If Blau taught me one thing at UMiami, it's that all great work starts with a great idea. The expression of an idea can take many forms which depend on, of course, the idea itself. My favorite creative ideas are those that change my perspective in a way I never thought was possible; the ones that are so simple I swear I could've thought of them myself; the ones that have an innovative way of tackling a social issue; the ones that painfully ring true; and the ones that use art and design to show a novel idea.
Here were some of my favorites from 2017.
DNB wanted to show that the fine print no longer matters because they guarantee you the best insurance on the market. So they challenged Norwegian author, Erlend Loe, to use the exact same letters of the fine print to write a short story. And he did.
Placemat for Two
Postobon B.A, Sancho BBDO Botogà
There are so many starving homeless people on the streets of Colombia, yet more than 3 million tons of food is wasted at Colombian restaurants. In order to combat this problem, one of Colombia's best selling soda drinks asked its clients to swap out their placemats with new ones that can easily be folded into a box. This way, people can share their leftovers with the homeless. I love this idea because I hate wasting food, and it's an innovative way to help the homeless.
A Love Song Written By A Murderer
Postobon B.A, Sancho BBDO Botogà
This one legit made me cry every time it won an award (which was a lot of times). Peru's best songwriter, Diego Dibos, launched a new single that instantly became a hit. It was then that he revealed the song's secret: the song was a word-by-word transcription of an apology letter written by a man to his wife after terribly abusing her. Six days after she forgave him, he murdered her. The message of the song is "Never give him a second chance."
Making Sense of Dyslexia
For the average person, this poster represents the difficulties dyslexic children can have reading even one word. For dyslexic children, these posters are foldable like origami so that the end product not only spells the word, but it's in the shape of that object too. I work with kids who have trouble reading, and I think this idea is a genius way to get kids to want to read and to make reading fun.
The Debate Headache
GSK Consumer Healthcare, Excedrin; Weber Shandwick NY
Through social media, Excedrin found one thing that Democrats and Republicans had in common during the 2016 presidential debates: headaches. In an attempt to add some comic relief (and headache relief) to the debates, they joined the conversation, becoming one of the year's biggest Twitter trends and helping all Americans feel (almost) right in the head again. I liked this campaign because I thought it was a creative and honest way to increase relevance for a headache relief brand.
The Slow Mo Marathon
Baywatch, Paramount Pictures, UnderArmour
In today's day and age, it's hard to make one movie stand out in the crowd. So for the release of Baywatch, they hosted a 0.3 km slow motion race, based on the original TV show. I hate anything that has to do with running, but this is one race in which I'd actually participate.
Block Out the Chaos
JBL, Cheil Worldwide Hong Kong
I had to look at this one for a second before I understood it. There were a couple more in this series that I didn't take pictures of for some reason, but they all showed different things making noise with the outline of headphones as the negative space. I love ads with smart usage of negative space, and I admire designers that can actually pull off that look.
Coverage Everywhere, Sorry
This campaign rang true as I was on an international phone plan for all of my Eurotrip, and Vodafone was my provider. It seemed like every time I was taking a picture of something interesting, I'd be interrupted by an unwanted call from somebody (sorry Mom, I said I'd call YOU didn't I?). But hey, at least I had service.
Volkswagen; DOB Group Germany
One thing I learned from working at an after-school program for all of college is that kids are really, really bad at hide and seek. I think this campaign is funny because compares the impossible task of finding your car to the incredibly easy task of finding a kid who's bad at hide and seek.
Save the Children
In conservative OECD countries, there are high teenage pregnancy rates because children don't have access to correct information about their sexuality. Save the Children found that a woman averages 2.5 years between her first period and her first sexual encounter, and uses 16 menstrual pads per month in that time. By using these pads as educational tools, young women get 480 extra chances to learn about puberty.
Opening Fabian's World
NierStitching (Kidney Foundation); XXS Amsterdam
People might be annoyed if they have to wait for the bus for a long time, but what about those people who are waiting on a vital organ transplant in order to survive? In order to raise awareness for this issue, XXS set up a webchat to connect people waiting at a bus stop with a man waiting for a kidney. This interactive billboard let Fabian share his story with hundreds of people to raise awareness of the issue. I think this was a really creative use of interactivity.
Upside down, these ads show a person who is disappointed because they're not eating Skittles (I see you turning your head). Right side up, they're much happier because they have a stream of Skittles flowing into their mouths. I love this art direction and I love the idea of flipping one image upside down to see a totally different image.
Ask For A Raise
R/GA New York
My reason for liking this one is a no-brainer: I'm a woman, and (once I have a salary) I'm going to want a raise. In Cannes, we learned all about gender inequality in the workplace, and this campaign gave me good tips for confidently talking about my salary as a woman.
Prolam Y&R Santiago, Chile
This was a series of photos of parents handing kids a less-than-desirable trait that they will inevitably inherit. I love when print ads have a strong big idea and don't give anything away about the product until you see the tagline, and I think this is a perfect example of that kind of ad. The tagline "leave them a better inheritance" helps the viewer realize what's happening in the picture, and compares that sad inheritance to a much better inheritance of your parents' lottery winnings
Hasbro; DOB Chile Santiago
Whether I'm at the after-school program where I volunteer, or a bar in Amsterdam, I always find myself playing Jenga. Like the lottery ads above, this series is another example of photos that don't show the product, but the tagline brings it all together. It shows hilarious situations of how having a steady hand can help people in real life, and people can get that steady hand by playing Jenga.
Volkswagen; DDB Argentina Buenos Aires
Another sadly true concept shown brilliantly by Volkswagen, some people have no concept of distance. These issues haunt you whether you're at the urinal (which I know nothing about) or on the crowded Miami roads (which I know a lot about). Luckily, there's now a solution for the latter. Hopefully Volkswagen's next innovation is a solution for the former.
Down Syndrome Answers
Canadian Down Syndrome Society; FCB Toronto
When prospective parents learn that their child will likely be born with Down Syndrome, they have 10 days to decide whether or not to terminate the pregnancy. Frantic Google searches on the topic often lead to inaccurate and frightening answers. So FCB found the 40 most commonly searched Down Syndrome-related questions on Google and had people with Down Syndrome answer them in a series of videos.
Pronto; Ray Productions Paris
After struggling for an entire semester to make a similar type of ad for a similar type of coffee, this campaign drew my attention. The art direction does a great job of showing that this coffee will help you be ready instantly in the mornings.
ozom security cameras; Prolam Y&R Santiago
This campaign is like "Awkward Family Photos" with a dirty twist. I love the idea that these security cameras are so good that you won't even be able to hide your deepest, darkest secrets.
Kiss the Kremlin
SSEX BBOX; DM9DDB Sao Paulo
In Russia, LGBTQ protesters are punished with violence and imprisonment. So SSEX BBOX used Instagram as a virtual protest tool. By posting pictures of same sex couples kissing and geotagging the Kremlin in Moscow, the internet's first ever virtual protest was held, and it caught attention from celebrities and the United Nations.
Coca Cola; Grey Chile
Chorrillos, Peru can be so dangerous that store owners have to put up bars on their storefronts to protect themselves. Coca Cola saw this as an opportunity to bring art into these impoverished areas, by designing the bars in an aesthetically pleasing way. I've seen firsthand in Miami how depressing storefronts look when they're all barred up, so I hope this idea comes to America soon.
IKEA Germany; thjnk Hamburg
I had to stare at these 3 print ads before I could notice any difference between them; but then I realized that's the point! In Ikea's pursuit to prove that they have versatile products, they have the same exact ad for the same exact bag with the same exact price. The only difference is that none of them are called a "bag." One is called a parachute, one is called a laundry basket, and one is called a raincape. It reminds me of the "how uses can you find for a paperclip" creativity test. I love print ads that show the same idea in different ways, and I bet IKEA could roll out 100 more of these ads.
Refugees Real-Time Tweet Responses
Amnesty International; Ogilvy & Mather London
Most people are quicker to tweet about a social issue, like saving refugees, than they are to actually do something to help. For the first time ever, Amnesty International filmed refugees responding to these tweets within hours of them being posted in order to raise awareness among world leaders of all the refugees seeking help.
Foot Type Test Ad
Asics; Asics Brazil
As an ex-gymnast with flat feet, an extra bone in my right foot and three torn ligaments in my left ankle, finding comfortable running shoes is not an easy task for me. But it's important not just because I'm injury prone, but because it can really cause damage if someone runs with the wrong kind of shoes. Using thermochromic ink, Asics was able to turn a print ad into a foot-type test to help people buy the right kind of shoes. I think this is a really creative use of this ink, and I'm excited to see its other applications.
Pedigree Child Swap
World's Biggest Asshole
The Ultimate Giving Machine
Lifebuoy, Area 23 New York
The Clean Braille
Clean Braille uses small ball bearings to create Braille signs that kill bacteria on children's hands. Ever since my Audibraille project, I've been drawn toward ideas that improve handicapped accessibility. I also work with children, so I know it's a challenge to keep their hands clean. I think this idea is brilliant for combining two seemingly non-related ideas.
Flip the Rainbow, Taste the Rainbow
No Family Secrets
Versatile Solutions Everywhere