The Top 5 Most Strategically-Driven Advertisements of 2013

2013 marked what I like to deem as the start of the “human era.” I’m not alone, as Hill Holliday later released a white paper stating the same thing. More than ever, people crave authentic stories and companies that value them as individuals. The rise of social media has allowed people to cut through the bureaucracy of large companies–to see them for what they are. As such, personable, transparent communications  have never been more important. Advertising built on a sound strategy that helps reduce the distance between brand and consumer, such as the ads featured below, will  continue to come to the forefront in 2014.

*Note: These ads were chosen for their ability to utilize insights effectively, they aren’t necessarily my personal favorites.*

1. Chipotle “Scarecrow”

A continuation of the “Back to the Start” advertisement that has received rave reviews from consumers and industry experts alike. It may not be very popular with marketing execs, but it does have 11.6 million views on YouTube. This ad lines up with a consumer desire to know where their food comes from and to live a more healthy lifestyle. It positions Chipotle as daring enough to take on the establishment. The introduction of an app-based game gives Chipotle another medium to show how they “cultivate a better world.”

2. Skype “Family Portrait” Campaign

Rather than explain the features of Skype, these ads show the end benefit to consumers. Skype connects people; it makes the world a close-knit place. Since Skype is free, barring some extra features, all the ad needs to do is get more people to use Skype.

3. PlayStation 4 “Perfect Day”

The juxtaposition between a classic song and visually aggressive behavior provides the perfect backdrop for what console gaming is about. Men (and it has been mostly male since video games were engendered in the late 1990s) want to play online with their mates as a way of socializing in a competitive environment. No other ads have captured the reason men game better than this one.

4. Coca-Cola “Let’s Go Crazy”

Coca-Cola wanted to spread happiness, but it is tough to do that in today’s world of 24/7 bad news. The folks at DAVID The Agency discovered towards the end of 2012 that kindness was the best way to spread happiness, as 98 percent of consumers agree that it’s the key to a happier world. By highlighting positive stories of people giving, they were able to create a campaign that resonates globally.

5. Toshiba “The Beauty Inside” (crowdsourced short)

Mac is cool, but Toshiba…not so much. That’s the problem Toshiba faced when trying to stay relevant to younger generations.  In response, Pereira & O’Dell created several short films that utilized social sites such as Facebook.  “The Beauty Inside” story spilled onto social media and continued beyond the confines of film. It won several awards and made the Toshiba brand a little more desirable to youth.

Honorable Mentions:

Dove “Real Beauty Sketches”

Famous Footwear “A Letter to Mom”

Dodge Ram “Farmer” (See my criticism)

SodaStream’s Controversy Might Not Bubble Over


It’s all over the web; A “controversial” SodaStream ad, made by Alex Bogusky for the 2013 Super Bowl, has been pulled by CBS. The ad in question directly jabs at the two big players in the beverage industry, Pepsi and Coca-Cola, by calling them out for  500 million  bottles wasted on Game Day.

CBS cited the spot as being too competitive against the two beverage giants. However, considering Pepsi’s historical jabs at Coca-Cola,  it’s more likely that CBS was trying to appease their larger sponsors.

The general online consensus  is that this is a win-win for SodaStream. The CBS rejection means SodaStream gets tons of free impressions off of an otherwise unremarkable advertisement. In fact, they’ve already capitalized on the buzz by introducing  a new twitter hashtag: #SodaStreamAd.

But this new hash tag could also have the unintended effect of bubbling-up ongoing grievances against the company. Currently trending along with #SodaStreamAd are comments by activist groups opposed to SodaStream. These groups are upset because SodaStream, an Israeli company, currently produces all of  its devices in the West Bank, an area that has been the subject of Israeli-Palestinian conflict for years.

A statement on Activist group CODEPINK’s  website says this of the soda company: “SodaStream markets itself as an environmentally friendly product to ‘Turn Water Into Fresh Sparkling Water And Soda’… but there is nothing friendly about the destruction of Palestinian life, land and water resources!”

SodaStream might have to address this controversy if it doesn’t bubble over.