22 campaigns that made advert execs jealous in 2020


Creative started 2020 with a bang. The usual “creative season opener” begins with the Super Bowl, and there were several ads that didn't disappoint, including one with Bill Murray who seemed to come out of nowhere from Highdive. Even those who didn't do this ad (or some other great work) were high profile. Creativity looked good in 2020.

Then ugh.

The creation of advertisements and marketing seemed to play such a subordinate role in the grand scheme of what the planet was enduring. The pandemic. The senseless killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so many other blacks is alive. Mass layoffs and vacation days. And in the west an unprecedented forest fire season. Oh, and the soon-to-be ex-resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Yet even in the smoldering remnants of a struggling world, the creative community – and agencies in particular – found green shoots to work with. Over time, we found our booth and adjusted (if we need to hear the word "pivot" again, help me, God). The agencies have proven that their talent is resourceful and can prevail. The work was what we expected in the crisis, but it got done.

Now a light seems to be emerging again, even in the face of terrible challenges. There is a sense of optimism that so cautiously shows up in more conversations. And work, the elixir of life in the industry, goes hand in hand with this feeling of brightness.

Yes, 2020 was a year to forget, but there was still work that got agency professionals thinking: "I wish I had." In its third year we're excited to share the work that has made other agencies jealous , green with envy … and hopefully motivated to keep moving forward and doing what we do best.

Below are seven campaigns that have been mentioned multiple times and 17 that an agency pro named as a favorite this year.

Match: Match Made in Hell when Satan met in 2020
Agency: maximum effort

Let's call it a max effort for George Dewey and Ryan Reynolds and the rest of the team two years in a row. Of course, we expect some neat stuff from the agency – and last year's Aviation Gin Poke at Peloton was a last-minute ad that surprised us all.

Similarly, Maximum Efforts for Match's work was selected by seven people as the best of the year and the work they would have liked to have done. It also brings a fairly large elephant into the devastated space which is 2020.

"It sums up 2020 in the best, most twisted, and culturally relevant way possible," said Jenna Zink, creative director at Terri & Sandy.

"It's so wrong that it's right. And I estimated the production value," added Piper Hickman, evp and global ecd at McCann Worldgroup.

Indeed, the campaign had written "courage" everywhere and somehow managed to make a point, entertain, not offend.

"A lot of agencies were understandably afraid of throwing 2020 into light because of the risk they could appear insensitive or deaf," said Roselyn Pla, junior copywriter at MullenLowe LA What It Is, a Dumpster Fire, as she peeked at her and stay true to the brand. Humor in this climate may be risky, but it was a risk that paid off.

Beats by Dre: You love me
Agency: translation

In a departure from the usual product-oriented advertising, Beats by Dre and Translation have made a critical statement about the impact of the black community on global pop culture. It's cleverly done, powerful, and features some of the greats like tennis star Naomi Osaka, rapper Lil Baby, Nascar driver Bubba Wallace, and Black Lives activist Janaya Future Khan.

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Jeffrey Rabinowitz