Ad Nut
Dec 21, 2022

Ad Nut’s 10 best ads of 2022

YEAR IN REVIEW: Ad Nut’s picks this year include a creepy tollbooth attendant, a Gen Z parody skit, and a moving animation film about the gender apocalypse.

Ad Nut’s 10 best ads of 2022

Ad Nut has been through the trenches this year with the sheer volume of NFT product launches and perplexing metaverse activations. But Ad Nut would rather not talk about those here and would like to instead celebrate some of Ad Nut’s favourite pieces of work this year. These campaigns show that tech trends and platforms come and go—but human-led creativity will always rule. Grab your bowl of roast acorns and settle in.  

Catch up on past Year In Review lists (more to come this week)

1. A weirdly wonderful way to promote a shopping-mall app

Thailand's Central Department Store knocks it out of the park again with a perfectly scripted and scored film that reveals a deeply satisfying twist in its last five seconds. 

To blur the lines between the virtual app and the in-store physical experience, shoppers were seen in their most ‘natural state’ in the physical mall. Ad Nut especially loves the first sequence where a woman stumbles into the mall after a few drinks in—this state is what Ad Nut understands to be one where humans tend to let loose on their credit cards.

2. Neil Diamond sparkles in insurance campaign

Ad Nut loves a big musical moment in an ad, and this one doesn’t disappoint with a cover of Neil Diamond’s ‘Sweet Caroline’ swells during a touching moment. 

Ad Nut pleasantly discovers that Caroline's character is loosely based on a Māori woman with the natural aura of a leader who works outside the TBWA offices in Auckland.  It’s a brilliantly acted, written, and edited film that makes Ad Nut think that perhaps insurance companies are not all bad. 

3. This is what happens when Gen X creatives try to make ads for teens

Ad Nut is fond of good takedown of a stereotype. In this thoroughtly entertaining Thai campaign for Johnson & Johnson, Gen X creatives get—as the kids say—owned. 

One of the two main characters in the film says: “This commercial has been created by Gen Y, shot by Gen X, and approved by boomers for Gen Z teens.” Did you hear that? That’s the sound of every marketing department saying ‘oh snap’.

4. Humans will land on Mars before they see equality

Technological advancements will supercede gender equity in this sobering film for UN Women Australia by The Monkeys. While you wallow in the hopelessness of its messaging, take your time to marvel at each frame which is directed in stunning detail and cinematographic quality. 

In light of the US’ Roe v Wade decision last week, Ad Nut thinks that this film lands with an added sense of hopelessness and despair. While the world moves forward towards a progressive, convenient, and automated future, women will always feel as they did decades ago—left behind.

5. Meet the woman who is repulsed by all fruit 

Sometimes, a compelling main character is all an ad needs. In this case, Amy—based on a real person at McCann Shanghai—is an unlikely antagonist for a fruit juice company. 

Ad Nut thinks the idea of featuring a villainous fruit-hater in a fruit-juice campaign is a stroke of genius and proved to be thoroughly entertaining. Ad Nut also very much enjoyed the writing, pacing, and design quality of the two films down to the very last detail—such as the shot which deliberately fixated on the juiciness of the pineapple that riled Amy up even more. Ad Nut certifies this campaign as fresh.

6. You'll never guess the star of this half-time NBA show

In what might be the most unexpected live experience this year, Nissan hijacks an NBA half-time performance with a dance performance unlike any other. 

Ad Nut is a fan of brand campaigns that unexpectedly connect its product with an irregular concept, and this one is no exception. It also shows that a mundane everyday object can be glowed up to showcase sophisticated technology, and Ad Nut cannot help but groove along.

7. A remote island that rewards responsible tourists

Through a tourism app developed by the Republic of Palau, visitors can accumulate points for demonstrating responsible and regenerative behaviour and use these points to unlock unique experiences the island has to offer. A highly impactful purpose campaign that lands with aplomb. 

Ad Nut commends the agency and client team for this ingenious solution to not just preserve the pristine land, but to also cultivate conscientious behaviour among tourists that can hopefully be lent to other islands and tourist spots. Ad Nut also applauds Palau’s decision to go down this route despite understanding that tourism dollars could be compromised.

8. This tollbooth attendant might haunt your dreams 

The New Zealand Transport Agency is not short of haunting road-safety campaigns, and this one adds to its catalogue. It definitely puts a new spin on the term ‘road toll’.

Mission accomplished, in a most disturbing fashion. The dreamlike narrative is very effective. And Ad Nut won't soon forget the toll attendant and her demand, nor the father trying to live with whatever happened.

8. Towards a more gender-inclusive internet

NZ telco Spark along with Colenso BBDO developed a bit of website code that can easily be added to forms in order to make them more inclusive for trans and non-binary people. It’s a perfect case study of how to take a simple, purposeful idea and apply it at scale. 

Ad Nut encourages everyone to read through the website and the personal stories there. Then think about why and how your company asks about gender, and consider making a change. And asking you to do that is just about the highest compliment Ad Nut can give to this remarkable work.

10. Challenging Raya ad tropes in hilarious fashion

Raya ads have become one and the same in this post-Yasmin Ahmad era but biscuit brand Julie’s attempted to ‘rewrite the script’ by parodying various tropes that often emerge. The results are amusing. 

For [directors] Junad and Nadirah, it’s important to challenge stereotypes presented in Raya ads party due to a lack of role models growing up given that there aren’t many women directors in the Malaysian filmscape. Representation matters, they say, especially with regards to how older and younger women are portrayed in Malay families.

Ad Nut is a surprisingly literate woodland creature that for unknown reasons has an unhealthy obsession with advertising. Ad Nut gathers ads from all over Asia and the world for your viewing pleasure, because Ad Nut loves you. You can also check out Ad Nut's Advertising Hall of Fame, or read about Ad Nut's strange obsession with 'murderous beasts'.


Campaign Asia

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