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The best ads of 2012: Coca Cola, Chevy and McDonald’s

It’s that time of year again where every second article you read is a top 10 list of this or that, so I thought it a good time to put together a list of what I believe have been some of the year’s top ads from around the world.

This year we continued to see more and more great interactive / activation work, the most memorable being Red Bull’s continued dominance in doing advertising a little different and live streaming the worlds highest, fastest, most adrenaline filled skydive… ever.

The below list is in no particular order, please feel free to troll the comments section and agree or disagree with my choices.

Chevy Sonic: Ok Go music video:

Rather than do a simple car ad for the launch of the Chevy Sonic car, the US manufacturer created a series of publicity stunts. The most successful of which is the music video it shot below with band Ok Go. (See all the activations here)

Advertising Agency: Goodby Silverstein & Partners, USA

Coke: Share a Coke:

Coca Cola continued to do a lot of great work this year but the one that stood out for me was the below campaign by its Australian agency. I won’t be surprised if it tries this in other markets in the future.

Advertising Agency: Ogilvy, Australia

TNT: Bringing Drama to Belgium:

The below dramatic activation for TNT was all anyone talked about for a couple of weeks in April this year. Great example of how a simple idea, combined with a really well shot and packaged activation, can help with viewing numbers.

Advertising Agency Duval Guillaume

Guardian: 3 Little Pigs:

Well shot, great story, timely, and again got everyone talking.

Advertising Agency: BBH, London.

Volkswagen: The Original Click:

Not because this was massively talked about, but because I applaud any agency/brand that tries to make online ads better and useful rather than spammy (especially YouTube advertising).

Advertising Agency: AlmapBBDO, Brazil.

Carling Black Label: Be The Coach:

Yes it’s from the agency I work with, but to be fair it was South Africa’s most awarded work this year, and globally one of the most successful interactive pieces of work. What you may not know is that this year it ran again and doubled the entries, as well as breaking a new record for stadium attendance in South Africa!

Advertising Agency: Ogilvy, Cape Town.

BMW: Bullet:

I haven’t seen a really iconic car ad for some time, this one in my mind was close, right on brand and got car fans going nuts:

Advertising Agency: Cundari, Toronto.


This is a bit of a cheat but it had a great year of advertising. Two stand out, both by its Canadian agency. The first was a normal ad showing how universal McDonald’s is. The Second was following the trend of brands being open and honest. Both very successful and on brand.

Advertising Agency: Cossette

Chrysler: Halftime in America:

It would be hard to think of a top ads list without work from W+K. The below ad for Chrysler was hugely successful and helped to restore faith in the US auto industry as a whole (note this was pre Clint Eastwood talks to a chair meltdown).

Advertising Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, Portland

Carlton Draught: The Chase:

By a country mile this would win the TV beer commercial category. Another classic Australian comedy beer ad from the agency that seems to always deliver on these.

Advertising Agency: Clemenger BBDO Melbourne

Melbourne Metro: Dumb Ways To Die:

Best PSA of the year. This YouTube clip quickly became a hit with its fun lyrics, catchy tune, and great animation.

Advertising Agency: McCann, Melbourne.

Thai Health Foundation: Smoking Kids:

Possibly the best Anti-Smoking ad I have ever seen. The campaign plays not on sickening images or forced fear, but rather on plain self reasoning.

Adverting Agency: Ogilvy Thailand

Red Bull: Stratos:

After flying to an altitude of 128 100 feet in a helium-filled balloon, Felix Baumgartner completed a record-breaking jump from the edge of space. All made possible by energy drink brand Red Bull, which invested around US$11-million into this project, and streamed the event live on YouTube.

Advertising Agency: Red Bull Media

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