The Year in Creativity, 2019 — Part 4

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 4. Click through to the other installments below:

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


The Year in Creativity, 2019 — Part 4

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

• MullenLowe | Tim Vaccarino and Dave Weist, ECDs
• North | Mark Ray, CCO
• Observatory | Jae Goodman, CEO
• Ogilvy | Leslie Sims, CCO USA
• O'Keefe Reinhard & Paul | Laura Fegley, CCO
• Pereira O'Dell | Rob Lambrechts, CCO
• Potential Energy | Casey Rand, CCO
• Preacher | Rob Baird, CCO
• Prettybird | Georgie Greville, Filmmaker and Creative Director
• Publicis Health/Saatchi Wellness | Kathy Delaney, Global CCO
• Publicis Italy | Mihnea Gheorghiu, Global Digital Creative Director
• Publicis New York | Erica Roberts, ECD
• Red & Co. | Mira Kaddoura, Founder and ECD
• Rethink Toronto | Aaron Starkman, CCO
• The Richards Group | Terence Reynolds, Creative Group Head
• RPA | Jason Sperling, Chief, Creative Development
• Saturday Morning | Geoff Edwards, Co-Founder
• SS+K | Stevie Archer, ECD
• TBD San Francisco | Rafael Rizuto, Founder and CCO


MullenLowe

Tim Vaccarino and Dave Weist
Executive Creative Directors

PROUD OF

We're digging our latest Sennheiser work. They're well known in the industry as the best in terms of sound quality, but their headphones were crazy expensive. So when they entered the world of Beats, with a much more affordable pair, they were both superior and completely unknown. We created a campaign that picked on the tropes of the category, promoted style over substance and tricked people into thinking this could be the next "ultra-cool" headphone campaign. In one spot, we have a basketball player waxing poetically about how his headphones help him "block out the noise," then we widen out to reveal the film crew. The sound man is wearing Sennheiser headphones and he says, "Would you really take sound advice from a basketball player?" Sennheiser. When it comes to sound, image means nothing. 

JEALOUS OF

The work for The New York Times continues to rise up. There's something about the latest campaign, "The Truth Is Worth It," that is so simple and crafted yet has such intensity. Between the film clips, the sound bites, the music and the typography, it engages you and won't let go. They're little puzzles with offbeat cadences toying with your brain. These short films make you do what The New York Times has always wanted you to do. Think for yourself. 

EXCITED BY

There's a trend in advertising right now to make people laugh again. The sadvertising era is on its way out. Thank God. Maybe it's because we all really need a laugh these days, what with a president on the brink of impeachment and nothing but horrifying news on the internet. So good-old-fashioned-nonsensical-laughter is back in vogue. Hoorah.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

Despite the pervasive demand for more, faster and cheaper, production levels across the board have gotten better. And now, with the larger role of data, everything works more efficiently, too. As a result, everything is very much the same. A truly original, brilliant and brave idea stands out like never before. That's what we will see again next year, because that's what the market will demand.

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North

Mark Ray
Chief Creative Officer

PROUD OF

A recent project that I am proud of was our creative collaboration with comedian/writer/actress Iliza Shlesinger to help launch a new Iced Espresso product for Peet's Coffee. We put our trusting client, agency (acting as strategists, creative directors and production company, with me directing) and extraordinary talent team all together in the very first meeting as a writer's room. From there, we shaped the ideas, scripts and brand considerations as a complete team with Iliza throughout the entire process. Come the day of production, we had an established strategy with scenarios built directly out of the new product positioning, but we were also able to give Iliza complete creative freedom on set—making the most of her amazingly quick wit. The result was a four-piece vignette of branded content that lit up Iliza's fan base and gave Peet's new product the sharp jolt into the marketplace they sought.

JEALOUS OF

The Halo Top campaign. I can imagine the pitch: "Halo Top, we know some of your ice cream is made of coconut milk instead of dairy and that's an incredibly relevant product differentiator. But you know what's more differentiating? Ice cream for adults." It was executed to absolute perfection—humane, funny, cool, rewarding. Everything you want the audience to think of themselves and the brand. I can't believe that campaign got made in 2019. It gave me years of hope and energy in the soul tank.

EXCITED BY

More Chrissy Teigen and hopefully less Donald Trump on Twitter. There are about a gazillion important lessons there for creative people and brands on how to earn the narrative instead of controlling it.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

The Bernbach era was spectacularly great and creatively inspiring and taught my generation everything about making fans instead of noise, about attracting rather than interrupting, about connecting with humans instead of target markets. But I think we can all agree that agency model is now dead. RIP creative departments. Going forward, brand creative will be like hip-hop: still driven by extraordinary talent, but with unconstrained and infinite forms of collaboration, surprises and innovation.

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Observatory

Jae Goodman
CEO

PROUD OF

I'm proud of our resilient industry. I love watching us all reinvent ourselves as long-established "rules" evaporate before our eyes. A little closer to home—and also an example of the above—I'm proud of everyone at Observatory. Our reinvention in partnership with Stagwell and CAA did not come with a guarantee. Yet, here we are with 40 percent growth, a dream client list and purpose-driven, content-led work that we're proud of. Oh, work? Launching Anna Wintour's Masterclass and Mod Pizza's "All Pizzas Welcome" were highlights, as was Corona Mexico's Mas Fina, which our clients tell us was the most successful campaign in Corona's 100-year history!

JEALOUS OF

Coca-Cola + Stranger Things. They actually made and re-released New Coke!! Can you imagine how many people could have said no to bringing back one of the most famous corporate blunders in history? And not only did they do it, they executed the entire initiative brilliantly within the show and in the world. How into it was I? We did a Goodman family blind tasting of Mexican Coke (real sugar, in the bottle), New Coke and current Coke!

EXCITED BY

It's finally happening: an industry-wide admission that interruptive advertising is dying or dead, and that the best brands create content and experiences that attract and engage audiences while simultaneously driving business results. In fairness, I've been excited by and anticipating this "trend" for the better part of two decades, but now it actually appears to be occurring!

LOOKING FORWARD TO

I hear there's an election coming. I'm looking forward to that. As for creativity, we at Observatory will be applying ours to clients who ask us to maximize rather than optimize. Tweaking the old way for efficiency is a race to the bottom. Imagination and (re)invention are the only routes to a successful future.

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Ogilvy

Leslie Sims
Chief Creative Officer USA

PROUD OF

Our latest platform "Smart Loves Problems" for IBM. That team has been brilliant at consistently keeping the bar high for one of our best clients.

JEALOUS OF

Ah, I'm jealous of something new every day. This morning was Aviation Gin's Peloton Girl film. So good. Ultra-responsive and actually got the same Peloton talent. God bless Ryan Reynolds. They killed it.

EXCITED BY / LOOKING FORWARD TO

One of my favorite headlines this year was: "The last few years have been all about technology and data. The next few will be about creating deeper, more meaningful connections with consumers." Everyody's realizing it doesn't matter if you can reach an exact audience at precisely the right time if you aren't interesting when you get there.

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O'Keefe Reinhard & Paul

Laura Fegley
Chief Creative Officer

PROUD OF

Breaking the bass ceiling with the "Making Waves" initiative for Take Me Fishing at Colle McVoy. Women make up half of new fishing participants, but the face of fishing is still old white guys. I think we're all past work talking about how women can do anything as well as men (uh, yeah). This isn't "Surprise, women fish too," it's showing the badass face of some incredible fisherwomen and making the sport of fishing look way cooler in the process. I love what we made, but I most loved all the women who rallied under this idea and have committed to teaching more girls to fish.

JEALOUS OF

So jealous I can't see straight over the church Nike converted into a sports center in Chicago. The execution by Momentum was flawless and breathtaking, which is great for ad juries but a million times more important for the kids who get to visit and know this was made for them. I know it's easy to say, "Well, yeah, of course Nike can do something like that." And while not everyone might have their budgets, it doesn't mean we all shouldn't be looking for ways every day to have our brands live and act in meaningful ways.

EXCITED BY

The ever-expanding definition of what is considered "brand" (and what we get the chance to touch). People experience everything a brand makes, does and says, and I'm excited that more and more partners are letting us think about business-building ideas, even if it's not in the advertising lane. I think that's why we're seeing more and more ideas that resist categorization. Brand who know who they are, and live that way everywhere, win—and give us so many more opportunities to contribute game-changing ideas.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

More joy. More fun. Purpose-driven brands don't always have to be serious or always teaching us a lesson. I think we're all due for more work that makes us feel happy. I'm predicting some crazy, fun work this year. I'm ready to get a little bananas.

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Pereira O'Dell

Rob Lambrechts
Chief Creative Officer

PROUD OF

The Adobe "Movie Poster Movie." In 2019, we helped Adobe bring a crazy idea to life. It was called the #MoviePosterMovie, and it started by inviting students to create a movie poster. We promised to turn the winning poster into an actual movie. Then we convinced Zach Braff to direct a movie that we didn't have the plot, the characters or the script for. What could go wrong? Nothing, actually. The resulting film, "The Time It Takes To Get There," garnered over a million organic views, surpassed even our loftiest expectations and was a creatively rewarding experience.

JEALOUS OF

This one is very personal for me. It's KFC's "Rudy II." I choose to believe this film was incepted directly from my brain (Wieden + Kennedy, feel free to credit me if you like) as it combines many of my favorite things—fried chicken, college football and Sean Astin as a lovable loser. The execution is flawless, and if the person who wrote the line, "He's Colonel Sanders now," is reading this, let me just say, good job by you. Also, if anyone can watch Rudy without crying, they're a savage monster.

EXCITED BY

It seems we are really and truly approaching the point where we can no longer buy an audience's attention. Brands are going to have to build an audience. In a world where the consumer's time and attention can't be bought, creativity is going to matter more than ever before. Also, in my humble opinion, the death of faux-purpose driven advertising can't come soon enough. The world is f*cked, let's use advertising to make people smile.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

"It's difficult to make predictions, especially about the future." —Danish proverb. Two things: One, if anyone truly knew the future of creativity, they'd be locked in the basement of Disney making ALL the money. And two, if we knew the answer, it wouldn't be any fun to come to work.

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Potential Energy

Casey Rand
Chief Creative Officer

PROUD OF

Class of 0000 got over 500 valedictorians to deliver the same pledge in their commencement speeches. Together, they vowed to only vote for politicians with a plan to get to zero emissions in the next election. It was a really brave thing for these kids to do with their whole class and all their relatives watching. Some schools even censored the speech because they thought it was "too political." While it's sad that our warming planet is politicized, it was so inspiring to see these young leaders stand strong in the face of adult shenanigans.

JEALOUS OF

I love love love the "Great Shows Stay With You" campaign Droga5 London did for Amazon Prime. The storytelling is subtle, yet flawless. The execution is perfect: not an ounce of superfluous dialogue, an elegant super with no claggy VO at the end. Casting, on point. The whole thing is exceptionally well done.

EXCITED BY

TikTok. So far, I find this platform to be pure joy. It seems almost like it's from a different time. People are just being creative, having fun, making stuff. I know it's just the calm before the troll storm, but for now, it's lovely.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

We're seeing a backlash against a lot of the internet's current structures. People are sick of having their data sold to advertisers and they're creeped out by the level of surveillance going on. Twitter and Google are banning political targeting and Instagram is getting rid of likes. I think the digital landscape is going to shift drastically in 2020 and advertisers are going to have to get more creative with how they reach their audiences and break through. Of course, that's if Trump loses. If he wins, I think we're gonna see a lot more gold-plated stuff.

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Preacher

Rob Baird
Chief Creative Officer

PROUD OF

I'm really proud of the Fanta campaign we did this year, because when I looked at that work I thought, "I never would or could have made that myself." Seeing the absurd films and art direction that pulled from the internet culture that our teen audience is obsessed with, and then turning it into something special and new and handing it back to them—I really loved watching our crew and that creative process. I also am proud of the SC Top10 campaign we created with ESPN. Getting to bring the bright lights of SportsCenter to small hometowns and small hometown heroes that made it on the Top10, and then creating memorializations of their amazing plays, was a conceptual dream come true.

JEALOUS OF

I'm currently jealous of the new Ikea U.K. holiday work by our good friends at Mother London. Such a legitimately awesome track, and love that they bucked the trend of the epic heartstring pull for the holidays and went comedy. And grime! So much fun to watch. I'm also jealous of the Apple Earth Day spot. Such stunning, powerful footage all shot on an iPhone, the great Earth Day message, and then the use of Megadeath in a commercial. I have watched this spot so many times and talked about it so much I should be in the case study video.

EXCITED BY

Seeing so many of our peers at small, independent agencies putting out breakthrough work for global brands. Wai t... maybe that should also go with the "jealous" question? It's really been inspiring. It's also really exciting to see places like Knoxville, Salt Lake City, Kansas City and so many more being celebrated as hot creative markets. The fact that big, famous work can come from anywhere, and aspiring talent has more options than ever about where they can make their careers and lives blossom, is a great thing for our industry.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

I'm looking forward to the creative challenges and opportunities that always seem to come with an election year—standing out, unifying, providing comic relief. Also looking forward to finding ourselves working on some projects and in some capacities we've never done before, getting that "healthy nervous" in the New Year. Lastly, I'm looking forward to the end of this football season since my college, pro, and fantasy teams are all equally suffering. If we weren't so happily busy, these would be dark days.

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Prettybird

Georgie Greville
Filmmaker and Creative Director

PROUD OF

The 2019 Milk Makeup anthem film I created to launch the brand internationally, as I feel it was the first time I was able to bring the future/natural identity of the brand to life with the right combination of slick CGI, playful animated typography and authentic live action.

JEALOUS OF

The show Euphoria and the film Queen and Slim. Sam Levinson's Euphoria, because of how it speaks to the current lifting of the veil, how the collective consciousness is finally dealing with our lived traumas through a cast of lovable characters. There is something forever universal about high school metamorphosis. The camera work is visceral, urgent and searching for meaning, like all of us. Also, Melina Matsoukas and Lena Waithe's heartbreaking masterpiece Queen and Slim is a must see for everyone.

EXCITED BY

Sustainability as it pertains to everything in life, especially relationships. To sustain is to love. Culturally progressive filmmaking that creates empathy and oneness. The rise of more sustainable business models and conscious capitalism—more B corps and ESG-rated companies.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

The successful leaders, creators, innovators and entrepreneurs will be the ones who balance humility and values with vision. Creativity will only get more inclusive and nuanced, balancing out years of full-on (white male) Yang energy with more and more Yin (previously marginalized voices).

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Publicis Health/Saatchi Wellness

Kathy Delaney
Global Chief Creative Officer

PROUD OF

Every now and then, a project comes along that surprises us and everyone involved in it. That project would be Deaf 911. When we first started, we were shocked to learn that contacting 911 was not readily available to 38 million deaf and hard-of-hearing people in the U.S. That seemed unbelievable and motivated us to act. Deaf 911 is the emergency mobile app that gives the deaf a voice when they need it most. It combines text-to-speech and speech-to-text technology to work simultaneously, in real time. So the deaf can communicate directly to 911. And 911 can respond back. In 30 seconds—the same time as for hearing people. The response from deaf community and the NYPD alone has been overwhelming. And from the industry. LIA, CA, Fast Company, the Globals and Clios are just some of the honors this project has received. Clearly, we had fulfilled a need that was long overdue.

JEALOUS OF

Lilly's "GET UP Alarm Clock" got my attention this year. It's a brilliantly simple idea that engages cancer patients with a clock that projects inspirational tweets on the ceilings of bedrooms. Patients with soft tissue sarcoma (STS) are often overwhelmed with the shock of the diagnosis. So much so that they lose their sense of identity and purpose. And often struggle to even find the will to get up each day and keep fighting. The clock greets them every day with projected messages from friends and family and community. With much-needed support, they can tap into their inner strength to get up and start their day with renewed emotional strength. Smart, simple with powerful emotion, this project was one of my favorites to emerge this year.

EXCITED BY

There's been a revolution in creative tech going on right now that's beyond exciting to be a part of these days. I expect to see even more come out of the blending of data, tech and creativity. Especially within in the health and pharma spaces. Also, brilliant ideas that engage consumers and professionals with immersive experiences while fulfilling unmet needs. It's an exciting time to be in the business as we transform from awareness to engagement and ultimately to action and outcomes.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

While creative tech and data will continue to dominate, we're sure to see the emergence of creativity within the transactional process. Its time has come. Where pharma brands will not only inform within social media, but also diagnose and prescribe medications. Right from Instagram. I also think services will be coming to us. Doctor office visits and diagnoses are already able to happen from your laptop. And in the immediate future, treatments for serious illnesses like cancer and MS may be as nearby and accessible as your local corner retailer.

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Publicis Italy

Mihnea Gheorghiu
Global Digital Creative Director

PROUD OF

We've had a lot of fun things coming out on Diesel in the past year. But the one I was most excited about was also the riskiest we've ever done: "Enjoy Before Returning." We made fun of the one thing no retailer in the world ever dared to talk about—the returns and wardrobing. A lot of people buy expensive clothes, wear them for a fashion-y event, post on the gram and then return the clothes the day after. So, OK, if you're going to do this anyway, just enjoy the clothes to the fullest. We launched the campaign right before the global Fashion Week cycle started. And you could go into Diesel's exclusive Fashion Week parties around the world ONLY if you had a tag hanging out of your garments (Diesel or not). The campaign, which some sceptics in the comments called "business suicide," actually brought us more than 20 percent new customers and made our usual return rate go down 8 percent, all in a very short time.

JEALOUS OF

This year, I was happier than ever to see more proof that ballsy work WORKS. I love it when global brands stand for something and don't just try to make everyone happy. Nike and the Kaepernick tweet is the perfect example of that. Then, in terms of craft, I couldn't get enough of The New York Times' "The Truth Is Worth It." It's not an ad, it's a new way of covering a news story that also happens to work as an ad. And then there was "Whopper Detour," an idea you'd think, yeah, that's the typical award show bait, but it was so majestically well done. I wish I'd done any of them. Or all of them. Then I'd peacefully leave advertising and finally open that ramen shop.

EXCITED BY

Bravery and boldness in social campaigns. The fact that you can reach everyone and get an instant reaction should theoretically be a blessing. But more often than not, it proves to be a curse. A lot of brands are too careful to always say the right thing, not step on anyone's toes. Which is impossible if you want to have a personality. I'm happy to have seen more and more boldness from the brands that understood a very simple thing: In the social world, it's better to connect with less, but for longer, instead of not upsetting anyone and being ignored by everyone.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

Interesting use of data and ideas that come out of that. I recently heard a funny analogy, which I'll share with you, with the risk of running over the 150-word limit. So, there was this guy who wanted to become a sniper. The next day, he went out in the wilderness and started practicing. He shot his rifle, and he realized he'd missed his target. By a lot. That was a poor indicator for his future marksman career. So, he went to where the bullet hit and drew a new bullseye and the rest of the target around the bullet hole. Called it a day, went home. You cannot NOT mention "data" nowadays if you want anyone to take your seriously. Which leads to a lot of retrofitting that best fits the narrative. As a next step, it may sound a bit geeky, but I think there are oceans of data out there, distilled and interpreted as you're reading these very lines, that will be turned into the most engaging and entertaining stories of 2020.

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Publicis New York

Erica Roberts
Executive Creative Director

PROUD OF

2019 was a huge year for PSOne, Publicis' bespoke agency created for The J.M. Smucker Company. We launched nine new brand campaigns in 11 months (who does that?!)—Jif, Smucker's, Café Bustelo, Dunkin' at Home, Folgers, 1850 Coffee, Meow Mix, Pup-peroni and MilkBone. I'm incredibly proud of all the work, but I'm even prouder of this brilliant, hilarious and unrelenting team. There's going to be a lot of hardcore napping this holiday season.

JEALOUS OF

So much great storytelling this year. Reebok's Cardi spot for their "Sport the Unexpected" campaign was so fresh with some of the best art direction I've seen. Apple's "The Surprise" made me cry, and of course The New York Times and Libresse. In terms of experience, I'm loving Spotify's year-end wrapup. So smart and also slightly embarrassing (I didn't realize how much Kesha I've listened to).

EXCITED BY

I'm excited by the fact that diverse representation in advertising is becoming more and more intuitive—age, gender, race and religion. It's something we'll always need to keep top of mind, but I've seen real progress in the way it's being approached by both agency and client.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

This isn't quite a prediction as much as it is wishful thinking. My biggest wish is that in 2020 we're able to find a way to make personalized dynamic communications truly creative and engaging. Fingers crossed.

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Red & Co.

Mira Kaddoura
Founder and Executive Creative Director

PROUD OF

Very proud of our Netflix "Make Room" work. It represents a brand being brave enough to say something true to itself, to stand for something bigger than itself and to say something that is needed in culture. Nothing is more important than respecting and enabling equity and diversity in our work and world, and the best way to change thinking is to model it. We had the opportunity to engage an entire industry and to show them how to make room for others. To walk our talk—recruiting women, people of color and other "othered" people to help us make a film about Netflix's stand on inclusion and diversity. Our hope is that more clients come to us to help them build long-lasting, meaningful connections with their customers and help them play a positive role in shaping society.

JEALOUS OF

I'd say it would be a tie between March for Our Lives "Generation Lockdown" and the invention of the Xbox Adaptive Controller by Microsoft, whose stories were told by McCann New York. They both moved me and brought much-needed attention to two different issues and offered up solutions. What's not to like?

EXCITED BY

Not sure if this will end up being a trend or a real development, but I'm pretty excited that women and underrepresented minorities are being elevated and spotlighted in this industry. From seeing more and more lists of women CMOs celebrated to initiatives like Diageo's Creative Comeback that make sure we don't lose women for good in this industry. These are all things that are overdue and so refreshing to see happening. This year alone I was honored with "The Creative 100" by Adweek, "Women to Watch" by AdAge and "Ad Person of the Year" by the Rosey Awards. After 18 years in this industry, people are finally paying attention to what I bring to the table. Now, my hope is that brands put money behind all the talk of diversity and inclusion and hire the women and underrepresented minorities creating the change in this industry.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

Advertising is a $4 billion industry filled with very talented people. I sure hope that in 2020 we use some of that money and creativity to not only solve some clients' very real business problems but also push brands to play a positive role in society.

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Rethink Toronto

Aaron Starkman
Chief Creative Officer

PROUD OF

Heinz Ketchup pour-perfect. When we heard we had a chance to get the Heinz business last year, we daydreamed about the possibility of rethinking such an iconic brand with so much built-in equity. Our first brief asked us to reignite the love for this famous brand. There are many ways to do that, but we knew it would be a mistake to ignore what Heinz has built up for 100 years with famous ads and imagery of people getting the Heinz out of its iconic bottle in various ways. We wanted to settle this once and for all. We knew there was a correct way to angle the bottle for optimal pouring. And internally, we tackled a number of creative ways to deliver this information. After a few days of thinking on it, we discovered the best answer was hiding in plain sight—right on the bottle itself. We were excited to present this solution to Heinz and even more excited when they loved it and pulled the trigger on one of our favorite ideas presented to any client all year.

JEALOUS OF

"Bagel That" for Philadelphia Cream Cheese. I could've picked something really innovative or filled with brand purpose or something that utilizes data in a new way. Any of these things would make me sound smarter than my honest pick. Here's the truth: I watched this simple, weird Philly thing far too many times. I've had the ridiculous song stuck in my head for longer than I care to admit, and deep down in my soul, I like that they're not trying to really help the world in some way with a cream cheese ad. That's an easy sell to marketers lately. Thanks to the agency, GUT Miami, for just trying to sell cream cheese.

EXCITED BY / LOOKING FORWARD TO

One thing that I'm starting to see creep back into this industry is marketers and agencies remembering why it is we do what we do. Isn't the purpose of advertising to put things out in the world that get talked about in favorable ways and sell various products and services? Lately, if I'm on LinkedIn for more than 60 seconds, chances are I'll see a bunch of strong POV's from people in the industry about the need for brand purpose. What's starting to happen is things are starting to feel the same. Brands are playing the same note in the same way, so the work that's starting to stand out is actually work that sells a product based on great insight and brilliant execution. I still think brand purpose is massively important. My hope is we can have some amazing work out in the world that comes from a legitimate brand purpose but ALSO have work out in the world that's insightful, funny or emotional in addition to being extremely well executed, causing it to get talked about and shared. That's the ad industry's "why." Here's to never forgetting it.

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The Richards Group

Terence Reynolds
Creative Group Head

PROUD OF

I'm proud of the work we did recently for Wonder bread. Wonder is one of the nation's most iconic brands. Our goal was to elevate the brand without diluting its beloved integrity. So we took it to space in an online commercial named "Stars," where a young boy's daydream punctuates one simple truth: "Where there's Wonder, joy will follow." Our second commercial evokes the same emotion with the help of an F1 race car. Both spots embrace childlike innocence while giving Wonder modern appeal. I love the simplicity in story, message and aesthetic. I love the challenge of fusing CGI and imagination to look seamless and easy. And I really love the diversity in casting—seeing a woman mastering the wheel of an F1 car or an African American child orbiting Earth. It's a small moment that hopefully inspires others to dream, too.

JEALOUS OF

I'm a big fan of two projects this year. The first is Nike's "Dream Crazier" commercial featuring Serena Williams. I have enormous respect for work conceived of simple truth. The honesty in insight comes to life in the copy, editorial and drop-dead gorgeous cinematography. I've watched this spot numerous times, and it still moves me every single time. The second is the "Price on Our Lives" campaign. It's a disruptive, smart, big idea that makes the purpose impossible to ignore. I also applaud the bravery—doing what hasn't been done before. Getting several people to share one vision is hard enough. Getting hundreds of people to align can be downright daunting. This project covered such enormous scope. I applaud how well they managed to pull that off.

EXCITED BY

I'm always excited by technology's offspring of creative tools that allow our minds to fly. The ability to literally create whatever we can imagine with far less limitation is a gift. And thanks to technology development in areas like A.I., innovation moves at light speed. The beast is trying to keep up with it all, because "next" is always around the corner. But that's also the exciting part of it. The pace of technology now gives creatives the opportunity to do what hasn't been done before more often. We now have a backstage pass to experiment with everything from audio/visual to sensory, bringing diversity to disciplines once reserved for "professionals" only.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

Creative collaboration will be even more prevalent as the versatility in skill sets has increased. Big data will continue to drive insights and shape targets and landscapes. But aside from predictions of the obvious, who really knows? That's the beauty of what we do. This industry thrives on our organic ability to shift and adapt. So I look forward to seeing the coming work in 2020. It must overcome obstacles like the evolving stages of branding. Video streaming services and other forms of media that don't depend on advertising have changed the game. Storytelling won't go away—but how, when, and where stories are told will definitely have to modify. We must be more innovative and disruptive to earn the audience's attention. So maybe we'll see more movements instead of campaigns. More intimate encounters instead of huge nets. I'm excited to see whatever it is because, if nothing else, it'll be smart, creative, dynamic and visceral. Because an idea will have to be powerful to survive.

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RPA

Jason Sperling
Chief, Creative Development

PROUD OF

There's a handful of projects I've done for clients this last year that I'm proud of (work for the LGBT Center in L.A. and road safety for Honda) but tbh I'm most proud of having written and sold a book, a full-fledged book, and not just "a really long magazine article," which is how my wife referred to my first book.

JEALOUS OF

That Sandy Hook Promise back-to-school piece was a real doozy. This comes after so many powerful and creative pieces over the last few years, where the bar was already stupidly high. I thought the concept, the exposition, the acting, the impact of the message and the brilliance of having it out there amid all the REAL back-to-school ads was oh so smart. Why this work hasn't moved the needle in terms of legislation is beyond me.

EXCITED BY

I'm looking forward to finally seeing the impact of 5G (and the end of speculating about the impact of 5G).

LOOKING FORWARD TO

I know you're looking for some exciting insight into next year but … ugh, next year. Not looking forward to arterial spray of political advertising, especially the deceitful propaganda-type ads paid for by special interest groups (which includes the baddies in Russia). I wish there were an option to go into a cryogenic sleep and come out the morning of Nov. 3.

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Saturday Morning

Geoff Edwards
Co-Founder

PROUD OF

"The Look" has sentimental value to me. I've had the pleasure and privilege of working on some of the best brands in the world. However, to create something for Saturday Morning in partnership with the world's largest marketer, P&G, was an alignment that I couldn't have imagined. We created a silent film against bias that was powerful and required no explanation. And everyone from the directors to the editor to our interactive teams came together to collaborate on this because they believe in what it stands for—an end to the mistreatment for people of color and their children.

JEALOUS OF

The Colin Kaepernick outdoor ad for Nike made me jealous. I hate it. I wish I did it. It shed a light on a moment that was happening in the world and made a statement. Best example of how brands can truly use their influence for change.

EXCITED BY

This year I judged the Glass category at Cannes Lions, and was amazed at the brands that have committed their dollars to purpose-driven technology. That's a passion of mine so I'm really glad that our Industry is embracing it. Here are a few examples I like: Microsoft has committed to gaming accessories and adaptive controllers for people with disabilities. Ikea is designing furniture with hacks and add-ons so everyone can enjoy a comfortable and functional home environment. And voice technology is now one of the fastest-growing Industries. My hope is that this isn't yet another trend, but instead a way that creativity can be used to help make our lives better.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

I'm looking forward to change. I don't have a crystal ball, but if I did, I'd say creativity unfortunately will be held back only by our unwillingness to accept new ways of thinking that go beyond our comfort zones. You know the famous quote from General Eric Shinseki: "If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less." Well, it says it all. The ideas won't get better until we get new authors. The complexion of the agencies won't change if we don't change our antiquated leadership and challenge their decision-making processes. It's important to our clients' business. It's important to the growth of our industry. And it's important to the work. Happy holidays, everyone.

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SS+K

Stevie Archer
Executive Creative Director

PROUD OF

This fall, SS+K helped Wells Fargo launch a major housing affordability initiative, committing $1 billion to tackling the housing crisis in America. While we hear about the housing crisis all the time, it's a topic many people don't personally feel the effects of. Which is why our work focused on a singular thought: "America Can't Afford Unaffordable Housing." To create work that helps people connect with an incredibly complex challenge, and that supports a truly impactful initiative, is not something you often get to do in this business. And it's something I was proud to be part of.

JEALOUS OF

I love the "Me on Twitter" campaign. It perfectly lampoons the ridiculously curated Instagram aesthetic and captures how free and unfiltered you can be on Twitter. It is such a clear way to define what the platform stands for based on real user behavior. And it is such a delightfully simple idea. I'm sure the hardest part of the creative process was resisting the urge to muck it up.

EXCITED BY

The rise of the next creative class is incredibly exciting to me. Advertising has long been dominated by one limited point of view. And slowly but surely, we're starting to see people who were out of the conversation being put in charge and getting invited in. And even the gatekeepers on the client side are changing, too. The impact that will have on the ideas that get made is enormous. I can't wait to see how the world changes as a result.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

As media fragments, I think creativity in 2020 will be defined less by ad campaigns and more by how brands behave and live out their values in powerful ways. Elizabeth Warren ran a false Facebook ad to make a point about political ad policy. Rihanna's Fenty x Savage brand took Victoria's Secret head on, with a diverse runway show and a streaming event of their own. Thinking about ideas as behaviors, not just ad placements, will be a shift we increasingly see in 2020.

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TBD San Francisco

Rafael Rizuto
Founder and Chief Creative Officer

PROUD OF

Havaianas Boardwalk Store. This project was super special to me because we were able to integrate entertainment, innovation, art and shopper marketing into a seamless and engaging experience. More than a stunt, we created a platform that transforms any surface into a shoppable canvas. Havaianas is now applying it in different markets, most recent in Brazil, where they used the same tech to allow users to shop from outside a store that's closed for renovations. Also, being a proud Brazilian immigrant, having the opportunity to reintroduce such an iconic Brazilian brand to the U.S. was one of the highlights of my career.

JEALOUS OF

There was a lot of great work done this year, but one that I particularly love is the Ikea's Christmas spot "Silence The Critics" from Mother London. It's pure entertainment. Everything is in there: great cultural insight (home shame), great idea and outstanding execution. Kudos to the client and the agency.

EXCITED BY

In the never-ending debate about in-house agencies, most agencies are still reluctant to "share" the goods. I think this is not something we should just accept, but wholeheartedly embrace. The best work we've done at TBD was in tandem with in-house agencies. What's more exciting about now is that the right talent is on the client side as well.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

This might sound like a platitude, but I really think you can't predict creativity. Predictions are based on what happened. We tend to analyze old patterns to inform future outcomes. This is the opposite of creativity to me. Creativity is unpredictable. So, more than a prediction, I wish that creativity keeps on surprising us and debunking predictions.

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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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