The Best Ads of 2012 – Huffing and Puffing Brand “Magic”

29 Dec
Clint Eastwood emerging from the shadows in Chrysler's "Halftime in America."

Clint Eastwood emerging from the shadows in Chrysler’s “Halftime in America,” one of 2012’s best U.S. ads.

     The year that was in advertising may have given us Halftime in America,” but it also produced agencies working overtime everywhere else.  Once again, some of the most creative and strategic television campaigns were produced for foreign brands.  Together, they form a chorus signing to the power of using higher level values, metaphors, and emotion to sell a brand promise to the viewer.  

     There’s no better place to start than with Three Little Pigs.   The creative genius of BBH in London takes a childhood nursery rhyme and makes it real in an effort to sell newspapers.  Or, does it?  The strategic idea is that viewers, readers, and social media mavens can create the discussions that drive the news and its coverage—only at The Guardian. 

       It’s not just the framed Wolf doing the puffing.  Grandpa does it, too.  The McCann agency in Oslo, Norway climbed the value ladder to return us to another time when flying was magic.   Its brilliant message is that Norway’s Wideroe is the airline of wonder and freedom, not baggage fees and delays.  It begs the viewer to come to the airline where flying is magic again.

      Another one of 2012’s best is the beer ad you’ll never see in America.  In this case the Aussies take a tired American cliché and turn it on its head.  The folks at Carlton Draught and their agency Clemenger BBDO Melbourne cleverly mock every Hollywood cops & robbers’ schema ever made in an ad they call Beer Chase.

      The chase scene is not only fun to watch but is exceptionally strategic. Its target audience is beer drinking men who prefer their suds from a tap instead of a can.  It even has a unique selling proposition: beer so good you don’t want to spill a drop.

      Finally, 2012 gave us an ad that demonstrates the power of emotion.  Wiedner + Kennedy in Portland produced a powerful message for Proctor & Gamble’s foreign markets that doesn’t sell soap as much as it sells an idea:  we are our mothers.   Their commercial called Best Job is a clear demonstration of the balance theory concept that advertising savant John Eighmey calls “likability of the ad.”    If you like the ad, you’ll like the brand.  In this powerful message, athletes and moms everywhere are the winners.  P & G, too.

     Four ads, four boldly creative messages.  Can’t wait to see what’s ahead for 2013.   Now, where’s my bowl of popcorn?               

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