teamed up with Adidas to debut its wireless headphones collection in a new spot, created by M&C Saatchi, that showcases the power of movement and music to tune out the chaos of everyday life.

Best known for fronting the hip-hop group Migos, Quavo is also renowned for his skills on the basketball court, which audiences can see in the 60-second ad.

‘Turn Up the Movement’ showcases the brand-new Adidas noise-canceling sport earbuds built to get you in the zone. Throughout the spot, viewers get a peek at Quavo’s busy lifestyle – following him from the studio to a photoshoot and eventually the basketball court.

Vote for the work here.

Freeview: Crack Open the Good Biscuits by Anomaly

Freeview has joined forces with creative agency Anomaly to bring two lovable alien characters to TV screens to showcase how to access its array of channels.

The UK’s sole digital terrestrial television platform is in 18m homes, but with this campaign it looks to remind the public just how useful it can be. ‘Crack Open the Good Biscuits’ sees an extra-terrestrial queen and her long-suffering aide Colin (puppets naturally) on the brink of invading Earth when they are stopped in their celestial tracks by picking up some Freeview channels on their spacecraft’s telly.

The dynamic duo hilariously try to decipher what’s going on in the ‘human’ shows. They conclude that The Great British Bake Off’s Paul Hollywood kneading dough is indeed him defeating some kind of monster, and that the Love Island contestants are participating in strange mating rituals – analyses that wouldn’t necessarily be inaccurate.

Vote for the work here.

Heinz: Tomato Blood by Wieden+Kennedy NY

Heinz encouraged consumers to take a DIY approach to their Halloween costumes this year by using its ketchup as fake blood.

Developed by agency partner Wieden+Kennedy NY, Heinz released a limited-edition tomato blood costume kit to help celebrators kick off trick-or-treat season.

There was also a full real-life Halloween experience in Los Angeles, where guests could pick up merch and begin decorating outfits at the interactive ‘drip stations.’

Vote for the work here.

Selfridges: Christmas of Dreams by Jocelyn Antequil

Iconic department store Selfridges is getting shoppers ready for the ‘Christmas of Dreams’ with a new enchanted short film and magical window displays.

The festive campaign blends a range of creative references, from Busby Berkeley’s 1930s golden age of Hollywood to classic 1950s technicolor film musicals.

Characters in the slightly surreal film were brought to life alongside much-loved British actress and singer Jane Horrocks, with drag artist and sculptor Juno Birch.

The digital campaign is supported by in-store launches in London, Birmingham and Manchester, and on

Vote for the work here.

That’s just for starters. Check out the best work from our Creative Works section here and don’t forget to vote.

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