3 best creative advertising campaigns of 2022

McEnroe vs McEnroe for Michelob ULTRA – It’s only worth it when you enjoy it

John McEnroe is one of the world’s all-time best tennis players. Very talented and hard-working, John was famous for his intense playing style and confrontational disposition which earned him the nickname Superbrat. During his 18-year career, he won many championships, but he didn’t seem to enjoy playing tennis. Now a retired professional athlete, does John still feels the same about playing tennis? Light lager beer brand Michelob ULTRA, whose brand message is It’s only worth it if you enjoy it, reached out to John McEnroe and invited him to share his thoughts on his life and career from a fresh perspective in a very special campaign with the help of high technology. 

Brand: Michelob UTRA & ESPN

Campaign type: Sports event

Awards: 5x Cannes Lions, 1x FWA


10 million views across ESPN’s channels

Viewership overtook the 2021 NBA finals, making it the year’s most-watched sports event

Tip to spark your creativity: Find a powerful insight related to your customer that is in line with your brand value and message; find an innovative way to present it to your audience by using the technology available to you.

Trapped in the 90s for IKEA Spain

They say you don’t appreciate the things you have until they are taken away. Are you a morning person? You couldn’t imagine your life without your espresso machine which makes the best cappuccinos in the world. Or your healthy veggie shake which you make at home, on your easy-to-use blender. You grab it before heading to the office and puts a smile on your face. Brands are part of our lives and give us pleasure and comfort. What would your life be without them? That’s what IKEA Spain wanted to find out in celebration of 25 years since the brand’s arrival in the country. 

The year IKEA came to Spain is the year a new generation was born, Gen Z. The Gen Zers grew up with the level of comfort and design provided by IKEA products. What if we showed them what was life like in the 90s before IKEA? And that’s exactly what the creative team behind Trapped in the 90s did. They picked six Gen Zers or IKEA natives, as they named them, and invited them to participate in a reality show where they have to “survive a house with an explosive stove, heavy itchy blankets, rotary phones, smoky mirrors, and dim lights…” The goal of the campaign was to showcase the iconic brand’s impact on people’s daily lives. The participants who won the challenges prepared for them by the IKEA team were given IKEA products making their lives a bit more comfortable. 

Brand: IKEA Spain

Campaign type: Reality Show

Awards: 2x Cannes Lions 


169% increase in deliveries

Time spent on the IKEA Spain website – from 2 minutes to 18 minutes

+1.8 million minutes of content watched

1400% more interactions on social media

Over 1.5 million euros worth of new products were sold in the first-week

Tip to spark your creativity: Help your customers see what their life would be like without your brand

Under Armour: The First Meta Sneaker 

Whether it’s Second Life, GTA, Minecraft or The Sandbox, virtual world games are all the rage right now with millions of people playing them. The Metaverse has been a hot topic for the past two years and things got more serious when brands joined the conversation. BMW, Gucci, Nike, Disney and Coca-Cola are just a few examples of brands using the Metaverse and creating events inside established virtual worlds like Roblox or Decentraland. The problem with multiple metaverses is that you cannot take your assets from one world to the other. That’s a problem that Under Armour solved by building Genesis Curry Flow, the first wearable NFT with the ability to move between virtual worlds. 

Brand: Under Armour

Campaign Type: NFT collection

Awards: 1x Cannes Lions


The NFT collection sold out

Raised 1 million US dollars for charity in just 10 minutes

Tip to spark your creativity: Solve your customer’s problem in an innovative way

IKEA will produce more energy than it consumes by 2020

Ikea will generate more renewable energy than it consumes by 2020.

Find out more in the video!

IKEA’s Latest Innovation – ThisAbles

IKEA Israel teamed up with disability rights groups to develop ThisAbles, an innovative line of 3D-printed add-ons for IKEA furniture.

Find out more in the video!

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3 Grand Prix Winners at the 2019 Cannes Lions Awards

The Cannes Lions Awards are one of the most renowned awards in the world of advertising. Marketing, advertising and PR companies submit their campaigns hoping to bring home one of the coveted statues.

Here are 3 Grand Prix winners at the 2019 Cannes Lions Awards:

1. IKEA– ThisAbles

In a previous article dedicated to tech trends driving growth for businesses (read it here), I was writing about customers expecting brands to create products with the purpose of solving social issues.

Well, IKEA is one such great example. IKEA’s vision is to “create a better everyday life for as many people as possible”. Unfortunately, disabled persons have not been able to use IKEA regular furniture.

It is estimated that 10% of the world’s population is disabled. People with various disabilities cannot perform normal daily activities which we take for granted like turning on a lamp, opening a closet door or drawing the shower curtain. Until now.

IKEA designed ThisAbles project to allow people with special needs to enjoy the quality of life provided by IKEA products.

The project consists of a series of 13 add-ons which improve the accessibility of furniture items: the glass bumper, the mega switch, friendly zipper etc.

More importantly, IKEA made the designs available for free download on its website inviting users to 3D print them.

Campaign Results:

  • The sales of the 13 iconic items grew up by 33%;
  • More than 45,000 people from 127 countries visited ThisAbles.com with thousands of them downloading and 3D printing the add-ons;
  • Organic reach of 489M unique users;
  • International coverage with an estimated PR value of $4 million.

The project won Grand Prix at the 2019 Cannes Lions Awards in Health & Wellness for life-changing creativity.

2. Google – Creatability

In the early 1990s, Larry Page reportedly said ‘We are not really interested in search. We are making Artificial Intelligence.’

Almost thirty years later, Google is at the forefront of everything AI – new technologies, innovative products and tools enabling customers to leverage the power of AI.

Google’s project Creatability is about creating useful applications of the latest AI technology to allow disabled persons to unleash their creativity.

Creatability is a set of 8 experiments that explore how creative tools – drawing, music and more – can be made more accessible using the web and AI technology.

Creatability won Grand Prix in Design at the 2019 Cannes Lions Awards.

3. An-Nahar – the Blank Edition

Newspapers are a country’s source of information and the latest news. Journalists investigate and report on the main events. But sometimes newspapers stray away from their purpose and turn into a loudspeaker for politicians expressing opinions, blaming each other or making excuses. That’s not news. So what do you do?

In 2018 Lebanon had been without a government for over six months when An-Nahar, one of the country’s leading newspapers made a radical and risky decision: printing a blank edition rather than printing anything else other than news.

It was a powerful statement which drove everyone’s attention to the country’s crisis. Also, the newspaper used its blank edition to become a loudspeaker for the Lebanese people instead of the politicians. The people felt empowered to write their own headlines and messages on the paper’s white canvas.

Campaign Results:

  • $5 million in earned media;
  • Best selling edition of the paper;
  • #1 trending topic on Twitter;
  • Over 500 million media impressions;
  • Coverage in over 100 international publications (New York Times, Washington Post, BBC etc).

An-Nahar’s Blank Edition won Grand Prix in Print & Publishing at 2019 Cannes Lions Awards.

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Top 5 Best Christmas Ads of 2018

It’s that time of the year again – it’s Christmas Ads time!

Christmas is a great source of revenue for retailers, growing 18% year on year according to Salesforce.

Customers begin shopping for Christmas presents earlier every year (some say as early as September) so brands need to keep up and meet their customers’ needs.

It’s not yet December and the big brands have already released their Christmas Ads.

Here is our Top 5 best Christmas Ads of 2018:

1. John Lewis & Partners Christmas Ad 2018 Featuring Elton John

The John Lewis Christmas Ad has become one of the most anticipated videos in the advertising industry.

In the last years, the UK retailer has delivered ads packing an emotional punch:

#ManOntheMoon – 2015, over 30 million views
#BusterTheBoxer – 2016, almost 28 million views
#MozTheMonster – 2017, over 10 million views

The 2018 John Lewis Christmas Ad was published on November 14 and it already reached almost 10 million views in just seven days.

It is quickly becoming one of the best Christmas Ads ever and has the right ingredients for it: it tells Elton John’s story.


Main takeaway: Support your audience into finding their life’s purpose.

2. Iceland’s Banned TV Christmas Advert… Say hello to Rang-tan

Probably the most controversial Christmas Ad of 2018 is Iceland’s banned TV Ad – Say hello to Rang-tan, narrated by actress Emma Thompson.

This ad’s story is interesting and it attracted a lot of media coverage. The ad is not actually a Christmas ad. It was created by Greenpeace a few months back and was bought by Iceland, one of UK’s supermarket chains. The video draws attention to the killing of orangutans in Borneo due to deforestation for palm oil production.

The ad wasn’t banned because of its message but being created by a company of political nature – Greenpeace, it broke UK’s “no political ads on TV” rule.

With this ad, Iceland joins the ranks of environmentally conscious brands asking their customers to buy responsibly sourced products.

Main takeaway: Show your audience the values you stand by as a brand; in Iceland’s case – environmental consciousness.

3. IKEA – Lift

Not everyone can spend their Christmas night dancing at fancy parties or sipping champagne with friends and families.

But don’t let that take away your Christmas joy – Christmas home decorations are going to help you get in the Christmas mood!

Ikea | Lift | Augusto Zapiola from Mercurio Cinematografica on Vimeo.

Main takeaway: Celebrate Christmas wherever you are with whomever you are.

4. Official Heathrow 2018 Christmas Advert – The Heathrow Bears Return #HeathrowBears

In 2016, Heathrow Airport introduced their first Christmas ad featuring two endearing characters – the Heathrow Bears, Doris and Edward.

The 2016 and 2017 Christmas Ads showed their life’s journey – how they met and started a family. This year, the ad shows them as an elderly couple.

Prepare to shed a few tears:

Main takeaway: When Christmas is the perfect occasion to reunite with your family.

5. Amazon – Can you feel it

Amazon’s singing boxes return as the main characters of the 2018 Christmas Ad.

Although the ad follows the same narrative as last year’s, showing the brown boxes singing a song while being shipped from the warehouse to the happy client – it’s different.

The video has energy, rhythm and good vibes and it is all thanks to the music. The brown boxes are singing a cover of The Jackson5’s wonderful song Can you feel it. The Millennials may not be familiar with this song because it was released in 1981 but the MTV Generation are going to dance to it upon hearing the first beats.

There’s something about this Jackson5 song that is so uplifting! Many of the people watching the Amazon ad went back on YouTube to watch the original Jackson5 video. I know because I did exactly the same!

So can you feel it?

Main takeaway: Leverage your audience’s nostalgia through music.

T​he best local brands that went global

The world’s largest brands are facing a dual threat from slowing growth in developed economies and the rising popularity of homegrown brands. As getting more sales from existing customers becomes increasingly difficult, and costly, brands are turning their attention to the places where they can attract new customers – emerging markets. According to  Kantar Worldpanel’s fifth annual Brand Footprint study, emerging markets now account for 51% of global spend on fast-moving-consumer-goods (FMCG), up from 48% just three years ago. Emerging countries added $34 billion to the global industry throughout the year, a gain of more than 6% over last year, while sales in developed markets were flat. This year’s ranking analyzed 15,300 brands and 1 billion households in 43 countries across five continents in the 12 months to November 2016.

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“The underlying theme of this year’s report is disruption,” said Josep Montserrat, chief executive officer of  Kantar Worldpanel. “This not only relates to the political and economic climate of today, but also to the increasing number of disruptor brands and trends which are upsetting the status quo.”

While global brands remain dominant, local brands are achieving faster growth. Local brands grew by 3.9% in 2016, compared with 2.6% growth for global brands.

“In 2016, the price gap between global and local brands has narrowed to the point of disappearing,” said the report. “No longer does being a global brand automatically command a price premium. Global brand owners are having to work harder to convince consumer that a global choice offers the additional reassurance of quality and confers prestige.”

Local brands claimed the top spot in more than half of the countries studied by Brand Footprint. Some of these brands represent a more affordable option in struggling economies like Brazil and Argentina. However, in developed markets consumers have shown they are willing to pay a premium for homegrown products. Local brands are seeing the strongest performance in the food and beverage categories, while health and beauty brands continue to be driven by global brands.

Becoming a successful global brand requires an understanding of local cultures, lifestyles and ideologies, according to two industry figures. In a WARC Best Practice paper,  How global brands resonate across cultures, Sue Mizera and Alessandra Cotugno, senior executives at Young & Rubicam, observe that the standardization of brand name, logo, image, packaging and brand positioning simply enables brand recognition in multiple markets. Moreover, different brand values emerge as more important in different countries: Germans like the notion of directness, for example, while Indonesians prefer kindness and South Koreans favor energetic brands.

Here are five great local brands that are worldwide global successes: 

  1. IKEA
The IKEA story begins in 1926 when founder Ingvar Kamprad is born in Småland in southern Sweden. He is raised on ‘Elmtaryd’, a farm near the small village of Agunnaryd. Even as a young boy Ingvar knows he wants to develop a business.When Ingvar Kamprad is 17, his father gives him money as a reward for succeeding in his studies. He uses it to establish his own business. The name IKEA is formed from the founder’s initials (I.K.) plus the first letters of Elmtaryd (E) and Agunnaryd (A), the farm and village where he grew up. IKEA originally sells pens, wallets, picture frames, table runners, watches, jewellery and nylon stockings – meeting needs with products at reduced prices. In 1951, IKEA founder sees the opportunity to sell furniture on a larger scale using a catalogue, not famous worldwide. Two years later, Furniture showroom opens in Älmhult, Sweden. This is an important moment in the development of the IKEA concept – for the first time customers can see and touch IKEA home furnishings before ordering them. The showroom is born out of a price war with a main competitor of IKEA. As both companies lowered prices, quality was threatened. By opening the showroom, IKEA clearly demonstrates the function and quality of its low-price products. The innovation is a success; people wisely choose the products with the best value for money.

In the 1980s, IKEA expands dramatically into new markets such as USA, Italy, France and the UK., the brand beginning to take the form of today’s modern IKEA. In the 2000s, IKEA expands into even more markets such as Japan and Russia. This period also sees the successes of several partnerships regarding social and environmental projects. Today is a major retail experience in 40 countries/territories around the world.

2.  Shell

In 1833, shopkeeper Marcus Samuel decided to expand his London business. He sold antiques, but now added oriental shells. He aimed to capitalize on a fashion for using them in interior design. Such was the demand that Samuel quickly began importing shells from the Far East, laying the foundations for an import-export business that would eventually become one of the world’s leading energy companies. It was during a trip to Japan that Marcus became interested in the oil exporting business based in Baku, Azerbaijan, which was part of Russia at that time. The Rothschilds had invested heavily in the 1880s in rail and tunnels to overcome the transport difficulties of getting oil from this landlocked base to the Black Sea and from there to overseas markets.

Marcus and Sam commissioned a fleet of steamers to carry oil in bulk, using for the first time the Suez Canal. They also set up bulk oil storage at ports in the Far East and contracted with Bnito, a Russian group of producers controlled by the Rothschilds, for the long-term supply of kerosene.

Their strategy was high-risk: if news of their operations got out they would be squeezed out by Rockefeller’s dominant Standard Oil. With the maiden voyage of the first bulk tanker, the “Murex”, through the Suez Canal in 1892 the Samuels had achieved a revolution in oil transportation. Bulk transport substantially cut the cost of oil by enormously increasing the volume that could be carried. The Samuel brothers initially called their company The Tank Syndicate but in 1897 renamed it the Shell Transport and Trading Company.

In 1907 the company merged with Royal Dutch Petroleum Company, becoming The Royal Dutch Shell Group. There were two separate holding companies with Royal Dutch taking 60% of earnings and Shell Transport taking 40%. The business was run by a variety of operating companies. The merger transformed the fortunes of both companies. Under the management of Henry Deterding they turned from struggling entities to successful enterprises within twelve months.

The Group rapidly expanded across the world. Marketing companies were formed throughout Europe and in many parts of Asia. Exploration and production began in Russia, Romania, Venezuela, Mexico and the United States. The first twelve years also provided many exciting opportunities to demonstrate the quality of the products in the new, fast-developing market for gasoline. These included record-breaking races, flights and journeys of exploration.

More on the history you can read here.

3.  Nestlé

The company history begins in 1866, with the foundation of the Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Company. Henri Nestlé develops a breakthrough infant food in 1867 and in 1905 the company he founded merges with Anglo-Swiss, to form what is now known as the Nestlé Group. During this period cities grow and railways and steamships bring down commodity costs, spurring international trade in consumer goods. In 1904, Nestlé begins selling chocolate for the first time when it takes over export sales for Peter & Kohler. Henri Nestlé himself plays a key role in the development of milk chocolate from 1875, when he supplies his Vevey neighbour Daniel Peter with condensed milk, which Peter uses to develop the first such commercial product in the 1880s.

In 1960, with increasing numbers of households buying freezers, demand for ice cream is rising. Nestlé buys German producer Jopa and French manufacture Heudebert-Gervais to capitalise on this growth, and adds Swiss brand Frisco in 1962. The company also buys UK canned foods company Crosse & Blackwell. In 1961, Nestlé buys the Findus frozen food brand from Swedish manufacturer Marabou, and extends the brand to international markets. Findus is one of the first companies to sell frozen foods in Europe, from 1945. As chilled dairy products are increasingly popular, Nestlé buys French yogurt producer Chambourcy. In the early 1970s the latter launches the Sveltesse range of yoghurts, aimed at health- and weight-conscious consumers.

Moreover, 1969 is the year the company enters on the mineral waters market by buying a stake in French waters brand Vittel.

In 1974, for the first time, Nestlé diversifies beyond food and drink, becoming a minority shareholder in global cosmetics company L’Oréal. Three years later,the renamed Nestlé S.A continues its diversification strategy by buying US pharmaceutical and ophthalmic products manufacturer Alcon Laboratories.

More on the company’s expansion you can read here.

4.   Carlsberg

The brand was born in 1847, but the international approval came just 21 years later when the first Carlsberg beer was exported to Great Britain. Carlsberg was founded by J. C. Jacobsen, a philanthropist and avid art collector. With his fortune he amassed an impressive art collection which is now housed in the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in central Copenhagen. The first brew was finished on 10 November 1847, and the export of Carlsberg beer began in 1868 with the export of one barrel to EdinburghScotland.

The first overseas license for brewing was given to the Photos Photiades Breweries, and in 1966 Carlsberg glass and beer was brewed for the first time outside Denmark at the Photiades breweries in Cyprus. The first brewery to be built outside Denmark was in Blantyre, Malawi in 1968.

Carlsberg merged with Tuborg breweries in 1970 forming the United Breweries AS, and merged with Tetley in 1992. Carlsberg became the sole owner of Carlsberg-Tetley in 1997. In 2008, together with Heineken, it bought Scottish & Newcastle, the largest brewer in the UK, for £7.8bn ($15.3bn). In November 2014, Carlsberg agreed to take over Greece’s third largest brewery, the Olympic Brewery, adding to its operations in the country already and effectively transforming the firm into the second biggest market player in Greece.

More about the company’s growth you can read here and here.

5. Mercedes

The brand is known for luxury vehicles, buses, coaches, and trucks. The headquarters is in StuttgartBaden-Württemberg. The name first appeared in 1926 under Daimler-Benz. Mercedes-Benz traces its origins to Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft‘s 1901 Mercedes and Karl Benz’s 1886 Benz Patent-Motorwagen, which is widely regarded as the first gasoline-powered automobile.

Mercedes-Benz traces its origins to Karl Benz‘s creation of the first petrol-powered car, the Benz Patent Motorwagen, financed by Bertha Benz and patented in January 1886, [3] and Gottlieb Daimler and engineer Wilhelm Maybach’s conversion of a stagecoach by the addition of a petrol engine later that year. The Mercedes automobile was first marketed in 1901 by Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft. (Daimler Motors Corporation).

Emil Jellinek, an Austrian automobile entrepreneur who worked with DMG created the trademark in 1902, naming the 1901 Mercedes 35 hp after his daughter Mercedes Jellinek. The first Mercedes-Benz brand name vehicles were produced in 1926, following the merger of Karl Benz’s and Gottlieb Daimler’s companies into the Daimler-Benz company. On 28 June 1926, Mercedes Benz was formed with the merger of Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler’s two companies.Throughout the 1930s, Mercedes-Benz produced the 770 model, a car that was popular during Germany’s Nazi period. Adolf Hitler was known to have driven these cars during his time in power, with bulletproof windshields. The pontiff’s Popemobile has often been sourced from Mercedes-Benz.

More you can read here.

Some of Romania’s most successful and famous brands at an international level are: Dacia, Aqua Carpatica, ROM, Ursus, Bitdifender, Farmec, etc.


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