The 10 Best Commercials of 2012

The year's most entertaining, intriguing, powerful and beautiful spots

DirecTV, "Charlie Sheen"

Agency: Grey, New York
Director: Tom Kuntz, MJZ

The annoyances of cable TV may seem minor. But in fact, boring programs and poor customer service could be life threatening, setting in motion a series of unfortunate events that will send your life spiraling into the toilet, leading to misery, personal degradation and death (or at least, fake death). That was the darkly mirthful premise behind Grey's hilarious campaign this year for DirecTV. Creating compelling mass-market ads for a TV provider is harder than for cars or beer. But Grey did just that with a novel, quotable, meme-inducing structure for the voiceover narration, paired with amusingly bleak visuals from director Tom Kuntz. Particularly inspired was Charlie Sheen's cameo as "the unofficial poster child of bad decisions and life spiraling out of control," says Grey's Doug Fallon. The actor repaid the faith in him tenfold, delivering the funniest wordless performance of the year with his absurdly committed look at the end. Speaking at Cannes in June, Bill Clinton said this was his favorite ad campaign of the year. Join the club.

Full credits here.

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