The Top 5 Creative Ad Campaigns of 2018

We’re now well into the first month of the New Year and with lots of focus on 2019 trends and campaigns, we thought we’d look back at some of the best bits of 2018. As always, there was a lot of contenders, but after much debating, we have selected our top 5, scroll down to read the countdown.

First up, Number 5

Number 5 on our list is the Lloyds #GetTheInsideOut campaign. The powerful campaign, created by Adam & Eve/DDB, the second winner of Channel 4’s competition, which awarded £1m in free airtime to a creative idea focused on non-visible disability,  does an excellent job of simultaneously spreading awareness of mental health and linking it back to the statistic that mental health problems affect 1 in 4 of us.

The premise of the ad is based around people playing the Sticky Head game, which includes a mix of influential celebrities and athletes including Ade Adepitan and Victoria Pendleton. The impactful ad showcases the lack of knowledge and understanding we may have on mental health conditions whilst encouraging people to share their own story.

The TV advert was accompanied by a series of short web videos showcasing people’s stories in addition to a social media campaign where users would write #GetTheInside on a post-it note on their forehead and share it on social platforms to raise awareness and spark user-generated content, the most valued form of any content relating to a brand.

Numero 4

Next up, we have OkCupid with their DTF campaign. OkCupid gave the 14-year-old dating app a burst of life by redefining the social acronym DTF (Down To F***) excuse our language, an acronym used in dating apps, often in a derogatory manner. In these quirky ads OkCupid flips the acronym on the head with more positive messaging in these 70’s themed illustrations that have us feeling very eye-heart-emoji.

“Originally when we began crafting the idea, we were thinking it’d be cool to explore bold simple typography,” says art director Jessica Shriftman. “But the head of art production introduced us to Toilet Paper magazine, and immediately we thought that a ballsy style of photography would complement the work even more and show couples engaged in fun activities.”

The powerful tagline “Dating Deserves Better” sends a powerful message to their audience that their platform is serious about improving experiences and are aware of the current contextual issues the digital era has brought forward. A handful of the ads illustrate same-sex relationships, which was well received and saw a flurry of mentions on social media.

The campaign was not received well by everyone though, some rejected the ad as they believed the ads were provocative and linked too closely to politics, drugs and sex. That being said the campaign resonated with many and social mentions of OkCupid increased by 50% according to CMO Melissa Hobley. What are your thoughts on bold the campaign?

In 3rd Place

In 3rd place, it’s Nike’s “Nothing Beats a Londoner” campaign, which goes above and beyond to show the diverse range of young sport enthusiasts in London. The best part of the ad is that there’s no feature of Big Ben and no Olympic Stadium, instead, you see the streets of Peckham and the local Barbers in Finsbury Park, the ad even includes world famous Londoners Skepta and Mo Farah. This gives the ad a real sense of London and how we’re participating in sport every day.

The ad was well received by Londoners and had fantastic reviews nationwide. It had so much success that influencers were reacting on their YouTube channels, even the likes of Radio 1Xtra got involved and created a parody version for Birmingham.

The video obtained a whopping 4.6M views in a week. Although, despite the ad’s success, Nike faced legal challenges for using the phrase “LDNR” as the phrase had been trademarked by smaller competitors, including activewear brand LNDR. We would love to hear your thoughts on the campaign.

In at number 2!

Potentially the most shocking event of 2018 was KFC running out of chicken. This without a doubt had a huge economic impact on their business, so what did they do? They got creative with crisis management. The Colonel quickly jumped to twitter and posted a humorous graphic explaining and apologising for the situation.

In less than a week, KFC had re-opened 700 out of 900 restaurants but the crisis management didn’t stop there. The team decided to take a full page on the Metro Newspaper and again expressed their apologies.

The impactful creative work in the ad went viral. It was shared socially 219M times and reached 796M with editorial covers. Even attempting to locate a customer who was distraught at the fact they had to go to a Burger King instead.

Brilliant work from the team at KFC. Who knew to re-arranging letters would be so effective?

Drumroll, please… NUMBER 1

Finally, at number 1 we have Amazon’s celeb fueled campaign promoting “Alexa”. The ad is the perfect blend of humour and function, heavily endorsed with celebrity features such as Gordon Ramsey, Cardi B and Sir Anthony Hopkins to name a few. The cast of big names act as Alexa’s replacement as she has quite comically lost her voice. Trouble is, they’re terrible at the job.

“We felt each of these celebrities brought something different to the table — both from a humour perspective but also from a skill set perspective,” Boychuk (Creative Director at Amazon) said. “For example, we know customers like to use Alexa in the kitchen — so we wanted to make sure we cast an over-the-top chef.”

The ad was the most-watched ad on Youtube 2018 and claimed a staggering 50.1 million views. The ad does a spectacular job at humanising Alexa and uses her existing popularity to push awareness. You only hear Alexa’s voice twice throughout the entire ad, but the audience understands and is entertained by the technological phenomenon. The ad imaginatively displays Alexa’s benefits through the flaws in human beings. Very creative.


What was your favourite ad of 2018? For more information on Climb Online’s creative services, get in touch with our friendly team today!

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