Creative Salon Selects 2021
Some of our favourite work of 2022
20 December 2021
From the RAF to McDonalds, Christmas trees to the metaverse, this year saw some outstanding work coming from all sides despite the ongoing disruption of the pandemic.
Here at Creative Salon, we like to celebrate that. Take a look at some some of our favourite creative work of 2021
Royal Navy, ‘Raj’s Story’ by Engine Creative
Every time I see a Sikh gentleman with a turban, I want to walk next to them or sit in the same train carriage as them. It feels like home. I left my family and first arrived to this country in 2000 and less than three months in was working as a marketing/media reporter. Born and brought up in a privileged middle-class family in India, I did not experience the ‘otherness’ that my husband did - a second-generation Sikh born and brought up in 60s and 70s Britain. And as a product of this industry, which welcomed and embraced me with open arms, don’t think I was ever made to feel invisible. I also believe I was a very ‘good’ immigrant. And then came along this 60-second film from Engine Creative exploring the identity of a Sikh naval officer. I’ve poured my heart out to say why I love this, already. This will remain a favourite of mine for a very long time.
Kiyan Prince Foundation, ‘Long Live the Prince’ by Engine Creative
This campaign has quite rightly already troubled awards juries and should hopefully continue to do so next year in Cannes. But ultimately that doesn’t really matter. What does matter is the impact it has on raising awareness of knife crime and the routes out of it for vulnerable kids. While the CGI recreation of Kiyan as he would have appeared had he reached the age of 30 was remarkable, more incredible still was the way that it was integrated into EA Sports FIFA 2021 and onto playing cards in such an authentic way that his memory and legacy is never forgotten, and that others don’t suffer the same fate.
Macmillan Cancer Support, “Whatever It Takes” by AMV BBDO
You don't have to have lived through some of the deeply moving scenes portrayed in this ad to feel the twist in your stomach and the burn in your eyes; I defy anyone to be unmoved by this superb film. But if you have had experience of cancer, AMV's ad will speak to you with a beautiful and brutal truth that absolutely takes your breath away and yet still manages to be life-affirming. Utterly masterful.
Niantic, ‘Meet You Out There’ by Gravity Road
When it comes to making campaigns for holder companies, much of the message can get lost in the noise. Not so with this clear-cut campaign for Niantic, which conveys a sense of wonder and adventure that really make sense for what its founder John Hanke is all about.
The secret, as Mark Boyd founder of Gravity Road told us earlier this year, is that, “It all comes from John. He’s a thought leader, who can articulate in a very clear way and so fuels this whole discussion. I mean, fundamentally, he created Google Earth because he was concerned his son was playing games too much. That vision is what gives the ARship a North Star to follow, and it's the message of the work too.”
If anything, this campaign is all about authenticity, and staying true to the founder's — and by extension, the brand's — values.
Diet Coke, “Just Because” by Droga5 London
When I was growing up (in the days before Diet Coke), Coke was just the coolest drink. It came in a glass bottle and it was a proper treat. The ads - dripping Americana when Americana was so thoroughly aspirational and so utterly remote - made it so much sweeter. Over the years since then, Coke advertising has been mostly either forgettable or awful. Droga5's wonderful film for Diet Coke, directed by Autumn de Wilde with addictive music by Thundercat, made Coke cool again.
Fussy, ‘A Home for Douglas’ by Saatchi & Saatchi London
Sorry to bang on about this campaign but I love it. It didn’t have the big budgets of most Christmas advertising extravaganzas and it existed only on social channels. But who cares? It’s funny, it’s slightly subversive and it’s for a sustainable product and shows that you don’t need to pull on the heartstrings for purpose – a tug of the funny bone is far more effective and distinctive.
DFS, ‘What’s Your Thing?’ by Pablo
What this campaign shows is that when it comes to great creative, being purpose-led often trumps being product-led. I can’t recall a DFS ad in the past that didn’t make me want to get lost down the sofa for good, but then came this spot from Pablo, which allows the consumer to understand why they would want a sofa, rather than ramming one down their throat.
As Hamish Cameron, strategy director at Leo Burnett told us earlier this year: “All great advertising leaves a certain amount unsaid, allowing room for the audience to complete the idea or project their own desire into the message.”
When brands get metaphorical, a whole new world of creative opportunity arises.
McDonalds, ‘Lights On’ by Leo Burnett
Brilliantly powerful and such an elegant outdoor campaign at the same time - ingeniously using just half of McDonald’s iconic Golden Arches to promote their home deliver service during the lockdown.
1/3McDonalds, 'Lights On' by Leo Burnett
2/3McDonalds, 'Lights On' by Leo Burnett
3/3McDonalds, 'Lights On' by Leo Burnett
British Beer Alliance, ‘Long Live The Local’, by Havas
This is a similar sentiment to the above. A noteworthy mention.
The rain, the ridiculous paper hats in Christmas crackers, and the pub - so woven into the experience of being British. And as pubs and restaurants around the country are quieting down once again, I’m reminded of this heart-warming campaign from Havas celebrating the local pubs. The best ads are always distinctive and memorable. This campaign managed to deliver on both those counts.
Sekonda, ‘No Time for Nonsense’ by Lucky Generals
It’s a watch ad, sans the nonsense. There's a lot to be said for that.
As Danny Hunt, creative director at Lucky Generals, said of the campaign himself: “Nobody has any time, especially for all the pompous jargon in the watch world. So we set ourselves apart by creating work that is bold, to the point, and behaves differently from anyone else in the category.”
During a period of intense complexity, sometimes the simpler really is better.
That's some of this year's best creative, curated.