Dear friends, readers, ad junkies . . . gather ’round the Top 5 digital hearth, which of course is housed in our oak-panelled story room, resplendent in its old-world charm and smelling of many leatherbound books, and allow me to regale you with a holiday tale.
‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the . . . Okay, no, no, no, of course I’m not going to subject you to some pun-filled, massacre of a holiday classic. That’s not what this time of year is all about. This is a business publication for pete’s sake. Keep the holiday-themed ballyhoo within the confines of your Facebook feed, we’re all full up over here. Alright, there’s at least two seasonal spots in this week’s list, but what can we say, we’re not dead inside. Just try not to get too excited that in about a week and a half we’re going to see our first Valentine’s Day-themed commercial. What a time to be alive. Onward!
What: VW in Argentina offers some sweet, sweet relief in boasting about the fuel mileage of the Cross UP model.
Who: VW, DDB Argentina
Why We Care: Never, ever, ever, ever has the act of urinating played such a significant role in marketing a car.
What: A new running ad from Nike that will give even more reason to regret watching so much TV
Who: Nike, Wieden + Kennedy Portland
Why We Care: Look, we feel bad enough for the sheer amount of time we spend binge watching, scrolling Instagram, randomly watching yet another segment of The Graham Norton Show from 2012. Here Nike doesn’t quite shame us–the brand must know how delicate our balance of self-loathing and midday snacking is–but instead comes at us straight, with facts and data in the gentle, emotionless drone of your voicemail admin or Mrs. Speak & Spell.
What: A Christmas fundraising ad from the Swedish Red Cross that gives us a first-person view of getting rescued
Who: Svenska Röda Korset, Marcus Söderlund (director)
Why We Care: Good lord that was tense, eh? Well-timed editing skips us from scenario to scenario where our donations can be put to good work through the Swedish Red Cross. The magic is in both how they get our heart rate up, and then how it conjures immediate empathy for anyone actually finding themselves in any of these situations.
What: An hour-long, silent New Year’s Eve party with Nick Offerman sipping whisky
Why We Care: Last year it was a yule log. There’s something about these insanely long ads that amazes. Does anyone really watch it all the way through? Does it matter? The point here is that the concept and execution are funny and played straight enough, that we get the joke in two minutes, but it also ties nicely into the brand’s overall, “relax, take your time” craft vibe, that sticks in your memory.
What: A seven-minute animated short from Academy Award-winning director John Kahrs for ride-share startup Lyft, to celebrate the brand’s Driver Appreciation Day
Why We Care: First, it’s just a nice little short that’ll give people a hearty dose of the warm ‘n’ fuzzies. But the sheer talent behind it is impressive, with John Kahrs, who won an Oscar for the 2012 Disney animated short Paperman and the original song “Movin,” written and performed by former Lyft driver Sir the Baptist, who drove for the company after quitting his job at ad agency Leo Burnett to make a go of his music career. The story may be a bit cliche overall, but it’s so well executed, we fall for the old gal anyway.