85 Creative Campaigns That Caught Our Eye in the Second Half of 2022
Creative inspiration for the modern marketer from the past six months
Each Friday, Agency SOS puts out a short email newsletter with three things that caught our eye that week — campaigns, PR stunts, art installations, branded entertainment, and other inspiring bits.
Lots of marketers get so mired in the day-to-day on their own brands, they often miss interesting ideas that are happening in other industries. We highlight three each week and, hopefully, inspire people as they think about the next creative activation for their brand.
If you don’t already subscribe…well, you really should. (Listen to these people.)
Here are the 85 ideas (in chronological order) that caught our attention since June…
01. Murph for Nerf
When a 53-year-old, well-known brand rolls out their first mascot, it’s a bit of a risk. But we really like what Nerf (with help from The Martin Agency) unveiled this summer. The toy brand birthed Murph, an anthropomorphic character made entirely out of Nerf darts. (We’d be surprised if this fave from a few years ago wasn’t in the mood video used to sell the idea.)
Read about the new mascot. Here’s some behind-the-scenes detail. Apparently, the Internet approves. (Or do they?)
NOTE: Some weeks after we originally featured Murph in the newlsetter, Adweek did a deep dive on their origin story.
02. Two cheesy
OK, this is actually two different cheese-related marketing nuggets — one “innovation” and one “the customer is always right.” First, Velveeta just dropped a new…wait for it…cheese-scented nail-polish. (🤮 but in a mad-genius generate-PR-headlines sort of way.) Second, Kraft decided to rebrand its flagship product by the name we actually all call it: “Mac & Cheese” instead of “Macaroni & Cheese.”
Read about the Velveeta nails. See the social push. Read about the new mac branding.
03. Cannes, Cannes, Cannes
Earlier this year, Cannes Lions, the ad industry’s biggest award show, was back IRL after a pandemic hiatus. I had strong feelings about it. BUT Cannes IS an opportunity to see some great advertising work and a few of the winners were new to us and worth a peep. Here are some of our favorite case studies about some really great campaigns:
Draw Ketchup | Skittles Apology | Foamy Haircut | Speaking in Color | Song for Every CMO
04. The Pringles Spider
The chip-sters at Pringles dropped two wildly different promotions this summer. The first involves hiring a fan to be a character in a video game. (You can read about it here.) The second has a little more mass appeal…but may be even weirder. They found a real spider species with back markings that look like their Pringles mascot, so they started a petition to name the spider after the tubular crisp. If you had “branded spider” on your marketing bingo card, go ahead and cover that one up!
See the full site. Watch the video. Read more about the promotion.
05. Oddballs, unite!
Reddit (with help from R/GA) launched a new campaign, which includes its first national TV spot. (No, that Super Bowl thing from two years ago doesn’t count.) The “Find Your People” campaign celebrates niche passions and the fact that Reddit is THE place to meet weirdos just like you.
See the spot and out-of-home and read about the campaign.
06. Meaty mash-up
This may be an ad that only ad lovers love, but it’s a mash-up of two popular campaigns — Arby’s “We Have The Meats” and Old Spice’s Isaiah Mustafa (the guy on the horse.) It’s an absurdist fever dream promoting…a limited edition meat sweat deodorant? Or…something? Oh, and there’s merch, too: meat-themed sweat suits. (Get it?) It’s bonkers but advertising could use a bit more bonkers.
Watch the spot. Read about the campaign and see the merch.
07. Creativity study
Not an ad, but worth a shout out…this new study from creative consultancy Aufi is as beautiful as it is informative.
Read about the report. See it for yourself. (The UI is pretty great.)
08. Home insurance ha-has
Comedy dialogue spots FTW! Hippo Insurance put out a big budget spot (from Preacher) to launch their new brand campaign, but we like these simpler, funny ads (from Partners in Crime) that dropped a few days later. The dialogue and edit on the porta-potty one is particularly nice.
Watch the porta-potty spot. Watch the spot with the kid. Read about the campaign.
09. Fast and funny
We’re fans of this “Faster Than You Think” campaign from Take 5 (and Erich & Kallman.) Good insight with a great, repeatable 15-second formula that gives you branding AND funny. Advertising can be effective and fun when the creators keep it simple.
Watch the Knitting spot. Watch the Car Wash spot. Read about the campaign.
10. Heart on your sleeve, er, front
Karen X Cheng is one of the most creative people making brand stuff today. She’s a prolific director, filmmaker, creative director, content creator (fill in your own label here) who puts out some of the most engaging social videos. If you’re new to her, her site is worth clicking around, but we dig her newest project: an augmented reality dress with a peek-a-boo heart. The tech is cool and we love that it was originally a client project…and when the client backed out, she decided to self-fund and finish it anyway.
Watch the dress demo. Definitely watch the behind-the-scenes story, too. Check out her site.
11. Magical Oregon
Here’s a charming new stop-motion campaign from the Oregon tourism board (with help from W+K and director Gerson Aguerri.) The spots make the mundane (rocks, water, soil) magical and is a perfect creative expression for the “Extraordinary is Ordinary” theme.
Watch the rocks spot. Watch the water spot. Watch the soil spot. Read about the campaign.
12. Linda finds a “lenda”
We’re a sucker for a fun rhyme and the new campaign from LendingTree (and Mekanism) is chock full of ’em. It makes good use of celeb Molly Shannon (but the other acting performances are just as strong.)
Watch the home loan spot. Watch the personal loan spot. Read about the campaign.
13. Feet first
Birkenstock leans into their less-than-fashionable rep for its first global brand campaign called “Ugly for a Reason.” Instead of going the short-and-fast ad route, the campaign is a deeper content play, centered around a three-part documentary on the human foot, produced by the content studio at the New York Times.
Watch the documentary. Read about the campaign.
14. Ho-ho Hamm
You could argue that the world’s biggest sporting event doesn’t really require a save-the-date promo, but Americans tend to need reminding when the FIFA World Cup rolls around. This year it’s happening during the holidays. The creative team that sold this spot probably just pitched “Jon Hamm as Santa” and that’s a pretty good pitch.
Watch the spot and read about the campaign.
15. Mattress funnies
Mattress Firm’s “Junk Sleep” campaign is one where you can see the strategy deck peeking through. But the latest batch of spots (from Droga5) — the 30s, in particular — are less brand-anthem-y and have a lighter, funnier tone. (We especially like the one with the triplets.)
See all the spots and read about the campaign.
16. Spoon friez
Heinz is a brand that’s really embraced one-off stunts and PR-generating giveaways in recent years. From bun petitions to their Cannes-winning “Draw ketchup” campaign. Their latest: spoon-shaped fries to savor your condiment of choice. Of course, they’re already sold out, but that doesn’t stop the business press from gobbling it up for an earned-media-palooza.
Read about the campaign. Watch the promo.
17. Ryan, Ryan, Ryan
If you work in advertising these days, it’s OK to be a little sick of Ryan Reynolds. Since he opened his own agency, he’s soaked up about about 93% of all the trade press. (That’s an exaggeration. Sorta.) But credit where credit is due: he just made an incredibly entertaining product demo for his MNTN software and “entertaining” and “software product demo” aren’t two phrases that often appear together. Oh, and in a completely separate and not-at-all-related campaign, A&W found some dude named Ryan Reynolds who’s not THE Ryan Reynolds to plug their mugs. It’s all a little meta and inside-baseball, but fun is fun.
Watch the MNTN demo. Watch and read about the A&W campaign.
18. Ketchup, Ketchup, Ketchup
This is getting ridiculous. We know we featured a Heinz ketchup thing last week. And another one a few weeks ago. And we REALLY try not to slobber over one brand’s stuff all the time. But this one from Rethink is great. You may have heard of the new artificial intelligence text-to-image programs that are taking over the internet (like DALL-E) and you’re sure to see a bunch of ad campaigns using or inspired by the tool. But this is probably the best use of it we’ve seen so far: to make the point that even our robot overlords think Heinz = ketchup.
Watch the thing. Read about it (and see some of the social ads.)
19. Zoom, Zoom, Zoom
Sometimes you just have to celebrate amazing craft and execution. This isn’t an ad, but we’re obsessed with the creativity and attention to detail. An infinite zoom that just keeps going and going and we’re still trying to wrap our noodle around how, exactly, the artist pulled it off.
20. Cereal fight
We dig a good old fashioned outdoor campaign with fun headlines. Low-sugar, high-protein cereal brand Surreal (get it?) has a new billboard campaign out in the UK that pokes fun at the big dogs in the category: Frosted Flakes, Rice Krispies, Coco Pops and Special K.
See and read about the campaign.
21. Bears are big
Bears had a big week in advertising. Wandering Bear cold brew has a new campaign (from Supernatural) that features a charming stop-motion bear. Plus, it has an interesting behind-the-scenes story about how data insights inspired the creative. Also, actor Miles Teller has a stake in canned-spirits brand Finnish Long Drink, so he’s in new spots with an actor in a bear suit.
Watch and read about the Wandering Bear campaign. See and read about the Long Drink campaign.
22. Can it
Seems like every alcohol brand is introducing a seltzer, right? So kudos to Tito’s vodka for zigging while the others zag…but also zigging, too. They’re jumping on the trend by not jumping on the trend with this just-pour-our-vodka-into-a-can-with-your-own-seltzer promotion. The campaign from Arts & Letters has humor, earned media, and an idea that celebrates the product, all in one.
Watch the ad. See the site. (The long-scroll, long-copy site is definitely worth checking out.) Read about the campaign.
23. Grown up humor
We like a fun “business campaign for grown-ups” and HP has a good new one from W+K and director Jim Jenkins. The lead actor is perfectly cast and his “old school business rules” are a perfect foil for the way we REALLY work today.
See and read about the campaign.
24. Good for sale
“Purpose” is one of the most overused words in advertising. It’s not enough to solve a consumer problem, brands have to “save the world,” too. Which makes this new campaign from Perkier, a U.K. health bar brand, a bit of subversive fun. It pokes at the extremes people adopt to demonstrate their sustainability and good-for-you credentials. The over-the-top scenarios set up their tagline well: “We’re good…so you don’t have to be.”
(Also, the thumbnail above definitely wins “thumbnail of the year.”)
Watch the blender spot. Watch the freezer spot. Watch the transformer spot. Read about the campaign.
25. Colorful streetwear
“Storytelling” is one of the most overused words in advertising. Yes, stories are great…and sometimes a good ad is just pure eye candy and a great vibe. (Instagram and TikTok elevated this game to the next level.) Take these social ads from Pantone for their new streetwear collaboration with fashion designer Merwan a.k.a. Mero. Hypnotic meme FTW.
Watch this one. This one. And this one. (Sound on!)
“Experiences, not ads” is one of the most overused phrases in advertising. Every deck has a slide with stats to show that Millenials and GenZers would rather go somewhere than buy something. Which means lots of brands place bets on experiential activations. Two caught our eye this week, illustrating the high-low range. Pabst Blue Ribbon has a new retro motel where you can book a night. And Corona opened their own ISLAND retreat, for heaven’s sake.
PBR Motel: Read about the campaign.
Corona Island: See the video. Read about it.
27. Beat the heat
Weather-wise, we had a lovely summer in San Francisco @ SOS HQ. But we understand that in some cities it’s been a very HOT summer. Air conditioning brand Midea (with help from Pereira O’Dell) offered some relief with a smart activation this week. They made a 90-minute feature-length film that’s just a Midea AC unit cooling an apartment, which you can watch from the comfort of an air-conditioned movie theater. They even threw in a free popcorn and soda and a discount on a Midea AC unit.
Read about the campaign. (Or read the press release.) Watch the whole 90-minute epic.
28. Wet kisses
Love this smart, fun tourism campaign from Seattle. “Kissing in the rain” is an iconic romantic moment in many movies. But what do you do if it never rains in your city? Seattle is taking their rainy kissing booth on the road to some of the hottest cities to playfully tout their dewy climate. It’s some nice creative judo to turn your rainy weather into a benefit.
Watch the kissing booth in action. Read about the campaign
29. Stolen scent
Chipotle knows you’re asking for “the water cup” and then filling it up with something other than water. To celebrate these, um, “accidents” they released a limited-edition “water” cup candle that smells like the lemonade they know you stole. It’s a sly wink of an idea (that sold out on their site almost immediately when they were released for sale yesterday) that generated more than a few news stories.
Read about the campaign. Watch the news story. Read about Chipotle’s other fan-inspired products.
30. Triangle tech
A fun digital drop from Doritos (and our friends at Goodby Silverstein & Partners) to turn real-world triangles into the signature chip. The campaign has Snapchat lenses, TikTok challenges, out-of-home, a special Fortnite build, and an MTV Video Music Awards tie-in, which may set some sort of record for multi-tentacled media activations. (A toast to the comms planners on this one; they’ve been working overtime!)
Read about the campaign (or the press release). See the Triangle Tracker.
31. Football charm
Payton and Eli Manning are in a LOT of commercials. So when a new one comes out, you want to roll your eyes and ignore it. But then you realize WHY they’re in so many commercials — they’re charming as hell. In this new campaign for the NFL’s youth program (from 72andSunny), they share the screen with a bunch of great kid actors, too. Ground breaking? Nope. But here’s to a good old-fashioned 30-second TV commercial.
Watch “Sheriff” and “Conditioning.” Read about the campaign.
32. Billboard buzz
How often does a new billboard get a lavish write-up in The New York Times? When it’s a $14M “art installation”…that also happens to be available to promote your favorite brands. It’s the result of a civic completion in LA and the architect makes highfalutin references to “chapels” and “mediated life,” but it’s still pretty slick. Will people really trek to visit an outdoor board as art piece? We shall see.
Read about it and see pics of the interior. (We used our free “share” link to get y’all past the paywall.)
33. Kubrick Gucci
Oh, to have the budget of a high-concept fashion campaign! Gucci’s latest is an ode to director Stanley Kubrick.
NOTE: Ironically, since it was released back August, it looks like the video was subject to a copywright claim and has been taken down everywhere! You can still…Read about the campaign and watch behind-the-scenes. (Let us know if you have a super secret archive copy we can watch on the sly.)
34. Cold dogs
Food innovation or crime against humanity? You be the judge. But there’s no denying that “hot dog popsicle” is the kind of idea that generates a LOT of earned media attention for Oscar Mayer. (When the tagline for the campaign is “Stupid or genius?” you know the brand is in on the joke.) And it looks like “the cold dog” is only the beginning — the “wiener cake” and “wiener rake” are previewed on their social channels.
Read about it the campaign. See the Today show coverage.
35. Taylor’d campaign
If you Google “Taylor Swift marketing genius,” you get more than 5 million results. The star knows how to architect a pop culture moment and roll out a coordinated campaign. This week, at the MTV music video awards (yes, they’re still a thing) she hijacked the night to announce a new album coming in October. After dropping the news on the broadcast, she shared details exclusively on her social channels, further building community. A few days later, she kept the hype machine rolling by sharing four different versions of the album cover and special edition vinyl. Certainly, she has more surprises in store between now and the launch date. Marketing genius, indeed.
See and read about the announcement. Read about the new album covers.
36. Light & Magic
If you haven’t seen the new 6-part documentary about Industrial Light & Magic on Disney+, it’s worth watching. Yes, it’s about the birth of the special effects industry, but it’s really about using creativity to solve problems and tell stories.
Watch the trailer. Watch the series.
37. Absurdist mail
We like Mailchimp’s new campaign for a few reasons. First of all, it’s weird. So much advertising is safe, boring, and invisible. Love it or hate it, this is stuff you notice. Second, it finds a way to tell little stories about a really technical process (email marketing) and provide product details without getting bogged down in the details. Third, they made a BUNCH of ‘em! Nice to see a campaign with such breadth and variety.
Watch all seven ads and read about the campaign.
38. Mall beast
Celebrity and advertising go hand in hand. And the rise of influencers over the past 15 years created a new celeb strata with huge followings in their niche, despite the fact that your mom has never heard of them. Take Mr. Beast, for example. He’s probably the premier content creator on YouTube, with more than 100 million subscribers. Last weekend, to launch the first location of his new burger joint, his 100-person treasure hunt video drew thousands to a New Jersey mall. It’s a campaign that provides lessons about content creation, curated communities, and real-life activations.
Watch the video. Read about the campaign.
P.S. The 12-minute+ video saves the event promo…for the last 20 seconds! Can you image most brands holding off the product mention that long?
39. Millionaire bars
Yes, we feature a lot of weird food stunts in this newsletter. But when they’re done well, they’re so compelling! They provide a great visual image and a catchy idea that you understand right from the headline. The headline for this Canadian lottery campaign? “Ice cream bars that taste like rich people stuff.” Like designer handbags and rare oil paintings and private islands.
See the spot (+ a behind-the-scenes with the flavor scientists) and read about the campaign. Visit the site. Read a review of the flavors.
40. Yes you can
Pinterest has a new global campaign that positions the platform as an antidote to doubt. The spots, social ads, outdoor, and media partnerships go hard against imposter syndrome and end with a great line: “Don’t Don’t Yourself.”
Watch Fear of Failure, Judgement, Doomscrolling, Procrastination, and Inner Critic. Read about the campaign.
41. Fruit cup
The TikTok-ification of ad campaigns is everywhere, but this one makes sense for the brand. Jamba Juice’s new “Just Gotta Jamba” campaign is a bright, upbeat, and colorful, just like their menu.
Watch the spots and see the in-store. Read about the campaign.
42. Dairy delight
Cheese Heads has a quirky new animated campaign for its string cheese that juxtaposes a childlike visual style with surreal humor. It’s charmingly cheesy (see what we did there?)
Watch Coffee, Forest, Cheese Horse, Snow Day, and Leftovers, Read about the campaign.
43. Decades of denim
Levi’s has a cool new spot out for its “Buy Better Wear Longer” campaign that follows a pair of jeans over a half century. Made by the team at AKQA San Francisco and directed by Megaforce, it has the scale and scope a 50-year story deserves.
Watch the spot. Read about the campaign. Check out the behind-the-scenes film.
44. Surreal dining
Love this photography for Postmates (from creative director Michael Winterdale Schnepf, a friend of SOS.) Many brands are faced with the task of building up an image library, but far too many take the safe route and end up with stock-photo-ish dreck. Not this! This collection is dripping with personality and attitude that draws attention.
See the photos.
45. Fitness demeanor
The Gym Group (they run…wait for it…gyms, over in the UK) has a new campaign (from Lucky Generals) designed to combat the intimidation one might feel when working out. “Gym face” is the name of the campaign and the cheeky (get it?) song at the heart of it.
Watch the video. Read about the campaign.
46. Zombie boss FTW
The advertising trajectory for new brands is fascinating. In the early days, some take risks to grab attention. But at some point, many feel like they have to “grow up” and start to copy the category conventions. That’s nuts! You can’t disrupt the old way of working with the old way of acting. Somebody at Upwork clearly got the memo because they just created a zombie musical to sell their talent platform. Kudos to the brand team and Alto for the new “This is How We Work Now” campaign.
Watch the full anthem ad. See the playlist of all the spots. Read about the campaign.
Here’s a viral marketing stunt from this past week that worked like gangbusters. To promote their new horror movie “Smile,” Paramount paid a few actors to sit behind home plate at MLB games with a creepy frozen smile…for the whole game. Twitter lit up and the rest is history.
Read about the campaign. More here. Watch this news report. (The director wasn’t sure it was going to work.)
48. Short, sweet citrus
So this one isn’t really new — apparently it came out at the end of 2021 — but it just caught our eye this week. Six-second ads have become a vital piece of of the advertising ecosystem. You could argue that a hell of a lot more people see the social :06 than the :60 the creatives slaved over for their reel. But WAY too many brands make the :06 an afterthought — a rushed cutdown of a longer spot. Not this work for Peelz from Venables Bell & Partners. Built to be :06s (and cost effective as hell! they’re all the same shot!) these are fast, funny and effective.
Watch Simple, Profound, Thank You, and Rhymes.
49. Out there
“It’s a vibe” is an overused phrase, but this ad is, well…a VIBE. New Zealand outdoor brand Kathmandu has a campaign platform called “We’re out there” and this new spot’s mixed-media, quirky esthetic makes it an apt tagline. (We’re fans of the fox.) Warning: you’re going to have this track in your brain for the rest of the day — 1970s Brazilian classic, “Jimmy Renda-se” by Tom Zé. Oh, and yes, it’s a campaign for summer…the seasons work different down there.
Watch the spot. Read about the campaign.
50. Alien luxury
Burberry just released a third installment in their dance-meets-visual-poetry campaign. The sci-fi themed “Night Creatures,” (from Megaforce) features their new outerwear collection, but it’s really an example of a luxury brand selling a feeling as much as anything. (Huh, guess this is turning into a “vibes” edition of the weekly newsletter.)
Watch the new film. Read about it. (Watch their previous films, “Festive” and “Open Spaces.”)
51. Hot design
This brand identity makeover from Tabasco came out in August, but this is the first time we’re seeing it all together in one place, and it’s pretty great. The work from Mrs&Mr shows how a brand can get a boost with a unified visual identity that extends beyond (but enhances) the core logo. Colorful, tactile and…yes, we’re going there…HOT.
See the work, including packaging, print, outdoor, stationary, gifs, and more.
52. Big doodles
OK, one more…not an ad, but you gotta see this one. The U.K. artist know as Mr. Doodle spent two years doodling his entire house. For real. It’s not a camera trick; it’s good old fashioned paint. The two-minute time lapse is an eye-catching piece of content (and will put your own house-painting project into perspective.)
53. Truck love
In a way, you have to feel bad for Volvo Trucks. Nine years ago, they made the greatest B2B campaign ever, with The Epic Split and the rest of the Live Test Series. They’ll never top it. But their new ad — a truck love story — is super charming.
Watch the spot. Read about the campaign.
54. Mac attack
Unless you’re a #BrandTwitter aficionado, corporations talking to other corporations is a bit of a yawn. Does the average consumer really care? But this idea is such a “duh” no-brainer, it’s a wonder we haven’t seen it before. Kraft Mac & Cheese is “petitioning” McDonalds to add their mac to the Big Mac. Yes, it’s a pure PR play, but the wheresthemac.com site is simple and well done and the auto-generated tweet (“why be stomach filling when you can be soul filling?”) is fun.
See the site. Read about the campaign.
55. Outdoor flips
Gotta be honest…not sure the world is really clamoring for a return to the flip phone. But Samsung is sure trying to make it happen. They’ll spend millions (billions?) on TV and digital ads …but we kind of like these low-tech outdoor executions: foldable billboards, bus stops, bus wraps, and drone shows. (OK, that last one isn’t low-tech.)
Read about foldable billboards in in the UK. See their other outdoor examples from around the world.
56. Wiggle jiggle
Sometimes an ad drops and the advertising community loses their mind over it and we think, “Do we even need to include that in the newsletter? Everybody already saw it, right?” That’s what happened this week with this spot from Ocean Spray (and agency Orchard) about cranberry sauce. Yep…cranberry sauce. It’s pretty great — a terrific haven’t-seen-that-before creative execution grounded in a smart strategy. (If you only caught the spot, check out the song and outdoor teasers below.)
Watch the spot. Read about the campaign. Hear the song. See the outdoor. Admire the strategy.
57. Don’t share
Do you have any idea how many ideas are pitched to clients with the phrase, “Let’s start a conversation…” Getting people to talk about your brand on social is job #1 for many campaigns. But Pizza Hut’s new one (from GSD&M) takes the opposite approach. To highlight the fact that their new Melts (which, uh, may just be a folded slice) are for solo snacking, they’ll pay you $100 to NOT talk about the product on social. (You sign an “MDA” — a Melts Disclosure Agreement. Nice touch.) The agency is probably brilliant because the “success metric” KPI is how LITTLE engagement it gets!
Read about the campaign.
58. Vegas ruse
Vegas advertising is a little bit of a layup, right? The city’s built-in stories and visuals have led to some great campaigns over the years. This new one (from agency R&R) is a nice nod to the days when Vegas promoted itself as a destination for the whole family and re-positions Sin City back to its adult playground roots. The line: “You Can Bring Your Family to Vegas, But Why Would You?” The concept: lie to your kids.
Watch the first spot and the second spot. Read about the campaign.
59. & 60. & 61. Um…3 more?
Some weeks, we struggle to find three things to highlight. Other weeks, we struggle to decide WHICH three to feature. Yes, we put stuff in the bonus links (below) but you really shouldn’t miss the candy campaign targeting dentists these 10-second social ads that don’t suck and Roger, the totally real human who’s promoting an Australian betting site.
62. Seasonal singers
Holiday ad season is upon us! This is a fun new one from Amazon. It feels like a long lost Christmas special from the 60s (complete with catchy tune), but it’s really just a celebration of all the STUFF you can buy on Amazon.
Watch the spot.
63. Five-hundred’s a charm
When a creative agency pitches an idea to a client, we often say something like, “We really think this concept has legs and we could make a ton of ‘em.” British Airlines apparently called their agency’s bluff and said, “We’ll take 500.” That’s how many different outdoor ads agency Uncommon made for this new campaign. (Plus there are 32 short films!? The scope of this one melts the brain.) Embracing a simple, repeatable structure, the copy lines are delightful little reminders of why we travel.
See some of the outdoor and films and read about the campaign.
64. Dying for Dave’s
Dave’s Hot Chicken has a new campaign (from agency Party Land) where the tagline is “Don’t die before you try it” and the spots are people that did…die before they tried it. Hard to imagine one of the big chains green-lighting spots as macabre as this, which is why we like ‘em.
Watch the one about Sam. Watch the one about Ryan. Read about the campaign.
65. Tire and 🔥
Really beautiful work for Australian insurance company NRMA (from agency Bear Meets Eagle on Fire…yes, that’s their name.) The spots are lovely little stories: one about a tire, one about a fire. They feature terrific cinematography, a great music track, and zero dialogue or VO. We love the confidence in their audience — make something compelling and people will watch. The print and outdoor is good, too; a reminder of the power of bold headline.
Watch “Runaway.” Watch “Duel.” See the print and outdoor and read about the campaign.
66. 🤦🏻♂️ Stupid laws
Legalshield’s new campaign (from The Martin Agency) livens up a category not known for laughter: legal services. Absurdist scenarios highlight dumb laws to make the point that it’s the not-so-stupid laws you may need help with.
Watch Stupid Laws #38 (our fave), Stupid Laws #18, Stupid Laws #42, and Stupid Laws #26. Read about the campaign.
This is the sort of idea that gets pitched during an internal creative review, but rarely makes it into the deck. (Some nervous account person pipes up and says, “We can’t show them that!”) So a hat tip to Walrus for presenting it and Just for Food for Dogs for buying it. The idea: tiny billboards in dog poop. Yes, a campaign like this has micro real-world reach…that’s not really the point. You make this for the social posts and earned media attention.
See the ads and read about the campaign. (The story graciously pixelates the poop, unlike the IRL experience.)
68. Left-Handed Mango Chutney 🤔
This isn’t an ad, but it speaks to an advertising question we think about a lot: who is our creativity really for? An awful lot of what is produced by agencies is not for real consumers or to sell real stuff. It’s designed to get the attention of the ad community and win awards. It’s “look how clever and concerned we are and look at this creative thing we made to solve (fill in the blank with a real or imagined societal problem.)” Many ad people sneer at this stuff…but few are immune and all the big agencies dabble in it, to some extent.
Canadian agency Zulu Alpha Kilo produced a funny new video highlighting the absurdity of it all. They have history of producing pointed satire that makes fun of the industry’s worst habits.
Watch the video. Read about it and watch some of their other parodies.
69. Smelly stop
Love this new spot from Native (and MUH-TAY-ZIK \ HOF-FER) that’s got pitch-perfect performances from all three actors. It promotes their “naughty & nice holiday” scents (mistletoe deodorant FTW?!) and “Everyone has a story to smell” is a pretty great line.
Watch the spot. Read about the campaign.
70. Imagination lives
Toys ‘R’ Us Canada has new campaign to encourage more play. The spot features an imaginary friend on his death bed. (72% fewer kids have imaginary friends than five years ago.) Guess what saves the day? The outdoor ads are smart and simple, too.
Watch the :60. (And if you want to nerd-out on cutdowns, here’s the :30, :15, and :06). Read about the campaign and see the outdoor.
71. Five stars
This one from Cadbury in India is probably a little “inside baseball” for advertising vets as it’s really a “case study” acting as an ad. But it’s a fun tongue-in-cheek nod to the we-turned-the-ad-game-on-its-head tropes. The idea? “Do nothing” because their 5-Star brand name is already on every app in the world.
Watch the ad. Read about the campaign.
76. Little lessons
We might normally put this into the bonus links below, but it’s such a thoughtful, well-done piece, we want to make sure you don’t miss it. It’s Nice That has a deep dive on miniature craft and what the creativity industry can learn from those who work little. We at SOS are suckers for this small stuff; we think you’ll enjoy this one, too.
Read the story.
77. Veggie deception
You have to admire a campaign based on the idea “let’s trick people into eating our product.” Wholly Veggie (with help from agency Party Land) has a new one that celebrates deceiving your loved ones and getting them to eat plant-based foods. The spots feature a funny rock track (available on Spotify, of course) and the outdoor is great, too. Oh, and the tagline, “Haha, you just ate vegetables” is freakin’ delightful.
Watch Mom & Dad. Watch Couple. Watch Midnight Snacker. Read about the campaign. See the outdoor below.
78. Free breakfast
As a Black Friday promotion, Denny’s is selling a $5.99 t-shirt that will get you free breakfast for a whole year. (For you math majors, that’s a $2,186 value because the wearer is entitled to a free Everyday Value Slam.) Only 150 will be sold, but this is another one of those “make a few, promote like crazy, and generate buzz for a relatively low investment” ideas. The shirt features a QR code sewn into the shirt for easy in-restaurant redemption.
Read about the campaign. Bookmark this page to buy yours.
79. Stuffing pants
Stovetop Stuffing first introduced their “stuffing pants” (think loungewear meets maternity pants) back in 2017 and they are back for Thanksgiving 2022. Ostensibly, it’s part of the brand’s 50th anniversary celebration, but when you have creative idea that’s PR catnip like this one, it should probably be an annual tradition.
Read about them. Order you own pair.
80. Unhelpful pirate
We like this first brand campaign from PriateShip.com. Their (what else) pirate spokesman many not be able to save you from quicksand, UFOs or kidnapping, but he can save you 89% on shipping. The spots from Mother London (and director Harold Einstein) are well crafted, have great performances, and are a funny, smart way to introduce the brand.
Watch Quicksand, UFO, and Trunk. Read about the campaign.
81. That’s a wrap
Spotify’s annual “Wrapped” campaign has been around for a few years (and copied by many), so it really doesn’t need any more coverage. But it’s still the gold standard of data-driven creative and this year’s edition is as vibrant and eye-catching as ever, with some new twists to keep the campaign fresh. The outdoor has been gamified in a fun way and your individualized report comes with a “listening personality” generator (which, we have to admit, pretty much had us nailed.)
See the outdoor, the digital screens, and the read about the campaign. And here is a really great deep look at this year’s design approach. (Also, this is funny; how kids ruin it.)
82. Apple joy
You don’t need this little newsletter to tell you that Apple is probably the best marketer in the world. Yes, they have a seemingly unlimited budget, but you can’t buy taste and everything they put out is impeccably done. This week is a good example: two very different campaigns, but both incredibly compelling and crafted with style and joy. “Share the Joy” is a holiday spot that brings snow to Buenos Aires. “The Greatest” highlights Apple’s accessibility features while avoiding disability clichés.
Watch “Share the Joy.” Read about it. Watch “The Greatest.” (Listen to the audio description version.) Read about it.
83. Saved by fries
If you’re gearing up for awkward family conversations this holiday season, you’re going to like this idea from McCain Foods (and agency Rethink.) DistractiFRY dispenses french fries when it hears keywords tied to hot-button topics. The spot is funny, the giveaway (yes, they made a real machine) is a smart way to generate earned media attention, and the tagline “make it a fry day” is sublime.
Watch the spot. See the site (and register to win your own.) Read about the campaign.
84. Total takeover
Very interesting media buy this week: General Electric bought EVERY ad in the Tuesday edition of The New York Times. It’s the first time in the paper’s 171-year history that a single advertiser claimed all of the paper’s real estate, in both print and digital. The 7-figure buy saw agency Giant Spoon and the Time’s ad creative arm develop a series of interactive ads in both physical and digital mediums (like a fold-your-own paper airplane as way to talk about their aerospace offering.)
Read more about the campaign details. More here.
85. Healthcare hell
Healthcare in the U.S. is pretty messed up (as anybody who’s spent hours on the phone with their insurance company knows well.) But one of the more dystopian developments of recent years is the rash of gofundme campaigns that pop up on Facebook to pay for basic medical care. A new campaign from Nomi Health (and Arnold) highlights the absurdity of this with a campaign called “Go Fund Yourself.” A satirical guise is always tricky — some consumers will take you literally — so kudos to the team for the layered approach.
Watch the spot. Read about the campaign (or here.) Visit the site and see more (Including some nice writing on their fill-in-your-own-request-for-funds digital extension.)
Oh…and here are 293 bonus links, if you’re so inclined:
Party Juice | Dall-E 2 | Liquid Death Taste Test | Big & Bold OOH | Midea “My Idea” | Wheezer Spin | Ninki Illustrations | Digital Advice | Stone Sculptures | Air Cover | McD Minimalism | Crusty Summer | Office Minions | Sun Bad | OMG Fund | Audiovisual Mashups | Music Posters | Podcast Reads | Hippo Housepower | Nuclear Hotel | Baseball’s Bananas | Ranch Rider | Art Transport | Camp McDonalds | Work Worries | Remixed Relief | Mini Puzzle | Cannes Winners | Mannequin Audience | Burger Art | June Designs | Tea Goodbye | Watch Ad | Good Good | Old Bay | $11B Railway | Animated Biz | Topical Tweet | Motorola Logo | Pet Love | Mahomes Flashlight | Sweet Hootsuite | Beer Park | Nike Women | Scratch Sniff | Spend Less | Gym Drone | GenZ Moods | TikTok Avatars | Nude Meloni | Life Doors | Not Easier | Naked Wines | Emoji Overload | Visual Diary | Liberty Spoofs | Shark Fingers | Fake Cruise | Beach Reach | Death Workout | Edible Gift Card | Velveeta Martini | Logitech Play | Eyesore Solution | Teen Sticker | Panda Pinball | Amazon Outdoor | Magnolia Muffins | Rosetta Stone | Visual Websites | Thinx Thinks | Treasure Trails | Mosquito Trap | Creative “Success” | Drunk Stumble | Feedback Form | Surreal Creatures | Saucy Gloss | A Tokumentary | Mirror AI | Sonic Branding | Agency Music | CD Resilience | Philharmonic Campaign | Comedy Writing | TikTok Tao | Hamill & Jack | Surreal Traps | Midas Touch | Murakami Uno | Lens Identity | Beer Sneakers | AirBNB Outdoor | Mini Ruins | Deck Tips | Grotesque Mural | Pepsi VFX | Internet Better | PR Tips | Adidas Epic | Sneaker Ballet | Lego’s 90th | Nike Fish | Free Icons | TikTok Audit | Copywriter Ad | Sports Organist | 3D Billboard | Fantastical Creatures | Friendly Beer | Scout Design | Greenwashing | Luncha-builds | Stella Flip | Lizzo Instacart | TP Stunt | LinkedIn Generator | Very Rebrand | Book Sculptures | Astley Paradox | Burger Cake | Be Real | Roblox Aids | Mag Covers | Keep the Grey | Stress-tember | Projected Portraits | M.I.A. AI | Sirius House | Pub Crawl | Target Social | Fruit Flies | Heinz Drip | GenZ Stats | Freelance FTW | LinkedIn Victory | Snap Sounds | Papa Superfan | Sneak Retro | Champion Hoodie | Cart Couture | Table Story | Doordash Claw | Lawlor Lessons | Puma Legacy | Queen Tribute | Text-to-Video | Purpose Washing | Brand-u-mentaries | Intel Inside | Adulting Sucks | Buzzy Ad | Lil Nas Xecutive | Artisanal Air | Craveable Photography | Chicago Mosaics | Car Insurance | Nerdwallet Inflashion | Napkin Pants | Lotto WinEver | Life Replay | Color Fonts | 5 Billion Stars | Apple How-To | Taco Bell Musical | Best Branding | Patagonia Purpose | McDonalds Weddings | Vending Mural | CMO Songs | Juice Romance | Freelance Illustration | Deceptive PR | First Flat | Better Briefs | Giant Sharpener | TikTok B2B | Apology Tour | Classic Ranier | Oatly Swap | Creative Vocabulary | Prostate Briefs | UPS Wraps | Jollibee Billboards | Citysnap Trumpet | NYC Mural | Virgin Uniforms | McDs Streetwear | Kodiak Jump | Bullsh*t Free | TikTok Guide | Burger Drop | Veggie Vampire | Wrigley Drone | Balenciaga TikTok | Martha Candle | Dickies Story | Picture Day | Hip-Hop Puppets | Gifs Legacy | Strat Unlock | Overindulge Yourself | SickKids | RIP Dan Wieden | Eye Candy | Virgin Cow | Fake NFT | KitKat Bowl | OnlyPlants | SNL Logo | Mentos Raccoons | VFX Crisis | Political Marriage | BMW 3D | Squarespace Björk | Digital OOH | Lizzo’s Booty | Palace Gucci | Figma Collab | Word Animation | Yarn Ball | Clever Login | Cincy Murals | Wine Design | Stammering Awareness | Self-Love Outdoors | Oatly TikTok | Balloon People | Newman’s Deal | G’Day Australia | Liquid Death | Uber Laughs | Mattress Mack | World of Tomorrow | Tube Map | Athena Shot | Colorful Comps | Nescafe Travels | Good News | Famous Tragedies | Kathrine Switzer | Say Carlsberg | Uncharted Territories | TikTok Business | Borrowed Buddy | Pref Murals | Boots Holiday | Job Hunt Advice | Type Hype | They’re Coming | Art Guards | Craig Dance | Red Bow | Karma Identify | Flock Freight | Director Census | Cat Jams | Mayo Couture | Hotel Breakfast | Fussy Pits | Half Break | Lasso Outdoor | Taze Test | Iceland Space | Lottery Love | Sound Blocks | Great Cover | Zine Return | Clothesline Creatures | Topgolf Balls | Cheetos Duster | Social Hooks | Branch Ranch | Bullmore Collection | Merry Micro-dosing | Beast Day | Long Copy | Deck Making | Movie Marketing | Patron Hands | Mailchimp Local | Heinz Tip | 2022 Color | Louis V Outdoor | Beatles Video | Brand v. Performance | Packaging Trends | Hunger Murder | 10-Hour Jelly | Hefty Outdoor | Photography Faves | Instagram Trends
79 Things That Caught Our Eye in the First Half of 2022
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John Kovacevich is a creative director and the founder of Agency SOS. He writes a weekly email highlighting three bits of creative inspiration for modern marketers. You can subscribe, if you’d like.