My 15 Favorite Ad Campaigns of 2023

Highlights include collecting your hate mail, marvelous musicals, and the best email campaign I’ve ever seen

8 min readDec 28, 2023


When you put out a marketing creativity newsletter every Friday, it forces you to keep tabs on all the new ad campaigns that come out each week.

Looking back at everything that caught my eye in 2023, here are my top 15 favorites. (Of course, we’re proud of the work OUR agency did this year — especially this campaign we did for Kodak Moments — but this is a celebration of stuff from other shops.)

1. The Barbie Movie

Is there any doubt that Barbie was THE marketing campaign of 2023? As one tweeter wrote: “The devil works hard, but Barbie’s marketing team is INSANE.”

If you felt like the Barbie promo machine was in overdrive leading up to the July release of the movie, you were not wrong.

See the full visual tread for many of the promotions, licensing deals, and stunts that hyped the film. From an IRL Barbie Dream House to video game tie-ins to Barbie-themed products (from Crocs to Prada) to clever use of paid media.

Read about how the campaign was one for the ages.

To be clear: we’re celebrating the marketing for the film. The movie itself was too good to be reduced to “an ad for the doll.” (Kudos to Mattel for giving Gerwig and team the freedom to be inspired by the toy’s history and the space to create a film that was better than marketing.)

2. Oatly

Marketing directors, what type of brand do you have? A brand where, when there’s bad news or negative comments, you ask your PR team to do everything they can to bury the story? Or a brand where you collect all the negative press and boycotts and nasty feedback…and build out a section of your website for it?

Oatly is the later type of brand.

This marvelously bonkers, self-confident play by the oat drink company is one of those ideas that very, very few clients would say “yes” to — a celebration of consumer hate directed at their brand. Bravo, Oatly.

Visit the site and see for yourself. Read about the idea.

3. Chipotle

This has to be the best email marketing campaign that I’ve ever seen.

Chipotle uses its Rewards Loyalty Program to engage with customers and share offers based on order history and content preferences. But when it comes to emails, it’s hard to get people to engage.

Harnessing transaction data, Chipotle (and agency GALE) identified when two people ordered the exact same thing within two minutes of each other at different restaurants and sent both customers a “Chipotle Doppelgänger” email highlighting the strange serendipity.

In the first four weeks, they sent 466,000 Doppelgänger emails, with the open rate 44% above benchmark, a click rate 176% above benchmark, and delivered $4.8M in revenue. The campaign won a gazillion well-earned awards.

Watch the case study. You’ll be glad you did.

4. Apple

As always, Apple put out many of the best ads of the year. (The latest in their “Underdogs” series cemented it as one of the best product demo series of all time.)

But my favorite from them in 2023 was this one that came out in March — a visually stunning metaphor for their new AirPods and their ability to “quiet the noise.” The Pixies cover is perfect (and a sly wink to the ad world who used the original track as rip-film fodder for years.) Great stuff from TBWA\Media Arts Lab and Megaforce.

Watch the spot. Read about the campaign.

5. McDonalds & Doordash

Love this smart, eye-catching outdoor campaign from DoorDash and McDonald’s Canada. “Faster Food” (by agency No Fixed Address) shows what happens when two brands collide: McDonald’s menu meets the speed of Doordash. And the media strategy — train stations and other commute locations — reinforces the idea of movement. The resulting minimalist boards are as clever as they are gorgeous.

See the outdoor and read about the campaign.

6. Liquid Death

Each year, Liquid Death puts out so many outrageous stunt-y activations, you can start to take their courage for granted. But we loved this K-tel-esque (look it up, kids) Greatest Hits album of NSFW pop songs based on internet hate for the brand. (That’s not a sentence we expected to ever type, which shows you what a great idea it is.)

Yes, it’s similar to Oatly’s make-hay-of-your-hate-mail play (see above), but a lot more musical.

Watch the album teaser ad. Watch the first music video. Read about the campaign.

This breakdown of Liquid Death’s creative strategy is a good read, too.


Brand apparel collabs happen all the time. So how do you gain attention for yours? Nudity! And a sense of humor. PUMA and NOAH made an eye-catching video with an original take on tennis interruptus. Extra props to the writer who convinced them to go all-in with the “winning streak” pun.

Watch it. Read about it. Shop it.

8. Island Wide Realty

Local commercials can be wonderful. (Rhett & Link made some wacky gems over the years.) But the biggest ad agencies in the world are usually WAY too expensive to make a local ad. However, this past fall, behemoth Ogilvy dropped one for a Staten Island realtor.

It’s telling that big agencies, who chased non-profit “purpose” work to stretch their creative chops (and rack up awards), are now so over-saturated with feel-good, change-the-world campaigns, that they’re now willing to cut their rates just to do a good old-fashioned funny TV ad. And this one is pretty funny.

Watch it. Read why they made it.

9. Marvis

Marvis is an Italian toothpaste brand and let’s just say that you don’t see a lot of animated nudity in American toothpaste commercials. Or firefighters in garters. But this delightful and surprising spot (from agency LePub) is the most memorable tooth care ad we’ve ever seen.

Watch it. (The :10s are delightful, too.) Read about it.

10. Yorkshire Tea

You can almost hear the brief: “Young people aren’t drinking tea!” So Yorkshire Tea (and agency Lucky Generals) came up with a dance floor anthem to make tea the must-have travel accessory for the summer holiday. Ridiculous…but pulled off with such humor and ear-catching charm, it actually works. “Let’s get lightly caffeinated” might be the best CTA that we’ve heard this year.

Watch the video. Read about the campaign.

11. Huggies

Huggies (and agency Quality Meats) put out a music-driven campaign saluting the vast variety of baby butts. The charming “We got you, baby” campaign will show up in just about every channel you can think of — Spotify, Pandora, radio, TV, print, digital, social, influencer, and PR. Now THAT’s a 360 media plan!

See the lyric video and two spots + read about the campaign. Check out the kid’s book that they put out, too.

12. Etsy

Etsy (and agency Orchard) made my favorite holiday campaign this year. It’s an example of a smart insight (certain people are very difficult to shop for), but the resulting work doesn’t call attention to the strategy. It just leans into an inspired creative idea — the best use of the “Mission Impossible” theme that we’ve ever heard in an ad. It’s a memorable campaign that positions the brand as a solution to your thorniest gift-giving challenge.

Watch Tim, Dad, Twins, and Niece. Read about the campaign.

13. Mailchimp

Sometimes I see an ad and think, “D’oh! I wish Ie’d thought of that!” and this one from Mailchimp introduced a wonderful new term that makes us jealous: “clustomer.” It’s a lovely little metaphor to communicate the main brand benefit: that you can reach your target customer with more customized messaging. Absurdist B2B advertising FTW!

Watch it. Read about the campaign, including some behind-the-scenes.

14. Monopoly

We’re a family that likes board games! So this “All is Fair” campaign for Monopoly (from Hasbro and The Martin Agency) has a special place in my heart. The playful spots celebrate board game ruthlessness minus any “family fun” schmaltz. There are villains among us! Beware kid landlords and grandmas stealing cash.

Watch “8-Year-Old Landlord” and “Grand Theft Nai Nai.” Read about the campaign.

15. Ore-Ida

One of the creatives who made this bonkers film for Ore-Ida wrote it best: “Sometimes, if you are very lucky, you get to create a two-minute opera about frozen potatoes that involves a picnicking werewolf couple, a talking tree who is insecure about his artistic aptitude, and a potentially catastrophic meteor shower.”

Kudos to the team that got the brief for “frozen fries” and made something completely unexpected.

Watch it. Read about it (and see the 15s, which are good, too!)

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Did we miss your favorite marketing campaign of 2023? Leave a comment below, drop a link, and share your favorites. We’d love to see ’em.

If you REALLY want to go crazy, here’s everything that caught our eye in the first half of 2023 and here’s everything from the second half. See last year’s favorites.


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.