Nine ads. They are not “great” ads. I saw zero great ads this year. I also bookmarked about 20 better than average ads, but that’s “better than average” for 2020, which is just not very good. 2020 was the worst year in advertising creativity that I’ve ever seen (and that’s not just because of the Pandemic), and I’ve been doing this ad critiquing shit basically full-time for 15 fucking years. As long as somebody is willing to pay me to keep up with this stupid industry (thank you Resume Magazine, thank you great country of Sweden), I’ll keep doing it. Otherwise, I’m moving to Vermont and starting a tree farm, except none of the trees will be for sale because trees are living, sentient beings, you fucking murderers and your fucking Christmas trees. FUCK you.
OK, here, in no order.
This is how you use 30 seconds, not jam it end-to-end with nonstop copy and visuals. Funniest ad I saw this year. Casting, editing, concept, all scorchin’. Agency: Grey, NYC.
Allbirds Sneakers: “Tread Lighter”
Remember good product demos (Cheer 1980s, agency Leo Burnett)? No, you don’t, because you’re a young douchebag (Not you, the others). This is technically a “Christmas” ad (the only one I’ve liked) but creatively it isn’t. The sheep is a nice thrown-in product benefit joke. Agency: Uncommon.
Brut: “Vinnie Jones”
“Ineptias” — great name. Funny fake set. And the pitch via the toughest brute to ever step onto a football pitch? Perfect choice. Agency: adam&eveDDB, UK.
Jula: “The Guitar”
Jula is a large Swedish DIY chain. Again, not a great ad, but I smiled. The great song choice makes it a winner. Agency: Garbergs, Sweden.
Skittles: “Yogurt Boy”
Since the great, Dark as Fuck “Touch” ad, Skittles’ “crazy” commercials have been hit/miss. This Dark as Fuck spot via DDB Chicago was a hit. Ad sites such as Campaign called it “disturbing” and “horrifying”. I call it satisfying.
Shipt: “Over-Delivering Delivery”
My favorite campaign of 2020, I think. All eight spots are varying degrees of humorous. “Fish” above, “Dogs” and “Watermelons” are my favorites. See all of them here. A good concept, consistently executed well. How Fucking Novel. Agency: Huge, Brooklyn.
The deodorant brand bought space under the arms of Australian Cricket refs. Smart. Agency: Clemenger BBDO, Sydney. (About ten years ago, Rexona, via agency Ponce Argentina, produced this hilarious “sensitive singing armpits” commercial.)
Guinness: “Stay At Home”
Yes, I have to include a fucking spec poster ad here because it is smarter than all of the agency-created coronavirus-related ads produced this year. Made by creative freelancer Luke O’Reilly for the UK’s One-Minute Briefs challenge. #TheLostArtOfArtDirection
Joe Biden: “Silence Him”
Again, kept it fucking SIMPLE, creatives. Maybe this ad helped Biden win, who knows.
NOTES: Burger King’s “Moldy Whopper” stunt was good, but it was just a stunt. Dacia’s “Ingenious Productions” spot is worth a look as a decent “lockdown” ad (agency: Publicis.Poke). And the “viral” RC Cola video “Family” (agency: GIGIL) gets honorable mention for pure insanity.