Best Ads of the Week: Netflix’s Squid Game promo & Bud Light’s fun with football
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Every week, The Drum picks the top global campaigns from our Creative Works. You can submit your new work here.
Rockstar: Grand Theft Auto VI Trailer
After it leaked online, developer Rockstar officially released the trailer for the latest installment of the Grand Theft Autio franchise, which is teased to come out in 2025.
Soundtracked by the Tom Petty tune Love is a Long Road, the teaser opens with a female protagonist called Lucia, who appears to be incarcerated due to “bad luck,” as she puts it. It then pans over the fictional Vice City, which was last seen in 2006’s GTA: Vice City Stories, showing some of the wild, mostly illegal scenes that fans of the open-world game have become accustomed to. There are car chases, hardcore parties, dancing, strip clubs, robberies and heists. To tout the release and play to a new generation of gamers, there are also TikTok-inspired videos in the trailer.
Apple: The Lost Voice by Taika Waititi
Apple has released a touching new short film that tells the story of a pink, furry, magical creature who has lost its ability to speak. In ‘The Lost Voice,’ viewers see the larger-than-life being meet a young girl and together they travel through an enchanting forest to try and get the creature’s voice back.
The ad stars disability advocate and physician Tristram Ingham, who appears at the end of the short when it is revealed he had been reading a bedtime story to his daughter this entire time using Apple’s new speech accessibility feature. Directed by New Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi, the visuals are reminiscent of the 2009 Spike Jonze movie Where the Wild Things Are.
WWF: We Can’t Let the World Go Up in Smoke by Nomint
The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has launched its latest film to stress the urgency of climate change. Released during Cop28, the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference, the ad is a stop-motion short that sees the planet go up in flames. In the film, a young girl confronts a smoke-filled environment, symbolizing the catastrophic consequences of fossil fuel emissions. It’s the third ad from creative agency Nomint and follows last year’s widely-praised ‘Flammable Planet.’
The team shot the film entirely in-camera and employed a unique production process, integrating stop-motion animation with real smoke and using a full-color 3D printing technique to create over 700 sculptures of the protagonist. The soundtrack is a rendition from The Social Singing Choir from Margate of Billie Eilish’s hit song When the Party’s Over.
Sephora Italy: mAI colpevoli by Media.Monks
A trio of new videos from beauty giant Sephora Italy leverages internet data and artificial intelligence (AI) to illuminate a uniquely human problem: the enduring prevalence of female oppression around the world. Created by Media.Monks and directed by Milan-based filmmaker Viola Foladorshare, the ‘mAI colpevoli’ campaign (which roughly translates to ‘never guilty‘) launched for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on November 28.
The team asked ChatGPT’s generative AI to create three distinct stories of gender-based violence from the perspective of the victims based on online opinions. The result was three different scenarios, including one woman grappling with domestic abuse, another subjected to workplace harassment and another facing sexual assault in a bar.
Environmental Leadership Canada: The Planet’s Scariest Flowers by Zulu Alpha Kilo
Cop28, the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference, is being held in Dubai this year. Until December 12, activists, politicians, brands and organizations from around the world are coming together to talk about the climate crisis. To make a point that the world is getting warmer at a terrifying rate, the charity Environmental Leadership Canada has pulled off an intriguing stunt that features a bouquet of flowers.
Flowers and greenery, which are usually a sign of life and positivity, take on a whole new meaning in this campaign. The blooms are from Antarctica, you see, a continent so cold that these flowers should not be growing there at all, which is why the team has dubbed the project ‘The Planet’s Scariest Bouquet.’ It’s a warning and reminder to world leaders of how imperative the issue of climate change is. Through the website, anyone can send a bouquet of replica flowers to their local politician.
Bud Light: Easy Rounds by Anomaly
Bud Light aims to score big with football fans during the 2023-2024 NFL Playoffs with its latest ad campaign starring Super Bowl Champions and Pro Football Hall-of-Famers Peyton Manning and Emmitt Smith.
Set to It’s So Easy by Margo & Mac, the ad aims to convey the “Super Bowl-level excitement” of throwing and receiving a game-winning pass, according to a release. It opens with a bustling filled with patrons, each of whom eagerly awaits Manning’s next move after he orders a Bud Light. After announcing a round for the bar, Manning, true to his quarterback finesse, steps into action, launching cans of Bud Light with a precise repertoire of deep throws, Hail Marys and perfect spirals. As a fan makes a diving catch, Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith joins in to call a touchdown and then joins Manning to distribute the brews to an ecstatic crowd.
Toyota: Present from the Past by Saatchi & Saatchi
This year, Toyota’s annual sales bonanza, ‘Toyotathon,’ arrives with a festive surprise: two holiday commercials designed to pull at viewers’ heartstrings.
The first of the two, titled ‘Present from the Past,’ debuted last night during NBC’s primetime special Christmas in Rockefeller Center. Made by ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi and directed by Lisa Gunning, the short tells the story of a young woman who receives a Christmas gift from her grandmother; inside is a vintage camera and a collection of her grandmother’s photos from when she was her age.
Toyota: Arrivals by Conill Advertising
The second spot, a bilingual ad titled ‘Arrivals’ directed by Max Malkin, depicts the chaotic yet relatable scene of an airport during the holidays. Families and friends navigate through the hustle and bustle, overcoming weather and traffic obstacles, all in the pursuit of reuniting with loved ones, thus demonstrating the unbreakable bond that Latinos have for their loved ones.
Netflix’s Squid Game: The Challenge by BBH USA
A promotional effort for ‘Squid Game: The Challenge’ asks the public, “Does morality have a price, and if so, how much?” Their response? “Comically grim.” Netflix put the idea that morality has a price, to the test for the new reality spinoff, ‘Squid Game: The Challenge,’ ahead of the season finale on December 6.
Encompassing digital, social and out-of-home media, the campaign includes a man-on-the-street teaser film, in which New Yorkers are interviewed about their morals by one of Squid Game’s famous pink soliders, a website with an interactive, seven-question morality test (everyonehasaprice.co/questions) and 100+ pieces of out-of-home work in major North American markets, including Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Atlanta and Canada.
Greenpeace: Real Harm by Pentagram
Global environmental campaigning network Greenpeace recently unveiled an initiative targeted squarely at Dove’s plastic pollution in front of the Unilever World Headquarters in London.
The initiative, ideated with indie design agency Pentagram, presents passersby with a redesigned Dove bottle that switches out the brand’s iconic blue and white bird logo for a dramatic, black and white bird lying deceased, alongside a ‘Real Harm’ strapline in the place of ‘Real Beauty.’ Meanwhile, an internal Greenpeace investigation found plastic sachets from Dove polluting waterways and beaches throughout Indonesia and the Philippines.