The Year in Creativity, 2019 — Part 2

100 top creative leaders on their favorite work of the year, and where we're headed next

To close out 2019, Muse asked 100 top creative leaders to give us their thoughts on the state of creativity—to tell us their favorite work of the year, trends they find exciting, and predictions for 2020.

You can download the full report at this link.

We're also publishing the report as a series of five Muse articles throughout this week. This story is Part 2. Click through to the other installments below:

The Year in Creativity, Part 1
• The Year in Creativity, Part 2 (this story)
The Year in Creativity, Part 3
The Year in Creativity, Part 4
The Year in Creativity, Part 5


The Year in Creativity, 2019 — Part 2

Click the links to jump to individual entries, or scroll down to see them all.

• Cossette | Peter Ignazi, Global CCO
• CPB | Quinn Katherman, Creative Director
• David | Pancho Cassis, Global CCO
• David&Goliath | Ben Purcell, ECD
• DDB New York | Derek Barnes, CCO
• Dentsu Jayme Syfu | Merlee Jayme, Chairmom and CCO
• Design Army | Pum Lefebure, CCO
• Deutsch Los Angeles | Brett Craig, CCO
• Deutsch New York | Dan Kelleher, CCO
• Droga5 London | David Kolbusz, CCO
• Droga5 New York | Tim Gordon and Felix Richter, CCOs
• Energy BBDO | Susan Treacy, ECD
• Engine | Will Gelner, CCO
• EP+Co | Con Williamson, CCO
• Exverus | Talia Arnold, Head of Media Strategy and Planning
• Fancy | Katie Keating and Erica Fite, CCOs
• FCB | Susan Credle, Global CCO
• FCB Toronto | Nancy Crimi-Lamanna, CCO
• Fitzco | Noel Cottrell, CCO
• Forsman & Bodenfors New York | Cerra Buckholz, Creative


Cossette

Peter Ignazi
Global Chief Creative Officer

PROUD OF

nabs Canada is unique in that it helps us—people in advertising and marketing—when we are experiencing hardships. But their awareness in our community is very low. Mental health is one of the key issues nabs deals with. We used Canada's biggest advertising award show to reach our target audience and bring a truth to life: that even though someone may look successful, or indeed be successful, they can still be desperately in need of help. We worked with the host, the Advertising & Design Club of Canada, to create a fake award, hired an actor and wrote him a script based on real stories from nabs. Everything was staged except the reaction of the ad people in the room. It was risky. But so is silence.

JEALOUS OF

I have kids. They're not at social media age yet, thank God. But they will be soon. "Insta Novels" from the New York Public Library is something I love. Sure, I don't know if any kid is going to read Jude the Obscure on instagram. But it's the kind of innovative thinking that makes this world exciting. We have a problem, how are we going to solve it? By telling kids to come in to read a book? Like we've been doing since forever? No, let's bring the book to them. It's creativity at its most wonderful and beautiful.

EXCITED BY

I'm excited by data being put back in its place. Data is wonderful for getting to stronger, more insightful insights, targeting better and reaching that target better, and, as I've found more and more, an amazing tool for selling ideas in a way that goes way deeper than "Trust us, it'll work!" But data in and of itself is not the answer. For years now, charlatans have been touting as such. The answer has not changed since cave drawing: It's creativity and the power of ideas. People in this industry are finally coming out of their "Data is everything" reverie and getting back to the truth. Ideas first. We'll, of course, forget this the next time someone tells us what the next version of "digital first" or "mobile first" or "data first" is. But it's nice to dream we won't.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

I judged Clio Film this year. I've judged a number of shows in my time. But this one was different. Something strange was happening to me and my fellow jurors. I noticed them laughing. I noticed me laughing. I'd get up excitedly and run over to see what they were watching. They were laughing at crazy things like Reese's Puffs cereal "What do you really want?" Ryan Reynolds and the blow job guy from Fyre Festival for Aviation Gin. Some insane Voiz cracker spot that's worth every one of its 160 seconds. Is humor coming back? Please tell me humor's coming back!

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CPB

Quinn Katherman
Creative Director

PROUD OF

I'm really proud of the Hotels.com collaboration we did with Poo-Pourri this fall called #FirstPooWithBoo. We found that when couples take their first overnight trip together, they experience a lot of stress in sharing a bathroom with their significant other. So we teamed up the two brands to make these first trips a lot less stinky and stressy. It struck the right notes of insight and humor while relating to a specific audience. Sometimes brand partnerships feel really forced and random, but this was such a natural yet unexpected connection that it worked. Also, poop jokes are never not funny.

JEALOUS OF

I was frequently jealous in 2019. For one, I really loved the China Airlines spot #WhatTravelBringsYou. I admired how surprisingly honest it was. It's so hard to convince clients to go in a direction that might be considered "negative," but in this spot, you're not left feeling sad but rather inspired in a way. Also, Fleabag is such a masterpiece, it deserves to mentioned anytime the subject is creative jealousy, even if it's not advertising. And lastly, the Peloton ad … hahahaha, just kidding.

EXCITED BY

The death of the influencer. Remember who we were before the people we admired in social media were suddenly trying to sell us detox tea? I don't. But I look forward to rediscovering it … now that I'm fully detoxed.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

I was hoping for male pregnancy, but that seems doubtful now. That said, I do think we are going to see a lot meaningful work. It's an election year, so the opportunity to make people think is tough to resist. So we'll definitely see a push toward mindfulness in different ways. I also think the idea of a campaign in the traditional sense is fading out. Modern brands understand that there's greater opportunity in a strategic comms planning approach that allows them to target specific segments of their audience and be flexible with their message. So while the brand personality and big idea is consistent, it doesn't mean everything has to be the same message for the same people in all the same typical places in order to be considered a "campaign."

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David

Pancho Cassis
Global Chief Creative Officer

PROUD OF

Having the balls to leave LOLA and start my own company is definitively the project I'm most proud of. Not only in 2019, possibly in my whole career. I was very comfortable, with a very strong team and a cool set of clients, but the future held something different for me. That's how I ended up at David, with not one but four outstanding teams and a set of dream clients. In terms of work, the Stevenage campaign for Burger King is the most rewarding project we did this year. It became a hit among gamers around the world, and it all started with the surprising sponsorship of one of the smallest soccer teams in England. A bold gaming hack that took a lot of planning from us and vision from the client.

JEALOUS OF

More than a project, I admire the relationship and the trust Nike has with Wieden + Kennedy. Yes, Kaepernick is awesome, by far the best marketing move of the year, but on top of all of that, there's a partnership that has gone through good and bad. It's the best way to stay on top and do masterpieces like that—find your perfect match and be true partners, with lots of patience and understanding.

EXCITED BY

Technology and gaming. I think we underestimate the power of the gaming community and the relevance brands can have in their lives. On the other side, we tend to deify anything related to new technology and IoT. So, I'm excited to see how big brands will play in the gaming world and also how they will incorporate new technologies such as voice control or tactile tech into their communication.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

I'm super excited to see big brands doing great work with small shops. Right now, the trend is growing, and more and more clients are asking for a personal non-BS partner, working as one team on top of their businesses. All of this should lead us to a place where we not only do ads, but we deliver creative solutions to business problems. From product design to commercials, I believe the future of the industry is to do much more than just advertising.

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David&Goliath

Ben Purcell
Executive Creative Director

PROUD OF

These days everyone is searching for the latest in VR and AR, so for the launch of Jurassic World: The Ride at Universal Studios Hollywood, we wanted to make it feel like actual reality. We worked with a production company and used CAD files from the film to build a flock of 15-foot Pteranodon drones. We built a sound library to add to the realism. Then launched them over one of the most iconic areas in Southern California—the Hollywood Sign. The message spread socially. In addition, we created a short cinema film. In that content, we find an astronaut, a cowboy, a stuntman on fire and an assortment of actors running for their lives on the backlot. Eventually we discover that they are fleeing from a 60-foot T-Rex running loose at the park. It just got real.

JEALOUS OF

When I discovered the Sandy Hook Promise "Back-to-School Essentials" ad, it stopped me. As the father of three kids, the subject of gun violence in school is common. And so is the work. It's always a startling statistic. And a somber track. For many, it gets ignored. Kids see it and think that wouldn't happen to my school. But this piece sneaks up on you. The upbeat music with kids playing to camera feels like another retailer commercial. Then as sneakers are used to escape and socks are used as tourniquets, it shifts. To end up in a believable place with a girl standing on the toilet, texting her mom is powerful. And it works. I applaud the bravery. I shared it with my own kids. Seeing their own stunned reactions let me know, it may just stick.

EXCITED BY

More and more brands are starting to seeing the value of being purpose-driven. Years ago, at his famous TED Talk, Simon Sinek stated that people don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it. While some brands adopted this mentality, many have waited to see if it makes business sense. It's exciting to see many more brands making it part of their mission. And doing it in an authentic manner. It's inspiring to work on. This approach leads to work with more of an emotional connection. And makes advertising feel bigger than advertising. Brands like Patagonia and Nike may have carved the way, but it's good to see others actually doing it. And meaning it. When I saw what Lego was doing it in their creation of Braille Bricks to make learning more fun for the visually impaired, I found myself liking the brand even more.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

Experience continues to grow in importance. Consumer experience. Human experience. Nailing this is vital to a company's growth and relevance. You can't talk at potential viewers and visitors. You must engage with them in a way that lets them know that you get them. Like, for instance, the collaboration between Coca-Cola and Stranger Things, in which they created an '80s pop-up arcade in London with a hidden passage to the Upside Down world. More than ever, you need to give consumers a chance to interact and have a personal experience. Be authentic and invite them to take part. If you don't, they'll dismiss you and tell their thousands of friends. If you do, they'll be become your biggest advocate. And amplify your message for you.

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DDB New York

Derek Barnes
Co-Chief Creative Officer

PROUD OF

Lots of great things came out of 2019 for DDB New York, but becoming the first agency of record ever for an amazing company like Kroger makes us especially proud. Their brand values, their passion for great creative, their bravery in pursuing it and their collaborative spirit make the process a joy. They also make the work better. We're thrilled and honored to be their partners and look forward to huge things for the Kroger brand in the year ahead.

JEALOUS OF

Maybe the impending holiday season has me in a traditional mood, but lately I've found myself more than a little jealous of the Argos department store https://musebycl.io/index.php/music/christmas-ad-season-britain-gets-epic-musical-start"Book of Dreams" TV commercial. A) Because those big budget, mega-spot TV briefs are increasingly rare. And B) because the creative people responsible totally nailed this one. Whether it's the :60 or the 2.5-minute version, every second is perfectly executed. So many smart choices in telling a charming story that also happens to be a retail one. Big, showstopper films like this can backfire if they feel unoriginal or simply bloated. This one justifies itself with every viewing. Such a great reminder that no matter how much our industry changes or what medium we create in, craft is truly paramount.

EXCITED BY

We're lucky to have a fantastic roster of clients at DDB, and I would say—across the board—those clients are not only increasingly receptive to great creative, they're pushing for it. They're challenging old assumptions, old internal processes that may have gotten in the way of making famous work, and are now hungry for ideas that previously might've made someone nervous. "Where's our Cannes idea?" is no longer just a question agency creatives are asking each other. More clients seem to be raising their expectations and ambitions for breakthrough creative work, and that's a wonderful thing.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

2020 will no doubt continue to push the evolution of what agencies are capable of offering their clients. As new challenges to their businesses emerge, we'll see new, diverse asks coming our way. I can't go too much into specifics, but as we wind down 2019, we've already got a few projects in the works for clients that break exciting new ground for DBB. I think more and more, we're going to be asked for creative solutions that aren't ads.

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Dentsu Jayme Syfu

Merlee Jayme
Chairmom and Chief Creative Officer

PROUD OF

On May 13, election day in the Philippines, we came up with a vending machine that celebrated teens and young adults who were first-time voters. After they cast their ballots, semi-permanent, indelible ink was applied to their forefingers, supposedly to prevent electoral fraud such as double voting. On their way to the exit, they passed by the Coke https://dentsujaymesyfu.com/2019/06/coca-cola-ink-up-drink-up/"Ink Up, Drink Up" vending machine. Facing the screen, they had to hold their finger high like a number 1—for the "first time." Capturing the ink on the finger, the machine dispensed free Coke bottles. The screen doubled as a camera and automatically took their images and shared them in social media. This activation recognized the youth's activism and involvement with renewed optimism with a brand that stood for "refreshing today and giving hope for tomorrow."

JEALOUS OF

The New York Times campaign. It's a copywriter's dream project. It's relevant during times like these when fake news is part of our everyday news. This campaign lets us into the journalists' world of bravery, relentlessness and perseverance. It shows us how they go to great lengths to help all of us understand the world we live in. In all the films, the truth indeed, is always worth it.

EXCITED BY

More than trends, what I found exciting was the fact that more and more creative thinkers are leaving their "comfort zones" and diving into their "courage zones" to push accessibility. They made ideas accessible to other brands for a higher purpose. Some examples were the Dove/Girlgaze project #ShowUs and Volvo's E.V.A. Initiative. Dove shared their own stock photos of real women with other brands, while Volvo collected data learnings on the effects of car crashes on female bodies, then made this accessible on their website for other car makers. The focus on the disabled was also part of accessibility, from Ikea's ThisAbles to the Microsoft's Xbox Adaptive Controller.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

The expansion of technology to create more immersive experiences for consumers that solves real life problems is my inspiration as we move toward 2020.

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Design Army

Pum Lefebure
Chief Creative Officer

PROUD OF

There were a lot of great projects in 2019, but the Hong Kong Ballet 40th anniversary campaign has to be my top pick. Given the opportunity to reinvent ballet by transforming the classic and traditional into something new and relevant was very rewarding. The visually driven campaign is undeniable. We love creating brand campaigns that can't be ignored. We were able to bring a beautiful message to the streets of Hong Kong with the campaign; fast forward to today, and it's especially impactful for Hong Kong, where there's only negativity in the news.

JEALOUS OF

Can't say I am jealous but rather I admire the creativity of 17-year-old Billie Eilish. Her music really moves me and millions of others across many generations. I find her creativity has a lot of depth—it's soulful, fresh and unapologetic. She's completely authentic from a branding standpoint, which is hard to do in the micromanaged music business. I loved the music video "You Should See Me in a Crown" by artist Takashi Murakami.

EXCITED BY

Escapism! I think that 2020 will bring clarity to everyone that the "weirdness era" is coming, and you will have to be ready for anything. It's also a big election year … everything is up in the air! People respond to "awkward beauty," complex colors like electric pastels, and fantastical visual language that lets them dream and escape.

In addition, some other things that will be HUGE in 2020 ... Meal plans based on your DNA. Self-driving cars (or scooters) will be everywhere. Water stations with CBD, vitamin C and collagen infusions with a splash of seltzer and caffeine. Adapting to be an early adopter. TikTok, download it now!

LOOKING FORWARD TO

I'm excited by the idea of A.I. integration in our daily creative process. It's really going to help us design by taking care of the "busy work" so we can have more time to focus on the concept and the thinking. Recently, I was at an Adobe Influencer briefing and the A.I. integrated software (Adobe Sensei) was so amazing at machine learning and generating prototypes that would take a creatives hours to design. Some creatives worry that A.I. will replace their role as designers. I personally disagree and think that A.I. is great. Like, why do the laundry by hand (busy work) when you have a washing machine?

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Deutsch Los Angeles

Brett Craig
Chief Creative Officer

PROUD OF

I'm proud of the Squirt work created by Jessica Kemmerling, Caroline Gallalee, Carmen Love and Doris Chung. I love that this film reintroduced Squirt in such a modern way and felt like something that bubbled up out of culture, rather than feeling like it's been created by a corporation. It's got this super silly yet brash and confident vibe all at the same time. The music and the animation and overall execution are all spot on.

JEALOUS OF

Too often brands clamor for purpose and end up feeling disingenuous when they jump on the latest cultural or political bandwagon. But one example that really got it right was the "ThisAbles" work for Ikea. To me, this idea is the perfect intersection of a great concept, great timing and aligns with the brand's actual purpose. Ikea has always been about good furniture that's accessible to all. So, to make their furniture even more accessible for people with disabilities, they created hacks/embellishments to their products that made it easier to use. And then, they made it available through 3-D printing, anywhere in the world, which was so smart. I love every part of this idea.

EXCITED BY

The idea of making more things. Because we need to be faster and more nimble, we are forced to not only think of the idea but also create it ourselves. That wasn't always the case. The creatives coming up right now have the tools and the know-how to make stuff. They direct. They edit. Many know how to build, create and feed an audience on social because they've been doing it since they were kids. We have people at Deutsch who create complicated tech, and they just build it themselves. We are increasingly becoming people who make ideas rather than hire people to make our ideas for us. And that prospect is energizing.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

Seeing how brands behave in the most politically contentious election year in my lifetime. On second thought, maybe I'm not looking forward to that. Will we see brands enter the fray on various issues? I suspect some might. On the other hand, some brands might realize the polarization inside the country is so vast that staying away from politics is only way to navigate it. We shall see.

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Deutsch New York

Dan Kelleher
Chief Creative Officer

PROUD OF

To demonstrate Busch's commitment to NASCAR and its diehard fans, we put the heart-pounding, 200-mph-speeding thrill of NASCAR into their beer cans—literally. We took Kevin Harvick's #4 Busch racecar, ripped it apart, and then used the sheet metal and carbon fiber to create 40 collectors' edition cans of Busch beer. Afterward, the cans were signed by Kevin, numbered, and each was documented to show which part of the car it came from. Then fans got their chance to win them at the Daytona 500. During the race, we hosted live NASCAR trivia questions on broadcast, which fans raced to answer on Twitter using #Car2Can. The fans who answered correctly the fastest won their own piece of NASCAR history—the first and only beer made from a racecar. If you love Busch beer and NASCAR, that's about as cool as it gets.

JEALOUS OF

The New York Times' "The Truth Is Worth It" campaign is some of the most impactful and beautiful work that I've seen in a long time. The idea behind the campaign is smart and simple—The New York Times goes above and beyond in its dedication to bringing important news and truths to light. It was then executed with incredible skill and care. The films in particular genuinely make you feel something. They are powerful, emotional true stories that immediately grab you and never let you go—even long after you are done watching.

EXCITED BY

Augmented reality and virtual reality experiences have come a long way from the days of Cardboard and Glass. Although VR has yet to escape the hardcore gaming community, manufacturers continue to improve fidelity. Experiencing something on the HTC Vive Pro with a serious GPU will instantly prove it's a fully immersive and transformative medium in a way that that other formats are not.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

Personalization in advertising has had a profound effect on our ability to talk to consumers. We know people are much more willing to interact with a brand offering a personalized experience. Gone are the days of just serving up a one-size-fits-all piece of content to millions of people. Where the future gets really interesting is data + machine learning's ability not just to segment the population into micro groups but to help us create millions of unique pieces of advertising for each and every person. 2020 looks to be much more personal and impactful than ever before.

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Droga5 London

David Kolbusz
Chief Creative Officer

PROUD OF

I'm proud of the team of people we've built and the output they've generated. This sounds like a cheat, and I might as well have said "everything," but I do mean exactly what I say. We've spent three years hiring a collection of polymaths who have managed to create a broad scope of work, from the charming and populist (Amazon and Barclaycard TV) to the heady and strange (a feature film for Rustlers, the Yorgos Lanthimos-directed Nimic for Mini). We've put on gallery shows, built identities for neighborhoods in London, breathed new life into a reviled British mascot, and created a fashion academy. It's been an exhausting but satisfying year.

JEALOUS OF

There's a lot of great work out there, but the stuff that connects with me the most are usually the strange little aberrations of marketing that seem to find their way into the world in spite of the fact that you can't understand how or why anyone would approve and/or pay for them. This year it's a Strings & Things spot by Rothco in Dublin. It's an ad for a children's cheese snack that has the Pixar factor. Made for kids but stealthily delightful for adults. It's the product of so many great decisions, all of which could've resulted in something horrible but in the end it really works.

EXCITED BY

I'm excited to see what our blessed union with Accenture Interactive yields. The industry was nervous on our behalf about the sale, but AI have proved great partners to us thus far. The Kimberly-Clark win is our first proof of concept and will hopefully silence some of the doubters, demonstrating how we can deliver creativity at scale.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

I don't want to jinx it, but I'm encouraged by the fact that there seem to be fewer cynical attempts by brands trying to manipulate consumers though championing on-trend causes for their own financial gain. I pray that the worthiness-fatigue continues and we get back to doing what we as an industry do best—entertaining and engaging people.

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Droga5 New York

Tim Gordon and Felix Richter
Co-Chief Creative Officers

PROUD OF

We are proud of so much this year; the agency has delivered breathtaking work across a huge array of clients. We really pride ourselves on not having a house style at Droga5. Everything, regardless of tone, should be wonderfully crafted and incredibly influential. Put on the spot, two things come to mind—the impact, beauty and resonance of The New York Times's "The Truth Is Worth It" and the intricacy and expansiveness of HBO's "For the Throne."

JEALOUS OF

Balenciaga's Instagram is art and funny and impossible to figure out. The Last Ever Issue is so smart and simple.

EXCITED BY

Creative doubling down on craft because it's good for business. Brands embracing their true identity and living up to it. CMOs being brave. Having fun with what we do and all the new mediums.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

There will be no shortage of campaigns using deepfake technology. It could be something to look forward to ... or not. Brands using experiences to create relationships with their consumers, not just yelling at them to buy something. Care. People caring even more about what they put out in the world.

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Energy BBDO

Susan Treacy
Executive Creative Director

PROUD OF

Early this year, we launched a campaign called "The Music Behind the Recipes" with Kerrygold butter and cheese that used my favorite app, Spotify, in an inventive way. We partnered with celebrity chefs to create recipes using Kerrygold and then created playlists to accompany each recipe that, in essence, became a musical soundtrack for the cooking experience, matching the rhythm and vibe of each step. I love how our team picked up on the behavior of home cooks listening to their music in the kitchen, just like people who love to clean listen to music while they scrub. I'm proud, but not surprised, that the work helped Kerrygold's business significantly despite having a smaller media budget.

JEALOUS OF

Even though integrated cases and activations get so much attention in award shows these days, I still find myself in awe of amazing films. The Apple "Bounce" film truly gave me chills when I first watched it. The attention to production detail shines through, shot after shot. The fact that they pulled off the effects mostly in-camera makes the wide-eyed magic of the film appealing both practically and rationally. I appreciate that the creative bar for a film today is to break through on people's phones with content that is amazing enough for them to want to share on social or show the person sitting next to them. For me, "Bounce" is the epitome of that benchmark.

EXCITED BY

Like it or not, culture is forcing us to become more honest and forcing brands to remain authentic. I'm excited that people tolerate less BS in advertising, calling out brands for attempts at deception. Creatively, RX Bar broke through by just listing ingredients and having minimalist, blunt work. Chobani uses food as a force for good in all of its integrated branding efforts. In Chipotle's "Beyond the Foil" docu-style ads, directed by Errol Morris, we hear him just talking to employees while they chop veggies or prep guac, demonstrating that they actually cook and prepare their food. I'm also happy to see that it's now becoming common to see honest, real casting efforts in advertising, with brands featuring icons like Lizzo and regular women of all shapes and sizes.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

I love how when I walk out the door in the morning, my phone automatically knows that I want to open the train app and Spotify—technology has become intuitive. Similarly, digital work done right is much less of an intrusion and more of an intuitive help. While it is clear that data can be a force for corruption, in advertising data continues to enable us to do more customized and targeted work at the right moments. When we use data to help people, we can predict behaviors and focus on what's relevant and appealing to consumers. Data will continue to enable great opportunities for brands to creatively connect with people and enable us to better measure success by tying creativity to sales.

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Engine

Will Gelner
Chief Creative Officer

PROUD OF

HBO "Sopranos Nicknames." One tweet. Zero dollars. 300 million impressions. That's a return any mob boss can respect.

JEALOUS OF

I'm a fan of ideas that transcend advertising and become part of culture at large. If there's one brand that has been doing that all year, it's Burger King. After the runaway hit "Whopper Detour" in 2018, they continued killing it in 2019 with "Burn This Ad," "Clown-Free Birthdays," "The Meltdown" and more. The brand is blowing up our newsfeeds and the Golden Arches in the process.

EXCITED BY

I'm excited by the return of brands. We've been living in the age of disruption for years—new business models, new products, new subscription services. So much so that I feel we're reaching a point of fatigue. My former boss, John Hegarty, has a new company with a fantastic point of view: "Don't start a business. Start a brand." I love this because it's absolutely true. There are so many new, disruptive products and services showing up every day, and as soon as one unique product shows up, another similar one follows, and then another. Having a strong brand with a unique voice and distinctive point of view becomes more important than ever.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

In the coming year, I think the conversation will make a hard pivot from an obsession with data and tech stacks to the importance of creativity at the core. The brands and agencies that show they can unite big, culture-changing, creative ideas with smart, commerce-driven solutions will win.

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EP+Co

Con Williamson
Chief Creative Officer

PROUD OF

Our UnThink Everything Challenge. This was an in-house "idea" competition that challenged folks from every department to collaborate across disciplines to create their own brand. A free-for-all, best-idea-wins challenge to create and Unthink something that gets people talking. Earlier this year we whittled all the employee proposals down and had them pitch their ideas for the chance to have it physically brought to life by EP+Co. Our winner will be kicking-off their awesome project, Gun Metal Forge, with a holiday pop-up shop in December … more to come on that!

JEALOUS OF

McCann's "Changing the Game" for Microsoft. They made a thing, based on a real-world problem, and told an amazing story all at once. So good. Rob and his crew over there keep on getting it right.

EXCITED BY

Everyone is afraid of what Accenture is up to … I love it. When consultancies start merging with the creatives and makers, amazing things could happen.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

The continued shakeup of the old way of doing things. As brands continue to fight for relevance, the necessity for more unexpected creative solutions is higher than ever. So, while I don't know exactly what creativity is going to look like in 2020, it's certainly not going to look like anything we've seen before … and to me, that is nothing but opportunity.

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Exverus

Talia Arnold
Head of Media Strategy and Planning

PROUD OF

In our work with Premier Protein, we learned that protein shakes serve different needs to different people. All consumers have "triggers" to get them to drink shakes, and each trigger reflects a very different set of needs. So, with Google's brand-new Director Mix technology, we developed personalized combinations of video, sound, images and text to make the same hero video unique and relevant every time. In all, there were 200 unique permutations, each personalized to the viewer and her selected content. For example, we matched keywords like "weight watchers" with custom-tailored copy "Super Delicious and 2 points!", while searchers looking for iced coffee recipes got ads that said, "A shake you can use as a creamer." The results were incredible. The campaign lifted all five metrics measured by Google—awareness, recall, consideration, favorability and intent.

JEALOUS OF

Maybe it's the little divorced Jewish lady in me, but Amazon's Emmy campaign for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel was a perfect example of a brand marketing campaign this year. It provided real, tangible value to consumers. Through a partnership with Postmates, I was able to order a deli-style lunch like Mrs. Maisel might have eaten in 1950s New York and had it delivered to my office in a Mrs. Maisel-branded lunch box—for free. It earned buzz and massive social-ability and earned media as a result of Maisel Day, in which Los Angeles businesses offered goods and services at 1950s prices (30-cent gas!). The intersection of fiction and reality stretched our imaginations and brought Mrs. Maisel into our daily lives—which served as a marketing reminder to drive viewership of the show, and ultimately score Emmy votes. The show secured a record eight Emmy wins.

EXCITED BY

I'm really excited about the integration of technologies and breaking down barriers/walled gardens. As one example, we're seeing the increased ability and usability to sync up Amazon Alexa with a direct call to action to order products through a TV or online video commercial. In general, the trend of voice commands and brands developing sonic identities is one that continues to play out as radio and audio somehow remain strong as the No. 1 highest-reaching advertising medium. While our eyes are becoming more and more distracted and better able to visually "tune out" commercial messages, the opportunity for infiltrating consumer minds with powerful messages, music and sound remains clear. I'm excited to see which brands really take advantage of this new world.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

I'm looking forward to the mainstream commercialization of esports, watching this move from a test/niche opportunity to realizing its full potential as a marketing channel for almost all brands. As much as we see the fictional world moving into the physical, as with the Mrs. Maisel campaign, I predict we'll find the physical world moving into the virtual. With AR technology, virtual "try ons" and brand integrations, we will see esports and virtual experiences increasingly take on characteristics of the real world, including the brands that we live among every day.

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Fancy

Katie Keating and Erica Fite
Chief Creative Officers

PROUD OF

We are so proud of the work we did with Civic Nation and Creative Alliance for "It's on Us," the Obama-Biden White House initiative to combat sexual assault, particularly on college campuses. The three heartfelt videos we made were told in the real and raw words of the students themselves through letters to survivors and focused on three areas—sexual assault awareness, survivor support and bystander education. They were distributed to 250+ college campuses and used to educate and encourage discussion among the students. As an agency, we are dedicated to elevating what matters to women and making college safer for everyone definitely does.

JEALOUS OF

We loved the Spotify U.K. campaign "Listen Like You Used To" by Who Wot Why. Partly because we dig an all-type ad with fun design and we don't get to see too many of those these days, but mostly because it targeted Gen X so perfectly. And no one targets Gen X, never mind perfectly. Wish it ran in NYC!

EXCITED BY

So we might be alone here, but we're kind of into the transition to project work. As a creative agency, it gives us an opportunity to work on a lot of different brands and aspects of their businesses. It's a way to date before marriage (a way better method for deciding if there's chemistry than a drawn-out, expensive—for everyone—pitch process). It gives us a chance to try new things and introduce clients to new ways of thinking in a pretty risk-free way.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

Well, it's taken a while but brands are starting to notice women over 40. As they strive to develop real relationships with these women (who btw want relationships with brands), they are going to realize they will be more successful if they are engaging more mid-life women in the creation and production of their advertising. We're looking forward to more brands seeking out dynamic teams with a broad range of ages and experiences and seeing work that more accurately reflects the world.

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FCB

Susan Credle
Global Chief Creative Officer

PROUD OF

On our best days, FCB comes up with provocative ideas that inspire diverse audiences to participate and that build lasting equity for a brand. We put enormous emphasis on work that leverages creativity as an economic multiplier for the business, and we hold ourselves to high standards—both in terms of how we think and how we judge ourselves. Those are easy words to say and hard words to live by. But as I look across the company and across the year, I'm certain they're true. The proudest thing we have created is a culture that I believe will continue to drive work that matters.

JEALOUS OF

I wish I had been a part of creating "The Truth Is Worth It" for The New York Times. I sit on the Board of Advisors of The Hussman School of Journalism and Media at UNC. A few years ago, I was having breakfast with Sam Fulwood, a fellow board member and award-winning journalist. He made the point that journalism is completely vulnerable if people don't value it—meaning, pay for it. Great journalism is not cheap, and at times it feels as though some journalism is nothing more than reheated press releases. The "Truth" campaign reminds us that we need to pay for independent, high-quality reporting. It's driven great business for the NYT and is a critical message for our world.

EXCITED BY

I am excited by (and in awe of) the concept of new power. I highly recommend Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms' book, New Power: How Anyone Can Persuade, Mobilize and Succeed in Our Chaotic, Connected Age (which fittingly was recommended to me by Kat Gordon's son, Ben, a senior in high school). The new power is shaking up protected groups and long-established hierarchies. Diversity and inclusion will make us all better, and new power is going to get us to those goals much more quickly.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

The Yiddish proverb says, "We plan; God laughs." Predicting the future seems like a setup, guaranteed only to prove us wrong in a few years. That being said, I am encouraged by the news in August that over 200 CEOs believe shareholder value is no longer their main objective—I suspect because they are realizing it is not sustainable. When a company claims to be purpose-driven, it is soon exposed as a superficial piece of salesmanship if the only scorecard they use is the bottom line. Investing in employees, caring about customer satisfaction, treating our partners with respect, enriching our communities—these are the qualities of healthy companies. They are also the foundations on which the most creative businesses are built, the ones that solve the problems that matter most.

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FCB Toronto

Nancy Crimi-Lamanna
Chief Creative Officer

PROUD OF

I'm most proud of the work we're doing this year with Google and the Canadian Down Syndrome Society. The future is voice-first, but for people living with Down syndrome, Google's voice assistant currently misunderstands about one in every three words they speak, making it virtually unusable for the community. Project Understood is ensuring the future of voice technology includes people with Down Syndrome and eventually everyone with atypical speech by helping Google's voice-recognition technology better understand them. To that end, the project aims to collect enough voice data from people with Down syndrome to improve its speech recognition model. Each sample contributes to a database to teach Google's voice technology. Project Understood has the capacity to create a more independent future for those living with Down syndrome, impacting change on a number of fronts from education to housing and employment.

JEALOUS OF

As a writer, the campaign I most admire is The New York Times' "The Truth Is Worth It." In a time when the truth is being trivialized, marginalized and is frequently under attack, this work shows the importance of fighting for it. Not only does it challenge people to value the truth, but it walks them through the monumental effort required to get it, highlighting the importance of investigative, well-researched reporting. Not only is it a brilliant idea anchored in the brand values of the publication, but it is also brilliantly executed. 

EXCITED BY

Advertising has changed drastically over the last five or 10 years, with many people ringing its death knell and predicting its demise in apoplectic doom-and-gloom headlines, but I see it differently. For me, there's never been a more exciting or joyous time to be in the business of advertising because those changes have also meant that we can now let creativity out of its historically cramped box and set it loose in the world to connect with people in ways we never thought possible. Over the last few years we've proven that powerful advertising can come in any form—a statue, a musical, a museum piece, a bracelet, a song. I can't wait to see what else advertising can be.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

As TV viewing continues to decline and ad blocking and streaming continue to rise, many brands are looking for new ways to stand out. This year saw the advent of agencies and brands cross-pollinating and forming some pretty unique partnerships during TV's biggest moment, the Super Bowl, to gain viewership. Bud Light and HBO came together to place a Game of Thrones dragon and the show's theme song at the end of a commercial in Bud Light's Dilly Dilly universe. And T-Mobile used two of its four Super Bowl ads to highlight its partnerships with Taco Bell and Lyft. In a market environment that's become more and more competitive, with tech companies, consultancies and agencies fighting for the same marketing dollars, I'd like to see a future that includes a more collaborative approach where brands and agencies share the spotlight.

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Fitzco

Noel Cottrell
Chief Creative Officer

PROUD OF

French's invented classic yellow mustard over 115 years ago. Since then, they've had a lot of pretenders to the throne in the form of look-alike competitors and store brands. This past summer we wanted to remind everyone who was king of the category, so we launched French's Mustard Ice Cream into the world. Fitzco and McCormick partnered with Coolhaus Ice Cream to create the flavor, sent it out to the press in coolers and gave Americans a chance to try it with ice cream trucks on both coasts, a store and a recipe online. It took off like crazy. It was all anyone was talking about in peak hot-dog season—with over 1.3 billion media impressions on 670 unique media outlets. We drove sales up 6.8 percent over July and August when the category was down 1 percent, and we even got a shout-out for driving growth on the McCormick earnings call. We're still beaming.

JEALOUS OF

Though it is in our network, I feel it's far enough across the pond that I can say I was extremely jealous of McCann London and Paris's "Non-Issue" for L'Oréal Paris. An entire 80-page issue of British Vogue featuring only women over the age of 50—celebrating their relevance. The designers, photographers, makeup artists were all over 50. Love that this was done by a beauty brand, at exactly the right time in culture—and you have to applaud the scale and degree-of-difficulty of this project. I hope this great thinking by the ad industry starts to rub off on the ad industry. 

EXCITED BY

One-to-one communication, previously known as "direct," merging with more traditional advertising is the most exciting development in our industry. Now we don't have to talk to people through "mass communication"; we can use new tools to speak to people directly in the more intimate mediums they're using, at the exact right time. If you don't think this is exciting, and you're questioning why Droga5 sold to Accenture, why Y&R is now VMLY&R, why the holding companies are paying top dollar for data companies, you need to look at the kind of work that is being done in this new world. It's better, sharper, speaks directly to its audience and is more effective. "Wrapped" by Spotify, "Whopper Detour" for Burger King, "Keeping Fortnite Fresh" for Wendy's all spoke to their audiences directly, one-to-one.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

Artificial intelligence is going to find a way to dance the fine line between delivering mind-blowingly relevant content and being too up in our business. Privacy fears will be allayed, and we're going to welcome in the exact content we want in 2020. Thanks, machines.

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Forsman & Bodenfors New York

Cerra Buckholz
Creative

PROUD OF

I'm really proud to have worked on GrowYourCircle.org, a free/open platform that allows agencies and producers to find underrepresented talent from disciplines across all types of production to help diversify teams on projects. The directory allows people to find talent using a number of search parameters, including government certifications (like women-owned business), race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity or those living with a disability, for a wide range of production roles like lighting, music, directing, editing, etc. Working on a project to expand people's networks and give more people opportunities was not only emotionally fulfilling but I hope to see it impact the multibillion-dollar production and advertising industries in a positive way.

JEALOUS OF

KFC's Colonel Sanders DJing at Ultra Music Festival in Miami was f*cking wild. I still am not sure if that was a fever dream or not. Which, of course, is my sole criterion for judging work.

EXCITED BY

Watching brands try to demonstrate (sometimes very cringe-inducingly) how much they "care" about a cause/movement/issue is starting to feel exhausting. We're seeing pushback from groups on these issues, like the LGBTQ+ community's critique of some brands at Pride this year for being too pandering, inauthentic and even disrespectful. As a result, I've found it incredibly refreshing when brands/products realize they don't have to do everything for everyone, but can be direct and honest about who they are, what their product is for, and how it fits into a person's life. Like the sexual health companies who are discussing sex and menstruation in open, honest ways, instead of trying to tack on a tangentially related societal/economic/cause to their work. Doing so creates a dialogue and treats products as normal, relatable, and even a little funny without trying to throw themselves a parade for doing so.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

While there's a lot of stuff happening that may be polarizing, or even anxiety-inducing, there's one thing that I am really looking forward to in 2020: the Olympics. I love watching how the world celebrates the athletes and their stories—brands included. I think some of the funniest, most heartfelt and relatable pieces of work happen in support of the Summer Olympics. But because much of the world is so on edge right now, I have a feeling we're going to see a lot of coming together, humanity actually having a lot in common, loving your neighbor, guy with one country's flag around his shoulders walking into guy with rival country's flag around his shoulders cheers-ing over pop (sorry, I'm from the Pacific Northwest). Although I really hope brands use this opportunity to have a little fun, too.

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Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd is editor in chief of the Clio Awards and the founding editor of Muse by Clio.

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