The bulk of this week’s best and brightest are primarily, and understandably, tied to the holiday season. But let’s look beyond that. Let’s instead ponder a certain cross-shaped red lightsaber, a rolling robot and Johnny Boyega in the desert wearing a stormtrooper suit. Star Wars, people. Get ready for 12 months of what will surely be a marketing onslaught of Imperial proportions. There’s been an awakening alright, and this week the whole Internet to the farthest reaches of the nerdiverse felt it.
Read more below about using the force and the rest of our picks for this week’s best in brand creativity.
What: The Canadian airline gets back in the giving mood by bringing Santa and some Christmas wishes to a disadvantaged Dominican Republic village.
Why We Care: It’s very tough to follow up on a hit, whether we’re talking books, movies, albums or, yes, even advertising. Last year Westjet scored huge huzzahs from consumers and the industry alike when it surprised passengers with their holiday gift wishes. Now the airline took things up a charitable notch by doing the same thing for people who arguably needed such a surprises even more.
What: A first glimpse at the next phase of pop culture’s biggest franchise.
Who: Star Wars, JJ Abrams
Why We Care: It’s still a year away from hitting theaters and even this most brief of teasers got the Internet giggling like Snapchatting school kids. Storm troopers. New droid. X-wings and TIE fighters. A newfangled lightsaber. The FALCON. It was the perfect amount of new and familiar. The countdown has begun.
What: Arby’s forgot about an annual advertising deal it had with Pepsi and decided to make up for it by dedicating an entire spot to its bubbly BFF.
Who: Arby’s, Fallon Worldwide
Why We Care: In a world of spin, sometimes the right amount of transparency and truth can bolster a brand’s standing. Consumers don’t really care about Arby’s contracts with Pepsi, but this magnificent mea culpa is about more than that. It simultaneously solves a business problem for Arby’s while telling the general public that this a no bullsh*t brand with a great sense of humor.
What: To stem the tide of unwanted gifts, the British retailer is encouraging people to be as clear and honest as possible with some brutally honest Christmas cards.
Who: Harvey Nichols, adam&eveDDB
Why We Care: As with Westjet, Harvey Nichols had a lot to live up to, based on the runaway success of its “Sorry, I Spent It On Myself” holiday campaign last year. Here it taps a similar vein of honesty, this time on the side of the gift receiver. Your favorite aunt would want to know you want those Charlotte Olympia silver Octavia sandals (the platform ones with the six-inch heel), right?
What: A perfectly ho-hum holiday get together is brightened up by a box of cookies that somehow is packed to the brim with baby animals that end up crooning a squeaky rendition of Yazoo’s “Only You.”
Who: McVitie’s, Grey London
Why We Care: It’s a perfectly absurd way to tie warm holiday vibes to the product while also satiating our voracious appetite for all things cute and cuddly. Also, BABY NARWHAL.