1. McDonald’s – Keep up with the times

This retro campaign launched with a short ‘Teletext takeover’ ad, interrupting primetime TV programming with the message “We’ve been using 100% British and Irish beef since you were booking your holidays on here.” The throwback design of basic font against a dark background transports older viewers back to the 90s and appeals to Gen Z through nostalgia for a simpler time before the information overload of the 21st century. The ad is part of a campaign called ‘Keep up with the times,’ featuring two other TV ads, 90s themed digital banners, OOH posters, and social and content that plays to pop-culture references from the past. It builds on the existing ‘Change a Little, Change a Lot’ platform developed with Leo Burnett, which highlights the fact that when McDonald’s and its customers decide to change something together, each small act quickly adds up to a lot.

2. Specsavers – The joy of ordinary sounds

This integrated campaign includes a TV, cinema and VOD advert that shows people marvelling at the wonderful sounds of the ordinary, from the squelch of wellies in mud to the pop and crackle of a vinyl record. There’s no conventional brand voiceover or any dialogue, which only accentuates the beauty of the audio, and ensures that the film stands out in a busy commercial break. The ad highlights how important the sounds are to those who have missed them and reminds people who have good hearing what they may be taking for granted. Outdoor, press and digital take the core idea even further with a range of new onomatopoeic words and phrases representing different everyday sounds. The use of kinetic type on billboards and print media is another brilliant way to add life and motion into static imagery by grabbing attention and allowing people to connect on an emotional level.

3. Impact – Hey Chat GPT, finish this building… 

This giant billboard around an under-construction building in Antwerp went viral. It launched countless online discussions and skyrocketed the profile of an employment agency called Impact. Launched amid the rush to Artificial Intelligence, it pokes fun at the new technology and the idea that it can replace all human skills. Impact managed to ‘news jack’ the wave of interest in this topic and give kudos to its core audience of skilled workers and craftspeople. The ad makes it really clear how AI is limited to digital/virtual things, and doesn’t live in the real, physical world – at least, not yet!

4. Coca-Cola – Masterpiece

Set in an art gallery, Masterpiece follows the journey of a Coca-Cola bottle from one iconic painting to the next as it makes its way to a thirsty student in need of inspiration. Entertaining and cinematic, this is one of the early ‘pro’ AI campaigns to make use of generative text-to-image creation. The effects are impressive as the coke bottle morphs into different artists’ styles, from Warhol’s flat screen prints to Van Gogh’s expressive brush strokes to Arket’s cubist street art. It’s a celebration of creativity and a bold way of putting the brand amongst the greats of the art world, as well as being relatable to everyday people. Beyond the two-minute commercial, the campaign includes 3D billboards and digital collectibles.

5. Workday – Rock Star

This hilarious Superbowl ad sees a group of rock & roll icons telling off the tech firm Workday – and the corporate world at large – for co-opting the phrase "rock star." Using it to praise office workers might give a fist pump morale boost, but characters from Ozzy Osbourne to Paul Stanley, Billy Idol and Joan Jett point out that what happens in HR and finance can’t be compared with years of driving fans wild and raucous behaviour on the road. The advert allows for the ultimate co-opting of rock and roll by a B2B firm – elevating it onto the big stage, complete with pyrotechnics and gnarly guitar licks. The contrast with the world of partitioned workstations and post-it notes equals pure comedy.