25 Best Ads of 2019; Ryan Reynolds on the Peloton Parody: Monday’s First Things First

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Welcome to First Things First, Adweek’s new daily resource for marketers. We’ll be publishing the content to First Things First on Adweek.com each morning (like this post), but if you prefer that it come straight to your inbox, you can sign up for the email here.

The 25 Best Ads of 2019

Our top ads of the year inevitably come from a wide array of sources. There’s work from global titans like Nike and Apple and challenger brands like Aviation Gin and Sipsmith Gin (big year for gin advertising, apparently). JIF, Splenda and Halo Top left us in tears from laughing, while Canada’s SickKids Foundation, Sandy Hook’s Promise and March For Our Lives generated tears over emotional, gut-wrenching spots. And the Super Bowl of advertising—the actual Super Bowl—lived up to the hype: The year’s top ad came from marketing’s biggest (k)night (wink, wink).

Watch them: Check out the full list and marvel at advertising’s finest work in 2019.

Related: The Most Memorable Ad Moments of 2019 in a Video Mashup

Exclusive: How Ryan Reynolds Pulled Off Aviation Gin’s Peloton Parody, Capping His Year of Genius Ads

It all started with a text. 75 hours later, Aviation Gin revealed an ad starring Monica Ruiz, the actress at the center of Peloton’s much-ridiculed ad. The text—between actor Ryan Reynolds and his creative partner George Dewey—set in motion a whirlwind couple days. In an interview with Adweek, Reynolds said he called Ruiz three times during the filming, including after the completion of the spot, to give her a chance to back out if she didn’t feel comfortable being in the spot.

Read more: Reynolds and Dewey also explained what’s next for the creative duo.

Hallmark CEO Apologizes, Company Will ‘Reinstate’ Zola’s Same-Sex Wedding Ads

During Hallmark’s most lucrative period of the year, its Countdown to Christmas marathon, the network sparked outrage after pulling a Zola ad featuring a same-sex couple. Competitors like Freeform and Netflix slammed the network for the move. Before the weekend was even over, Hallmark’s CEO apologized, reinstated the ads and vowed to make things right. Hallmark initially pulled the ads after pressure from the conservative group One Million Moms.

Read more: Hallmark’s CEO Mike Perry explains what the company’s next steps are.

Nestle Pushes More Sugar Products Off Portfolio in Latest Sale

At Nestle, candy and ice cream are out. Last year, the conglomerate dumped its chocolate business, selling brands like Butterfinger and Baby Ruth—to Italian confectionery manufacturer Ferrero Group for $2.8 billion. Nestle is now in the process of offloading its ice cream portfolio, which includes Häagen-Dazs, Dreyer’s and Drumstick for $4 billion. The brand owned 15% of America’s ice cream market before the move. Why is Nestle making these moves? Sugar is falling out of favor with Americans.

Read more: The Swiss consumer goods company plans to sell its US ice cream business for $4 billion.

Best of the Rest: Today’s Top News and Insight

Agencies Reveal How to Celebrate the Holidays in a Unique Way

Michelle Miller, director of people and culture, Madwell

What are some interesting and unique things your agency does to celebrate the holidays?

For our party, we like supporting other local businesses, and this year we went with Turks Inn. The space is super kitschy, and in its first incarnation, quite popular in the 60s and 70s in Wisconsin. We wanted to honor that, and yes, we thought people would enjoy dressing up in disco. Apart from the party, we also do sweaters with fake businesses, which we started three years ago. Since its inception, we’ve done a car service, a landscaping company, and now pet movers. (We’re moving offices next year so it’s a bit of an inside joke). We weren’t planning on this becoming a recurring gift, but the sweatshirts have become a collector’s item of sorts around the agency.

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