As 2015 nears its end, Campaign Asia-Pacific is reviewing the year by featuring one best-of (or worst-of) list each day. We've got 12 days' worth of the biggest PR disasters, deals, pitches, launches and people moves; the best and worst campaigns; and the oddest stories and quotes we've heard. Click here for all our year-in-review features from not only 2015 but also past years.
Here, in no particular order, are our 10 favourite campaigns of the year:
Nike gives voice to pressured youth in Korea
Part one of this powerf ul campaign by Wieden+Kennedy Tokyo highlighted young people defying traditional expectations and invited young athletes to share their personal stories by sending voice messages through popular messaging app KakaoTalk. Later, the brand released part two, an even more spine-tingling video highlighting the real voice messages young people sent.
We admire how the campaign tweaks Nike's 'Just do it' mantra, which in the West has always been about conquering one's own physical pain and mental weakness. Here, the slogan expands to also encompass standing up in the face parental and societal pressures. This positions Nike as a brand that supports young people in reclaiming the time they need and deserve to pursue something they are passionate about.
ANZ subjects gender inequality to an ass-kicking
This campaign, anchored by an online film directed by Oscar-winner Jane Campion (The Piano), also included a series of 15-second videos detailing concrete actions that ANZ pledged to take in order to address inequality—including extra retirement contributions for its 12,700 female employees.
We love the 'Are you kidding me?' reactions of the girls in the video as they read increasingly distressing facts about what they're up against, as well as the explosive physical reaction of the young Karate master (8-year-old black belt Mahiro-chan).
For details, see ANZ attacks gender inequality with powerful film, concrete action
Shiseido unveils secrets of high school girls
The makeup brand produced an impressive product demonstration that stood out in the sea of blandness makeup advertising so often is. Yes, there's a reason we're not saying much. Watch the video, then see our original coverage for details.
Airbnb's crazy-cool craft project
Staking out a creative and visual space for itself with intricate miniature-based projects, Airbnb followed up an earlier single-shot train journey through a handcrafted world with this stunningly complex project based on 19th-century zoetrope technology. The dreamlike footage is both uniquely identifiable and perfectly suited to appeal to would-be travelers fantasising about their next trip. Our only complaint was that with the finished ad, most people won't have any idea that they're seeing something so remarkable; only the making-of video imparts the sheer lunacy of the project, which involved 11,256 hand-painted and placed parts including 1,476 figurines.
For details, see Airbnb builds massive 3D zoetrope to show 'A different Paris'
Game of balls: Porn performers pause to give serious advice
To get Australian men checking for testicular cancer, M&C Saatchi hid a public health message (and demonstration) in a porn flick on behalf of The Blue Ball Foundation. For maximum exposure, the agency conspired with an adult film studio and an erotic site to debut a parody of Game of Thrones on the same day that the latest season of the popular drama debuted.
In Game of Balls, star Eva Lovia stops mid-action and speaks directly to the viewer, demonstrating how to check for testicular cancer using her co-star as a prop. She then points to an onscreen URL, playwithyourself.org, where men can learn more. Without PR, Game of Balls pulled in more than 1 million views, and when the media discovered the idea, awareness spread even further.
For details, see NSFW CASE STUDY: Hiding a PSA in a porn film
Samsung puts science into CSR
You've no doubt seen Samsung and Cheil's multiple-award-winning 'Look at me', which highlighted an app that was scientifically proven to help autistic children connect with their parents and caregivers. The video actually debuted in late December last year, but we covered it in January right after Cheil first made us aware of it, so we're including it here for the impact it made in 2015.
Nike erects a temple to Kobe
The athletic brand and its longtime agency make a second appearance in this list with an online and offline experience built around NBA star Kobe Bryant's legendary abilities (before said abilities sadly but inevitably deteriorated this season). See our original coverage for the full details of the multi-faceted campaign that admirably integrated content, brand, product, consumer and brand ambassador.
Tiger beer wins SG50
We saw a lot of marketing tied to Singapore's 50th anniversary celebration this year, but none we liked as much as this cheeky but loving mockumentary series by Asia Pacific Breweries and BBDO. We appreciated the campaign as a clever way to go beyond commemorative bottles and similar ho-hum fare. The fake newspaper clippings were also a nice touch. Our only complaint was that the brand only gave us two videos when we would have liked several more.
Westpac makes a splash with free-money ATMs
To advertise a service that lets people withdraw money from ATMs without a card (using only a six-digit code generated through a banking app), Westpac and DDB created a series of web films. But instead of fake six-digit codes, the films—when originally seeded via social networks—showed real codes that would actually give out between $50 and $300 if entered into an ATM. The campaign used Periscope and Snapchat as vehicles to clue the public into the opportunity, and the bank gave away about AUD40,000.
For details and additional videos please see our Westpac gives away cash to alert video viewers
Rabo Direct creates a fake bank scandal
Modelled on an investigative-TV exposé, a campaign for Rabo Direct by Whybin TBWA Group Sydney confronted the scandalous Aussies who rip themselves off by leaving their own money in low-interest accounts.
Brilliantly spoofing tabloid-TV tropes in service of a message that would be dull as paint if addressed in a straightforward manner, the spots had us guffawing at lines such as "I'll be hearing from my lawyers!" and "Somebody has to do something about people like me".
For details, see Aussie bank blows lid off billion-dollar financial 'scandal'