The Year in Creativity, 2021 | Muse by Clio

The Year in Creativity, 2021 | Muse by Clio

The Year in Creativity, 2021 | Muse by Clio

If constraints breed creativity, then Covid should be a golden age for advertising. That largely wasn't true in 2020, as marketers scrambled to make sense of the upheaval and tended to embrace tactical solutions of survival over big brand ideas for growth. But the tide seemed to turn in 2021. As the world saw light at the end of the tunnel with the pandemic, strategies and productions opened up and advertisers began to think big again, with some remarkable results.The Year in Creativity, 2021 | Muse by Clio The Year in Creativity, 2021 | Muse by Clio

As 2021 draws to a close, we asked 100 people in the industry for their favorite ideas of the year—their own, and other people's—as well as thoughts for 2022. Their responses are below. We're grateful to everyone who took part, and we thank you all for reading (and listening) this year. Have a wonderful holiday.

Also, for more year-in-review stuff, check out these stories:


The Year in Creativity, 2021

Use the links to jump to individual entries, or scroll down to read them all.

• 3BlackDot | Regi Cash• 72andSunny | Zach Hilder• Alto | Hannes Ciatti• Barking Owl | Kelly Bayett• Barkley | Berk Wasserman• BBDO NY | Anshumani Khanna• Berlin Cameron | Megan Adamson-Jackes• Big Spaceship | Cedric Devitt• Blanguage | Daniel Amoakoh• Brown and Browner Advertising | Derek Walker• BSSP | Sinan Dagli• Burrell Communications | Terrence Burrell• Callen | Craig Allen• Campbell-Ewald | Nat Resende and David Mackereth• Curiosity | Jane Manchester• David Miami | Rafa Donato• DDB Germany | Diana Sukopp• dentsu Creative | Menno Kluin• dentsuMB | Christina Pitsinos• Deutsch LA | Doris Chung• Deutsch NY | Kathy Kim• The Distillery Project | John Condon• DNA | Allyson Paisley• Doner | Tito Melega• Droga5 NY | Tara Lawall• Edelman | Judy John• Elephant | Greg Assemat Tessandier• Eleven | Michael Fiore• Engine | Nadine Cheung• Exverus | Bill Durrant• FCB | Danilo Boer• FCB NY | Samira Ansari• Fortnight Collective | Mona Hasan• GALE | Winston Binch• Giant Spoon | Ian Grody• Goodby Silverstein & Partners | Jon Wolanske• Grey | Andre Gray• GSD&M | Jay Russell• GUT | Alexander Allen and Andy Tamayo• Hasan & Partners | Tobias Wacker• Hue House | Davita Galloway• Humanaut | David Littlejohn• Innocean | Barney Goldberg• Jam3 | Laura Cortes• Johannes Leonardo | Laura Osborne• Lafayette American | Toby Barlow• Laundry Service | Michelle Lawrence• Madwell | Chris Sojka• Majority | Omid Farhang• The Many | Ashley Milhollin• Marcus Thomas | Jamie Venorsky• The Martin Agency | Alberto Orte• McCann UK | Laurence Thomson• MCD Partners | John Caruso• McKinney | Jenny Nicholson• Mischief | Kevin Mulroy• Mother NY | Corinna Falusi• Muhtayzik Hoffer | Joel Kaplan• MullenLowe | Ricard Valero• North | Mark Ray• The New York Times | Vida Cornelious• Observatory | Linda Knight• Ogilvy | Daniel Fisher• Ogilvy DC | Kristie Pope• OKRP | Anna Kate Roche• Omelet | Thas Naseemuddeen• Organic | Betsy Jemas• Palette Group | Nate Nichols• Pereira O'Dell | Robert Lambrechts• Periscope | Jason Bottenus• PPK | Paul Prato• Preacher | Rob Baird• quench agency | Bill Starkey• RAPP | Stacey Sanders• Republica Havas | Luis Casamayor• Rethink | Loretta Lau• R/GA Portland | Kim Laama• The Richards Group | Julia Melle• Saatchi & Saatchi NY | Daniel Lobatón• Special U.S. | Alyssa Cavanaugh• T3 | Jay Suhr• TBWA\Chiat\Day LA | Jason Karley• TBWA\Chiat\Day NY | Amy Ferguson• Team One | Amanda Abrams• Terri & Sandy | Sandy Greenberg• Third Street | David T. Jones• Tombras | Jeff Benjamin• TracyLocke Brazil | Daniel Ottoni• Translation | Castro Desroches• Union | Austin Scott• United Collective | John Gallegos• VaynerMedia | Rob Lenois• Vice Media Group/Virtue | Chris Garbutt• VMLY&R | Noel Cottrell• VS/Brooks | Rob Canales• Wieden+Kennedy NY | Blair Warren• Wieden+Kennedy Portland | Robin Maxkii and Samantha Perry• Wunderman Thompson UK | San Sharma• YARD NYC | Stephen Niedzwiecki• Young & Laramore | Carolyn Hadlock


3BLACKDOT

Regi Cash

CEO

Proud Of

In 2021 we launched our show Gaming While Black (GWB). As a creative studio, our sweet spot is entertainment experiences that successfully reflect youth culture, give voice and visibility to new and underrepresented talents, and bring equity and economic access to those creators who are often overlooked. Our work and resulting fulfillment is always that much more gratifying when we hit on each of these vectors. It's safe to say we nailed it with GWB. Thanks to our partnerships and support we received for GWB, we have an exciting slate of content and collabs lined up for 2022.

Admired

Off White's Imaginary TV. Virgil Abloh was the spiritual guide for a lot of what we do at 3BD in terms of our belief in the convergence and flattening of consumer experience across product and content lines. With his untimely passing, he's left an incredible legacy. I think his legacy will be his forcefulness and intentionality in bringing culture and experience to the forefront of every consumer industry he touched, especially at the luxury tier where prestige and value is more comfortably defined by heritage and provenance.

Excited For

I'm excited to continue to learn and track the progression of DAOs. I was mesmerized by the ConstitutionDAO and the simplicity, integrity and potency of the idea. What better way to announce the power of DAO than for one to own a copy of the Constitution? The entire effort was symbolic of a Richter-sized shift in possibilities, serving as a great reminder of how much peer-to-peer trust still exists in the world, at a time when trust in institutions seems to be at an all-time low. Even though a billionaire ultimately won the bidding, DAOs could be the ultimate manifestation of "We the People," and I'm excited to track which communities emerge in 2022.

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72andSunny Los Angeles

Zach Hilder

Executive Creative Director

Proud Of

"Football is gay." Never in a million years would I have expected the NFL to state those words. But they did. In black and white. Now there's no gray area. "Football Is for Everyone" and that's why it's definitely the project I'm most proud of in 2021. In four days, we were able to ideate and produce a film alongside our clients that would forever change the 102-year history of the NFL. It takes massive courage from Tim Ellis, CMO of the NFL, and team along with a profound belief that football can truly be an inclusive sport to make a film of this nature. I will forever be proud of this work.

Admired

I really liked the Change the Ref "The Lost Class" idea. It was poignant, powerful and had the "How did they pull that off?" magic that makes a great idea super memorable. The sad part is that no matter how brilliant this ad is—or any other anti-gun ad is, for that matter—they simply don't work. Gun violence is still pervasive in America, with no signs of slowing down, and unfortunately it looks like no ad can change that. We need laws, not ads.

Excited For

I'm excited to experiment more. In 2022, I want to ignore the zeitgeist and push the bounds of originality. Instead of giving people what they want, let's give them something they've never seen before or even imagined was possible. With social media, it's easy to get caught up in the numbers game. But we need to remember that creativity isn't a popularity contest. It's an originality contest.

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Alto

Hannes Ciatti

Founder and Chief Creative Officer

Proud Of

I felt a different kind of pride this year, thanks to groundbreaking digital platform and campaign we developed for Montefiore Hospital System that helps patients find living donors. "Live and Let Live" is a digital platform designed to help thousands of patients tell their stories, in a matter of minutes turning simple inputs into a deeply personal, heartfelt film and social content. Oscar-nominated filmmaker Derek Cianfrance and composer Ludovico Einaudi partnered with us to create the platform. We just celebrated our first living donor matches. It's so affirming to know we may help save a life.

Admired

Right now the world needs more pure fun, and that's what W+K and Andreas Nilsson's Meow Wolf work for Convergence Station was for me. It was also a visitation into that nebulous space we as creatives tap into when we really let go of convention. This work is a journey into the concept of art itself, an expression of the brain's ability to wonder and translate that wonder into visual and audio narrative. "Get out and see the world" can mean so many things, depending on your perspective, and W+K captured that potential beautifully. Let's get out in 2022.

Excited For

This will sound paradoxical, but I hope next year is about joy and humor and helping the environment. We need some more fun in our lives, from entertainment to ads. As far as the planet and our collective emotional state go, it's obvious the world needs to physically be saved and humanity needs a break emotionally. If done right, ads can thrill, delight, entertain, build brands, positively impact culture and help solve some real challenges. We're poised to play our part, and I'm entering 2022 ready to play my part.

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Barking Owl and Love Song

Kelly Bayett

Creative Director and Co-Founder

Proud Of

2021 was a huge year for us, with the start of Love Song and the opening of the New York studio for Barking Owl. Facebook "Skate Nation Ghana" was the first job Love Song ever did, and Barking Owl provided the sound design. I was so proud to see both companies come together and create something that made a huge impact within the community, with fresh voices and also being so incredibly fun to watch.

Admired

The Burberry Megaforce work is absolutely stunning. It looks, sounds and feels so different. You can't stop watching the movement; everything flows. I love the imperfection and humanity. I am in love, but not shocked. Megaforce doesn't miss.

Excited For

We have seen some work come in that will be premiering in 2022 and it's really innovative. Love Song was founded on the idea of true collaboration with directors who are inspired and know each other so well. Barking Owl was founded under that same premise, has thrived with great success, and I see that continuing and extending. Clients and agencies are looking for partners so we can create something special together. It's been an amazing trend, but of course, it only works with trust. True collaboration and trust are on the docket for 2022 and I couldn't be more excited. Bring. It. On.

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Barkley

Berk Wasserman

Executive Creative Director

Proud Of

The Barkley work I'm most proud in 2021 was the "Grand Introduction" for Motel 6. Over 4 million babies were born during quarantine—leaving millions of grandparents without the opportunity to hold their new grandbabies for over a year because of Covid protocols. When the vaccine released, Motel 6 sponsored grandparents' first trips to meet their little bundles of joy, and we documented their journeys. And yes, I cry every time I watch the films that captured those first interactions. And I normally only cry during sports movies. But who doesn't cry during Remember the Titans?

Admired

In 2021, I loved how they developed the Progressive "Dr. Rick" campaign that "can't keep us from becoming our parents." It's so relatable, hilarious and scary for me. I had the "No whining. No complaining. No fussing" sign framed in my house. Well, I did. Once I saw it called out in a Progressive ad, I threw it away. Such a smart campaign. And I loved that they even came out with a book. I have a feeling Dr. Rick Will See You Now will be in my stocking this year.

Excited For

More than anything, I'm excited to start collaborating again IRL with all my Barkley homies back in the office. There's nothing like being together, feeling the energy, and rejoicing in the insane laughter and mindless small talk that can only happen with a live studio audience. Also, I love getting in front of our clients again. Like, in the same room. Zoom was an amazing tool, but live interaction goes such a long way when you're trying to convey an idea. Plus, if I freeze one more time on camera with lunchmeat in my mouth, I might lose it.

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BBDO New York

Anshumani Khanna

Creative Director

Proud Of

In February of this year, we launched The Pedestal Project for Color of Change, an AR experience that allowed people across the country to place statues of prominent Civil Rights leaders on empty pedestals where racist Confederate leaders once stood. With no paid media behind it and $0 spent, we managed to garner 600 million views in 43 countries around the world. And while I'm immensely proud of the project, I was also very, very humbled by it.

Admired

There are so many "I wish I'd done that" moments that happened in my head this year that it's really, really, hard to pick just one. But the ones that absolutely blew my mind were the ones at the intersection of technology and real-world insights. I absolutely love "Vanguards of Photography." The craft blows my mind and the idea is pure genius! I also love DojaCode. Such a cool idea that lets girls change elements inside the music video in real time, using real code they write. *applause*

Excited For

Technology is increasingly allowing brands to have more personalized conversations with consumers. I'm excited to see more innovation that pushes traditional boundaries, creating engaging PR-worthy ideas on platforms like TikTok. I'm also excited to see more inclusive stories that are more representative of the world we live in. Because the more we champion diverse and inclusive conversations, the more they will get heard, the more they get shared, and the more chances that they will get real.

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Berlin Cameron

Megan Adamson-Jackes

Associate Creative Director

Proud Of

We had the opportunity to work with The Pharm on a Covid-related campaign for No7 skincare earlier this year that was an interesting experience. The insight was based on women's anxiety around going back out into the world after a year+ of life behind the Zoom screen. We shot the campaign, "Real Life Ready," entirely remote with talent across the country. It was an amazing group effort.

Admired

It's simple, but I love that Tide opened a permanent Tide Loads of Hope Laundry Room on Skid Row. Cause-based advertising is still going strong obviously, and we know that's important to Gen Z, but Gen Z demands that brands be more thoughtful about it than previous generations. What's great here is that Tide worked with a local organization to meet a tangible, very real community need, while also centering the product and its effectiveness.

Excited For

I might be the only person over 30 to be stoked about the continuing rise of TikTok, but the implications it has just on copywriting alone are freaking exciting. I've been in social/digital most of my career, and for so long, everything had to be optimized for sound off—meaning I haven't been able to write a script with actual dialogue in years. Then here comes TikTok, with its three-minute sound-reliant videos, burying all the old (and questionable) best practices we've been fed for a decade.

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Big Spaceship

Cedric Devitt

Chief Creative Officer

Proud Of

A standout piece of work for us this year was helping Starbucks celebrate its 50th anniversary. While most brands would use a milestone like this to reflect on the past, we chose to focus on the future, and the optimism we see for the next 50 years. We created a series of spots that told the stories of what Starbucks makes possible in every beginning—from everyday morning routines, to first dates filled with hope, to moments of connection and community that happen in stores. Each spot unpacked what Starbucks has made possible, and will continue to make possible in the future.

Admired

We've been inundated with feel-good holiday spots about the joys of being back together again—grandparents reunited with grandkids and so on. So when I saw this new spot for German retailer Penny, I thought it was a really honest take on the effects the pandemic has had on teenagers and all the experiences they have missed out on. Not just the wholesome ones, but also the coming-of-age ones, the really messy ones that make us who we really are. Wonderful insight and excellent execution.

Excited For

I'm looking forward to doing work that goes deeper than the obvious human connections of being "back together again" in a post-Covid world. Covid changed so much for so many forever, that we need to make adamantly sure that the work we are doing is representative of these huge shifts in human behavior. The best stories will be the ones that are representative of that and not a quiet creeping back to "before-times." It gives me a rush of adrenaline just thinking about the next wave of incredible storytelling that is to come.

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Blanguage

Daniel Amoakoh

Creative Director and Founder

Proud Of

In a year that presented many lessons for us, we started off with a creative partnership with Havas as guest designers of their internal magazine, Dare! A magazine that is distributed to 316 offices located in 75 countries. We worked with fresh talent on this, giving shine to Black and South Asian designers and illustrators in an edition that was centered around the cultural shift of 2020. Blanguage was the first external agency to partner with Havas on the magazine, and for this edition, we delivered our fresh, authentic and alternative outlook. For the centerfold poster, we included two original artworks, words of affirmation, to encourage the reader to take time for themselves and prioritize self-care with the words "This too shall pass" and "Remember to breathe."

Admired

Interestingly enough, in the music world, I was really drawn to Summer Walker's promotional campaign for her sophomore album Still Over It. She previously hosted rage rooms around the world, connecting the themes of the album with real-life activities. This time, Summer's team had a traveling hard drive in smash-proof glass and invited people to attempt to get at it. If they succeeded, they would have access to the album before release. It garnered traffic on social media (TikTok and Instagram especially) and helped put Summer's name on the tip of every media platform's tongue. Impressive.

Excited For

In 2022, we will usher in a new chapter for Blanguage, doubling down on original content and other ways that further our vision of delivering authentic, innovative and necessary work that champions the voice and needs of our audience. We're particularly excited about the growth of digital worlds and other technological advances that have introduced new ways of connecting with each other. As we navigate the new world (often called 3.0), make sure to watch this space.

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Brown and Browner Advertising

Derek Walker

Owner and Creative Chief

Proud Of

I am most proud of our work for Agria's Mumbo Sauce. There is something about working with people who have never done a TV spot before. A lot of hand holding and coaching, but it was fun. And the client saw a spike once the spots aired. I made a conscious effort to use a production company that had not done commercials/videos like this, using a crew that also hadn't been exposed to the process. I let them work, and it was great to watch, then do.

Admired

The work I wish I had done is Google Pixel 6: "For All You Are." I love that the product is part of the story but not the star; this ad speaks to the human. No list of features or telling me how to use it—it simply tells the story.

Excited For

We seem to be headed towards being all in our feelings with the work. Meaning we are seeing work that speaks to the humanity in people, not the consumer. Now it is a trickle, but I hope as the year goes it becomes a steady stream.

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BSSP

Sinan Dagli

Executive Creative Director

Proud Of

I was proud our work "Hear Me" featuring Venus Williams spotlighting gender discrimination in healthcare for our brave client Blue Shield of California. In the U.S., one in every two women's health concerns go unheard. Their pain ignored, concerns disregarded and symptoms dismissed. This leads to years of no-diagnosis, misdiagnosis, or an unexpected diagnosis that could have been avoided altogether. We wanted to shed light on this issue and raise awareness of this problem in healthcare that affects half the population. Working with Venus was an inspiration for us every step of the way.

Admired

Burberry's "Open Spaces," directed by Megaforce, was at the top of my list of projects I admired from this past year. The film takes its inspiration from the founder Thomas Burberry's invention of gabardine to help people explore. Megaforce imagined reality meets fantasy, reminiscent of the movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The explorers move in a world beyond boundaries and rules. Beautiful concept, masterfully executed in every way. It made me very jealous.

Excited For

I am excited about the many ways creativity will manifest itself in 2022. It is harder than ever to predict what's ahead, but the mediums in which we can express creativity are endless. NFTs, VR, AR, metaverse, long-form storytelling, music, fashion, collaborations, physical experiences, gaming, film craft ... *takes a breath* it may be overwhelming, but at the same time, it's invigorating.

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Burrell Communications

Terrence Burrell

Interim Chief Creative Officer

Proud Of

This year, the agency accomplished a lot despite Covid, living at work, and an industry talent shortage. But for me, our standout spot was our Comcast Olympic work with U.S. gold medalist Simone Manuel. With the postponing of the Games and all, it was an emotional roller coaster. However, having the opportunity to meet and tell Simone's story and highlight the accomplishments of Black athletes on and off the field made it all worthwhile.

Admired

I judged a lot of work this year, and the one campaign that I really admired was "Draw Ketchup." I love visual solutions, and the minute they asked, "Draw ketchup,"... I went $%#!!!! This was brilliant. Humblebrag? Maybe, but it's true, they're synonymous with ketchup. It was fun watching it play out. Well done, Heinz. Well, done.

Excited For

What am I excited about for 2022? CHANGE. This pandemic has changed the world. It's forced us to re-evaluate how we work, how we live, everything. I feel there's positive energy in the air. I'm in a new role. The agency has a new buzz about it. It's all exciting. I don't know what's coming, but I know it will be different. It will stretch me, stretch us, and that's always good. Here's to 2022.

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Callen

Craig Allen

Founder and Chief Creative Officer

Proud Of

I really loved what we did with our non-traditional opportunities this year. Specifically, PBR's In-Home Advertising, Liquid Death's Loving Homes for Plastic, and our neon sign that we built for Lone Star that kills mosquitoes. It's great when we show success with traditional mediums but even better when the creative speaks for itself. Producing ideas that the public truly cares about and wants to interact with, without us yelling "Pay attention to us now" via paid media, is no small feat.

Admired

I like pretty much everything MSCHF did this year. They're currently sitting in a pole position of manipulating and monetizing popular culture in ways that are impossible to ignore. From the genius "Museum of Forgeries," to the Lil Nas X blood shoes, to the most recent Mariah Carey collectible card packs, they continue to inspire me to think in new ways and keep pushing the envelope.

Excited For

2022 feels like a moment where creativity can be powerful. I'm excited to see how we can play with the way our business works and where we can connect directly with humans and culture in ways that weren't possible before. The barriers and costs to entry are dropping. And I'm all in on the idea that we can work for ourselves with the same enthusiasm we bring to the work for our clients. In 2021, you could wear a Callen product. Maybe next year you'll be able to buy one in a grocery store. A boy can dream!

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Campbell-Ewald

David Mackereth and Nat Resende

Executive Creative Directors

Proud Of

"Stack the Deck Against Hate" is our pride and joy. This year, an unprecedented number of states drafted discriminatory bills seeking to ban trans athletes from playing youth sports. Imagine being a trans kid barred from the sport you love … Absolutely crushing. We shredded stacks of hateful anti-trans legislation and recycled them into sports trading cards to celebrate trans athletes—Fallon Fox, Grace McKenzie, Mack Beggs and Patricio Manuel. All proceeds from deck sales went to Lambda Legal, a nonprofit working for LGBT+ rights. Trans athletes: You are seen and valued, and you will never be legislated out of existence.

Admired

We're guessing a lot of people will answer "The Lost Class" here, so we'll choose a good cause that strikes a different tone—"Loving Homes for Plastic" by Liquid Death. We love how they hit on such a heavy subject with humor, stupidity and brilliance. The canned water brand furthers their mission of "Death to plastic" by encouraging consumers to ship empty plastic bottles back to Coke and Pepsi. Why? Because they must love plastic if they produce so much of it. Consumers get these prepaid shipping labels free with purchase of Liquid Death. Direct mail marketing at its finest.

Excited For

We're excited for more complexity in storytelling. We want to see more meaningful representation of racial and gender diversity. Work like "Please don't buy Mixwell" from The Many or what it means to be a father in our #dadication campaign for Fatherhood shows that 2021 took forward steps in that direction already. For 2022, we're excited to dig even deeper and explore people's lives in ways that show all their layers, not just lean in on mass-market labels. Here's to not treating diversity & inclusion as a must have and more as a want to have.

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Curiosity

Jane Manchester

Associate Creative Director

Proud Of

I'm really proud of our partnership with P&G's personal care brand Native. I'm a big believer in safe, non-toxic products, and no one does it better than Native. The "Your One & Done" campaign we developed with them captured the light-heartedness I think people were craving this year. We worked with the crazy-talented duo Coco & Breezy to create a quirky song that's still stuck in my head. It was colorful and playful, and most of all, didn't take itself too seriously.

Admired

Lucky Generals and Amazon's "Alexa's Body" is work I wish I'd been a part of (and not just for the chance to shoot my shot with Michael B. Jordan). In a time when A.I. is becoming increasingly human, it feels appropriately and hilariously on-the-nose. Though not the first time we've seen Alexa personified by a celeb, continuing to humanize A.I. (for better or worse) seems like a very deliberate choice, and the creative was perfectly executed to deliver on that strategy.

Excited For

I'm most excited to work with brands that are owning their shortcomings and taking real steps to fix them. Those brands are able to speak authentically to their audience, a fundamental skill I believe (I hope) consumers will demand more of in the coming year.

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David Miami

Rafa Donato

Chief Creative Officer

Proud Of

The "Keep It Real Meals" project for Burger King, where we flipped the script on celebrity meals, and instead used the real personas behind celebrities to promote our real ingredients menu. Following on the success of "Moldy Whopper," the Real Meals campaign is yet another huge step in the right direction for the industry and we were super proud to be a part of this.

Admired

"The Lost Class" by Change the Ref was one of the most powerful pieces of communication this year. Relevant, brave and smart. While most ads in this category just preach to the choir, this piece actually managed to get someone from the other side of the debate to be part of it. As a parent and as a creative, I greatly appreciate (and envy) this piece.

Excited For

In-person meetings, office gossip, loud music, handshakes, hugs, hangovers, long lunches, being late, being early, happy hours, all-night edits, smoke breaks, Ping-Pong, video games, borrowing a pen, putting work on the wall, the smell of Sharpies, last-minute ideas that save the day, sharing victories, sharing defeats, sitting next to the most creative and talented people in the world day in and day out, and absolutely everything that makes working at an ad agency the best job you could ever ask for.

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DDB Germany

Diana Sukopp

Chief Creative Officer

Proud Of

My absolute favorite: "The Uncensored Library" for RSF. I must have literally watched the case film 259 times … Also, or perhaps precisely because, it's not my idea but belongs to my marvelous DDB Berlin team and exceeds every dimension of Minecraft. It's impossible to put another block on the roof. And I am impressed by the passion with which my team continues to set up more rooms and take whole school classes through them to teach them about press freedom and enable RSF to continue its important work to fight press censorship.

Admired

There was a lot of work this year that made me fall in love with my job and our industry all over again. If I can highlight just one of them, it's a case that continuously makes me smile: Diesel's "Enjoy Before Returning." Not only because it is such a humanly true insight (readers of these lines excluded, of course) but because it solved a real business problem and turned it into a benefit. In fact, Publicis Italy had an impressive year.

Excited For

2022 may be the year we hear the words "You are mute" for the last time in meetings ... that would be the most exciting thing to happen to me on this planet. Otherwise, I'll have to start saving money to fly with Amazon to another one.

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dentsu Creative

Menno Kluin

U.S. Chief Creative Officer

Proud Of

Just one?! Sweeping narrative spots for AmEx. Firing up next-gen Kingsford grillers with Ben Baller and Joshua Vides that sold out in a snap. Putting the final frontier at people's fingertips via AR-simulated satellite rescue missions. I'm probably proudest of the OREOxPokémon collab representing the brand's most successful partnership of all time. We did everything: packaging design, animation, social and OOH—constructed from 8,000+ OREOs. A rarefication scheme made "catching them all" no easy thing. Consumers scoured multiple stores, some sold online for $10K+, and Steven Colbert spoofed it as an investment asset. Playing with culture never gets old.

Admired

ITV's "Drama vs Reality" series by Uncommon London is superb. The simple premise of pitting drama versus reality in the fight for one's attention could get stale or formulaic, but Uncommon shows creativity doesn't have to rely on spectacle to be thoroughly arresting. The idea's platform can extend as far as the imagination—with an endless supply of characters. "Poison" is my favorite. BAFTA-winning Jason Watkins with Kem Cetinay from Love Island shouldn't work, but it does! I'm a fan of whatever Nils Leonard and team are up to, no matter the medium. Everything looks like a blast to produce.

Excited For

FTX. I am in awe of their ambition, drive and will to win. It's not often you get to work with people who will define an era. They are the next Tesla, the next big something, and it's only the beginning. Sam Bankman Fried is a genius. They are clients unlike any other that I have experienced, and we are creating work to match it.

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dentsuMB

Christina Pitsinos

Group Creative Director

Proud Of

My favorite project of the year was unexpected in the B2B space—and we got to work alongside Brian Beletic of Smuggler to create a whole unique world of businesses. The whole American Express Card Chronicles series tells tales of AmEx coming in clutch for small-business owners. While the stories are fictional, the business problems showcased were based off very real insights. I'm so proud of where the team landed. "Bunny" is my personal favorite, a writer's dream. Creating work that's funny, entertaining and unconventional is the ultimate goal. Feels so good when it happens.

Admired

I'll highlight two campaigns: one made me laugh, one made me cry. The first is CareerBuilder's brilliantly bleak "Let's Job It Up." It's simple, funny and reminds us we don't have to stay in unfulfilling jobs—a realization shared by many this year. The second is Leo Burnett's "The Lost Class" for Change the Ref. I couldn't believe it the first time I saw it, though I wish we weren't forced to go to such lengths to protect students with common-sense laws. Not sure I would've had the guts to pull it off, but I'm grateful they did.

Excited For

Living through nearly two years of this—we know what "this" refers to—has taught us all, collectively, how we can endure more than we might have realized. As a result of that, I anticipate a lot more bravery in the work we see. Boldness in the decisions we make—the stories we tell, the stances we take and even the media and mediums we choose. Oh, and hopefully a lot of funny stuff. We could all use a laugh. I know I could. And generally speaking, our industry's pretty good at getting a laugh.

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Deutsch LA

Doris Chung

Executive Creative Director

Proud Of

Deutsch LA did some really cool work in the NFT space this past year for clients including Taco Bell. We also employed NFTs to support social change. I am most proud of a project called "Against Asian Hate." It was a 12-piece NFT art collection that Deutsch LA created to raise funds to help #StopAAPIHate. Each piece symbolized America's consumption of Asian culture juxtaposed against the backdrop of the lack of support to uplift, protect and amplify our AAPI community. At the height of the Asian hate crimes across the nation, collaborating with Asian artists to create NFT digital art was soulfully meaningful and exciting to work on.

Admired

Google Shoppable Black Owned Friday. It makes me crazy jealous. Shoppable digital videos are nothing new … that tech has been around the block. But Black Owned Friday is such a fresh new way to use it. The idea is insightful, relevant and flawlessly executed. A video that invites the world to act on social justice through entertainment and joy of shopping is just brilliant.

Excited For

I'm most excited to see how new tech + creativity continue to become real change agents for social justice to build a better world. On top of driving brand love and business results, I'm hoping to see more and more brands take a stand for something. Our collective human and creative bar should be higher. I'm looking forward to advertising that incites discovery and accessibility—giving consumers the opportunity to take action and have role in shaping a better 2022 and beyond.

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Deutsch NY

Kathy Kim

Digital Strategy Director

Proud Of

A standout campaign for me was Celestial Seasonings' #sleepytimebearwokeup, where the team turned the Sleepytime Bear mascot into a social media campaign, complete with his very own #thirsttrap. The work was playful and funny, and perhaps best of all, it came together seamlessly. Even while working with a partner agency, Izea, the teamwork flowed from start to finish, resulting in smart work and a quick-witted bear.

Admired

I love finding inspiration from others. A project I wish I worked on was Logitech for Creators. I thought the Virtue team developed a brilliant strategy. It started from a strong brief, which turned into solid work. It was for creators, by creators, and it solved the right problem.

Excited For

Since innovation starts with creativity, I absolutely cannot wait to see what next year will bring. The key to growth and survival is innovation, and I'm looking forward to expanding my thinking and learning some lessons from China on social commerce and content.

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The Distillery Project

John Condon

Founder and Chief Creative Officer

Proud Of

For over 80 years, Meijer has been a fixture in the communities they serve. But in addition to being a convenient one-stop shop for families and a major employer in the Midwest, Meijer has also continuously supported local sports, arts, education, sustainability and healthcare programs in those same communities. Their "Simply Give" program has also provided millions of meals to help feed families in need. Our Meijer Community Campaign didn't brag about Meijer's efforts; rather, it thanked their customers for helping to make it all possible. And simultaneously gave people another important reason to shop at Meijer.

Admired

I thought Highdive (another small Chicago agency!) did a really nice job with Tracy Morgan for Rocket Mortgage. Putting my jealousy of the Hollywood celebrity-sized budget aside, Morgan was the perfect choice to nail the message. The humor was absurd enough to be totally engaging, but at the same time the message was tight and totally relevant—"Certain is better"—when it comes to being able to get the funding for your dream house, and so much more.

Excited For

While it's incredibly tempting to say, getting back to normal, I don't think we are. We're moving forward to something totally new. And it's actually hard to think of something more exciting than that.

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DNA

Allyson Paisley

Creative Director

Proud Of

I'm really proud of the work we did to launch Rainier Seltzer this year. In a time dominated by new seltzer brands—all with slick visual effects and big marketing budgets—we zagged, with a comedic mockumentary style campaign centered around an old-in-age but young-at-heart scientist fulfilling his life's work. His "discovery" of this "aquatic species" (Rainier Seltzer) was the perfect bridge between the long-standing anthropomorphic Rainier Beer can campaigns and Rainier's expansion into beverages beyond beer. We introduced Rainier Seltzer in the most Rainier way possible—and it made a splash (pun intended).

Admired

The Pedestal Project still comes to mind as a 2021 standout. Its use of AR was an innovative way to make a big statement about race and history and positive change. Anyone with a phone (which is pretty much everyone) could participate in replacing symbols of racism with symbols of equality—helping to spread the word online and move the conversation forward. I love when brands and organizations create work that affects the world in an inclusive, authentic and positive way—which is why this one stuck with me.

Excited For

I'm excited for experiential to make a big comeback in 2022. While the pandemic isn't over, we've figured out ways to make branded experiences happen safely again. The combination of digital/social and IRL experiences can create something truly surprising, emotionally connecting, and memorable. In general, brands who are ambitious enough to do more than just say, really excite me—whether that's on social, IRL activations, or through a new initiative—it's time to get moving.

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The Year in Creativity, 2021 | Muse by Clio

Doner

Tito Melega

Global Chief Creative Officer

Proud Of

The launch of WEHUSTL3.com, a cloud-native global collective of 120+ top-tier ACTvertising advocates in no less than 24 countries and counting, continues to rise to the top for me. Together with Ricardo Correia, we envisioned ACTvertising as an action-first working philosophy to help brands and agencies to meaningfully connect with their customers. We engineered HUSTLE to support underrepresented talent from day one and backed our belief with three purpose-driven partnerships—ConCreates, Raising Two Fifths, and the nonprofit Blackboard. Today, HUSTLE offers an agile, creative solution to clients and agencies alike at a speed and rate that's hard to beat.

Admired

Woojer and Claire's Place Foundation's "SickBeats." Not just a great example of ideas that do but proof that we are at our best when we bring more to the table than expected. For kids with cystic fibrosis, airway-clearance therapy can be the worst part of their day. SickBeats is a haptic airway-clearance vest that syncs to Spotify music. Its patented actuators pull frequencies from music and deliver them deep into the chest as sound waves that loosen mucus as effectively—yet endlessly more fun—as traditional therapy. Beyond it being advertising, it's an entirely new product that transforms therapy into the best part of a sick kid's day.

Excited For

An increased light has shone on the convergence of real and digital words, signaling an imminent shift in how we interact with technology and each other. This change, coupled with the birth of new digital economies, has me excited for 2022 and my work with the amazing creative team at Doner. How we as people shop, entertain and socialize will shift, alongside how we as advertisers connect with key demographics. To me, 2022 marks a new era for ACTvertising—one I look forward to ushering in as I continue to embark on this next chapter of my career at Doner. I approach my work through a personal tagline to always "Care the Most" and will continue to do so while our creative teams put great care and creativity into our work, people and the agency.

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Droga5 New York

Tara Lawall

Executive Creative Director

Proud Of

I love selling the seemingly impossible or complicated PR-worthy ideas "in the back of the deck." So any time we pull one off, I get excited. For Halloween this year, we created a gigantic four-person costume for Kit Kat that could be worn together or broken apart. It got a ton of earned media and was made fun of on the James Corden show twice (!!!) in one week. Also this year, I published a funny children's book with my illustrator partner Rich Greco called This Little Piggy Went to Market in the City. Buy one—or five.

Admired

I watched the Chipotle sequel, "A Future Begins" with my 5-year-old daughter when it came out the other day, and when the farmers started building a more sustainable farm she said, "They're making the world a better place!" And it just melted my cold, dark heart. There's no one more talented than Johnny Kelly and it's amazing to see how they told another story in that world, 10 years later.

Excited For

My favorite part of this industry has always been the people, so I am hoping in this next year I get to see some of these people more often. As much as I love (in some ways) working from home and being more around and available to my two kids (in some ways), I sure do miss laughing with the strange, beautiful (broken) souls that are attracted to this job. Video chats are no place for laughter. Things are consistently uncertain, but I'm hopeful I won't have to live and exist exclusively on the internet in 2022.

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Edelman

Judy John

Global Chief Creative Officer

Proud Of

I'm proud of our work that just launched this month in partnership with the UNFPA: Bodyright ⓑ, a new copyright for the human body. Logos, songs and IP receive greater protection online than our bodies do. Every day around the globe, women, girls and the most marginalized have their images abused online. However, survivors of online violence have few legal rights, while those who infringe on copyright face legal penalties and swift removal of content by digital platforms. That's why Bodyright ⓑ is important and meaningful. And for me, this work embodies the best of Edelman, when we are creating movements, not just moments.

Admired

The project I've admired and talked a lot about this year was Reddit's Super Bowl ad. Who knew a five-second spot of two still slides, one of which is long copy, could cause such a buzz over the numerous million-dollar commercials. Reddit's Super Bowl spot was not only timely but was on brand and well-executed. This was about taking advantage of your moment in culture. Ingenious.

Excited For

I'm excited about emerging out of the pandemic and into the metaverse with my NFTs and cryptocurrency. And also excited about using my voice and influence for good.

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Elephant

Greg Assemat Tessandier

President

Proud Of

Tough one—always feel like the bad dad archetype when asked who's your favorite? Probably Peacock. Not the bird. The streaming service we've designed for NBCUniversal. It's not often that an agency has the opportunity to design a product not only from scratch but also for scale. That 54 million people (and counting) are using, every day, our work to watch films, series, the news … and the Olympics. Neat! On a more personal note, I'm beyond proud of the pro-bono work we've done for All Star Code, an organization teaching code to young bright minds of color in NYC.

Admired

So many things are heavy right now. The last two years. The societal and political context. Systemic racism. Mental health. Heavy. For a couple of minutes, suddenly I felt lightness. This film made me want to suck in crisp cold air into every particle of my body. To feel it slap my face. Again, and again. Like, wake up. Lighthearted. No wit, no second degree, not trying to be smart or purposeful. Just a joyful celebration of nature, of the open, of air. Crafted perfectly and executed flawlessly. So yeah, hats off to Megaforce and Burberry, "Open Spaces."

Excited For

2022? Continue to put people at the center of everything we create. Everything that we design. Human centric everything for everyone—inclusive, diverse and accessible. In our creative work and our experience work. This is even truer as we start thinking and creating the first forays of our clients in the metaverse. Not just go in to be there, but what value can they add to people, experiences and, more globally, culture?

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Eleven

Michael Fiore

Executive Creative Director

Proud Of

We had an opportunity to create a stunt for the Golden Gate Symphony. It was one of those projects that everyone on the team was excited to be a part of. The goal of the work was to encourage people to become vaccinated against Covid-19 and be ready for holiday gatherings with family and friends. We took classic Christmas carols and rewrote the lyrics to include messages about the pandemic and the need for getting vaccinated. We needed to create a sense of urgency—but also find an entertaining way to deliver an important message.

Admired

CoorDown, a nonprofit from Small, New York, created a campaign called the "Hiring Chain," which promotes inclusivity to those with Down syndrome. I found it was incredibly respectful and honest. The campaign helps to promote a group of highly capable people who have historically been marginalized. The idea skillfully "turns the tables" by showing it's really the rest of us who need to re-examine our own biases. I'm also a big Sting fan, so the fact that he wrote the track had me hooked.

Excited For

Well, considering the state our world is in, with bad news everywhere you look, I'm hoping for more levity in the work we'll see next year. This is not to belittle any of the serious campaigns out there or social issues that need attention. However, laughing has an incredible power to heal. It's something people have come to depend on in life as a coping mechanism. I believe we're all due for a really good laugh.

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Engine

Nadine Cheung

Creative Director

Proud Of

I'm really proud of our takeover of HBO's Twitter account for the premiere of The Many Saints of Newark. We turned it into the feed for Satriale's Pork Store, acting and talking like the fictitious Sopranos shop would. The creative was inspired, entertaining, and had a ton of heart—and sometimes that's what really counts.

Admired

I know I'm one of many, but I really loved Cadillac's Edward Scissorhands Super Bowl ad. It's the perfect mix of nostalgia, humor and whimsy. Plus, Timothée Chalamet. I would watch him watch paint dry.

Excited For

Work-wise, we have several projects that I'm excited to share with the world. I wish I could say more about them, but you'll just have to wait and see. Life-wise, I'm excited to go to and be inspired by more live music and performances. There's simply no replacement for them.

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Exverus

Bill Durrant

President

Proud Of

Concern Worldwide's #UnfortunatelyFakeNews. Fred & Farid, Concern and Exverus started a social justice movement that spread "#UnfortunatelyFakeNews" calling out glaring examples of immense wealth and inequality. An OOH spectacular adjacent to CNN headquarters in Atlanta pointed the finger at media entities who don't call out corporations and billionaires. "#UnfortunatelyFakeNews" segments interrupted YouTube viewers watching content related to Tesla, Elon Musk and space with the headline, "Space Can Wait, Magnate Gives to End Extreme Poverty." Ads with news-mimicking #UFN headlines followed news-consuming audiences through the use of ACR targeting. It was the perfect blend of native and contextual advertising in an era without cookies.

Admired

Kum & Go's Kyle Scheele Meal. Kum & Go is a client and we were still bamboozled by this genius mashup of TikTok, influencer content and in-store experiential presence. We never saw it coming and it felt so effortless in hindsight, the mark of a truly great campaign.

Excited For

The second rise of outdoor media. We live in physical bodies, in physical geographies, in a physical world. Even when digital and data-enabled, outdoor media is real, tangible and measurable in ways that a metaverse will never be.

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FCB

Danilo Boer

Global Creative Partner

Proud Of

The Ikea Meatball Candle. When an idea like that costs $10,000 to produce and generates $4.7 billion in impressions, it reminds us that weird ideas still have a place in our world, and how it doesn't matter if they sound "stupid." As long as they are on brand and are surprising, they can create an impact and be an economic multiplier.

Admired

Michelob Ultra ​"Courtside." I don't remember if a brand ever impacted the world of sports the way ​"Courtside" impacted the NBA. During a heavy moment we were all living, that genius idea and brilliant execution brought us all joy and allowed the world to experience a game in a totally new way. I admired that idea so much that I joined the agency behind it.

Excited For

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FCB New York

Samira Ansari

Executive Creative Director

Proud Of

I'm proud of the relationship we have built with our clients at AB InBev. It has enabled us to do better and better work. Together we launched Michelob Ultra Organic Seltzer at the Super Bowl this year. Being the only nationally distributed organic hard seltzer, we went to the SB with a star-studded :60. Except, all but one of the celebs were fakes, highlighting that we are the realest tasting hard seltzer without that fake aftertaste. Plus, Don Cheadle was a pleasure to work with.

Admired

I'll stick to the subject of the Super Bowl here, too. I thought what Reddit did was genius. Everything about the 5-second spot embodied who they are as a brand. It was responsive, fast and furious, and it made a lot of noise. I loved it.

Excited For

I think we will see brave and creative work come out as a result of stronger partnerships. Clients are much more open to fresh work. Agencies are doing a better job at partnering with brands to generate ideas that elicit real change and drive business results.

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Fortnight Collective

Mona Hasan

Creative Director

Proud Of

We had the opportunity to have a bit of fun, and do some good with Vrbo and "Dog Vacation Homes." The campaign highlighted how, after a hectic pandemic year, our dogs need a holiday too. Vrbo built custom dog houses inspired by their most popular vacation homes and made them available for families to buy. And it was all for a good cause, with Vrbo donating to the Best Friends Animal Society.

Admired

I was impressed by Xbox's true understanding of their target market when they revealed the identity of Noobmaster69 in their cross-promotion with The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. For those who don't recall the name, Noobmaster69 was Thor's online gaming nemesis in Marvel's Avengers: Endgame. Leveraging their target's love for easter eggs, the ad stood out from just being another game demo.

Excited For

I'm eager to see what the metaverse brings to the table, if anything. Will it change the way we think about storytelling and reaching audiences? Or will it, like many other things, be ignored by those looking for more human experiences?

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GALE

Winston Binch

Chief Brand and Experience Officer

Proud Of

Chipotle believes in brand, customer experience, doing the right thing for the world, and are born innovators. They're a dream partner. In addition to helping them scale CRM through a brand- and data-driven approach, we also helped reimagine their loyalty program with the goal of delivering members more rewards, more often. The program now has 24.5 million members and is driving incremental sales. Great work that drives the business is the mission. This is just that.

Admired

I'm less inspired by projects than I am platforms and programs. One-offs are ephemeral and don't typically move the business sustainably. A new brand platform that I was particularly impressed by was Tiffany & Co.'s "Not Your Mother's Tiffany." It was bold, simple, and generated a ton of conversation and debate, as the best reconsideration work should always do. The execution was also modern, elegant, and made for social. According to LMVH, their business is up. This was a big and smart swing.

Excited For

Influencer marketing is not new, but it's coming of age and a more critical part of the marketing mix for both emerging and legacy brands. In 2021, we did a lot of work in TikTok. To win, you need to make content that looks like it was made there and work with people who have had success. Next year, we'll still be doing a lot of crafted work, but we're also going to make a bigger shift to curation over creation. That means giving more control to creators. Doing great creative is no longer just about the creativity of your internal teams. It's about how smart you are at curating talent outside your org that's right for and resonates with your audience.

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Giant Spoon

Ian Grody

Executive Creative Director

Proud Of

We wrote a full-length special starring Michelle Obama, Anya Taylor-Joy, Jack Black and a self-centered avocado to promote Waffles + Mochi for Netflix. I thought our Anya Taylor-Joy sketch was particularly funny.

Admired

A couple of former Spoons built the "NBA Lane" campaign, which was a blast. Super proud of them and the job they did.

Excited For

Giant Spoon's set to launch its original audio arm as well as Writers Room, a new offering that helps brands build long-form narrative content. The mission is to make work that's increasingly indistinguishable from the podcasts and series you seek out for fun.

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Goodby Silverstein & Partners

Jon Wolanske

Creative Director

Proud Of

There are client projects I'm proud of, but one I make just for our agency is a "Top 10 GS&P Moments of the Year." It's based on staff nominations and it started as a snarky way to reflect on the year just passed, but it's become a great annual time capsule of our place and a fun way to celebrate our people. Recent stories ranged from how a co-worker's fiancé accidentally crashed one of her Zooms to offer her a smoothie while naked to where a famous celebrity hides her gum between takes.

Admired

There's so much work I admire from the year. But the only piece of advertising I've ever searched out and bought on eBay (which proves to me how questionable I am with my own money) is Postmates' Don't Cookbook. It's not just the easiest cookbook ever, it's also funny, gorgeously designed, based on a simple big insight, and it helps solve one of the most painful questions my wife and I faced every night: What are we going to cook for dinner?

Excited For

Our 6-year-old getting his second dose last week was a big exhale for me. And I'm hoping it's a sign that returning to the office will be something that can actually happen in 2022. I miss thinking with people inside rooms that I don't also sleep in and offices that are just overly warm enough to make me think I've developed a glandular problem. Being together leads to better work. It also means I get to pick up my love/hate relationship with the office printer again. I'm coming for you, BAE.

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Grey New York

Andre Gray

Executive Creative Director

Proud Of

Coming off the back of the pitch win, I am proud of the "Meanwhile in Vegas…" platform we just launched for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. There is a social-first, almost movie-trailer-eqsue tactility to it that tries to capture the feeling of one of the most unique places on the planet. There is something special about Vegas, not only as a historic brand, but as a part of culture. #MeanwhileInVegas is a real opportunity to create a platform built for social, built for co-creation and conversation with the world. We can't wait to see where it can go.

Admired

One project that deserves its flowers is the Facebook campaign Droga5 launched for the Olympics. I love a real story, something emotional that shows how amazing real people are. Where that campaign took it up a notch was showing that how the surreal can amplify the feelings of a real story, without having to create something entirely fictional. We can capture real life, but we can't always capture how real life makes you feel. That's where elevated craft and consideration can unlock new possibilities.

Excited For

I think what a brand stands for, particularly when it comes to historically excluded and marginalized people, will be one of the biggest factors of success. Diversity, equity and inclusion is no longer a side project, it is the make-or-break. The brands, agencies and companies that get it right will come out on top. And the ones that make mistakes will feel it harder than ever. We don't want talk; we want receipts.

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GSD&M

Jay Russell

Chief Creative Officer

Proud Of

I really like the Pac-Man AR game we did with Pizza Hut. Taking their distinctive assets we all remember from the past and modernizing them has been incredibly fun. Pac-Man was a Pizza Hut staple for many of us, and bringing the arcade games to your front door on the top of a pizza box that you can play with AR has been a highlight, for sure.

Admired

I love this question because I put it through the lens of what works on me. Lone Star is a beer brand here in Texas that has ventured into seltzer. It's hot here, we like drinks, and we have too many mosquitos. Callen developed a Lone Star neon light—a staple in every Texas bar—that doubles as a bug zapper. So simple, it actually serves a purpose and kills bugs, and gets talked about where the product is sold. Love it.

Excited For

While it may not be the agreed-upon desire in a work-from-home culture, I can't wait to see people I work with live at the agency, on productions, and at our clients' businesses. I need people for fuel … but not five days a week … maybe two to three, max.

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GUT

Alexander Allen and Andy Tamayo

Associate Creative Directors

Proud Of

The "Save It, See It" campaign we did for Michelob Ultra for Women's Equality Day. The idea was born out of a perfect storm of coincidences: Not only did we find out that the save button on Instagram looks oddly similar to Michelob's logo, but we also learned that IG's algorithm secretly prioritizes the save button over likes and comments. So it was a no-brainer for Michelob Ultra, a brand that stands for all athletes to enjoy their sport, to start a movement to go hit save on women athletes' posts and give them more visibility.

Admired

The gun violence campaign by Change the Ref, "The Lost Class." With one visual of an empty graduation class, they were able to convey such an important message without saying anything at all, and that was powerful. It's a reminder that the best ideas are often the simplest ones.

Excited For

This year alone we've seen the first commercial flight to space, the birth of the metaverse, and robots made out of frog cells. Our world of tech is expanding at unprecedented speeds, and we feel that now more than ever, brands have a lot of tools to play with. We're no longer in a playground; we're in an amusement park of possibilities. We can't wait to see what brands do in 2022 with all these inventions and advancements now at our disposal.

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Hasan & Partners

Tobias Wacker

Group Executive Creative Director

Proud Of

I'm proud of our latest project, the Museum of Contemporary Emotions. The aim is to aid Covid crisis recovery. The virtual project combines art and science in an effort to help people weigh the emotional impact of the pandemic and is one of a kind, involving more than 150 people including artists, scientists, creatives, composers, psychologists and more.

Admired

It's not necessarily a project, but Lush's decision to withdraw from most of the major social media channels has been an act that has been extremely powerful in terms of demonstrating their values. It's also quite brave when it comes to reaching audiences or losing that reach. Not sure what will come out of this, but I am surely following now.

Excited For

For 2022, I'm excited about seeing people, human interactions, face-to-face discussions, presentations without black screens on the other side, visiting family and friends, traveling around the world, meeting with creative people from the global community, creating real impact, and what we'll do in the next season of Hasan & Partners.

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HUE HOUSE

davita galloway

co-founder

Proud Of

i can't help but stand in tremendous gratitude to be able to impact community with projects and initiatives that stemmed from nothing but an idea—what a blessing! one of those special projects, digital navigators, was in collaboration with digital charlotte and addressed digital access and inclusion in light of the exacerbated digital divide posed by covid. we collaborated with digital navigators to provide residents of mecklenburg county with resources and vibrant works of public art highlighting the program. i'm super proud of this work because of the connections—literally, that were made—all in the name of community.

Admired

honestly, it would be easy to shout out a well-known artist or creative or influencer with a following. but this year i'm shouting out "the others." those who don't have plentiful resources or support, yet still find a way to create—because they have to. those who work two and three jobs, hustling, to pay for studio time, or software, and/or that critical piece of equipment to make their masterpiece. i choose to celebrate those who don't have thousands of followers and are simply out here grinding, doing what they love. that kind of commitment creates projects that "hit different."

Excited For

omg, okay!!! i'm creating an exhibit at the mint museum that explores the intersection of black fashion, music and culture, spanning decades. this project, 'FRESH2DEATH,' is a collaboration with many artists and creatives with the goal of celebrating, highlighting and informing the importance of black contribution to mainstream.

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Humanaut

David Littlejohn

Founder and Chief Creative Director

Proud Of

To announce Tony Hawk's partnership with Liquid Death, we took his blood and put it in a limited-run skateboard and sold them online. The Tony Hawk Blood Boards sold out in minutes, earning a ton of PR. Then Lil Naz X weighed in with three simple words: "Nah He Tweakin." That pretty much blew up the internet, generating 15 billion PR impressions and a trillion-with-a-T social impressions. A good example of what happens when a brand takes a risk and puts some real skin, or in this case blood, in the game.

Admired

At Humanaut, we pride ourselves on being able to move and execute quickly, but the speed at which Iceland Tourism launched "The Icleandverse," just five days after Zuckerberg's announcement, was a whole new level of fast—SNL fast. It's a perfect example of how brands that actually have a perspective on the world and are willing to act quickly on their beliefs are going to win in an increasingly noisy culture.

Excited For

There are so many more important things going on in the world right now competing for people's attention that brands are going to need to actually step up and do something interesting if they want anyone to notice or care about them. The days of optimizing for the click have left brands swimming in a sea of sameness, getting their asses kicked by brands that have something meaningful to say. We're entering an era where brands have to either be interesting or risk being invisible.

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Innocean USA

Barney Goldberg

Executive Creative Director

Proud Of

This year has been a whirlwind for us. It's nice to do a little retrospective. It's between three projects for me: Our Hyundai Tucson "Question Everything" launch with Jason Bateman and crew. Our Spider-Man partnership that we shot with Jon Watts, the amazing director of the Spider-Man franchise. And our Hyundai & Liga MX partnership work: "Because Fútbol." (Admittedly that's a shameless way to mention three projects.) It's tough, but my favorite of those is "Because Fútbol." It's based on a simple truth: People will do anything for the sport they love.

Admired

I am constantly entertained and impressed with Progressive's "Don't Become Your Parents." The campaign is so well written and perfectly cast. The work is relatable, which is why it breaks through to me. Sometimes I watch the spots to see what I am personally guilty of (e.g., arrive at the airport three hours early, check; attempt to help the plumber, check). I guess I'm becoming my parents after all.

Excited For

This is less about the work and more about the way we work: I'm excited (maybe I'm just hopeful) there can be a return to the office, in some form. We've done well here in making great work remotely and getting things done. I just think all of us are missing out on the chance to connect with co-workers and build relationships. There's a certain energy that comes from being together. That said, I think in the future we will have a hybrid approach: Sometimes we're in the office, sometimes we work from home.

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Jam3

Laura Cortes

Creative Director

Proud Of

On the heels of the latest United Nations Climate Change Report, we launched Wild Cities AR, a free, immersive, voice-activated storytelling app aimed at heightening kids' eco-empathy by enabling them to grow their own virtual forest anywhere they choose. The app allows kids ages 6-9 to experience nature, educating them about urban ecology, inspiring them to take responsibility for local wildlife, and empowering them to help fight climate change. Wild Cities has been a passion project for our entire team for many years, so it has been exciting to see it flourish into an interactive, educational adventure.

Admired

Daniel Eskils and Joao de Botelho's "The Future Can't Wait" spot for Save the Children. It's an impressive cinematic film that brings color into underserved communities beautifully and humanely. The sound, the textures, the photography, the color, and the voiceover all bring the narrative together, while the VFX and surprising visual elements complement these features exquisitely. All of this creates a visceral and touching outcome that hopefully helps drive action.

Excited For

The metaverse and storyliving. It's going to be the year of mixed reality experiences, with hybrid executions bridging the online digital world with our IRL physical presence. Interoperable libraries, where we can create a virtual avatar of ourselves and use it across multiple IPs. We become an integral part of the story that adapts to us, our actions. Think beyond NFT fashion for TikTok videos, VR, and AR avatars for work meetings. People already own digital things. 2022 will be the year where we help them shift those "assets" around fluidly from place to place, painting a new story as they move along.

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Johannes Leonardo

Laura Osborne

Creative Director

Proud Of

I'm really proud of leading the relaunch of an iconic American household brand, Velveeta. After a serious 2020, it was fun to create some work that doesn't take itself too seriously! "La Dolce Velveeta" is a cheeky play on the phrase and ethos of La Dolce Vita, living a life of self-indulgence. Inspired by unapologetic Velveeta lovers, we repositioned the product to be more than a food, but a way of life. I'm also proud to say the brand will be making an appearance in Vogue early next year. Velveeta will be imitating fashion spreads with decadent vessels of Velveeta.

Admired

REFORM Alliance's "Give Life Back" really stood out to me this year. I believe it's our creative duty to be telling new and untold stories, and their "Technically Illegal" spot does just that. It unearths real stories around technical violations of people on parole or probation that need reform and executes it in such a brilliantly relatable way, coupled with an unexpected twist. Relief's faux Squid Game-style business card was also super smart. With their app as a remedy to credit card debt, it read, "There's a better way to get out of debt," targeted at Netflix's largest-ever audience.

Excited For

I think advertising is going through an exciting transition right now. I'm excited to see the industry becoming more inclusive of diverse talent and more open to whatever work-life, in-office or remote, best facilitates an individual's creativity. As we return to some kind of new normal, I anticipate a new wave of work that has more energy and is more meaningful than it ever has been. And then there's Season 4 of Stranger Things. Will 2022 be the right way up?

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Lafayette American

Toby Barlow

Chief Creative Officer and CEO

Proud Of

Our campaign to repeal the Tampon Tax here in Michigan broke through in a nice way. We saw an injustice against women and went straight at it. It was fun playing with a topic that is (unnecessarily) taboo. And then—bam—within weeks the tax was repealed. But this tax still exists in half the U.S states, maybe even in your state. So if you want to steal our work and run with it, please do!

Admired

Fred & Farid's Ladder insurance work is so good. All great advertising takes an obvious truth and messes with it. But here, they also leveraged one of the few taboos in advertising: death! What a brilliant way for an unknown brand to break through. So smart it makes me dizzy.

Excited For

I look forward to the continued progress we're going to make with DEI in our industry. Diversity in casting isn't enough if the agency, production company and post-production behind the camera are still lily-white. There's going to be a natural inclination to move on because we're tired of the subject, but seriously, the work is far from done. Plus, it's a fun creative challenge!

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Laundry Service

Michelle Lawrence

Associate Creative Director

Proud Of

This year, I started a video podcast interview series that spotlights Black women in advertising. Black Tea launched its first season on Muse by Clio on International Women's Day back in March. It was so rewarding and inspiring to bring the stories and contributions of these amazing producers, creatives, strategists and entrepreneurs to the forefront so that Black women's impact on this industry could be a bit more seen, and so we could see each other as well.

Admired

I loved Google's Black-Owned Friday shoppable video project with T Pain and Normani. Beautiful product value, and a catchy, fun song. It was a great example of getting out of the culture's way and letting it connect directly with the people. Plus, I love being put on to new Black-owned products, so it helped me do a little holiday shopping myself.

Excited For

I'm excited to see more diverse, midsize shops winning more of the bag on some big-hitting brands. I think 2021 has shown us that it pays to be where the culture is. The more we embrace diverse people and experiences—and, more pointedly, make real space for them on our leadership teams, in our idea decks, strategic briefs and client presentations—the better the work we create. Audiences see and appreciate that, and brands are starting to pick up on the phenomenon more and more and flock to agencies who get it.

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Madwell

Chris Sojka

Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer

Proud Of

This year we had the chance to make one of the most ambitious pieces of film in our career for Verizon: "The Reset." It imagines what real life would be like if it degraded the same way a video game does when there's poor internet connectivity, aka "lag." Every part of the project was an exercise in invention as we were building (and then breaking) a world of our own creation. It culminated with a multi-channel push that brought the special effects to life in the real world with arresting sculptures and disruptive digital OOH animations.

Admired

Sometimes a simple 60 seconds can deliver a hell of a punch. That's exactly what The Many's spot for Mixwell did. By carefully bending the viewer's perspective around their (likely) unconscious biases and harnessing them to make an exclusionary point that is remarkably inclusive, I think they delivered one of the best ads of the year. The most effective marketing doesn't try to please everyone, it speaks to someone. This work did that, and while I champion its social message, I was wowed by its tactical underpinnings. Good strategy that is good for America.

Excited For

Coming off of year two of the pandemic, all of our brains have collapsed to mush. So much has changed, some for good, some for not so good. I am excited at the prospect of shaping global cultural conversations through our work as advertisers in a way that generates positive change. The cultural zeitgeist is ready. Yes, we need to sell products. But in the process we can contribute to meaningful conversations and societal progress. Also, I'm excited for the transition of blockchain and metaverse talk from pretentiously theoretical to practically successful.

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Majority

Omid Farhang

Founder

Proud Of

It's pretty rare for a startup agency's first effort out of the gate to land squarely in culture to the tune of 7 billion media impressions. That's what happened when we transformed a '90s hip-hop anthem into the unlikely Covid vaccine PSA "Vax That Thang Up." No, it probably didn't persuade any staunch anti-vaxxers. But if it swayed even a few who were on the fence to go get the shot, that's an accomplishment.

Admired

I feel like at least two other people are going to pick Icelandverse. Even though I still love it, the Progressive "Dr. Rick" campaign is a boring answer. Ryan Reynolds and Mischief have had enough well-deserved praise heaped upon them already. I dunno, does it make me sound like a petty asshole if I pass? It does, doesn't it. Shit.

Excited For

I'm excited for a new generation of "post-Covid" companies that will redefine how we do business, unshackled by clumsily retrofitted legacy processes, lack of representation, and exorbitant real estate costs for traditional offices that no one besides the CEO with hair plugs actually wants to go back to.

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The Many

Ashley Milhollin

Creative Director

Proud Of

A big surprise, a bigger treat and my biggest pride and joy this year is our campaign "Please Don't Buy Mixwell" for (who else?) Mixwell. It's such a wonderful coalescence of what our work can be: meaningful but not expectedly earnest, hugely provocative but for a larger purpose, and brave enough to risk the bottom line in favor of protecting real value(s). It was also such a phenomenal project for The Many because EVERYONE volunteered their time and talent to make this work what it is. I literally and figuratively could not be prouder of it or this agency.

Admired

The creation of The Academy at Goodby Silverstein & Partners with one of my favorite people (and most impression-making mentors), Dan Balser, as its director. We all talk (the royal "we" in advertising) a big game about "doing better" as an industry when it comes to finding, teaching and keeping diverse talent. But I'll be damned if a tuition-free-plus-experience-for-real-at-an-awesome-shop "school" isn't taking ginormous steps in walking the walk to actually changing things for the better. And there was so much great work this year. A cracker singing about burnout? Gay Santa? Iceland trolling? Extra's mass make-out session? Incredible.

Excited For

I'm interested to see what shakes out with some companies shifting their approach (or moving entirely from) certain social platforms. If (and that's a big if) this sort of shake up happens on a large scale, we'll have quite a fun challenge ahead. (Not sarcasm!) Call me crazy, but our industry could be headed for a renaissance of sorts—the pendulum could begin to swing from the dogged pursuit of clicks towards the real end goal of actually reaching someone with a compelling message. And that's a great place to be. Also very excited for the release of BOTW 2.

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Marcus Thomas

Jamie Venorsky

Chief Creative Officer

Proud Of

I'm proud of every project. Especially 8-Bit at Bat, a project that activates the Ohio Lottery's partnership with the Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds. Instead of merely slapping our logo up behind home plate for an inning, we created a mobile game within a game that engages fans in a complementary second screen experience and rewards them for watching live. This solution doesn't just create value for the Ohio Lottery; rather, it creates an exchange of value between fans and the brand. At Marcus Thomas, we strive to create more experiences and fewer ads. This is a great example.

Admired

The Ikea Trash Collection makes me jealous. Ikea takes accountability for starting the disposable furniture movement. They show us how a simple repair or selling the item back to them is a better option than tossing it away. The work feels distinctly different for Ikea, featuring unvarnished, discarded products in unglamorous settings—highlighting how they were refurbished, and their secondhand value compared to the original. The campaign includes a website where you can order parts, and learn about the buy-back program and pledge for zero waste by 2030. This is work that makes the brand famous and the world better off.

Excited For

Covid helped us learn what we value most. We're still re-evaluating everything in our lives and imagining a better way of living. This applies to brands, too. If brands aren't built with a clear purpose and idea of how they can make people's lives better, they'll lose. And advertising has never really been a prime ingredient to make our lives better. I'm excited that the bar has been raised—that our audience expects more from us, and that to make an impact, we must create more than ads. We have to create real value where people and brands meet.

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The Martin Agency

Alberto Orte

Creative Director

Proud Of

This year we've spent a lot of time rebranding Buffalo Wild Wings as "The Greatest of All Times." A new tagline and brand campaign for a legendary brand, created to rekindle our love for sports bars after a 2020 to forget. Friends, wings, beer and sports, all together in the same place? In other words, a paradise on Earth. But the one thing that I'm most proud about is how we've introduced a new generation of consumers into the brand. Younger, more diverse and multicultural.

Admired

I've loved all the work that Procter & Gamble has been doing for the Black community. "Widen the Screen" by Grey and Cartwright, "8:46" by Saturday Morning, and "These Hands" by Uninterrupted are in my opinion some of the most important initiatives of the year. Great ideas, great executions, earnest and bold intentions, and most importantly, authored by powerful and unique voices who understand the issues.

Excited For

I really hope 2022 is the year where we see more Latinx voices coming out in the open and offering a full, honest view of what it means to be Hispanic in this country. Our community is more than food and families. I also hope to see more brands speaking to the Latinx community as a part of a whole, instead of people who need to be addressed separately. This is the year to make a cultural shift. Change is still the thing that makes me the most excited.

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McCann U.K.

Laurence Thomson

Chief Creative Officer

Proud Of

Human meat tastes a bit like chicken … apparently. Or so the Swedish Food Federation would have us believe in their chilling documentary Eat a Swede. At a time when brands are perhaps choosing to tread a safer path, this brand did the opposite. I have to praise the bravery of the client and the conviction of the team—it gives me shivers. This mockumentary really does fool us and capitalizes on so many conversations going on in culture right now. It's odd shaped and different thinking. I like the unexpected, ideas that push what's acceptable, that define new tastes.

Admired

A bygone era … in a time of Friends, Nirvana and acid-wash denim, came a hairstyle … not just any ordinary hairdo, this is the golden ratio of dos, aaaannnnnd it looks a bit like the Golden Arches. Today, that "do" scores a free Big Mac. This is a promo idea with meat. A pop-up store where your quiff can be coiffed, social to the core + '90s dating videos. What's not to love. It is silly, when maybe we need a bit of silly. The world is better with this idea in it. No doubt. Thank you, Maccy D's.

Excited For

It is very hard to anticipate anything at this time, but I hope '22 will allow us to grow with confidence and create beautiful, fun and meaningful things for reasons and no reasons at all. We must continue to adapt and be comfortable with the uncomfortable. A year to forget what we know, start to draw with a different hand and see the world through fresh eyes. My youngest child started talking, her first word was "beer." It's wonderful to see what kind of person she will become. I am excited about that.

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MCD Partners

John Caruso

Co-Founder, Partner and Chief Creative Officer

Proud Of

Given what everyone's been going through lately, I am most proud of our work with Discover on their digital customer experience. People are super stressed about their finances right now, so we've been focused on making it easier for customers to understand and track their spending and we've designed preventative digital experiences to help customers get ahead of potential problems like fraud, identity theft and even collections. There is a certain magic and creativity to designing one-to-one customer moments, and if they catch people before they fall, they can make a real difference in their lives.

Admired

I feel like I haven't really seen much advertising this year, so maybe that just means it's finally all working. Right now it seems like everyone I know is just talking about Succession.

Excited For

In 2022, I predict introverts will finally take over the world by refusing to ever work in offices again. I also imagine marketers will move more of their budgets into the things that don't entirely feel like advertising—including experience, influencer, sponsorship opportunities—and I will pay better attention. Maybe in 2022 the writers from Succession will reboot NBC's Friends with the same characters, only this time as a bunch of competitive, middle-aged sycophants who are all out to get each other.

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McKinney

Jenny Nicholson

Executive Director, Brand Experience

Proud Of

I'm especially proud of the Camera Offset Project, the first effort from McKinney's Brand Experience team. It was inspired by almost two years of Zoom fatigue and this shocking statistic: Going camera-off decreases the environmental footprint of a video call by 96 percent. After rejecting several tech-heavy ideas, we landed on a beautifully elegant solution: simple graphics people can set as their profile photo to go camera-off without question. From concept to launch, the project took just five days. To date, participants have saved the equivalent of 13,237 gallons of gas, 273 barrels of oil, or 12,323,500 phone charges.

Admired

I'm obsessed with digital projects but still have room in my heart for great video. My props go to "Welcome to the Icelandverse" from Inspired by Iceland and SS+K. Coming just days after Meta's announcement video, it's proof that brands can move as quickly as culture—if they're willing. The video is pitch-perfect satire that doesn't take itself too seriously and sells the sh*t out of Iceland. Most of all, it reminds me that advertising, at its best, can be really, really fun. And in a year that's brought so much bad news, fun is something we desperately need.

Excited For

The last few years have been a horror show in many ways. But they've also brought us crazy innovation. TikTok has upended ideas of who gets to be creative. A.I. is opening up literal playgrounds for us to explore. And while it's easy to brush off the metaverse as hype, $800 billion suggests we'd be dumb not to take it seriously. I know the pace of change can be intimidating. But it's also never been easier to learn, to experiment, to play. If you're curious and know how to google, there's nothing stopping you.

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Mischief

Kevin Mulroy

Executive Creative Director

Proud Of

Cooch blessings for Eos. We came up with the idea in a quick chat at 9 a.m. on a Monday, after emailing with the client over the weekend. We quickly realized that what Carley is saying in the video, outrageous as it sounds, is literally a set of instructions on how to use the product. So naturally, they belonged on the bottle. It's probably the best example in my career of the power of a trusting partnership with an amazing client. They immediately loved it, we dove into production, and sales across their entire shave cream category doubled almost overnight.

Admired

There are, of course, the obvious ones that everyone else has talked about: Reddit, Beats by Dre, Stevenage Challenge. But I liked a lot of the smaller things that punched above their weight this year. One that stood out to me recently was the Orange Juice Toothpaste idea for Tropicana. Dead simple, inexpensive to pull off, an idea you immediately get from the headline, solves an actual problem in a fun way, and all based on an airtight brand truth that spans generations.

Excited For

I don't want to steal thunder from our own projects, so I'll say that right now we're very excited to open Mischief's official headquarters in Dumbo and see where the next phase takes us. We've gone from six people to 55 in just 18 months, and it's not slowing down. This is the most fun I've ever had in advertising, and that includes the time I watched an actor eat sand.

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Mother NY

Corinna Falusi

Chief Creative Officer and Partner

Proud Of

It's encouraging that after a period of intense hardship, we're starting to see the industry begin to have some fun again. Dropping a giant banana on Hollywood Blvd. for Dave & Buster's was that moment for me. It gave people from tourists to Jimmy Kimmel a brief moment of joy in their day that I think is so necessary for brands right now.

Admired

Lil Nas X's Monteroverse. It may sound odd, but I don't know another celebrity who looks like they're having more fun dominating the marketing game the way he does.

Excited For

It feels like we are entering a new chapter of the creative process by embracing a more hybrid work model. I'm inspired by the intentionality of today's creative meetings and the ways in which we gather as groups and find reasons to collaborate differently.

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Muhtayzik Hoffer

Joel Kaplan

Executive Creative Director

Proud Of

This year we began a new relationship with Bed Bath & Beyond. As we all continue to grapple with the pandemic, it was especially gratifying to launch a new human-centric brand campaign for the company called "Home Happier." I think we captured the essence of how important it is to have your home as a place of refuge and comfort, and I'm proud of the work.

Admired

This year, maybe because I had way too much time confined to my house, I am most taken with long-form content. Specifically TV. Shows like White Lotus, Hacks, Only Murders in the Building, Ted Lasso, Squid Game, even Yellowstone. They have stolen all the attention I used to reserve for podcasts and social content, all the love I only recently gave the internet. The stories are solid and surprising, production is on point, and talent is off the charts. When it comes to projects I admire right now, TV shows win. Which means TV media wins as well.

Excited For

I'm looking forward to seeing the creativity our industry applies to retaining talent. Covid put a focus on the burnout that has been brewing in the ad industry for years. I believe 2022 will be the year we see managers being held more responsible for the mental wellbeing of those they lead, and a general acceptance that employees are more empowered than ever to choose where and how they work. The faster we embrace these changes, the faster we can get back to doing what we love—making great stories with the best thinkers and makers in the world.

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MullenLowe

Ricard Valero

Executive Creative Director

Proud Of

The most recent one is "Astronauts" for E*Trade. A simple insight told in a fun way. Also "Boil," a campaign to prevent suicide within veterans commissioned by the Ad Council and the VA. The copywriter was a veteran who had struggled with suicidal thoughts himself. The film was performed by a full cast of real veterans. The process was very intense and emotional as we worked with them to bring to life something real and authentic. The result was a strong, raw and beautiful campaign. It was important work that aimed to have a real impact. And it did. In fact, the campaign was very well received not only by the intended target but by people struggling with mental health issues in general.

Admired

One of my favorites is "The Kiss of Dante and Beatrice" for Magnum. It's delicate, poetic and absolutely unexpected for an ice cream brand. From the unconventional approach to the beautiful craft, I love everything about it. McCann's "The Bread Exam" made me very jealous. It's so simple and smart. In a more superficial way, I loved Bottega Veneta's campaign shot by Tyrone Lebon and the one Joel Meyerovitz shot for Jil Sander.

Excited For

I just started a new role leading MullenLowe in New York. I'm working with my partners Jonny and Rebekah to put creativity at the very center of everything we do. This is not an easy task, but with a big change in the agency's mindset and the addition of a very talented group of individuals that have recently joined us (and will in 2022), we are absolutely convinced that we'll see results very soon. So yeah … pretty excited to see what happens.

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The New York Times

Vida Cornelious

VP, Creative Advertising

Proud Of

I am truly proud of our collaboration with Google and to be part of its new Pixel 6 mobile phone launch, featuring the innovative Real Tone technology. Our creative campaign "Picture Progress'' supported this effort by shining a light on the importance of equitable visual representation in photography and how that representation is vital in how we not only perceive the stories of our past, but capture the stories of our future. Our goal was to open the dialogue around equitable representation and advance Google's efforts in the image equity space. T Brand and New York Times Advertising sourced exceptional makers of color to use the Pixel 6 mobile camera to capture representative stories. It was gratifying for the team to see this work come to life and be a part of something that has the power to reshape how we portray our future.

Admired

Oftentimes we celebrate the bigger, flashier, video-led creative. But Le Chocolat des Francais, with TBWA/Paris, created a wonderful visual indulgence of a campaign with its print for the French chocolatier. The campaign line was "Only Keep the Best of France," which was in reference to the chocolate bar. The illustrations seamlessly incorporated the packaging as the main visual in the ads, delivering a humorous jab at life in France. The "inside jokes' in the artwork make the campaign insightful, highlight the design craft, and honestly, the idea just makes you smile.

Excited For

I remain excited about representative storytelling and any opportunity there is to deliver that, especially purpose-driven messaging that is bold and unapologetic. The more we open the aperture to diverse points of view and make way for new voices and creators to emerge, the more unique the storytelling becomes. We are seeing heightened interest in unpacking our humanity. What is it that divides and unites us? What moves us forward but simultaneously holds us back? Dichotomies like these continue to be the foundational questions of where the most provocative narratives come from, and it remains exciting to see that take shape.

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North

Mark Ray

Chief Creative Officer

Proud Of

We're proud to work we've been doing with Hydro Flask to produce over 30 films in four different branded entertainment series—Parks For All, Why We Go, How We Go, and Art Imitates Life—that feature a diverse mix of everyday people who challenge stereotypes and show what the world looks like when there's true equity, inclusion, and access to outdoor spaces for everyone which is a cause that near to our hearts at North.

Admired

My beloved, adopted home of 15 years took some ugly hits this year in the public eye. Some were deserved, most not. So I was especially delighted that W+K and Travel Oregon bravely elected to stay the course with new work for their "Only Slightly Exaggerated" campaign. Biases aside, the original film was one of the most perfect articulations of a brand truth I'd ever seen. The follow-up is even better, and even more relevant, an achievement we rarely see in advertising.

Excited For

More doing of the hard work toward inclusion, diversity and equity in our industry.

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Observatory

Linda Knight

Chief Creative Officer

Proud Of

Every project Observatory worked on this year is tied for first, but I really love Chipotle's "A Future Begins." It was more than an ad; it was a stop-motion animated short—the two-minute, 20-second film debuted online and premiered on broadcast TV in its own commercial pod on Thanksgiving Day—a first-of-its-kind. The film brings back the farmer and his ongoing battle against the industrial farming machine, building on the story of "Back to the Start" from a decade ago. I have some dirt in my blood, so this was an incredible project to be a part of and support sustainable family-owned farms.

Admired

Balenciaga worked with The Simpsons to create a 10-minute mini-episode for Paris Fashion Week. What a brand partnership! In the episode, Homer writes to Balenciaga to get the cheapest item for Marge's birthday, but the Balenciaga team misinterprets it and sends him a dress that costs 19,000 euros. This starts a chain of events with creative director Demna Gvasalia bringing the Balenciaga team to "fashion-deprived Springfield" to stage a fashion show with the locals. Thank you for this great piece of content, Balenciaga, or as Homer would say, "Balun, Balloon, Baleen, Balenciaga-ga."

Excited For

There has been a massive shift in mood from this time last year. We're busy. We are working from home, working from the office, sometimes both in one day. So it's still evolving, but we've figured out how to do both really well. I feel the energy and optimism internally and from clients who seem to have a renewed appetite to embrace bold, unexpected ideas. They're all in on new mediums and more content and experiences.

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Ogilvy

Daniel Fisher

Global Executive Creative Director, Unilever Creative Lead

Proud Of

Our "Reverse Selfie" campaign for Dove highlighted the dangers of selfie culture to teenage girls. Left unchecked, social media can be very dangerous, but not enough is being said about it. I think in a few years time we'll look back at the period we are living in now and think, "How on earth did we let that happen?" A bit like how we look back now at how we used to let people smoke on planes. As the father of two young girls myself, it's a topic that's close to my heart and I pray it will help make a difference.

Admired

The Gamestop saga, where a bunch of savvy kids on Reddit got together to derail a hedge fund short campaign that was targeting a dying retailer that just happened to hold a special place in their hearts. You'll never come across it in an award show, but this piece of creative thinking led to the biggest single disruption of the stock market in its entire history, rewrote the rules of economics in a single stroke, and changed the face of digital activism forever. Show me another case study that can claim that.

Excited For

For me, it has to be the prospect of spending more time in real rooms with real people again. I'm blown away by how our industry has adapted over the past 20 months, but if it's taught us one thing, it's that we are a people business. I've missed the special alchemy of a full house creative department like you wouldn't believe.

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Ogilvy D.C.

Kristie Pope

Executive Creative Director

Proud Of

The "Under the Paper Gown" web series, featuring comedian Amber Ruffin, for CDC's "Inside Knowledge: About Gynecologic Cancer" campaign, is a standout. Every year in the U.S., about 89,000 women are diagnosed with gynecologic cancer. The CDC wants women to take an active role in their gynecologic health to reduce the risk for gynecologic cancer. But most of us struggle with the dreaded OBGYN visit. To attract attention to this important public health issue, the team used the power of humor to follow Amber as she discussed things we all think but never say. She gains the knowledge and confidence to encourage other women to speak openly with their OBGYNs and dispel fears.

Admired

The "This Is Indian Country," "Manhattan" and "Democracy, Indian Country" spots. Indigenous culture has been intentionally and methodically erased. The voiceover "America, we are older than your borders. Our roots are the ground you walk on. Our cultures are the foundation you've built on. Our history is American history" is simply the truth. I give props to the team because this is the real work we all need and deserve. And I cannot let there year go by without acknowledging the genius that is "French vanilla, rocky road, chocolate, peanut butter, cookie dough! Scoop! There it is!"

Excited For

I am excited for us to answer the world's calling to evolve by embracing our power. The systems were never intended to serve all the people well. And now is the time to resist all that is traditional and comfortable. In 2022 we will accept the challenge, stop talking and start doing. I am excited do things with great joy, in service to others. 2022 will be full of brave creative, empathetic dialogue, and actualized potential.

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OKRP

Anna Kate Roche

Group Creative Director

Proud Of

I'm really proud of the work OKRP created in conjunction with the local state health department to encourage the citizens of Illinois to mask up and get vaccinated. We talked to many different people from all over the state, and heard many powerful stories, then we sat down with some of those people (in safe shooting environments) to commit the most impactful stories to film. These were then cut into several spots that ran across the state. It was beautiful, meaningful work, and it felt good to be a part of it.

Admired

I really loved the video that Ulta created to launch Muse, their initiative to get more diverse products and companies represented on the shelves of their stores. From the lush, beautiful footage to the powerful, emotional voiceover to the women featured in each scene, it paints a powerful story of a brand making meaningful headway in a world full of brands merely talking about it.

Excited For

I'm looking forward to many things in 2022. From a work perspective, I'm really excited to produce some big brand-building work for one of our newest clients: Nerds. Who doesn't love working on a candy brand? And this one in particular has so much love and an almost cult-like following from their consumers. So we're set up from the start to have a lot of fun in 2022 with these delectable little colorful sugary shapes.

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Omelet

Thas Naseemuddeen

CEO

Proud Of

We were fortunate enough to partner with the lovely folks at YouTube Premium for a bit of fun this year. Bringing viewers more of what they love, in a really simple and media-relevant way, all the while helping them better understand the value of YT Premium. It was a really lovely collaboration with our client partners and we enjoyed piecing together many (MANY) short but sweet narratives. There's one that makes me laugh impulsively every time. Even though I know (very well) what the punchline is...

Admired

I'm going to cheat and say two things. One—our friends at Preacher in Austin had such a wonderful little piece with Vital Farms "Hens Behind the Lens." Maybe it's because I'm partial to egg-based narratives, this just made me smile. And then a very serious but important piece of work from W+K for the American Indian College Fund—David Kennedy's final project. What an incredible legacy he's left for our industry to look up to for generations to come.

Excited For

I'm excited for the community to hopefully (safely) start to reconvene. I believe that creativity is really born of our interactions with each other—not just in the "walls" of an agency (virtual or physical) but across different kinds of agencies and beyond. As creative people, I think coming together is one of the most special and sacred things we have—whether it's a big organized conference or simply meeting up in smaller groups, our community makes us who we are. We've all lived through a surreal two years. We've changed as people, we've become more aware and I think more appreciative of what kind of change we can make together.

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Organic

Betsy Jemas

Executive Creative Director

Proud Of

If you would have told three-years-ago Betsy we would pitch, win and launch a full-360, multi-agency campaign while working remotely, she'd give you a "Sure, Jan" and immediately block you, you psycho. But five TV spots, 20-plus online videos and 100-and-something banners later, that's exactly what the team did with Edward Jones. I am particularly proud of the diversity of casting in this campaign and how we were able to break out of many financial services stereotypes. I'm hoping this is a small contribution to help shift the space permanently.

Admired

It has to be Huge Ma's creation of TurboVax. I mean, how many times a day do we deal with something and think "I could make this better" and move on? Having the ingenuity and intelligence to see a problem and follow through with fixing it for the greater whole is incredibly inspirational to me. In NYC, the city of exclusivity, he made something more accessible and helped so many of us New Yorkers navigate a very overwhelming time.

Excited For

Saying goodbye to performative, flat gestures of diversity and inclusion. I'm hoping to see fewer empty "Happy Black History Month!" posts or rainbow logos *just* for June. I'm looking forward to seeing more companies put their money where their mouths are when it comes to supporting underrepresented groups by making meaningful changes from the inside.

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Palette Group

Nate Nichols

Founder and Creative Director

Proud Of

I'm most proud of work for the Tourism Bureau of Newark, "Welcome to Newark." It was one of the most purist projects we've ever developed and produced. We literally delivered a tourism campaign with Newark purists. We got out of the way and showed off the power of this dynamic community. This is what I want more of in our industry.

Admired

Ani Acopian is one of my favorite creatives; she is constantly pushing her mind and bending the traditional rules. With a creative partner she launched a "PostDates" a platform where you can collect lost items at your ex's place. It was totally for fun, but she had people using the platform and got a ton of earned media. Cherry on top of the cake, Postmates sent her the dopest cease and desist in the history of cease and desists.

Excited For

I'm most excited to see more creatives of color and the systemically oppressed crash the industry's scene. I'm energized by the growing number of boutique shops like Palette Group creating opportunities for the traditionally "othered." I'm equal parts terrified of the metaverse and hyped for creatives to tap in and flex hard.

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Pereira O'Dell

Robert Lambrechts

Chief Creative Officer

Proud Of

It would be truly shameless and tacky to talk about a personal project here, but I'm going to do it anyway. Earlier this year I was fortunate enough to publish a book with my friend and former colleague, Estefanio Holtz. It was a crazy rewarding experience. It also makes a fantastic holiday gift for that special someone whose relationship you roughly value at $15.

Admired

I'm pretty sure I'm supposed to answer something advertising related here but I'm going to say Reservation Dogs on FX. Holy sh*t was that good. Fun. Funny. Dramatic. Emotional. It does all the things in a few 30-minute episodes. As a viewer it was thrilling to be brought into a culture—and a part of the country—that doesn't get much attention. Also shout-out to friend of Pereira O'Dell, Tiffany Anders, who served as the show's music supervisor. If you need help with music, you should call her, she's amazing.

Excited For

Well, the 2022 mid-terms should be fun, right? … ugh … Well, it seems the pandemic will finally be over … dammit … At least we'll all have Dune Part Two next year. Fine. There's nothing to look forward to.

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Periscope

Jason Bottenus

Executive Creative Director

Proud Of

A stand-out project we did this year was for Michelina's, who wanted to raise brand awareness for their frozen meals among Gen Z consumers. We tweaked the lyrics of the classic "Macarena" and partnered with the creator of the viral "Savage" dance to choreograph some moves—all in an effort to do a branded hashtag challenge on TikTok. We shared our song and her dance with other creators on the platform and turned their videos into our in-feed ads. The results were great, and we figured out how to sneak a microwave ding into a song.

Admired

One of the things I really liked this year was the collaboration between Devin Allen and Under Armour. From Devin's incredible photos—of which I'm a longtime fan—to the initiatives and partnerships that became a central part of his capsule collection, UNDR ARMR x DVNLLN, it's an all-around fantastic project. As a fellow Marylander and former Baltimore City resident, I'm just excited to see what he does next.

Excited For

I'm excited about the prospect of less screen time. Visiting family and friends. Seeing my colleagues in three dimensions. Going on in-person production again. Generally, just not sitting in a chair all day.

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PPK

Paul Prato

Executive Creative Director

Proud Of

A special project stands out this year. Clearwater Marine Aquarium was home to Winter the Dolphin, a special resident with a prosthetic tailfin. To capture the experience of visiting the aquarium, we used 360° cameras to create an immersive underwater VR tour of the new dolphin habitat expansion—starring Winter and her friends. We sent VR headsets and certificates redeemable for travel and accommodations to hospitalized children across the country, so those who would most relate to Winter's story could experience this inspiring encounter. It was only when Winter unexpectedly passed that we truly understood the project's long-term importance.

Admired

GUT's "Vanguards of Photography" for Call of Duty Vanguard was a standout this year. To leapfrog the normal "looks realistic" video game claims quicksand by executing it through the eyes of war photographers is not only brilliant, it likely caused the gaming community to pause and see the state of immersion they get to experience in a new way: as a reality so real it can even be artfully documented. I admire it even more because they didn't stop at a video, using the photographs in outdoor executions and elsewhere.

Excited For

I'm especially excited about the year ahead. Our agency has reached a pivotal turning point as we've grown to the 100-employee mark. Our team's passion, inventiveness and hustle day in and day out inspires me, and our growing roster of client brand partners is getting stronger and stronger. We look forward to helping them continue to win the hearts of their consumers and grow even more in 2022. Regarding our industry as a whole, I'm encouraged by the rapid emergence of new and expanding platforms available to us. More than ever for our clients' messages, all the world's a stage.

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Preacher

Rob Baird

Chief Creative Officer

Proud Of

Our work for AHA sparkling water. Taking the simple bold name and graphic can design and letting that become its own tongue-in-cheek brand language, then trusting people would enjoy playing along with, it really paid off. As did trusting some amazing comedic talents like Lauren Lapkis, Colton Dunn and top podcasters who helped us launch the campaign. It's now been extended into every facet of the business, with an exciting new round of creative in the works. The only downside is a few Preacher folks may be perpetually stuck talking in this lahanguage.

Admired

The entire body of work singer Jon Batiste put together in the last year, all while delivering in his nightly role as the bandleader on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. His album We Are just received 11 Grammy nominations across genres. Lucky Austinites got to witness his transcendent performance at Austin City Limits Live taping, which is worth checking out online, as is his really magical "Freedom" music video that's so full of life. He's been a nonstop creative force and ultimate spirit lifter for a time that really needs it, and his work seems like it's serving a higher purpose.

Excited For

More agencies initiating their own "next awesome project" or becoming their own "dream client." After a year of rebuilding and steadying in 2021, I really hope we all start making moves to create our own products, entertainment properties, collaborations and initiatives. For instance, at Preacher we've moved into a new home where we built a full-blown recording studio to continue our work with musical artists in a more meaningful way, are working to extend our publishing and merchandise efforts into legitimate endeavors, and have excitedly relaunched the Preacher Gallery in an amazing new space. It feels like the right time to bet on our people's cultural interests and ambitions, and surprise ourselves with where it may go.

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quench agency

Bill Starkey

Executive Creative Director

Proud Of

I loved our Halloween idea called the Raisin House for SunMaid. It's based on the fact that nothing invokes terror in trick-or-treaters like getting handed a box of raisins. No one likes that, nor the "raisin house" handing them out. So we one-upped the horror by letting people experience an over-the-top, raisin-themed haunted house somewhere in the depths of New Jersey. We could have done a campaign about raisins being a great trick-or-treat snack, but would that have been noticed? Or believable? Instead we embraced the tension of not being popular on Halloween and went for it. And won a little victory for raisins on candy's big night.

Admired

I really dig everything Liquid Death is doing. I have no words to justly describe that work, really. So I'll use technical industry terms: It's just so freakin' rad. They definitely know their audience, are pushing the notion of what a brand means, producing some really sick design, and definitely building something that completely revolves around the culture of their drinker. Plus, they seem to be doing everything at once, with and without Tony Hawk's blood. Bravo.

Excited For

I like the efforts for good—whether it's equality efforts for design practitioners, efforts for better mental health, decolonization of design, transparency, and even the type of clients the industry has championed. It seems shops are listening to the consciousness of their staff and getting involved. Some serious bravery is showing. We seem to have finally gotten that it's more than moving products, it's about using our mystical powers of persuasion for something directly impacting people's lives. Not sure if it's the collective experiences of the last 21 months, but there seems to be a different energy in design. And that's exciting.

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RAPP

Stacey Sanders

Creative Director

Proud Of

Recently, our relationship with Toyota and Lexus expanded to include multiple business units, giving us the opportunity to create an agile, efficient and effective multi-channel framework for their customers. By being responsive to their customers' individual needs, and by operating with a unified vision, we're working toward helping them strengthen their consumer relationships at every turn. Under this new expanded partnership, our team has crafted an expansive library of innovative deliverables with heart and I am truly in awe of what we have accomplished in just 12 months.

Admired

There has been a great deal of work shining a light on domestic abuse in the last year and a half, and I applaud it all. However, the Canadian Women's Foundation's #SignalForHelp campaign is truly inspiring. By creating this hand signal that leaves no digital trail, they have provided a tool to allow people in danger to ask for help discreetly. While it is available to share across multiple social media platforms, the TikTok community's instructional and example videos provided a new level of awareness.

Excited For

Intelligent creative with an emphasis on the user experience will continue to be imperative to helping brands build actionable relationships with consumers. Inclusive and sustainable formats like short-form video and audio, along with data, will enhance personalized journeys. These tools along with the expansion of hybrid interactions will provide more accessible ways to meaningfully connect.

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Republica Havas

Luis Casamayor

Co-Founder, President and Chief Creative Officer

Proud Of

Our film for Google.org brought to light their $2 million grant to the Hispanic Federation to strengthen digital-skills programs serving Latinos. We featured a young Mexican woman named Clariza, a student of The Knowledge House, who through the grant was able to learn the skills needed to become a developer, and land a job that tripled her income. We are constantly impressed by the positive impact our client Google.org has in the Latino community, and we're proud to help them share uplifting stories like Clariza's, with the goal of inspiring others.

Admired

The Dr. Rick campaign for Progressive Insurance from our partner agency Arnold Worldwide has been a favorite of ours since its inception. The relatability and ingenious wit crosses demographics and generations. Honestly, I'm pretty sure we all know someone who could benefit from a session with Dr. Rick. It's also great to see a campaign reach this level of success in the very crowded space of insurance. Bravo to everyone who helped bring the idea to life.

Excited For

In 2022, we're going to see A.I. and AR used in new ways to bring meaningful content to life. It'll be exciting to see how our industry explores different avenues to connect with people using these technologies—to help brands better tell their stories and become more relevant to their fans. That's a challenge I look forward to. I'm also excited to work with new clients in 2022, and we have a bunch of new work launching in the early part of the year. And our work with Havas Health & You has been deepening, as well as the rest of the Havas network.

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Rethink

Loretta Lau

Creative Director

Proud Of

I'm very proud of the work the team did for UP Express, Toronto's airport rail link. When things started to open back up and people were planning their first trips, the team wanted to make sure travelers weren't just thinking about flights and destinations, they were thinking about how to get to the airport. They were able to highlight how UP Express really does take all that uncertainty out of the equation while making the spot entertaining to watch and memorable. Travel should be fun, and it's important that the work promoting it doesn't take itself too seriously, either.

Admired

Ryan Reynolds continues to churn out work that's well-timed, cheeky and irreverent. His combination of imagination and efficiency is enviable. Sure, it helps that he has a Rolodex of Hollywood contacts, but his constant reminder to us to have more fun with ads is something I'm in total agreement with.

Excited For

The way we have been working for the past two years has proven that people can be productive and efficient working from the comfort of their own homes while still producing stellar work. This method of working and collaborating is the way forward. It's opened new doors and created opportunities for cross-pollination, which is exciting.

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R/GA Portland

Kim Laama

Executive Creative Director

Proud Of

This year our team launched the global platform Hyperice.com, creating a new canvas for Hyperice's new brand and commerce home for its most innovative products to date. This project was possible only through strong collaboration with Hyperice and its world-class creative partners, Stockholm Design Lab and Adopt. We are most proud that the team leveled up our Accessibility craft skills, delivering a WCAG AA compliant site experience. As a result of Hyperice's commitment to accessibility—mobility, recovery and wellness is in reach for all Hyperice customers.

Admired

The New York Times continues to inspire and prove it is mastering the modern omnichannel experience, delivering content as a personalized service. The publication experiments with new formats, channels, interactions, and its commitment to human-centered design is evident in how we can all watch, read or listen in our own way. Better yet, it generously gives us an inside look at the creative process via NYT Open. The Times is truly creating an addictive platform for everyday information and entertainment.

Excited For

The simple joy of more human interaction with friends, family and colleagues. I'm optimistic we'll all have more spaces and places to reconnect safely and on our own terms. I'm excited to see how we'll use environments and destinations in new ways for community, creativity and innovation. The Nike LeBron Innovation Center that opened this year is an iconic North Star. Nike's newest home for invention, connection, collaboration and co-creation with athletes is sure to inspire the world.

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The Richards Group

Julia Melle

Creative Group Head

Proud Of

I was really proud of the work we did this year for Dave's Killer Bread. It's always an amazing opportunity when the product you need to promote is filled with goodness and integrity. We created the "Bread Amplified" campaign that takes the distinguishing, iconic symbol of Dave on the packaging and amplifies it. Who better to rock the lead role than the guitar-wielding frontman Dave himself? Then we launched the work in TV, digital and OOH. We're currently working to amplify the campaign into other touch points over the next few years.

Admired

I'm proud of the way our industry continued to dig deep this year amid pandemic production challenges. I admire BBH's recent work for Google. Black-Owned Friday was a genius way to turn a day of shopping into a day to support Black-owned businesses. Anheuser-Busch's "Let's Grab a Beer" celebrated an undeniable, beautiful truth and reminded everyone of the power their favorite beer wields in bringing people together. I was also a big fan of Leo Burnett's provocative work for Change the Ref. And always a fan of the hilarious and painfully relatable "Becoming Your Parents" work for Progressive.

Excited For

I'm always excited about new technologies and the opportunity they present to tell stories in different ways. I also believe we will continue to evaluate a brand's values as much as their product or service, which presents an exciting opportunity for agencies to create meaningful work that not only makes a difference in the world but endears more people to the brands they love. As more consumers trust content from average people, I also think influencer marketing will continue to explode, causing brands to consider how they can create interesting ways to humanize their product or service.

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Saatchi & Saatchi NY

Daniel Lobatón

Chief Creative Officer and Co-President

Proud Of

"Go for the Handful" for Goldfish. It was our first at-bat with this new client. We worked "family table" style with our great clients at Campbell's, and in a month we had a new platform for this iconic brand, a TikTok challenge that broke all records, became part of TikTok's culture drivers of 2021 and won a bunch of industry awards, and a broadcast campaign that reunited NBA's Bobi and Tobi and got traction in a big cultural moment. All of this while solving a business problem of household penetration for the brand.

Admired

David Madrid is killing it. Between the gaming integrations of "Stevenage Challenge" and the "Menu Court," they've found a way to keep the Burger King activations fresh. Then they flipped it completely and made a great radio campaign "Confusing Times," super insightful about the times we're living in. I am fully aware I said "fresh" and "flipped" while describing burger work. Sorry not sorry.

Excited For

Raig Adolfo just joined Saatchi NY as co-president and CSO. He's extremely creative and I look forward to Raig helping us push our work even further and keep finding new solutions for our clients. And we may have one or two things in the works that I am very excited about!

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Special U.S.

Alyssa Cavanaugh

Associate Creative Director

Proud Of

I'm most proud of the work we created for Uber Eats featuring Elton John and Lil Nas X. This installment of the "Tonight, I'll be eating" campaign was a celebration of two of music's biggest icons, bridging genres and generations in a series of visually stunning and witty ads. I think we could all use a laugh, and hopefully this work brought some laughs and joy into people's lives.

Admired

I love so much of the work that's coming out of the MSCHF art collective, especially the "Satan Shoes" they created for Lil Nas X (am I legally allowed to talk about those?). I've always loved smart, inventive and culturally relevant novelty-product ideas. They have me constantly saying, "I wish I'd thought of that."

Excited For

I'm most excited to see how creativity will continue to evolve on TikTok. It's been entertaining having a front-row seat to watch this platform take off, and I feel like we're only just beginning to scratch the surface of it.

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T3, A Material Company

Jay Suhr

Chief Creative Officer

Proud Of

In 2021, we helped ABM, one of the largest providers of facility management solutions, become essential during the pandemic. Our work introduced ABM's innovative services for surface cleaning, disinfection and indoor air quality to help protect the health and safety of school children, office workers, airport passengers, hospital patients and staff, and the millions of people who continued to go to work during the pandemic. The role of ABM and its frontline team members moved to the foreground with a purpose to protect the spaces all around us.

Admired

"Signal for Help" is a simple one-handed sign someone can use on a video call to help a person silently show they need help and want someone to check in with them in a safe way. Created for the Canadian Women's Foundation by Juniper Park\TBWA, "Signal for Help" gained momentum in 2021 as it spread on TikTok and recently helped rescue a missing teen when she gave the hand signal to passing cars while being abducted. The program is now being expanded so more people recognize and know how to respond to the signal. This is creative power at its world-changing best.

Excited For

What excites me most is working with more and more talent across the Material organization to proactively help companies build more relevant, valued brands and brand experiences. The work we have done over the past two years has been remarkable, but under disorienting global circumstances—often in triage mode. But during that time we discovered a deeper sense of each other as people along with an energy and improvisational agility that I can't wait to apply to new possibilities—just not on a video call.

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TBWA\Chiat\Day LA

Jason Karley

Group Creative Director

Proud Of

I'm going to cheat and give you two because the first one wasn't advertising but getting the opportunity to write the Recording Academy president's intro video and speech that aired during the Grammys. The second was a big ambitious idea for Behr Paint called "Music in Color." We worked with Katy Perry to create a color palette (based on synestia—seeing colors when you hear music) and linked to each of the 24 musical keys. Then created an interactive visualizer and Spotify experience where you could find the color of your favorite songs.

Admired

Starburst's Berries and Cream Lad. So simple. So memorable and funny … Was that not 2021? Maybe I'm just watching too much TikTok. I also really liked Burberry "Open Spaces" because those crawling, running leaps are exactly how I fly in my dreams.

Excited For

I'm excited to get back into the office and collaborate and tell teams their work stinks in person. I'm excited to see the Super Bowl and if two brands use the same stock footage again this year. To breathe sweet, recycled office air. To see what kind of pants everyone will be wearing. To get more briefs about Gen Z valuing experiences over things. For the first brand to make an NFT IRL. But I'm most excited for my Muse follow-up piece apologizing for joking I'd ever tell teams their work stinks.

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TBWA\Chiat\Day NY

Amy Ferguson

Chief Creative Officer

Proud Of

Our "Major Millions" Super Bowl campaign for MTN DEW this year was a herculean effort by all who were involved. Our task was to launch a new Major Melon flavor during the Super Bowl in a huge way. Our idea was to use to the biggest advertising stage there is to do something no one had ever done before: gamify our Super Bowl commercial. We invited the entire 90 million+ audience to count and use Twitter to correctly guess the number of the Major Melon bottles in our commercial for a chance to win a million dollars. Given the investment, our clients bravely took a huge risk. But it paid off on game day when we became the No. 1 brand in mentions on Twitter, hitting 31,000 mentions per minute. And the brand hit its yearly sales goal in the first 12 weeks of launching.

Admired

I found the #BetterWithPepsi print campaign very jealousy inducing. We don't see too much iconic print anymore, but this was deceptively simple, super smart and incredibly brave. A good reminder that good old-fashioned print can still feel exciting and fresh.

Excited For

As I step into the chief creative officer role at Chiat New York, I feel excited and energized. The last two years have been so hard, but the chaos and the hardships present an opportunity to evolve how we work. We have shown we can adapt to new ways of working and still deliver amazing work and results for our clients. I like the idea of using this moment to continue to adapt and try new things. How can we be faster, smarter, more adaptable and more collaborative while also maintaining the creative standard?

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Team One

Amanda Abrams

Group Creative Director

Proud Of

I'm proud of the work we've done over the past year that really taps into and understands who we are as people and where we are right now in this crazy time in our lives. This year, for Lexus, we explored what it means to lead with empathy, engaging two prominent figures—Emmanuel Acho and Tiffany Pham—who live and breathe this ideal. We also created a program to offer self-guided itineraries between Lexus hotel partners, complete with calming in-car audio experiences, like sound baths and meditations, that allowed people to ease back into the world, comfortably within Lexus vehicles. This holiday season, we used the iconic Lexus "December to Remember" campaign (you know, the one with the big red bows) to again see the magic of the world, by looking at it through the eyes of kids. And then we took that idea from TV into the real world, creating surprise moments of joy for kids at local Boys & Girls Clubs.

Admired

Lego Braille Bricks are one of my favorite projects of recent years. Started in 2020 and rolled out into 2021, the bricks show it's not just incumbent on advertising to be more reflective and inclusive of all people, but for that inclusivity and understanding to start and continue to evolve within products themselves. That's where real progress and change will happen.

Excited For

To use an overused phrase of 2020-21, "now more than ever," people don't want brands to sell to them. They want brands to live and breathe and act on things we, as humans, believe in. That's how we truly connect on a human level. With our clients at Team One, we are most often speaking to an affluent audience. That audience increasingly expects brands to stand for something too, to take action about something both the brand and customers are passionate about. That's an amazing challenge. I look forward to seeing more and more of that in the year (and years) to come.

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Terri & Sandy

Sandy Greenberg

Co-Founder and CEO

Proud Of

It's not every day that a female-founded agency has the opportunity to create a campaign to combat ... uh ... um ... sweaty balls. "Euphemisms," for Gold Bond, was written over a week-long text chat between the creatives. Must have been one entertaining thread: "Slick stones … moist marbles ... Niagara balls ... extra sauce on the meatballs ... man-meat, feeling the heat." I'm proud that our team achieved this level of production craft on a shoe-string budget during Covid. I must say, it was like pushing a boulder (or two) up a mountain.

Admired

It's all coming back to me now—the surge of emotions I felt when I first experienced the Extra Gum commercial celebrating the end of the pandemic and the return to ecstatic, skin-on-skin, screw-social-distancing life. I laughed. I sobbed. And then I started whirling and twirling, tempted to kick down my front door and run through the streets of NYC, kissing the nearest stranger. Congrats to the Energy BBDO team who conceived this spot and produced it impeccably. I wish I could listen to WGUM right now.

Excited For

While I can appreciate the joy of working from anywhere, I'm looking forward to coming back together in 2022. The best part of advertising is the people—hilarious, eccentric, big-hearted, brilliant, original. Zoom people aren't quite the same.

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Third Street

David T. Jones

Chief Creative Officer

Proud Of

Over 2021 my shop completely overhauled a small California grass-fed beef brand and helped turn them into a national player. For SunFed Ranch, we redesigned their logo, 38 SKUs of packaging, handled in-store, social, influencer, website and launched the "All Beef No Bull" campaign across all digital media. Sales have tripled and they've gotten coast-to-coast distribution in stores like Costco and Kroger. Their CFO even said to us: "The same retailers that were saying no are now saying yes. The only difference is the work that Third Street has done." I think I'll celebrate with a steak.

Admired

My friend David Littlejohn is consistently doing smart, surprising and stellar work at Humanaut. Their "Most Skippable Ad" series for Organic Voices hit a high note for me with their Most Skippable Recipe video. Having produced a few dozen recipe videos this year ourselves, theirs hit me right where I live—and made a brilliant point. And it was done in-house.

Excited For

This is going to sound so cheesy but never before has our shop been looking at the year ahead with a better team in place and with better clients ready to go. I'm wildly excited to see what we're going to do together. Let's as a people all get vaccinated and keep the ever morphing Covid variants at bay so we can get together a bit more often.

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Tombras

Jeff Benjamin

Chief Creative Officer

Proud Of

We just wrapped a month-long integrated campaign for Orangetheory Fitness where we turned November into NEWvember. Inviting all the newbies out there to embrace being new. Embrace being a beginner at something. OTF blew past their goals for the year in the first week of the campaign.

Admired

I love all the work Liquid Death did this year. From Tony Hawk donating his blood to paint skateboard decks … headgear to save you from zombies … continuing to write song lyrics from Twitter trolls … plush animals gruesomely maimed by plastic garbage … and more. The brand reminded us that to break through culture, you have to be part of culture. And to build a modern brand in 2021, you can't rely on one campaign or one platform—you have to create momentum.

Excited For

We're just starting to wrap our heads around this metaverse thing, and I'm really looking forward to Imaginary Jeff.

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TracyLocke Brazil

Daniel Ottoni

Chief Creative Officer

Proud Of

"The Uniform That Never Existed." A project we created for Centauro, an important sports retail store in Latin America. In 1964, Aída dos Santos, a low-income Black woman, was the first Brazilian athlete to participate in the Tokyo Games, in the midst of an all-male delegation. Aída went alone without money or a coach or even a uniform to compete. However, she made history and came back in fourth place in the high jump, the best individual result for a Brazilian athlete for over 30 years. Shedding light in this journey, Centauro honors Aida with "The Uniform That Never Existed."

Admired

"Salla 2032" from Africa DDB for House of Lapland is another project that has sports as a background for a bigger message. The climate crisis must be the main concern for our generation. A small and cold town proclaiming its bid to host 2032 Summer Games was a true calling to the entire world to help this crisis.

Excited For

The pandemic is not over, and it will not end anytime soon, but we will be more adapted to it. I think we will open space to live new ways of relating to each other. Migration must be reinvented and, as a consequence, the UX of transport. Everything the metaverse promises will be backlashed and more people will abandon or limit the use of smartphones and screens to prioritize their mental health. We may be closer to the belle époque than we think.

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Translation

Castro Desroches

Group Creative Director

Proud Of

Something I'm extremely proud of is our campaign for Beats, "It's The Music," for their new product Beats Studio Buds. It was built on the thought that all the features that most brands tout when it comes to earbuds were … essentially the same. And when it comes down to it, It's the music and sound quality that really make all the difference. But if we really wanted to prove that we were all about the tunes, one anthemic film with one music track wasn't going to do it. So we made 15! All referencing different tracks for wildly different people.

Admired

A project that I admired this year was the Pyer Moss show "WAT U IZ" that streamed this past summer—the entire production, from song selection, to the intention behind the location, to making sure the styling was purposeful in highlighting Black inventors and innovators. It was truly a refreshing moment that was both playful and celebratory, but I loved that it provided a level of education for everyone to be aware of the contributions Black hands have had in their everyday lives.

Excited For

Are we post-pandemic yet? Is it even worth wishing for that? It seems like there's already a ton to explore and figure out in just being home now than ever before with all the NFT and metaverse talk. I'm excited to see what outcomes this new world of digital currency, possessions and personas mean for creatives, and especially Black creatives who are continuing to realize their power.

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Union

Austin Scott

Executive Creative Director

Proud Of

In 2021 we saw a resurgence of creativity as our clients navigated the new normal. While optimistic, many brands still needed to play things safe after a challenging fiscal year. For our NRG Energy client, we were able to blend those two worlds. Leveraging data and creativity to create a campaign strategically focused on driving the bottom line, but far from bland. Reimagining their bold beautiful color palette into bursts of energy shapes. Visualizing power, an often invisible product, to grab viewers attention while communicating the simplicity of switching your energy provider.

Admired

The Call of Duty: Vanguard campaign featuring real-life war photographers blew me away this year. Video games continue to strive for a level of realism that makes us question reality. Seeing the game through the perspective of photographers who've actually experienced the moments portrayed in the game was incredibly powerful.

Excited For

In 2022 I'm excited to see brands relax a bit more and bring comedy back to advertising. The world has been a tense place to live for nearly two years now. The ability to not just make us smile but genuinely laugh, to not take ourselves so seriously, will be a major opportunity to cement yourself in people's memory.

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United Collective

John Gallegos

Founder and CEO

Proud Of

The work we did for the California Department of Public Health around Covid awareness and vaccinations was some of the most rewarding and important we've done. We broke from the conventional government PSA-like work and developed a more arresting approach. The creative spoke from within the community and it was provocative. I'm especially proud that we went from pitch to being in market in 39 days. The level of commitment and creativity the team demonstrated was inspiring. Everyone involved worked around the clock to ensure work was in market as soon as possible.

Admired

Two ideas stand out for me. The first, Heineken "Shutter Ads." It's brilliant on so many levels. Simple, smart and flawlessly executed. A great example of using "traditional media" in an innovative way. As a business owner, I related to the bar owners affected by the closures. This is a great example of using our craft in service to others. The second is Wrigley's Extra Gum "For When it's Time." It's epic, fun, funny and timely (well sort of—it turned out not to be the end of the pandemic). And the message/story taps into how we were all feeling.

Excited For

I'm excited to see humor and fun return to our industry. These have been trying times and it's important we not lose sight of the many things society is still grappling with. However, I also believe laughing is therapeutic and that we need to find ways to get humor and fun back into our work. Humor in today's environment/culture can be a slippery slope, but we can't be afraid to make people laugh. People like to laugh. They like to have fun. We need to embrace this—in our work and in our work environment.

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VaynerMedia

Rob Lenois

Chief Creative Officer

Proud Of

This year, there is so much of VaynerMedia's work that I am proud of. However, there's one project that truly stood out for me. It looked nothing like a commercial. It is, in fact, a movie—an eight-minute movie we created for the new Florida-based insurance brand Kin Insurance. We told the story behind the headlines of the infamous Florida Man, showing it wasn't his poor life decisions that were wreaking havoc. The film was funny, culturally relevant and impactful, and really landed with audiences, helping launch Kin to the Florida market.

Admired

It's not one project, it's thousands. The rise of creators across social and the increasing presence of brands on TikTok are the big winners for me. Some are getting it right more than others, but these are the brands that are getting credit for trying, learning and really mastering platforms. These are the brands that are being built on social, and because of this, are the ones who are going to win, in my opinion.

Excited For

Something I am looking forward to in 2022 is for us, as an industry, to stop blaming clients for the bad work that is out there. It's on us to show them why our ideas are right, how they lean into and leverage cultural attention, and how they can solve their business needs with creativity that makes people stop, engage and meet them where they are.

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Vice Media Group/Virtue

Chris Garbutt

Chief Creative Officer/Co-President

Proud Of

What a year! We helped Coke create its first ever NFT platform, the Coca-Cola Friendship Box. It was exciting to help such an iconic brand push into a new digital space, and find new ways to bring the brand's experience of Real Magic to life. The project was a big success. The Lootbox sold on Open Sea for $575,883 and the proceeds of the sale were donated to the Special Olympics. I'm proud that Virtue realized such a great idea, and be one of the first creative agencies to dive into the exciting world of the metaverse.

Admired

I absolutely love Facebook's "Skate Nation Ghana" film done by our friends at Droga5. I remember seeing it for the first time and feeling so happy that someone in this industry was retaining the "artful" side of our business. I think the biggest risk to our industry is we try to make everything too scientific and formulaic, and we forget that brilliant work is found at the perfect intersection between commerce and art. I thought the "Skate Nation" film was beautifully done, crafted perfectly. It felt free, full of life, experimental and original.

Excited For

We've got some big things coming up inside the metaverse that will be totally new for the industry. What's exciting to me about it is the web has woken up again creatively. There is so much opportunity to innovate as a brand and drive commerce in new ways on new platforms. This is a playground for us all, and I look forward to bombing down this big new slide.

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VMLY&R

Noel Cottrell

Chief Creative Officer

Proud Of

Sorry to cheat but I chose two quick ones: Wendy's "Into The Meataverse." When Facebook changed their name to Meta, minutes later Wendy's tweeted "Changing name to 'Meat' " The tweet was retweeted by (former) Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, and Zuckerberg quoted that out of all the roastings they took for the rebrand, "Wendy's was the best by far, Wendy's won." The new face of Smartwater is who?!? This summer, Smartwater partnered with Pete Davidson, the King of Questionable Choices, who has been trying to make smarter choices. Pete was a 180-degree pivot from previous category spokespeople and was incredibly successful for this brave brand.

Admired

Burberry "Open Spaces." I'll be surprised if nobody else chooses it, it was so brilliantly executed. It was the perfect follow-up to last year's "Singing in the Rain" execution. Hats off to this very talented team. It's not often I'll go searching for the behind-the-scenes of an ad.

Excited For

As this year has gone on, we have started to get on set and into edit suites and sound studios a bit more. We also had the odd off-site team meeting and some in-person client meetings—and I think you'll see the work in Q1 of 2022 be much better because of it. As creatives, we need to be close to the work. I'm super excited to get even closer in 2022.

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VS/Brooks

Rob Canales

Chief Creative Officer

Proud Of

As a health and wellness-focused agency, we covered a lot of territory for our clients this year. Most notable were our efforts to increase vaccination rates among the senior population. Our "Your Best Shot at Staying Well Starts With You" campaign focused on getting seniors back to the moments that inspired their souls and made them feel whole again. It led to an increase in vaccination rates of our patient populations (efforts are still in place today) and provided us an opportunity to do work with more purpose.

Admired

The Garden of Life "Poop" spot was brilliant. The fact that it wasn't allowed to be aired in its purest form on TV added to the legacy of the ad. The censored version made it even funnier. All of it was a prime example of leaning into the human side of things. We fall victim as advertisers to strategies, insights, data—all of which are important. But sometimes people want to laugh along the way. Especially when you're trying to make a point that women do in fact poop.

Excited For

I'm looking forward to a year where we take what we learned in 2020 and 2021 to deepen our connection to the human experience in a digital space. I saw the volume of work in the pandemic crush people's creativity at times, and this year was a good palate cleanser. My hope is that we are back to a point where we can prioritize good work alongside the wellbeing of the people who bring it to life on the regular.

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Wieden+Kennedy New York

Blair Warren

Creative Directors

Proud Of

The project I was most proud of in 2021 still resides in Google Slides. While the world won't ever get to see it, it made me unbelievably proud. We're almost two years into a global pandemic, where we have to concept in a way that feels like we're living in a real-life episode of Hollywood Squares. But on that project, I was so impressed by the work ethic, the energy and the presentation of our team. I'd like to think that work would've not only challenged the norms of a category, but the norms of our industry. I really hope you'll take my word for it!

Admired

I loved Chiat New York's Family Equality spot that came out this summer. It was essentially a playful bedtime story about all of the hoops that want-to-be LGBTQ+ parents face on their journey to adopt. It was a simple, joyful premise for a very complicated and maddening aspect of life. I thought it was brilliant.

Excited For

There's a resilience I witnessed in 2021 that I hope we carry with us into 2022. In 2022, I'm excited about investing deeper in my relationships again. Whether it be connecting with people on my team, people within the office (especially those I don't happen to Zoom with on a daily basis), and even client relationships … I'm looking forward to it. While there's so many great parts of this hybrid work world we're in now, I've learned in 2021 that I thrive when I feel most connected.

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Wieden+Kennedy Portland

Robin Maxkii and Samantha Perry

Copywriter and Art Director

Proud Of

The Native American visibility campaign "This Is Indian Country" made me proud. As an Indigenous woman, I sometimes feel constrained speaking my truth because it undermines American history and cracks at common lores taught about this country. So to be able to make a simple statement boldly (thanks heavily to David Kennedy's unwavering support and encouragement) with no ambiguity was incredible. Witnessing not just the team and W+K uphold this sentiment, but also seeing outside organizations, individuals, and more importantly, other Natives support this campaign has been empowering. It makes me hopeful and excited about what comes next. —Robin Maxkii

I thought I was picking up a small brief on the side and it ended up to be this incredible opportunity to bring awareness to Indigenous people in America. We didn't want to mince words on this one, we wanted to keep our message clear. My partner Robin came up with this incredible line and manifesto that we wanted to placard across America, and even with a tiny budget we did just that. Our team, the College Fund, and our creative directors Patty Orlando and the late and wonderful David Kennedy pooled together all the resources they could to make it happen. —Samantha Perry

Admired

Ekene Ijeoma's "A Counting," which focuses on humanity in data points in such a beautiful way. His work spotlights things often hidden, or in the case of Indigenous people, often purposefully erased, from data collection. It's powerful. It's revolutionary. —Robin Maxkii

I look to fashion campaigns for inspiration. I love the worlds that each new launch creates. I liked all the wild and seemingly ridiculous collaborations that happened this year, like Balenciaga and Fortnite. MSCHF is so good at poking at things in culture and making headlines. I loved their "In the Year 2024" that bought up possible presidential campaign URLs and allowed you to bet on them. —Samantha Perry

Excited For

I'm excited to see people further deconstruct concepts and ideas around what diversity means. Because there is no truth to diversity in America without the inclusion of Native Americans. It isn't oversight; it's erasure. In 2021, I think we started witnessing large-scale results of people's concerted efforts to be more inclusive of Indigenous peoples, so I can not wait to see what 2022 holds! —Robin Maxkii

More representation in storytelling. I love seeing simple stories from points of view we sadly haven't seen much of yet, like Minari or Waves. —Samantha Perry

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Wunderman Thompson UK

San Sharma

Editorial and Content Creative Director

Proud Of

It's a privilege to work in the creative industries. And part of being an ally is about using your privilege to shine a light on issues that affect people and bring about positive change. So, I'm really proud to have worked on the launch of BRiM, an industry-backed initiative to increase Black representation in marketing. Our idea was to channel the frustration of Black marketers and consumers into an expression that dramatizes how something's not working—buffering videos, glitching imagery, 404 error messages. While the creative loads, the message is clear, "Don't wait for change." BRiM empowers marketers to act now.

Admired

I was in awe of the work our global Unilever team did on Degree Inclusive. It's such a great example of inclusive design. It's the world's first adaptive deodorant built for people with visual impairment and upper limb motor disabilities. And the story of how it came to be is as inclusive as the product itself: designers, occupational therapists, engineers, consultants and people living with disabilities across the globe, working together to do something that's never been done before. Again, it shines a light on an issue, and brings about positive change. What an inspiration.

Excited For

There's no doubt it's been a tough couple of years, and it's probably—I hate to say it—not over yet. But I think we're going to see a bit of a new cycle in our creativity. Not one that highlights the problem ("Now, more than ever") or necessarily seeks to empathize with the circumstance ("Here at X, we understand … "). But rather creativity that turns good intentions into meaningful actions. I'm excited to see how brands create solutions, commit to real change, and leave lasting legacies—not just a memory or a moment in time.

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YARD NYC

Stephen Niedzwiecki

Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer

Proud Of

I am incredibly proud of our campaign "Let's Tennis" for the United States Tennis Association (USTA) this year. Entering a new category for the agency, we made the game relevant and exciting for younger and more diverse audiences through a shift in design and tone. This is a bright, fun game, and we mirrored that in our work. I was also so inspired by how we extended this campaign all the way from fashion collaborations (with Paterson) to coaching recruitment at the U.S. Open. It was one of the broadest remits we've had, and the creative delivered.

Admired

I am a huge fan of the the Guinness "Welcome Back" campaign for its simplicity and emotional connection. They successfully shifted the view and lens on the everyday to see the good in what lies ahead. l also love brands that are in possession of iconography so distinctive that people can see it in other things in their lives. It's a sign of investing in great brand building.

Excited For

If 2021 was about a collective sense of fear and uncertainty, 2022 is an opportunity to harness that fear and embrace it as a chance for change, in both our work and the way we work. It's time to raise the demand for creativity, and liberate ourselves to create our best work. For us at YARD NYC, this new year feels like a blank sheet of paper. Opportunity and inspiration is all around us. The change that we've all been feeling will manifest itself as we bring brands to this new reality.

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Young & Laramore

Carolyn Hadlock

Principal and Executive Creative Director

Proud Of

The Beautiful Thinkers Project launched midyear as a rebrand of a thought leadership project that started when I became ECD of Y&L nine years ago. This year it evolved into a multimedia platform anchored by a podcast featuring interviews with the minds behind big brands like Oreo, Patagonia and Dove, smaller brands like East Fork Pottery, and artists like Katherine Gray (Netflix's Blown Away). The agency team's imagination and hustle brought this curated collection of conversations with CEOs, founders and creators from all over the world to life in the most thought-provoking and —of course— beautiful way.

Admired

"Virgil Was Here." Virgil Abloh was/is one of the most influential artists in fashion and the creative industry altogether. He was curious, fearless, prolific. He refused to be pigeonholed into an industry or genre. Losing him will be a lowlight of 2021. But seeing his latest fashion show just days after his death was a highlight. What could've been a marketing misstep in poor taste turned out to be an exuberant expression of his life's work. With "Virgil Was Here," Louis Vuitton demonstrated how deeply they understood his ethos. An authentic, heartfelt homage with the perfect presence of the brand.

Excited For

Shifting from "back to normal" to "what's next?" There are two kinds of people (and brands) in the world: those that look back, and those that look forward. The forward-looking group is energized by the disruption of our industry. What got us here is tragic and still very serious, but humanity is emerging like never before, and marketing is anyone's game. I'm looking forward to brave and bold brands changing the way we think and move in the world. The blurring of lines between social justice, policy and commerce is invigorating, and I hope we never go "back to normal."

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