Guinness, Ikea, Uber Eats, Dove and Burberry: rounding up the UK’s year in ads

After a busy year in creative, The Drum looks back at some of the 2021 ads that really hit the spot with our readers and editorial team in the UK.

2021 has been a long year. And while uncertainty was a constant drag in Q1, there was reason to celebrate come July 19 when the pubs reopened. In honor of that awaited moment, Guinness played on our longings with ’Looks Like Guinness’, imagining a perfectly poured pint in everyday objects.

The campaign to drive footfall back to pubs followed Guinness’s ’Raising the Bar’ initiative, where the company pledged £30m to support UK hospitality and pub businesses through Covid-19.

Another favorite from 2021 was an ad that even Goldilocks couldn’t complain about – a group of bears on a mission to make Ikea customers feel content at home. In the video, the animated stuffed animals cater for and protect a family in a strong but cuddly manner to make sure everything is ‘just right’.

The spot highlighted the importance of feeling content at home, combating life’s stresses with the help of Ikea’s product range. ‘Every Home Should Be a Haven’ was supported across paid and owned channels, with bespoke content created for Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and Pinterest.

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

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

The most-viewed ad on thedrum.com this year was Dove’s ‘Reverse Selfie’, created by Ogilvy. Featuring a young girl locked in the artificial world of social media, it was inspired by that fact that, by the age of 13, 80% of girls distort the way they look online.

The beauty brand is on a mission to tackle the issue of real beauty standards in a digital era and, 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 2006’s ‘Evolution’, it also highlights the false and unrealistic nature of the beauty ideals perpetuated by advertising and media, stepping up Dove’s efforts to change the toxic nature of the beauty industry and highlight the self-esteem threat to young people globally.

Lastly on our look back at the year, British fashion house Burberry unveiled a surreal campaign taking viewers on a magical journey, blurring the lines between reality and fantasy with ‘Open Spaces’, which was created by Megaforce and produced by Riff Raff Films.

The beautifully choreographed ad highlighted its fluttering, swishing outerwear in flight and, as the film progresses, we see our leads combine into a single entity, all connected by their love of Burberry.

Accompanying the film, photographer Ewan Spencer shot dynamic images championing more of Burberry’s outerwear.

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