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The Drum readers’ 10 most-watched Ads of the Day in 2021

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By Ellen Ormesher | Reporter

December 21, 2021 | 6 min read

As part of our Best of 2021 series, The Drum looks back at the 10 most-watched Ads of the Day in 2021.

Dove, Dickies, Dolce Gabbana, Sorrell & more on EMEA creative trends

Dove 'Reverse Selfie' by Ogilvy

1. Dove ‘Reverse Selfie’ by Ogilvy

Coming in first place was Dove, with its campaign based on the insight 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, illustrating its point with a campaign created by Ogilvy featuring a young girl locked into the artificial world of social media.

2. Dubai Tourism ‘A Five Star Mission’ by Mother

Dubai Tourism went full blockbuster in its efforts to entice holidaymakers. Commissioning director Craig Gillespie created a six-part ‘Dubai Presents’ film series alongside ad agency Mother. Each film is presented as a movie-style trailer, using multiple film genres to offer a different preview of Dubai and its cityscape.

3. Uber Eats ‘Tonight I’ll Be Eating’ by Special Group

We couldn’t get away from Lil Nas X this year and this spot co-starring Elton John was his highest ranking ad appearance.

‘Tonight I’ll be Eating’ features the celebrity duo promoting the grocery, alcohol and convenience offerings available from the delivery service. In typical flamboyant style, the superstar singers switch iconic looks, ride playground horses and fight about whether fries pair well with mayonnaise.

4. Virgin Media ‘Faster Brings Us Closer’ by Adam&EveDDB

The second iteration of Virgin’s ‘Faster Brings Us Closer’ campaign focussed on how two generations can come together over a mutual love of music, with the help of superfast broadband.

The TV film follows a budding singer-songwriter, played by visual artist and musician Lava La Rue, who comes across a 90s jungle track recorded by their father and dedicated to them when they were a child. The discovery inspires them to remix their own version with new lyrics, titling the track For You, before paying tribute to their father live on stage.

5. Ikea ‘Cristiano’

Ronaldo

Ikea reinforced its reputation for being on the ball when it comes to reactive marketing with this campaign, which followed footballer Cristiano Ronaldo’s comments that he doesn’t like drinking Coca-Cola.

The Swedish furniture-maker reacted by using the headline to promote a new line of reusable water bottle christened ‘Cristiano’.

6. Guinness ‘Welcome Back’ by AMV BBDO

In honor of the long-awaited re-opening of pubs, Guinness, the Irish beer so iconic that bartenders the world around are taught how to correctly pull a pint, unveiled a campaign celebrating the pour we’d all been waiting for.

#LooksLikeGuiness features images set against a heartfelt Jack Savoretti rendition of the classic ballad Always On My Mind – a song made famous by Elvis Presley and Willie Nelson.

The ad concludes with a scene depicting a group of jovial friends sharing pints of Guinness together in a classic wood-paneled British pub, with a text overlay reading: ‘Good things come to those who wait.’

7. Pepsi ‘#BetterWithPepsi’

Pepsi has been making itself very clear this year that its fizzy drink goes better with burgers than rival Coca-Cola. And much like Burger King, the challenger brand has shown it knows how to have more fun.

To commemorate #NationalBurgerDay (Friday, May 27), the brand released a simple but effective execution featuring packaging from fast food joints Burger King, McDonald’s and Wendy’s and circles where the Pepsi logo coincidentally appears. All to illustrate that its drink naturally goes with burgers.

8. Apple ‘Saving Simon’ by TBWA/Media Arts Lab

Apple enlisted father-and-son duo Ivan and Jason Reitman to direct its heartwarming holiday commercial ‘Saving Simon’, which tells the story of a young girl who heroically attempts to keep her much-loved snowman, affectionately named Simon, preserved throughout the entire year.

TBWA/Media Arts Lab also worked with the tech giant on the spot, which is the latest installment of the ‘Shot on iPhone’ series.

9. DirecTV ‘Wonder’ by TBWA\Chiat\Day

Tennis number one Serena Williams swapped her tennis racket for a cape in a Wonder Woman 1984-themed ad for DirecTV.

The ostentatious mash-up is a prelude to further genre collisions in future, with Williams contracted to appear as other film favorites in her role as a standard-bearer for the service, so we can expect more in 2022.

10. TikTok ‘You Have To See It’ by Publicis Groupe US

‘You Have To See It’ stars ordinary people, celebrities and TikTok creators discussing cultural moments on the platform, with guest appearances from the likes of Martha Stewart, who dramatically starts breaking down a random wall in search of a hidden apartment, and also well-known TikTok creators including @tinx, @ghosthoney, @alexisnikole and @brookeab, the ad hoped to entice non-users to join the platform.

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