The Year in Creativity, 2019 — Part 5

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 5. Click through to the previous installments below:

The Year in Creativity, 2019 — Part 1
The Year in Creativity, 2019 — Part 2
The Year in Creativity, 2019 — Part 3
The Year in Creativity, 2019 — Part 4
• The Year in Creativity, 2019 — Part 5 (this story)


The Year in Creativity, 2019 — Part 5

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

• TBWA\Chiat\Day Los Angeles | Renato Fernandez, CCO
• TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris | Kabelo Moshapalo, ECD
• TBWA\Media Arts Lab | Brent Anderson, Global CCO
• Terri & Sandy | Terri Meyer and Sandy Greenberg, Co-Founders and CEOs
• Uncommon | Nils Leonard, Founder
• VaynerMedia | Adam Lock, Group Creative Director
• Venables Bell & Partners | Will McGinness, Partner and CCO
• The VIA Agency | Amos Goss, Creative Lead
• VMLY&R | Debbi Vandeven, Global CCO
• Walrus | Deacon Webster, Co-Founder & CCO
• We Are Pi | Alex Bennett Grant, Founder and CEO
• Wieden + Kennedy New York | Jaclyn Crowley, Creative Director
• Wieden + Kennedy Portland | Devin Gillespie and Heather Ryder, Creative Directors
• Work & Co | Chris Alden, Group Director of Technology
• WorkInProgress | Matt Talbot, Partner, Creative
• Wunderman Thompson | Bas Korsten, Global CCO
• Young & Laramore | Carolyn Hadlock, Principal and ECD
• Zambezi | Gavin Lester, CCO


TBWA\Chiat\Day Los Angeles

Renato Fernandez
Chief Creative Officer

PROUD OF

The project I am most proud about is called "Ashes of Hope." Last year, California faced one of the worst wildfires in history. But the federal government made an unfounded allegation blaming people for the fire and cut the help. We decided to prove that people can be the solution. We retrieved charcoal from the Woolsey and Camp wildfires, turned it into a special ink and gave it to 68 California-based artists to create original works to auction off to benefit the Wildfire Relief Fund. The auction was so successful that we are now considering creating other products using the special ink to keep helping the foundation.

JEALOUS OF

Purpose-driven advertising used to be a priority for small brands or a flying-under-the-radar gesture of big corporations. But in 2019, big brands decided to take action, making purpose the central piece of their communication strategy. We saw brands like Nike co-opting with Kaepernick for the "Dream Crazy" campaign (with the calculated risk of losing customers), P&G following up their equity campaign "The Talk" with Gillette's "The Best Men Can Be" (accepting the backlash that came with it), and other brands like Patagonia, REI, Dove, Carrefour and AIG demonstrating that brands now need to stand for something. And this is good for business.

EXCITED BY

There's one thing that flies above all new trends (AI, Data, Influencer Marketing, Voice-activated phones). And that thing is Engagement. Brands used to talk to consumers. Then talk for consumers. Now it is time to talk with consumers. That is the new ordeal in social. How to create ideas that will truly involve people. This is the Tik Tok generation, they want to have part of the action. See what we did in partnership with Disney+. Instead of announcing the launch with a traditional tv spot, we turned the moving day into a twitter thread, allowing the audience to take part on the story. Few weeks later, inspired by all the buzz on the upcoming launch, we posted all the catalog on Instagram and Twitter, giving people the chance to memefy it by creating their personalized combos.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

In 2020 streaming will be the only way people will consume content, and mostly through their personal devices. TVs on walls will be good for decoration only. Pre-rolls will be auto-created by data without the need of creative agencies. Our job will be to find new ways to invite brands to people's lives in a less intrusive way. Brands will create content and will become known for providing storytelling. Creators will become editors of content, partnering with creative minds outside advertising. The future will be more open and more creative than ever.

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TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris

Kabelo Moshapalo
Executive Creative Director

PROUD OF

A proud moment is the power of creativity impacting and raising voices of communities that don't have one. MTN, a mobile network operator, needed to spread awareness about its emergency number available for both hearing and deaf communities. For the important message to reach one of our targeted audiences in a meaningful way, we spoke in their language—sign language. First, we looked for inspiration in a music genre that also uses hand gestures for expression—hip-hop. A bespoke music track was created by a diverse team that included a popular rapper (The LazarusMan), a music producer, a deaf schoolteacher and a sign language interpreter. Together, they wrote "DEFBARS," in sign language, with a beat that was produced using techniques that allowed the deaf community to feel the beat in the absence of hearing it. DEFBARS "dropped" as a music video, demonstrating the brand's purpose of inclusivity.

JEALOUS OF

Taking on online trolls and haters head-on to inspire new ideas takes a lot of courage. The brave "Go Back to Africa" tourism campaign from Black & Abroad showcased the unmatched power of creativity to tackle social toxicity that is prevalent online. The genius hypertargeted ads hijack racist tweets in real time and remove the hateful context, directly addressing the misrepresentation of the "Go Back to Africa" sentiment. They then reposted the "cleansed" posts, taking a bold stance of portraying a positive vision of Africa, highlighting each of the 54 countries on the continent. The other very important aspect that the campaign addresses is making the target audience see themselves in the tourism destinations' imagery. Powered by a complex algorithm that curates these types of images that are not a typical mainstream portrayal of the very same tourism destinations, the campaign ultimately created demand for their unique offering.

EXCITED BY

The rise of "hackvertising" is a very exciting development in creativity. By embracing different social behaviors and cultural insights to hack traditional formats, it means completely new, unique and unexpected experiences can be created. Burger King has mastered this art with its infamous "Whopper Detour," hacking the traditional format of "new app install specials" by letting you unlock it at a McDonald's, their biggest rival. Similarly with Nike "Air Max Graffiti Stores," the traditional route to purchase is hacked, allowing sneaker enthusiasts access to purchases using the graffiti murals' geo-locations. In this scenario, the medium and the idea are one, and the result is exclusive previews to new sneaker drops (releases) and the chance to skip the intimidating online queues to unlock the purchase, onsite at graffiti murals (an integral part of sneaker culture).

LOOKING FORWARD TO

Exciting times ahead for creativity in 2020, where more brands will use voice "audible media" technology to create unique and engaging interactive experiences. The immersive, gamified, screenless engagement of HBO's "Westworld: The Maze" dialed things up with the mammoth scale of the voice device content world that was created for it. It had a great range of bespoke voice acting, leveraging the original cast members, and storytelling, that draws inspiration from the suspense-filled plot points, of the hit sci-fi Western TV show. With multiple user paths and outcomes, this project demonstrated that the opportunities are endless for brands to play in this space. And this new realm of theater of the mind is ripe for the picking; beyond utility or new paths to purchase navigated through voice, brands can tell their unique stories, and engage audiences in interactive ways never imagined before.

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TBWA\Media Arts Lab

Brent Anderson
Global Chief Creative Officer

PROUD OF

Our OOH board for apple.com/privacy at the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas. A collision of content x context coming together to hijack the focus and buzz of the week for Apple.

JEALOUS OF

Eliud Kipchoge breaking the two-hour barrier, running a 1:59:40 marathon to give poetic closure to Nike's brilliant Breaking 2 initiative. Nike developing a controversial product, then setting an audacious public goal with no guarantee of success, was a brave and confident statement of the core belief in the indomitable spirit within all athletes.

EXCITED BY

I find exciting anytime there is an absence of artifice in the idea and an abundance of honesty and substance.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

Hopefully (for the sake of creativity thriving) we can look forward to brands building more long-term platforms that allow creative thinkers to express a strong point of view effectively and consistently over time on behalf of their client partners. For us, "Shot on iPhone" and "Behind the Mac" are two such platforms.

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Terri & Sandy

Terri Meyer and Sandy Greenberg
Co-Founders and CEOs

PROUD OF

We created a long-form piece for Disney called "Finomenon" to commemorate the 30th anniversary of The Little Mermaid. The video featured children, adults, couples and families from all walks of life to honor the movie that has for years become such a part of so many people's worlds. The depth of love and outpouring of support from fans surrounding that work was profound, with millions of views almost instantly and thousands of heartfelt comments posted within the first few days of its air. Being able to capture people's connection to the film from all around the globe in an honest, heartfelt and meaningful way was one of the proudest moments of both our careers.

JEALOUS OF

Hands down, Nike's "Dream Crazier." This one really resonated with us. Leveling the playing field for women has and always will be our utmost mission in life and in business. Being a women-owned agency, we will not rest until we do everything possible to help that cause. This Nike spot from Wieden + Kennedy, in one fell swoop, said more than we could say in our 25-plus year careers. Kudos to them!

EXCITED BY

The constant evolution of consumers demanding more from brands in terms of creativity. It's "Find me on my platform, speak my language, appeal to my values and beliefs, engage me, excite me and encourage me to share my point of view." This opens the door for agencies to be more creative, more dynamic and more stimulating in the ways we communicate.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

That all depends on how the election goes. 😉

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Uncommon

Nils Leonard
Founder

PROUD OF

Alongside our other projects with the British broadcaster, Uncommon worked with ITV to stop national television for "Britain Get Talking." In a time where British families spend only 30 minutes together every day, we launched a disruptive initiative creating silence in the TV schedule of one of the U.K.'s biggest channels to provoke conversation among families at home.

JEALOUS OF

I wish I'd worked with Stormzy on that vest for Glastonbury.

EXCITED BY

The billions being invested in AV programming in an attention war fought by the most powerful brands on the planet. The depth and craft in the gaming industry: The costume design in Death Stranding is McQueen levels of good.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

For Uncommon, it will be about expanding into product and experience design, and continuing to build and create important and meaningful brands. As well as continuing to grow the compostable capsule coffee brand Halo we founded, we'll be adding a cookware brand rooted in permanence and repair as well as two other ventures. But we'll also be playing our part in raising a new generation of U.K. creative talent. Creative talent in 2020 will have more choices of workplace than ever before; we'd love Uncommon to be a destination for the world's best.

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VaynerMedia

Adam Lock
Group Creative Director

PROUD OF

For me, it's the work we did for Budweiser and the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL). After the FIFA Women's World Cup, fans and brands tried to capitalize on the success of the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team (USWNT). However, when our players return home to their domestic teams, they're greeted by half-empty stadiums. Budweiser, a longtime USWNT sponsor, wanted to make a difference to the game in the long term. On the day of the final, when Budweiser announced it was becoming the first official beer sponsor of the NWSL, we simultaneously launched "We Won't Stop Watching," encouraging fans to keep supporting the women's game. Subsequently, we launched "The Future Official Sponsor" campaign, featuring Megan Rapinoe, aiming to inspire NWSL fans to pledge support for a series of "placeholder" products. By pledging, fans could rally brands to join Budweiser as sponsors, securing the league's future and helping bridge the equality gap. The campaign has led to unprecedented interest from corporate sponsors.

JEALOUS OF

We live in a time when plastic is quite literally in the political hot seat. Plastic straws and shopping bags are just some of the biggest villains in the battle for a more sustainable future. So, a campaign that wants to melt down and recycle those needless plastic fast-food toys is pretty genius. And genius it was. But the way agency Jones Knowles Ritchie and Burger King executed "The Meltdown" was envy-worthy. This idea has it all. It's simple, purpose-driven and aims to increase eco-friendly practices among those elusive environmentally conscious fast-food consumers, not to mention it also served as a nice rib shot at McDonald's, which decided to relaunch its series of retro plastic Happy Meal toys this month—talk about timing. Beyond all of that awesomeness, the campaign also came prewrapped in the most elegant and frame-worthy art direction. Well done.

EXCITED BY

I love the use of low-cost creative on social platforms as testing grounds for bigger ideas, and Twitter is my favorite. You can tweet anything into existence. In fact, at VaynerMedia, we already have a few times this year. I often talk to my team about Twitter with the same lens that I was introduced to radio back in the day: You can write "And the helicopter explodes" into your script, and all it costs is a sound effect or two. On Twitter, the cost is only 26 characters. The low-cost, low-risk nature of social media makes it the perfect place to test "line-up-for-your-Lion" ideas. Just because we're executing quick and small doesn't mean all our ideas are quick and small. Bring your biggest and best ideas to the Twitter table, test them out, and see if real consumers agree. Better now than three months and $1 million down the line.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

2020 marks the 10th anniversary of Droga5 and Bing's "Jay-Z Decoded" campaign, and I'm excited to see what's next in the ad-ouflage game. Decoded was one of the first campaigns to challenge the notion of what an ad can be. It chose to ignore traditional media and remained true to the notion that the best stories should show up where they are best told—even if that's printed at the bottom of a hotel swimming pool. For me, the best work doesn't look like work—or at least, not like work that everyone expects to see. So, what will creativity look like in 2020? I have no idea. That said, I know the best work will always strive to do one of two things: accept the media and transcend it, or find a more compelling place to tell its story, somewhere media may not even exist yet.

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Venables Bell & Partners

Will McGinness
Partner and Chief Creative Officer

PROUD OF

Reebok used to be one of the boldest names in sportswear. The Reebok of today, however, is kind of a shadow of what it once was. We needed to do something drastic to get the brand noticed again and win back a younger audience, so we ripped up the athletic brand playbook and came up with "Sport the Unexpected." A campaign that flips everything on its head and embraces the idea of being different. I love how vigilant the team was at protecting the tone and maintaining a beautifully odd aesthetic in the work. "Storm the Court" and "Nails," in particular, captured something new for the world of athletic wear, something that people wanted to be part of. And best of all, the sales numbers were incredible.

JEALOUS OF

My favorite project of 2019 is definitely "Skittles: Broadway the Rainbow." Casting Michael C. Hall was a great decision. There's an integrity to him as an actor, and he played the humor flawlessly. I loved everything from the therapy session that ends up on stage in front of a live audience, to the "Advertising Ruins Everything" theme song, down to the cat posters that promoted the event. The whole thing is absurdly stupid and hilarious, and I say that without even having seen the actual play. That, to me, is part of the power of it—there was enough evidence of the idea to keep you dialed in and entertained, regardless of what you actually took in. The team clearly thought through every detail and stayed true to the self-referential absurdity the whole way. There are probably a thousand brands that try to "hijack the Super Bowl" every year. Skittles pulled it off in epic form.

EXCITED BY

In recent years, as we've seen a real trend towards short-term, sales-driving tactics, I've worried that the industry was losing sight of the importance of brand building and longer term effectiveness. With recent industry stories from Adidas, Kraft Heinz and others, I actually believe that we're getting to the point where the pendulum is swinging back to a place where clients yearn for a more cohesive brand story, and are less inclined to chase a one-off stunt that won't amount to much. When we can unleash award-winning creative ideas in the world that truly deliver business results for our clients in both the long and short term, that's the real power of creativity. I'm excited for more of that.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

Creativity will look really political. The country is obviously already intensely polarized, and that's only going to get worse as emotions and division intensify in 2020. Agencies will lend their time and energy to supporting candidates that they believe in, which should lead to a ton of interesting ideas that can propel campaigns. And many brands will be willing to step up and take a position on things too. Everything will likely be seen through a partisan lens to some degree, which is where things will get interesting. A brand of toothpaste may inadvertently end up taking a position on journalistic integrity, for example. Overall, the airwaves will be saturated with a cacophony of political ads and mudslinging, and brands will try to stand out in meaningful new ways. It should be fun.

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The VIA Agency

Amos Goss
Creative Lead

PROUD OF

It was just so damn fun to dust off "What Would You Do for a Klondike Bar?" Klondike hadn't used the line for years, yet it endured in pop culture, rap lyrics and social media. The daunting part was doing something new with it. At some point we realized, holy crap, this question that they've asked for 30 years has always been rhetorical, or a dramatization. What if we find out how far people will actually go for a Klondike Bar? So we crafted these insane scenarios, tapped Jeff Tremaine (co-creator of Jackass) and got Anna Faris to go undercover to coax people into doing the wildest shit for a Klondike Bar. Like breaking and entering, or giving up the naming rights to their baby, or helping a criminal mastermind steal an expensive painting. The whole thing was just so insane, exhilarating and ultimately incredibly effective.

JEALOUS OF

The Bud Light corn syrup thing was just perfect. Incredible dialogue, visually stunning, the Wilhelm scream—it really has it all. It serves as a good reminder for us creatives (myself included) who tend to get whiny about the brief. Is "brewed with no corn syrup" really that compelling at face value? NO! No one gives two poops. Well, somehow how they made us care. That's advertising at its best. And the Miller response was just a gift to Bud from the heavens. "We source our corn syrup from America's heartland." Holy smokes! Hey friends, you sound exactly like the parody—now you really ARE the jack-wagons screaming from the castle. The only thing I hate about this is that it's not mine!

EXCITED BY

There was a time when I didn't know what would come of the good ole fashioned commercial. As things change and media fragments, it kind of blows my mind that "spots" are still so relevant. I mean, look at Amazon, Google, Apple, Facebook—when they've got something to say, they're making great "spots." I wouldn't have predicted that. Yet media companies are saying if you want to reach a national audience and optimize ROI, you need make the same stuff agencies made in the '50s. Cuckoo … right? We're having a blast finding creative ways to leverage mobile, digital display and the social platforms. And I'm all for figuring out how to make it work as "a :06 without sound." But that's not what drew me to this business. Long live the spot!

LOOKING FORWARD TO

I don't know if it'll hit by 2020, but eventually purpose, agent for social-change advertising, simply has to cool off. Consumers are getting hip to it and even cynical. When every multinational, multi-brand company implements a "brand purpose" box that needs checking, it just gets, well, who gives a shit? I think we all know Jiffy Lube's real purpose is to convince you your air filter needs to be changed … we don't need their stance on vaccines. As John Oliver asked, do we need to hear from SpaghettiOs on the anniversary of 9/11? If you're truly born out of purpose, that's great, have at it. For the rest, here's a good rule of thumb—the second you ask your agency "What should our social purpose be?" is the second you know you don't have one. And that's OK. Wait. Shit, it's an election year. OK, maybe 2021.

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VMLY&R

Debbi Vandeven
Global Chief Creative Officer

PROUD OF

Of course, I couldn't be prouder of The Last Ever Issue. It created true positive cultural change in Poland, and what more can we hope for from our work? But a recent project for Wendy's, "Feast of Legends," is pretty amazing. Last year's Fortnite work proved that gaming is a way of authentically connecting with Wendy's customers. And we found role-playing games (RPGs) were gaining popularity. What's fantastic about RPGs is they get people off their devices and connecting in real life. For "Feast of Legends," we created a world where players come to help fight against frozen beef. Our "Fresh, never frozen" positioning plays out beautifully in every detail—from the characters in the game to the way you "power up" while playing by eating Wendy's food, making the products integral to the game itself. It launched at Comic-Con New York, and we had 250,000 downloads within days.

JEALOUS OF

Because of our work on Wendy's, I was jealous of Burger King's "Whopper Detour" this past year. The way it used data and targeting to hijack the competition—and make you feel like a co-conspirator with the brand—was just awesome. It's the type of work the entire industry can't help but appreciate. It was smart as well as a creative answer to app downloads, and it certainly got a lot of press.

EXCITED BY

Brands are getting away from lofty purpose and connecting with people on an authentic level. They're focused on bringing the true values of their brand to their purpose—and more and more, that's the way we're able to work with our partners to build their brands. I also see brands recognizing and encouraging creativity as a way to differentiate and drive business—which is, of course, also something I find extremely exciting.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

As I look to the future, I see brands increasingly becoming a part of people's entertainment. The lines are continuing to blur, in a very exciting way. When you think about the possibilities to create truly game-changing work with cultural impact—work that entertains as it builds a brand—it makes me so happy to be in this business at this moment in time.

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Walrus

Deacon Webster
Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer

PROUD OF

This out-of-home campaign we did for Smith & Wollensky. For some reason this one really resonated with people. It got more play on social media than our social media campaigns do, I think because big public messages like this are part of the landscape that we all move in and out of. So taking a picture of an ad and saying, "I saw this funny thing on the street," is a way of sharing an experience, which, amusingly enough, makes outdoor a really social medium.

JEALOUS OF

Apple's long-form Apple at Work spot "The Underdogs," about the round pizza box. What's not to love about this? It was engaging, well done, well produced, it was human and relatable, it demo-ed like 20 different Apple products in a completely believable way. Non-ad people sent me this ad because they liked it. Yes, I'm jealous.

https://musebycl.io/advertising/apples-entertaining-new-ad-all-about-circular-pizza-box-it-designed-decade-ago

EXCITED BY

DTC brands spending big bucks on brand campaigns. If the data-first acolytes were right, this never should have happened. DTC is trackable and optimizable every step of the way. So why would anyone do something so broad and non-response driven like a subway station domination or a TV spot? Because they have realized that 1-to-1 marketing only gets you so far before it becomes prohibitively expensive, that's why. Brand ads drive costs down and profits up. The fact that this is finally being proven out excites me.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

I am looking forward to the death of influencer campaigns and to brands taking back their narrative. As the pendulum swings back to big ideas, I'm excited to see what our industry will come up with when we marry the amazing amount of data that's now available to loftier goals than mere likes and clicks.

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We Are Pi

Alex Bennett Grant
Founder and CEO

PROUD OF

I'm proud of our radical brand turnaround for Spanish fashion house Desigual. As the brand became increasingly mainstream over the years, it lost sight of its radical roots and its appeal to consumers. To turn the Spanish icon into a global brand, we needed to unlock its distinct personality in a way that translated internationally, and inspire a new generation that didn't grow up with the brand. The word Desigual actually translates to "different," "irregular" and "unpredictable"—an attitude that inspires everything the brand does. We took this fact, little known to international audiences, and turned it into a commitment to do everything truly different in the future. Working with a new marketing team, we launched a permanently flipped logo to show the world that Desigual had found its crazy again. To celebrate the new logo, we launched "Forwards Is Boring," an integrated campaign that came to life with eye-catching outdoor, a revamped Instagram account that goes back to zero posts every month, and a manifesto that touched everything from stores to website. Brand searches spiked at launch, and the campaign is still working its magic in-market.

JEALOUS OF

I truly believe great entertainment has the power to move the world forward in new ways. Particularly when it spotlights underrepresented voices who have the potential to positively impact mass culture. To that end, I admire the potential impact of The Game Changers, the latest Netflix contribution to conversation in popular culture. The documentary is not only entertaining, it is also very clever marketing. Rebranding "veganism" to "plant-based" takes a rising trend and amplifies it with a star-studded cast, from UFC star and show host James Wilks, to icons like Arnie, and exec producer credits for James Cameron and (unsurprisingly) Pamela Anderson. I wouldn't be surprised if "plant-based" has become is a rising Google search and veganism continues to take over in 2020. Brands would be smart to recognize the power of supporting or creating entertaining content franchises with equivalent cultural firepower.

EXCITED BY

Convergence is excellent for creativity. Advertising, digital, entertainment, social are all merging into just being media. Connecting the dots and curating cultural conversations beats writing. I think the recoupling of marketing and cultural content across the new media landscape marks the end of selling advertising as a singular commodity and the beginning of selling universal fame. The "WPP era" where research, broadcasting, publishing media and writing ads were separate worlds (with different languages) is fast ending. In the new era, one's agility to connect the dots between all forms of media storytelling is the modern creative mastery that gets me most excited. I'm witnessing this new world every day—from the impact of putting TV show production researchers into our strategy department to create better content series formats for brands, to interviewing a new generation of cultural voices who are rewriting the rulebook of advertising codes for We Are Pi's 2020 "New Society Rules" research report. Advertising as we know it may be dead, but our new jobs are much more exciting!

LOOKING FORWARD TO

Less BS, more awesome. Brands like Unilever and Adidas are the first among many to call out digital media's road to precision-targeted data-driven nowhere. My guess is that the impact of divide and rule precision-marketing will be the same on brands as it has on the health of democracy—damaging. In 2020, I hope to see more brands call time on slicing and dicing the world into tiny consumer segments with hypertargeted programmatic digital media. It's time for a backlash and an inflection moment for an advertising industry grappling with reality and measurement. What's exciting about that? A trend toward creativity that unites versus divides.

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Wieden + Kennedy New York

Jaclyn Crowley
Creative Director

PROUD OF

I love the work we've been doing on HBO. Most recently, the work we did for mental health awareness in October. It's interesting, too, because there isn't a whole lot of "work" to show for it—it was a different kind of project in that way. The idea was to destigmatize the conversation around mental illness. We created Mental Health "bumpers" or cards to put in front of HBO shows that feature stories of mental illness. They look like a viewer advisory but instead it aim to make people who may be suffering feel like they are being acknowledged and their stories are being included. We also launched a series of "Doctor Commentaries," where a doctor helps us unpack and understand the stories of mental illness in HBO shows. The team at W+K was just happy to help create positive conversation around this topic. It has such an unfair stigma attached to it. And as someone who has family members that struggle, it really felt nice to feel like I was contributing toward something so personal in my professional career.

JEALOUS OF

Billie's Movember campaign! It encouraged women to grow their mustaches in November as part of the Movember men's health initiative. It got me excited! One, because I love the creative woman behind it, Jess Shriftman, but it also got me thinking about this conversation around startups and what their true value is. It's challenging for many startups to stay afloat. And like many, I've grown suspect of their high valuations. In a case like Billie's, a cynic could say it's not hard to copy a young, fun, subscription razor club. But you can't copy really good creative which, piece by piece, adds up to strong branding. Billie has just that. They've clearly got something special going on over there. The campaign made me feel, for a moment at least, really confident about being a part of the creative community. Not to hype us all up too much, but I do think we are pretty important.

EXCITED BY

I don't know what I'm talking about here much, but it seems in general that the trend is less "ads" and more "stuff." I'm starting to look at work and briefs differently. At the end of every project, I'd like to be able to say, "For (X brand) we made (Y thing)." If Y is just a commercial, it feels like we missed an opportunity to do something bigger.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

More women everywhere. All types of women at all levels. I'm here for it.

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Wieden + Kennedy Portland

Devin Gillespie and Heather Ryder
Creative Directors

PROUD OF

We are incredibly proud of our Fisher-Price work that launched this year. It was based on the insight that more and more, toys are becoming tools for turning kids into adults, when really toys are for letting kids be kids. The team had a ton of fun imagining the world through the eyes of a child and then making work that reflected this perspective. Ultimately, when kids play with toys, they get to live these amazingly strange, beautiful, fun stories they create in the world of childhood. And as adults, it's nice to go back to that world, too.

JEALOUS OF

A lot of what we liked this year was work that crossed the "ad line." Sesame Street has done a nice job with its 50th anniversary campaign. They've done a lot of great work with their advertising, design and partnerships, but Oscar the Grouch selling his trash as art on the Internet, in a campaign for Squarespace, was a particular favorite. We also liked Columbia Journalism Review's fake newsstand. Creating a physical manifestation of fake news was a very arresting way to address the issue.

EXCITED BY

We love seeing more and more work bleed into culture and start to play with the physical world. Film is still a very powerful way to tell stories, but there are so many other mediums to play with. When you encounter a brand in a way you never expected, it feels more meaningful.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

Who knows?! The thing that's so exciting about creativity is that you can't really predict where it will go. The surprise of where it takes you is the fun part.

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Work & Co

Chris Alden
Group Director of Technology

PROUD OF

I'm really proud of our team's work for Epic Games, which in 2019 included Epic's first-ever online store, player apps and game developer tools. What's been fascinating is launching to massive scale immediately. As soon as the store went live, it had millions of users, driven by the popularity of Fortnite. I've never worked on something before where you launch a new feature and a dozen blog posts get written dissecting it overnight—examining how it works, why it works, what's good about it, what's bad about it. It's rewarding to have so many people deeply care about and use our work.

JEALOUS OF

Glitch gained a big following in the past year and is a standout for me. It's an amazing product created with the ethos of open source. The platform makes it easy to launch applications and remix existing projects. There's been over 2.5 million of these apps so far. What I admire about Glitch is how it calls back to the initial potential of the internet as an open place where people build on each others' ideas, while Glitch also puts a huge emphasis on being an inclusive and welcoming community.

EXCITED BY

Privacy. I'm encouraged by the increasing emphasis on the topic and that's it's going beyond simply meeting legal obligations. There's no need to compromise on our collective demands for the right to privacy. I think sometimes the toughest constraints actually lead to more creativity, so I hope privacy by design isn't a trend so much as a raising of our standards.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

Unencumbered. We'll see the quality of creative collaboration improve to bridge physical distances. Remote working is on the rise for many industries, but the actual tools for collaboration are only now catching up in a robust way. Figma—which lets you see what another team member is working on across the world in real time—is a good example of helping to bring hyper-real-time collaboration into the process for moments when teams aren't able to sit together.

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WorkInProgress

Matt Talbot
Partner, Creative

PROUD OF

I'm proud of the body of work we've created with Jimmy John's since partnering less than a year ago, but I'm particularly proud of our "Home in the Zone" campaign. We promised to buy one superfan who lived outside of Jimmy John's famously small five-minute Sandwich Delivery Zones a house inside of one so we could deliver them Freaky Fresh sandwiches. It's a great example of our agency's action-based philosophy. It proves Jimmy John's passion for sandwiches. It generated a massive amount of earned media that added to the impact of the paid media plan. And it led to advertising that was memorable, breakthrough and intrinsically branded.

JEALOUS OF

Two campaigns made me jealous this year—the Rudy II/III campaign for KFC, and Walmart's online pickup campaign using famous cars. Both are incredibly creative, memorable and actually sell something. The Rudy campaign includes a hilarious :60 movie trailer, but also :30s and :15s that advertise everything from free cake to new wings. The Walmart campaign generated mainstream awareness for its grocery pickup service, seemingly overnight, with a combination of Golden Globe and Super Bowl media placements and impeccable execution. They made working with multiple studios and Hollywood IP look easy. And it's definitely not.

https://musebycl.io/advertising/4-great-ads-and-one-terrible-one-golden-globes

EXCITED BY

I think we'll continue to see independent agencies founded by smart and passionate people open, grow and thrive. The reality is that in advertising, who works on your business matters. Holding companies can try to sell you legacy, but the success of the relationship ultimately comes down to the specific people who work on your business day in and day out. Independent agencies can deliver on that better than anybody. Those killer teams and level of accountability lead to better partnerships and work that moves business.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

Media plans have become frustratingly fragmented as a result of there being so many different platforms and channels to choose from. But there are implications for production and post-production when you're producing 50 different units and 50 different aspect ratios and lengths. I think brands and their partners will continue to course correct by no longer buying every channel and ad type possible, but rather, a handful of the right ones that still provide the targeting, reach and frequency needed. This leads to better work rather that a bunch of mediocre pieces. Also, the fact that more and more people are using ad-free platforms, or paying a premium to avoid ads, will make it even more crucial for brands to do things that generate press, social chatter and conversations in real life.

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Wunderman Thompson

Bas Korsten
Global Chief Creative Officer

PROUD OF

We did a campaign called "Blink" together with JWT India for photographic artist Jimmy Nelson. The campaign is aimed at preserving cultural diversity. It consisted of a powerful film made from 15,000 photos that Jimmy shot of indigenous tribes around the world. And a unique Facebook activation to emphasize the campaign's main warning: "Blink. And they're gone." Because if we don't watch out, thanks to globalization, we'll lose something unique to humankind: cultural diversity.

JEALOUS OF

I love the campaign for German Rail "No Need to Fly" done by Ogilvy. Simple, powerful and clever use of data and image recognition.

EXCITED BY

I really like what everyone now labels as "hackvertising." It's taking reality and not accepting it as a reality. It really requires a fresh perspective to be able to look at existing, widely accepted notions and turn them around.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

I'm curious to see how the trend of bio-hacking is going to evolve. It's ethically one of the more interesting and sensitive domains for humankind and even more so for brands. I really liked the Marmite DNA campaign done by adam&eveDDB last year. I hope we'll see more experimentation there. On a similar note, I will keep developing my own research into neuroscience and how we can enhance human creativity through insights we get from that rapidly developing field of science. There's so much to win.

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Young & Laramore

Carolyn Hadlock
Principal and Executive Creative Director

PROUD OF

SeeTheHeart.org. As an agency, organ donation became a cause that hit very close to home when our president Tom Denari's wife received a heart transplant earlier this year. This life-changing experience made us realize we needed to help raise awareness of the positive impact becoming an organ donor can have. Through this project we learned that a lot of people weren't sure if they were organ donors. And worse, some people who thought they were actually weren't. Our goal was simple: get people to check their license to make sure they see the heart symbol if they'd opted to be a donor. Everything in the production was handmade internally and shot using stop motion. We wanted to tell a story of hope, not despair. Maggie is our hero and the reason this all got started. Less than six months after she received her new heart, she ran a 5K.

JEALOUS OF

Volvo Trucks, "The Cash Machine featuring Bob." Though I've always been attracted to work that shows up in unexpected ways in unexpected places, this year I've been focusing on film. There still is no better way to tell a story, and there's no place to hide. I appreciate the level of craft in all the choices that are made, from music to casting to timing and writing, and of course art direction. This spot, a follow-up to the legendary "Epic Split" from 2013, is equally stunning, but with humor and wit. It's restrained hyperbole, and I love it. The touches of the reflection of the headlights on his one gold tooth, the dainty teacups and the musical score elevate this spot to the highest level. Not to mention, Walter Samuel's performance is pitch perfect in every scene.

EXCITED BY

The permission for experimentation. At first, the call for content felt overwhelming with its demand for volume, and absurd because everything we've ever made is content. A tweet is content. It's just not that complicated. But, as they say, necessity is the mother of invention, and it's true in the case for content. We can take the velocity that advertising throws at us today with the quantity, speed and minimal budgets and harness it to create work that is experimental and original for our clients. Everything is fluid and worlds are colliding, which creates opportunities that we've never had before. The crossover is real, and the slate is clean.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

Seeing independent agencies have their day in the sun in 2020. Firepower isn't limited to the big holding companies anymore. Nimbleness and resourcefulness are the new superpowers, and nobody is more poised to leverage this than the independents. Big brands are starting to see the benefit of working with smaller-footprint agencies who are scrappy and creative but know how to steward a brand.

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Zambezi

Gavin Lester
Chief Creative Officer

PROUD OF

I'm extremely proud of our "Unleashed" spot and campaign for Beats by Dre and its Powerbeats Pro earphones. We developed this anthemic spot with acclaimed director Hiro Murai. The concept was inspired by the innovation of the product itself, and how it removes distractions like wires and improper fit, and helps athletes be the most prolific version of themselves in their training. Our creative focus was to show Powerbeats Pro technology in action, bringing athletes the full power of music, unconstrained, uninterrupted and unleashed. It was a huge sense of accomplishment for our team to have pulled together a complex shoot with time-strapped talent across the world. I was also extremely proud of the collaborative effort between our team and the internal marketing team at Beats by Dre. And most importantly, the campaign was a big performer for the brand this year. Overall, it was a fantastic experience.

JEALOUS OF

I really admired "The Seas Between Us" by Droga5 for Rustlers. When we talk about using multiple channels in our industry, we're usually talking about employing digital properties like social, but there are so many things it can encompass. I've always wanted to create a long-form piece like a movie for a brand partner, and I'm kind of jealous that this team beat me to it. But I also can't help but applaud it. Their idea and approach is inspiring, and it makes me excited for opportunities ahead in our business.

EXCITED BY

Everything is evolving so quickly today, and there are many new, innovative channels on which to communicate. The platforms, formats and venues we use to share our content are constantly changing, and I'm excited by these new opportunities for unique storytelling. Ultimately, though, it's not just about leveraging a cool new channel. In this world of oversaturation of content (literally everywhere), compelling stories and smart curation of content are so key. As our industry continues to push and innovate, the brands that do both—embrace advancements while honing storytelling craft—will win.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

It seems like the importance of data and analytics has eclipsed everything we do these days. While these insights and data points are truly useful and needed, I think we can all agree they aren't everything—especially when developing creative work that really resonates. In 2020, I think we'll see a rise in creative with a human touch. We have the benefit of so many vessels and platforms to create within, and we need to do this with a real sense of humanity in order to be effective. This will be a great dynamic to watch in the year ahead, and a big driver of truly effective branded communications.

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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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