In which we celebrate the best animated, most original, funniest and all-around awesome commercials of the past year!
Although we’re often tempted to fast-forward through the commercials when we catch up on our favorite shows on DVR, there are times when the animated spots during the breaks are actually much better than the tired shows they sponsor. Here is our annual salute to these inspired mini-bites of genius: They were made to sell us things, but they stole our hearts instead.
PSYOP’s ‘The Heist’ for Coca-Cola
This beautifully CG-animated spot for Coke, in which all kinds of insects join forces to steal a bottle at a picnic, brought back fond memories of Pixar’s A Bug’s Life. Of course, the technology has improved drastically over the past decade, so the team at Psyop were able to really put us in the amazing Technicolor world of the critters. Bringing the viewer a delicate combination of realism and anthropomorphic creativity, the ad has already won truckloads of awards since it debuted during last year’s Super Bowl broadcast. Our hats off to Emmy-winning director Todd Mueller for reminding everyone that it’s possible to scale dazzling heights with a simple premise that has been revisited many times since the early days of animation.
Director: Todd Mueller
Studio AKA’s ‘Trainset’ for Lloyds TSB
Trust veteran director Marc Craste (Jojo in the Stars, Varmints) and the team at London’s award-winning Studio AKA to make the otherwise grey world of mortgages and banking come to spectacular CG life in this charming spot featuring the now-familiar Lloyds TSB train. A young boy plays with a fantastic train set in his bedroom, while the real train passes through different lives outside, showing us how the bank’s myriad services have helped the bank’s customers everywhere. Craste’s gentle touch almost makes you forget what a big mess all those huge banks created in the real world’at least during the minute that you’re under the spot’s colorful spell.
Director: Marc Craste
LAIKA’s ‘Egg Class’/'Bored Room’/'Date’ for Hormel’s SPAM
It only takes 30 seconds for the boffins at LAIKA House to deliver the goods in this pair of hilarious stop-motion spots for SPAM. The Portland studio behind the award-winning feature Coraline shows us that it continues to produce clever commercials that really tickle the funny bone. The three spots focus on a dynamic can of SPAM that introduces excitement into a dreary classroom (of eggs), a dreadful board meeting (of various types of bread), and a yawn-inducing date (between mac & cheese) In this case, they actually leave you craving SPAM, which is not the easiest job in the world!
Agency: BBDO Minneapolis
Director: Mike Wellins
Executive Producer: Lourri Hammack
Screen Novelties/Acne’s ‘The Spooning’ for Corn Pops
We’ve gotten used to seeing awesome work by the gifted group at L.A.’s stop-motion animation studio Screen Novelties (Robot Chicken, Moral Orel) year after year. But this year, they really hit the jackpot with their wickedly funny horror movie spoof featuring a victimized Corn Pop that is surrounded by zombie milkmen. The music, the clever references, the great animation and the premise all work together to deliver one heck of a fun commercial, under Leo Burnett’s expert direction. Once you watch this spot, you’ll realize why The Jim Henson Co. is developing a feature based on the shop’s killer 2007 short Monster Safari.
Director: Leo Burnett
Production: Acne Media/Screen Novelties
Wanda Productions’ ‘Simple Gestures’ for Red Cross
It’s hard to forget the effective Red Cross public awareness message created by Paris-based Wanda Productions about the inter-connectedness of our actions, especially after seeing the aftermath of the recent earthquake in Haiti. The fluid animation style is quite effective in conveying the important message about how small acts of charity can make huge differences around the world.
Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi
Director: Damien Ferri’