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Some of the Best Digital Ads of 2015

The awards season is coming to an end for digital advertising and now is the perfect time to review the best work in the industry.

The year is well underway and already we’ve seen some stunning displays in the advertising world. Of course, not all of us have huge budgets and teams lined up to make industry leading video content. But we can still learn something from the leaders, notably – the basic thought behind the production. And we’ve also included a Webby nominee that just used our old friend the banner ad.

Re2pect Campaign
Nike/Jordan’s Re2pect campaign honored a legend in sports, and entertainment in general, Derek Jeter. It was a smart choice too. Not everyone is a Yankee’s fan, but this is a guy who’s hosted SNL, appeared in ads, and is celebrated universally throughout the country. The other appearances from the likes of Rudy Giuliani and Jay-Z are welcome surprises.

Nike/Jordan – Re2pect Campaign (Derek Jeter)
2015 Integrated Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity
Wieden & Kennedy New York

Even though most brands would never be able to pull this off, what we can take away from it is the thought behind it. This ad hits so hard emotionally because Nike made themselves a part of the sports community. Not as a huge international brand, but as a spectator. It doesn’t have anything to do with selling shoes, but everything to do with positioning.

Awkward Family Viewing
This is something you’ll only want to view alone, and it still might make you uncomfortable. Highlighting the problem between broadcasting widely popular shows and having adult content you may not want to view as a family, HBO’s ad is pretty long already, but the discomfort makes it feel like an eternity.

HBO Go – Awkward Family Viewing
2015 Webby Award Winner

The reason this one got so much attention at the Webby’s is that HBO took a huge risk by pointing out their own faults. HBO might not be family friendly, so the users should get HBO Go to watch alone. This is a bold move, pointing out a problem in their own service and providing the solution. What we can take away from this is the potential in taking branding risks, the potential in engaging in self-reflection as a brand and acknowledging what things look like from the user perspective.

Running on Bullshit
This was a great move by Toyota. Crazy idea, great skeptical voice in the farmer character, and bold language. The concept was simple but opens minds to the possibilities that the project opens up.

Toyota – Running on Bullshit

This ad drew on a legacy of successful ads pulling off a stunt. You’d think a stunt like this would be impossible for your brand to think up, but a lot of companies manage to do it anyway. One of the most well known successes is Blendtec’s “Will it Blend?” The tricky thing is overcoming the bias of having your world revolve around your company, and finding a stunt that’s interesting to people who aren’t familiar with your product or service.

The Most Loyal Banner
Finally, a banner ad! Their delivery still had a high degree of sophistication though. The ad started out as a cute and inoffensive eye-catcher, then moved on to follow you through the web giving you new messages. A hugely memorable experience for what consisted of just a series of static images.

Pedigree – The Most Loyal Banner
2015 Webby Award Nominee

This one goes to show that with a banner ad, the simplest, shortest delivery of your message is most effective. The first images don’t have any text, while the final banner reads simply, “There’s nothing more loyal than a dog”. We can all find elements in ad creative that can be taken out or slimmed down. You have a split second to make an impact, make sure a split second is all you need.

Ryan Ernst is a Digital Strategist at Use All Five.
Follow Ryan on Twitter

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