12 best ads of 2021: of insight, idea, engagement, relevance and impact: Part 2

We all love lists. That’s why many clickbait articles have that format offering ‘5 reasons’ or offering ’10 things’. During this time of the year, we have a plethora of ‘Best of’ and ‘Worst of’ from the past year. The first part of my attempt at sharing 12 best ads of 2021 included both traditional TV commercials and some clever social media driven ideas. Here is my second and concluding part.

iTV: Drama vs Reality

Why I liked it: A TV channels promoting its catalogue of content which includes reality and drama shows is not a true product differentiator – many brands can claim that. But it’s in the perspective of that proposition lies the magic: as a face off between the two genres to gain attention. A spot featuring Ferne McCann, known for the reality show, ‘First Time Mum’ and actor Richie Campbell takes it to another level. The scale, production values and the attention to detail – are all outstanding. Loved it.

Agency: Uncommon

In July, there were other compelling creatives from Heineken, Channel 4, iPhone and more.


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Channel 4: Paralympics poster 

Why I liked it: in the context of today’s advertising, spotting well-crafted press ads and classic posters gives me great pleasure. As someone who saw the best of Indian print advertising in the ’90s this poster from Channel 4 brought a smile.

Channel 4 Paralympics

Compelling ads for DIRECTV, Dunzo, Zomato were also part of my August 2021 collection.

Screwfix: brand idents

Why I liked it: the best of creative teams gladly accept projects which many would consider boring or having no scope for creativity. Brand idents – those 5 or 10-second films where a brand announces its association with TV programme or a channel conveys what they stand for (remember these classic idents from MTV when it used to play music?). In such idents the sponsoring brand’s design elements or ‘story’ is woven into the visuals. A set of idents for Scewfix (UK retailer of trade tools, accessories and hardware products) do a great job of highlighting the brand in a visually engaging manner that sits well with the football match telecast cues.

Agency: Five By Five

In September, Cadbury’s 5-Star garnered a lot of buzz by re-creating their iconic 90s ad too.



Spotify: all ears on you

Why I liked it: the intent was to pitch Spotify as a brand that delivers an ‘engaged audience’ to advertisers and media buyers. Back in the day, publications and TV channels would send direct mailers and brochures to media planners or brand managers giving reasons why their property should get investments. In this TV spot, the visual metaphor of a bubble shows users oblivious to the world as they are ‘immersed’ listening to Spotify.

Agency: FCB

October was also a month of controversies raked up by social media outrages over portrayal of women in ethnic wear and a Diwali campaign from FabIndia. It was also the beginning of the festive season in India and several brands captured the mood in their ads.

IKEA Canada: Assemble together

Why I liked it: ‘Assemble together’ is such a clever phrase to depict both IKEA’s product philosophy and the sentiments associated with festivals. In Canada, while the Indian-diaspora is sizeable enough to be mainstream it is nice to see a festive ad anchored around a Diwali setting. The hero if the ad, as it were, is a foot-tapping Hindi film soundtrack. The visuals are ‘choreographed’ to its beat and it all makes for a riveting watch which brings a smile.

Agency: Rethink, Canada

November is also the month where Christmas ads make an appearance in the West. This year too there were many spectacular productions, which tug at the heart strings.



Swiggy One: Koko

Why I liked it: there are ads and then there are ads with a central idea. In this delightful ad for Swiggy One, the ‘pawtagonist’ or rather the protagonist is a pet cat through whom we see the benefits or ‘pitfalls’ of home delivery. Loved the copywriting and the voice over too.

Agency: Lowe Lintas

In December, CRED continued its throwback to 90s nostalgia while there were some clever ads from Air New Zealand and SEKONDA watches too.

Which one was your favourite? Do comment in.

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