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Ads Around the World

Q4 2021 proved prolific for ad agencies around the world, which were busy creating spots ranging from heartfelt to hilarious to thought-provoking. We take a peek at a few noteworthy offerings, plus some of the elements that made them pop from the crowd.

Home Is Where the Heart Is
Launched in the UK and Ireland by Mother ad agency, Ikea’s “Every Home Should Be a Haven” campaign emphasizes the importance of feeling comfy, safe and happy in our own abodes—especially given how much time we’ve spent in them recently. A 60-second spot depicts a daughter and her dad building an indoor fort, playing dress-up and falling asleep together, while a pair of larger-than-life “Brawn Bears” go to great lengths to ensure their quality at-home evening isn’t interrupted. The upshot? While challenges may try to interfere, Ikea’s extensive product range can help combat life stressors for a sense of joy and ease.

From Swedish minimalism to decadent pops of vibrancy, British-based home furnishings retailer Dunelm enlisted the help of London’s Creature studio for their “Dun Your Way” campaign. An Orwellian-inspired spot starts in a colorless compound where the grey-garbed residents lead drab, uninspiring lives—until one woman brings home a bright green Dunelm shopping bag. Suddenly everything becomes colorful. From accessories to accent walls to furniture, the world then embraces saturation via a decidedly “more is more” mentality. “The launch of the ‘Dun Your Way’ campaign is a big, bold, liberating leap forward,” said Ben Middleton, Creature chief creative officer. “Making this work has been a ton of fun, and now we are excitedly waiting to see everything from cushions to curtains changing all over the country.”

Communication is Key
After signing on with New York-based creative collective Le Truc, TikTok debuted a global campaign featuring the tagline “You have to see it.” Work spans TV, cinema, print, out-of-home, social and digital advertising, with launches that kicked off in the US before expanding to international markets including Canada and Australia. The first spot, called “You Have to See It: Mystery Apartment Girl,” features groups of regular people, TikTok creators (@tinx, @ghosthoney, @brookeab) and a few celebrities talking about a video that went viral on the social platform last March. In it, New York City renter Samantha Hartsoe finds a secret apartment accessible through a hole in her bathroom mirror. At the end of the spot, Martha Stewart hilariously sledgehammers a hole in her own wall, then disappointedly declares, “No hidden apartment.” The campaign is meant to entice non-TikTok users to join the social communications platform that now boasts over one billion members.

WhatsApp is likewise appealing to hesitant users via its “Just Send It” spot from BBDO Global and Smuggler. It features over 35 people cast on the streets in London and from additional remote locations around the world, all sharing images of life moments like getting ready to go out, falling off a bike and playing with a baby. It’s the latest installment in a larger “Message Privately” marketing campaign that focuses on end-to-end encryption that makes the platform a safe communication space. “On this project I really wanted to focus on getting the most authentic moments on-screen, allowing people to truly be themselves in a similar way to how they would use the feature,” said director Fenn O’Meally. “It was about working and connecting with some of the most talented and genuine people I know.”

Mind and Body
Lego’s latest offering also counts as its first global campaign targeted specifically to an older audience. Called “Adults Welcome,” it encourages over-burdened consumers to achieve inner mindfulness through Lego building projects—akin to using adult coloring books or fidget toys as a panacea for anxiety. Global research from the Lego Group reveals that 91 percent of grown-ups experience stress at least annually, with 64 percent worrying about work when not in the office and 77 percent checking business emails during off-hours. A trio of highly stylized spots channel 1950s-era glam and depict three characters struggling with daily annoyances like stepping in gum, failing to make a bed with a fitted sheet, finding a flat tire and getting paper stuck in a printer, while a tongue-in-cheek narrator explains how organized and calm their lives are. At the end, as the heroes lose it, the “power of the rhythmic, repetitive motions of Lego building…help adults create a zen-like state of focused relaxation,” according to company reps. A variety of channels including TV, digital, outdoors and e-commerce support the campaign, which have aired in multiple international markets including the US, UK, France and Canada, plus additional television buys in Poland, Hungary, Romania, Turkey and the Czech Republic. “Children are at the center of everything we do, but we are delighted that the love of Lego building transcends age,” said Julia Goldin, chief marketing officer. “With our research showing that adults often find it hard to relax, this new campaign hopes to show the valuable role Lego building can have in the lives of those looking for new ways to unwind and encourages them to try the calming building experience for themselves.”

Finally, Police Scotland unveiled a no-nonsense PSA aimed at reducing sexual violence toward women by enlisting the help of men. “Don’t Be That Guy,” a 60-second spot created by Glasgow-based Stand agency, asks men to talk to their friends and family about seemingly innocuous behavior that harms women—as well as taking a close look at themselves. The video was viewed nearly 400,000 times on social media by mid-October, making it a powerful tool for combatting misogyny and assault. It ends with this resounding message: “Most men don’t look in the mirror and see a problem. But it’s staring us right in the face. Sexual violence starts long before you think it does. Don’t be that guy.”

We’ll be on the lookout for more hit ads as we begin a new year. Here’s to banner 2022 for video creative and those who bring ideas to life!