The 10 Biggest Campaign Posts of 2014

By Patrick Coffee 

Vanilla

First, a Merry post-Christmas recovery to everyone in the advertising industry. We hope that our readers succeeded in forgetting about work for a few days, at least.

Over the past several weeks, we’ve reviewed the cards our agency friends sent to wish us — and the public at large — a happy holiday season. For the next step in our year-end review, we turn to the driving force behind the ad business: the work.

This isn’t a list of the most popular campaigns, the ads that most effectively moved units, or those that succeeded in an aesthetic and/or conceptual sense. It’s simply a list of the campaigns that, for whatever reason, inspired the most interest (read: clicks) on our blog over the past twelve months.

You’ll see some familiar faces in the lineup.

1. Nissan Wants You to Open “The Briefcase”

TBWA\Chiat\Day ended 2014 with a bang, winning Miller Lite, Airbnb, Buffalo Wild Wings and others while earning widespread acclaim for its Gatorade-sponsored tribute to Derek Jeter. But this spot for Nissan opened the year by pointing to trends that dominated the months to follow.

As one of our trusted commenters put it at the time, 2014 saw agencies “using EVEN MORE social media tie-ins,” though very few seemed to realize or care that said* practice can be “fucking exhausting.” We expect that trend to continue.

2. Girl Slobbers on Sausage in Carl’s Jr’s “Banned” Super Bowl Spot

One surefire way to get the guys’ attention is to promise them some sex (or the closest approximation thereof) in your advertising. As we noted in the original post, this particular ad was a spoof, and the real Carl’s Jr. recently moved from big, juicy wieners to grass-fed burgers. Still, something tells us that future campaigns will continue to fall back on old, reliable T&A.

3.¬†Jan Is Preggers in New Toyota Mother’s Day Spots from Saatchi & Saatchi LA

The ad in question recently vanished from YouTube, but it did show us that writing an actress’s pregnancy into a campaign is a new(?) way to “[blur] the lines between fiction and reality.

toyota-pregnant-600-65741

4. 72andSunny Want You to Join the Mile-High Club with Hardees/Carl’s Jr.

Fast food continues to equal sex even when Hilton progeny and football are nowhere in sight.

5. Fallon, Arby’s Confirm Suspicions: “We HAVE the Meats”

One doesn’t always have to turn to sex in order to sell food, though. Just as some agencies insist that we focus on “the work” above all else, so Arby’s and Fallon directed the public’s eyes toward those big slabs of MEAT.

6. W+K Launches First Campaign for TurboTax

One of W+K’s three spots from the last Super Bowl may have been scrubbed from YouTube, but it did attract more attention for a company helping millions of Americans through each year’s least pleasant event…

7. RPA’s Optimistic New Campaign for Honda Claims “Today Is Pretty Great”

In another campaign now gone from YouTube, Honda and RPA put a positive spin on car ownership among the financially poor, emotionally rich Millennial generation. For some reason, at least one of our contemporaries responded by insisting that the world at large still contains a wealth of decidedly crappy things.

8. Teaser for A Million Ways to Die in the West Hints at Explicit Trailer

As if to further prove the point that sex doesn’t necessarily sell, the reigning king of derivative gutter comedy Seth MacFarlane couldn’t release enough “explicit” trailers to save his excuse for a Western from earning $10 million less than expected on its opening weekend.

9. 72andSunny Shames Celebrity Smokers for Truth

We have no way of knowing what effect this PSA ultimately had on teen smoking rates, but seeing Chris Brown with a cancer stick in his mouth did not in any way inspire us to blow $15 on a fresh pack.

10. Vanilla Ice Rocks Out in New Kraft Mac n’ Cheese Spot from CP+B

Did this ad and its two million-plus views influence Kraft’s decision to stick with CP+B amidst a shakeup that rattled the industry in November?

We can’t answer that question, but revisiting the spot reminded us that the artist himself advises everyone to “just feel it, if you know what I mean.” (We’re not sure that we do.)

Here’s to another year…and another round of campaigns that will begin in full in the days leading up to February 1st.

*There’s your Easter egg.

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