Uber Eats, Dove, Geico, Extra Gum and Reddit: the best ads of 2021 US

After a busy year in creative, The Drum rounds up the best ads that arrived in US in 2021.

Lil Nas X was one of the biggest stories of 2021, his collaboration with Uber Eats and Elton John being one of his most well-received highlights. The glamorous campaign by Special Group, directed by Guy Shelmerdine, featured the celebrity duo promoting its grocery, alcohol and convenience offerings – albeit with a little bedazzling.

Lil Nas X & Elton switched iconic looks, mounted playground horses and fought over how well fries pair with mayonnaise. This spot provided a strong answer to Just Eat’s famous Snoop Dogg ad and was extended with OOH, social & digital work.

Created by Ogilvy, ‘Reverse Selfie’ featured a young girl locked in the artificial world of social media. It was also The Drum’s most viewed ad this year. By the age of 13, 80% of girls distort the way they look online. Beauty brand Dove is on a mission to tackle the issue of real beauty standards in a digital era.

As the name suggests, the campaign is a story told in reverse, revealing which digital effects were used to create the image.

A sequel to Dove’s 2006 ‘Evolution,’ it also highlights the false and unrealistic nature of the beauty ideals perpetuated by advertising & media.

Here Dove stepped up its efforts to change the toxic nature of the beauty industry & highlight the self-esteem threat to young people globally.

This year, Extra Gum set out on a mission to help the public get its ‘ding back,’ looking ahead to a non-lockdown world. The amusing ad saw the lighter side of reality and a newfound energy that we all had as we escaped our mundane lockdown captivity.

Mars Wrigley portrayed a version of the post-lockdown mood by exaggerating the excitement and thrill for a non-socially distanced life in a series of scenarios, including the demise of virtual work meetings, kissing passionately in public and returning to the morning commute.

Created with Energy BBDO, the ad is part of Extra's 'Get Your Ding Back' campaign, encouraging Brits across the nation to get their confidence back and enjoy a more energised 2021, following a tough 2020.

As a late entrant to the Super Bowl line-up, Reddit decided it needed to do something different and in only five seconds. 11 lines flickered on to TV screens across the world as if our screens had been hacked. It told us: ‘Powerful things happen when people rally around something they really care about. And there’s a place for that. It’s called Reddit.’

This proclamation proved prophetic as the ad, created in partnership with CX and creative agency R/GA, became the most searched after the big game, resulting in 6.5bn earned impressions, a 25% spike in traffic and a hell of year for Reddit overall.

Remember when Geico teamed up with rappers Tag Team in an ad that parodies the hit single Whoomp! (There It Is)? The spot was an instant hit and even led to a collaboration with ice-cream vendor Mikey Likes It to create the frozen treat rapped in the original ad.

To win a pint, all viewers had to do was follow Geico on TikTok or Instagram and upload a dance using the ‘Scoop!’

Geico has a history of ad greatness and this Tag Team one certainly joined its hall of fame this year.

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