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Playing Favourites: LBB’s Editorial Team Picks Out Their Fave 2021 Creative


LBB’s editors and reporters give special shoutouts to the work that really resonated with them this year

Playing Favourites: LBB’s Editorial Team Picks Out Their Fave 2021 Creative

In any given month, we see hundreds of news stories and creative campaigns. It’s funny, really, the ones that stay with you. Sometimes it’s those campaigns that go on to win Grands Prix hither and thither, but sometimes a creative project can just resonate personally and hit in a very idiosyncratic way.  

Global Women - Career Limiting Moves

Chosen by: Laura Swinton

I am fairly ambivalent about International Women’s Day campaigns. Some can be deeply affecting. Most are opportunistic and insincere. Very few make me laugh. But this animated short for Global Women is a deadpan comedy gem that elicits a sinusy snigger every time I see it. Saatchi & Saatchi New Zealand, director Anna Malin Mantzaris and Passion Pictures prove that brevity and timing are the essence of comedy. Who says women aren’t funny (rhetorical question: arseholes, that’s who).

McDonald’s - Fancy a McDonald’s

Chosen by: Laura Swinton

McDonald’s gets the giggles and Leo Burnett London proves that laughter really is contagious in this campaign that accompanied the post-lockdown opening up in the UK. It’s an ad I caught ‘in the wild’, during an actual ad break on actual TV. It just cheered me up, simple as that. No handwringing or earnest pledges or grand promises - it’s just a very human reminder of the good, oxytocin stuff we’d missed out on - and director Billy Boyd Cape at Academy does a great job of coaxing out great, natural performances.

Safety for Safekeepers - Baklawa Got Legs

Chosen by: Laura Swinton

From the moment the acid green hits your retina, this uncompromising protest film grabs you and doesn’t let go. Since the moment I saw this piece from Leo Burnett Lebanon I’ve loved it and the more I’ve heard from the team in the Beirut-based agency the deeper my admiration goes. It’s unwavering in its message and it DRIPS with style.

Apple iPhone - Nian

Chosen by: Laura Swinton

This Chinese New Year film, shot on iPhone by director Lulu Wang encapsulates a certain flavour of wistful, ponderous storytelling that plays well in China. It also, whether deliberately or not, taps into the swelling appetite for fantasy and fairy tales triggered by a need for escapism. This story of a little girl and a not-so-scary monster is utterly captivating.

DoorDash Canada - Flavourhood

Chosen by: Addison Capper

DoorDash Canada and john st.'s interpretation of the 'Flavourhood' is jam packed full of extra saucy soft-serve ice cream, basketball-dunking meatballs, karate chopping sashimi, ollie popping burritos burgers and burritos cruising around in vintage toy cars that I'd quite like to have on a shelving unit in my apartment. There's also a dramatic voiceover that reminds me of a typical Nike ad but listen closely and you'll hear cheeky quips such as "wake up and bakers". Directed by Blinkink's Stevie Gee and Essy May, it's little surprise that the animation is also a joy to behold. I'd also like to point out some of the work from DoorDash in the US and Martin Agency from the past year. It's extremely different in tone but equally as good. Southside Magnolia and Soul of the City are both favourites from the past year. 

Squarespace - Squarespace It

Chosen by: Addison Capper

Leave it to Andreas Nilsson to take the notion of entrepreneurship to these most wonderfully twisted, strange new heights. This trio of ads for Squarespace flip the brand name into a verb as characters tell their counterparts to 'Squarespace it' with regards to their bright new idea. In Mime, my pick of the bunch, two mime artists on stage discuss the challenges of keeping up with their performance schedule. The other two tout the invention of opera-themed bars of soap (aka soap opera) and thermal chess (which takes place fully clothed in a sauna). My explanations do little justice for this campaign. Please watch. 

Beats by Dre - You Love Me

Chosen by: Addison Capper

Not much more needs saying about this campaign. It was an Immortal Award winner this year with good reason. I spoke to Ali Brown, president of PRETTYBIRD, who produced the film with director Melina Matsoukas, a few weeks back about the process of making it under during the earlier days of Covid and not long after the murder of George Floyd. "Set was brutal," Ali said. "Everyone was there in masks in the heat with water stations far away due to Covid restrictions. An officer assigned for our permit arrived with a ‘Blue Lives Matter’ mask as we were filming the great Janaya Future Kahn. While it was a gut punch to everyone there, it was a visual reminder why we needed to persevere and make sure this message was captured." Read her full quote here.

Magnum - Pleasure Tales

Chosen by: Alex Reeves

In a year in which the world had its eyes on Japan, brands scrambled to celebrate the history and culture of the 2021 Olympics and Paralympics host nation. To varying degrees of complexity and success. But this project, from a brand who had no ties to the Games, sums up some of the most enchanting aspects of the island nation’s culture in a way that just hits right. A celebration of anime, 'Pleasure Tales' saw Magnum partner with LOLA MullenLowe and Powerhouse Animation Studios, creators of Castlevania, to bring to life two stories. ‘Butterfly’ and ‘Konnichiwa’ each explore the theme of the pursuit of pleasure in their own way. And they're not even 'just TV ads'. They were made to be shown at the 25th edition of the Japanese Film Festival. So if you're a snob like me, you can even argue they're 'proper art'.

Channel 4 - Super. Human.

Chosen by: Alex Reeves

The moment I fell in love this film was “for fuck’s sake”, muttered by Paralympian rugby player Kylie Grimes when she finds she can’t get her wheelchair up the step of a cafe. It’s a phrase I probably mutter at least three times a day at the moment, so while I can’t fully understand these kinds of struggles to live normal lives that disabled people often have to deal with, I can certainly relate to the emotion. Channel 4’s ‘Super. Human.’ completes a trilogy of films made to promote the British broadcaster’s coverage of the Paralympic Games that began in 2012 and its raw human truth makes it, for me, the best of the bunch. It’s realness is no surprise really, considering the fact that, as 4creative ECD Lynsey Atkin told me, “it’s no exaggeration to say the film was co-written with the Paralympians.” 

Samsung - Tallk

Chosen by: Alex Reeves

Samsung Spain’s legacy for improving lives through technology seems to be something that genuinely runs deep. For years now, they’ve been building tools, apps and devices that make an impact on quality of life. Tallk is an elegant demonstration of that principle. “In Spain, the technology to speak again through eye tracking is around €6,000, which means that the vast majority of ALS patients do not have access to interact with the world because they do not have the economic resources,” Cheil Spain’s Alejandro di Trolio told me earlier this year. “This harsh reality inspired the team to develop Tallk, a free application, 100% developed in Spain, which brings eye tracking + IOT technology to all homes regardless of their social status.” The free app turns any camera on a Samsung smartphone or tablet into an eye movement tracker with the ability to turn tiny pupil gestures into words and actions, allowing people who are physically incapable of speaking or moving to keep communicating with their family and friends and control IOT connected devices. It’s a project that provides a clear opportunity for a better life for many with ALS. And as IOT tech expands, it will be fascinating to see how its power only grows. 

UNAIDS - The Mirror

Chosen by: Natasha Patel

This campaign touched me from the get go. It’s a celebration of acceptance, difference and individuality that, for me, will stand the test of time. Created by FCB Ulka, it has all the tendencies of a campaign by its CCO - and the film's writer - Swati Bhattacharya. The film was created for UNAIDS on international day for transgender visibility and comes with the very apt slogan #SeeMeAsIAm. 

The spot is just over two minutes long, but in that time takes us on a journey through a little boy’s day as he shuns playing with kites to express himself through dance, lipstick and bangles. While, in India, the subject of transgender people is certainly a taboo, this exploration hits all the right notes that as viewers we can’t all help but melt at the ending. I was lucky enough to catch up with Swati on this campaign and she summarises it so well: “This is a film which is asking you to open your eyes and hearts to the cause of trans visibility but also it is just asking you to fix things in your own home. Nobody is asking you to fix a country or a culture. But if each one of us can keep our children safe from our own prejudices we’ll certainly have a better world!”

Cadbury - Bus

Chosen by: Natasha Patel

For me, Cadbury’s ads are ones that always stand out. Not just because I have a sweet spot for chocolate, but because of the storytelling the campaigns portray. This particular film by VCCP London follows a young boy on a bus as he tries to comfort a distressed woman by offering her his uneaten Dairy Milk bar. Such a simple act of kindness in such a heartwarming spot shows us that a good gesture can really go a long way. It also reminds us that there really is a glass and a half in everyone… 

Burberry - Open Spaces

Chosen by: Ben Conway

So many great campaigns this year were centred around the pandemic, or at the very least made an effort to respond to or provide solutions for the events of the last two years. I think this is something that has certainly added to my enjoyment of the more abstract and imaginative campaigns which have provided a sense of escapism, rather than reflecting the utterly bleak reality within which these campaigns and ourselves exist.

Burberry’s Open Spaces, created and directed by Riff Raff Films' Megaforce, makes for magical viewing and the behind the scenes secrets will blow your mind even more. These Burberry-clad aerial acrobats will have your jaw well and truly on the floor when you discover that their dream-like flight over the fields was achieved by practical effects - suspended on wires by huge cranes. The celestial feeling of the spot is something that has stuck with me ever since my first viewing and is captured through the surreal visuals and accompanying sound design from 750mph. 

Lululemon - Being Well Is a Journey

Chosen by: Ben Conway

For their largest advertising campaign to date, fitness brand Lululemon partnered with Daniel Wolfe and Droga5 to spark a ‘cultural conversation about wellbeing’. A message that I think we can all agree on and that has helped motivate and support many people during lockdowns is the notion of ‘healthy body, healthy mind’, making this campaign about physical, mental and social wellbeing especially prescient. The campaign celebrates the Lululemon brand ambassadors that kept us going during lockdown (thank you Mr Wicks MBE) as well as the feeling and holistic approach of living well.

The spot follows a man’s wellbeing journey, working, exercising and initially struggling to maintain his anti-social, repetitive lifestyle. Narrated with the words of Oscar Wilde’s The Selfish Giant, the rapid editing and stark, sudden shots tell an emotional and motivating story arch within its one minute duration. The campaign felt very genuine in a time when people wanted honesty and realness from brands who could empathise with the average person’s difficulties and that’s why it remains so resonant with me today. The editing still sticks in my mind and the artistic shots give a sense of grandeur, as if it were a movie trailer or short film rather than a 60 second spot. There’s also quite a delightful CG hummingbird that makes an appearance - the cherry on top for one of my favourite campaigns of the year.

Meta - The Tiger & The Buffalo

Chosen by: Ben Conway

In perhaps the biggest rebrand in recent memory, the social media behemoth Facebook changed its name to ‘Meta’ in anticipation of the internet’s future in the formation of a metaverse. Accompanying this rebrand was a large campaign that included this wonderfully psychedelic spot from Object and Animal director Andrew Thomas Huang that manages to capture the mysterious and myriad possibilities of the metaverse. The spot features puppets designed by Sonny Gerasimowicz, who designed the Wild Things in Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are, and mind boggling CG animals and environments that were created by Electric Theatre Collective’s innovative array of ‘AI generative tools’ (super high tech, futuristic stuff, I know). 

The campaign stands out as one of the most memorable of the year, not just because of its significance to Facebook’s story - one of the most influential tech companies (and companies full stop) in modern times - but also because of how it uses innovative tech to appropriately announce the arrival of the metaverse which, if realised, will have a profound impact on the advertising industry as a whole. 

Mega Tuna - Everyone Wants to Have It

Chosen by: Zoe Antonov

We’ve all been in a situation where we are staring over at somebody’s plate thinking how much we wished it was in front of us. Well, GIGIL’s spot for Mega Tuna depicts exactly that feeling, except…in a bit of an odd way. I remember when I watched this ad for the first time, I immediately felt compelled to rewatch it at least twice, just for the sheer ‘wow’ effect – which, I believe we would all agree, is not commonly caused by canned tuna. 

The ad follows the satisfying moment of a woman tucking into a can of Mega Tuna, while a hungry lizard observes every bite stuck on the wall. Already, you might be thinking, it seems a bit weird. Until things go completely upside down. The main character literally puts herself in the lizard’s shoes in the most incredible way possible. You really need to see it to believe it. Which I found myself doing when I showed this ad to most of my friends, simply because I couldn’t explain it.

Striking a very fine line between disturbing, funny and absolutely mind blowing, this spot definitely will stay one of my all time favourites and holds a pride place in my top list for this year. 

POLITIX - Mo-Hair Suit 

Chosen by: Zoe Antonov

With Covid, the past two years a lot of other issues have been unintentionally swept under the rug. Unfortunately, Movember turns out to be one of them. Although we need to be paying more attention to men’s health and issues that affect their mental health overall, Movember’s life-saving campaign is an incredibly important time of the year when people and brands alike rally to raise awareness and resources for the cause. Since its formation 18 years ago, Movember has opened great conversations surrounding prostate cancer, testicular cancer and men’s suicide, all very pressing issues.

This year POLITIX Menswear collaborated with Bullfrog and decided to not let this incredible cause get lost behind the headlines, and although they knew Covid was a pressing issue, they wanted to grab everybody’s attention. And they certainly grabbed mine. In their ‘Worn to be Heard’ campaign, POLITIX debuted the Mo-Hair Suit, a two piece single-breasted suit expertly tailored and custom-made using solely real human moustache hair. It was such an honour to find out more about the process around the creation of this suit from Pam Kleemann-Passi, the person behind its design and construction, who lost her husband to prostate and colorectal cancer in 2016. The mo-hair was sourced from collaborators of the project whose lives were affected by men’s health issues and they shared their unique messages, printed on the lining of the suit along with a dedication from Pam. The incredible tailoring of the suit, the meaning behind it and the pure love and devotion of everybody who was part of the project were all aspects of this campaign that made it unforgettable for me. 

PENNY - The Wish

Chosen by: Nisna Mahtani

We were initially told two weeks, which turned into two months and here we are almost two years later. The pandemic has taken a toll on everyone’s lives and this ad captured a moment that took me and everyone else on our team, by surprise. 

In PENNY’s Christmas ad by Serviceplan Campaign, a mother says ‘I Wish for You to Get Your Youth Back’ to her son, as we’re taken through parties that didn’t happen, first loves that were never found and lifelong experiences which had to be postponed. The campaign was sad, touching and stark - all at once. And that’s what made it so memorable for me, as well as the 16.7 million viewers it gained on YouTube. 

Burger King - Flame

Chosen by: Nisna Mahtani

It’s out with the new and in with the old as Burger King takes on a ‘70s theme. Adopting a more original looking logo, the new, old look was devised by Jones Knowles Ritchie and is here to stay. Burger King has been on fire this year, creating a camouflage apparel range, ‘Sauce Couture’, collaborating with McDonald’s once again and even earning Ogilvy two Cannes Grands Prix for their Moldy Whopper. In this rebrand, while Burger King impressed us with their rounded, bubbly-serifed font, they also pledged the removal of artificial ingredients and a reduction in their environmental impact. A strong aesthetic with a cause, I couldn’t really ask for more!

Little Black Book - Create. Promote. Roar.

Chosen by: The whole of LBB

But if we’re honestly talking personal creativity favourites of the year, there’s actually no contest. Because at LBB this March we all marvelled at what a cool company we work for as we released our first multi-channel campaign along with a rebrand, featuring a brand new mascot in the form of an adorable little worm (who is not to be ignored), courtesy of creative shop 2050 London. With a new tagline - ‘Create. Promote. Roar’ - all of our team were reminded of the core of what we try to do for the creative world. 

The aesthetic comes, in part, from our CEO Matt Cooper’s penchant for “art that works for a movement or change,” as he put it in an interview discussing the creation of the campaign. “I have an original Vivienne Westwood/Jamie Reid ‘God Save the Queen’ Sex Pistols T-shirt from Seditionaries, for example. I also collect the original posters from the May 1968 Paris uprising created by and for The Atelier Populaire. This art was never meant to be ‘art’, and certainly not to be hung on walls. But I love it. It's so energetic, even 50 years on. 

“I like the idea of movements and groups doing things for change, and whilst this may sound a little dramatic it is what LBB is all about. It’s not just a publication with a bunch of editors who are telling people what they think is best [Editor’s note: Ahem. Most of the time it’s not!]. I think that approach is a bit daft in our business, particularly as it pivots so often. LBB is about creating a place where huge networks, small indies, post houses, prod cos, editors, music and sound companies, and brands are all together on a level playing field showing what they do. No gatekeeper, and no bullshit. We want people to read about work they like and be inspired while they find who to work with.”

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LBB Editorial, Wed, 22 Dec 2021 13:44:10 GMT