2019 in Review: The Best of “Reel Ad of the Week”

The last year of the decade saw many innovative ads that either struck The Reel 360 team as visually striking, made us belly-laugh, made us think with sardonic and unblunted commentary, or simply touched our hearts. In some rare cases, some brands managed to do all four. We were awed by a stunning international outdoor campaign for Apple’s iPods and we were moved to tears by Sandy Hook’s contribution to better gun control laws.

The curated work below is a testament to the long hours dozens of copywriters, art directors, creative directors and clients have spent huddled away in war rooms, offices, cubicles and coffee shops. Should we do it? What will the target say? What if we offend them?

We know how hard it is to get great work out the door from the initial inception. And we applaud the agencies, production and post-production houses for seeing the following campaigns to completion.

As chosen by The Reel 360 Team these are the top campaigns that grabbed our attention by the eyes (and in some cases, balls), forcing us to respond in a way we may have never thought possible. One thing is for sure, we never looked away.

1. Apple’s “Snowbrawl”

Who doesn’t like a great snowball fight? Nothing beats nailing someone right in the kisser with a well-packed ball… unless you’re the one getting smacked. This year, Apple leaned into the icy rite of passage, turning it into an epic cinematic “Snowbrawl” using the iPhone 11 Pro. And we loved every second of it. CLIENT: APPLE AGENCY: TBWA\MediaArtsLab

2. Apple’s Airpods “Dancers”

We said “ooooh” about  Apple Airpods’ ooh campaign from agency TBWA Media Arts Lab. On November 1, the agency, led by then ECD Geoffrey Edwards, placed enormous images of dancers on buildings and billboards around the world. It was impossible to not stop, process and then get jealous. CLIENT: Apple AGENCY: TBWA\MediaArtsLab

3. NFL’S “100 Years”

Agency 72andSunny, LA caught the pigskin and ran 100 yards for this 100 years celebratory spot for the NFL which first aired during Super Bowl LIII. The spot is funny AF and nostalgic at the same time capturing the magic and surprise of the game. CLIENT: NFL AGENCY: 72andSunny

4. Microsoft “We All Win”

Debuting on Super Bowl LIII, Microsoft leveled the playing field for gamers with disabilities. In a sea of spots that were funny and others attempting humor, this heartfelt and very real spot stood out. Like the spot says, We have all won. CLIENT: Microsoft AGENCY: McCann Worldgroup

5. Nike “Mt. Antetokounmpo”

To celebrate NBA Milwaukee Bucks’ star Giannis Antetokounmpo 2019 MVP announcement and the release of his new shoe, Nike erected a hoop on Mt. Olympus, the highest point in Greece and the ancient home of the Greek Gods. CLIENT: Nike AGENCY: Wieden+Kennedy, Amsterdam

6. Hyundai “The Elevator”


When this aired during Super Bowl LIII, this not only stopped a necessary “pee-run” to the bathroom, but made the Reel 360 team sit down, watch and laugh. A great use of taking an elevator to the pits of Hell, but still finding Hyundai’s Shopper Assurance. Also a superb use of Ozark’s Jason Bateman. CLIENT: Hyundai AGENCY: Innocean

ALSO READ: Reel Chicago’s biggest stories of 2019

7. Ikea “Silence the Critics”

This is pretty ho-ho-ho-larious. Ikea’s first-ever UK Christmas ad, features a family who’s ‘home shamed’ by their kitsch ornaments in one of the most original raps I’ve heard in advertising or even on Spotify. CLIENT: Ikea AGENCY: MOTHER LONDON

8. Sandy Hook Promise “Back-To-School Essentials”

Beginning with the cheery look and feel of any number of back-to-school campaigns from Target, Marshalls or K-Mart, the spot dramatically unfolds into the other uses students have for familiar items like backpacks and hoodies. Absolutely powerful. CLIENT: Sandy Hook Promise AGENCY: BBDO, New York

9. Jif “Bunker”


Signaling a departure from typical CPG advertising and leaning into more of a cinematic look and feel. ‘That Jif’ing Good’ was a quirky, irreverent campaign that took a bold, expensive theatrical tone illustrating just how far people might well go for the fresh-roasted peanut taste of Jif peanut butter. CLIENT: J.M. Smucker Company AGENCY: Publicis Groupe

10. Shelton Scott “Shaft”

One of the admirable ideologies Reel 360 carried over from our sister pub, Reel Chicago, is keeping the personal touch. We never forget the individuals involved in creating ads and putting their creativity out there every single day. Frankly, it’s something not a lot of people have the courage to do. This is why we are including Writer/Creative Director Shelton Scott’s self-promotion campaign in our “best of.” Although Shelton resembles Nick Fury, he boldly took to social media to generate work for himself. It caught our eye and we hope potential employers noticed it as well. CLIENT: Shelton Scott AGENCY: Shelton Scott

There are at least 10 more campaigns we could list here, but we have to stick to a number. But, we’ll be back in the new decade continuing to celebrate the people who do wonderful agency work. Happy New Year!

Contact Colin Costello at colin@reel360.com