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Creativity Awards Finalists
Ad Age presents the finalists for the second annual Creativity Awards, an expansion of the longstanding A-List honors introduced to recognize excellent work, outstanding people and creative companies in marketing and tech. The finalists were chosen by juries of the industry's brightest stars. The winners will be announced at the A-List & Creativity Awards Gala in New York on April 19.
Work
Content Marketing of the Year Finalists
Breaking2
Nike, Wieden & Kennedy Portland and Dirty Robber
In May 2017, Nike, Wieden & Kennedy and production company Dirty Robber issued a challenge to three of Nike athletes to run a marathon in under two hours. Documented over social media and later captured in a documentary, the ambitious "Breaking2" event garnered plenty of attention for the brand, although ultimately noone broke two hours: Eliud Kipchoge won the race in two hours and 25 seconds.
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Human Catalogue
Ikea, BBH Singapore
Ikea and BBH Singapore gave 23-year-old "memory champion" Yanjaa Wintersoul a quirky challenge to help unveil the retailer's new catalog: memorizing all the obscure details in the book's 328 pages. Her amazing ability to remember what was on each page made her the official face of the 2018 Ikea catalog launch for the Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand markets, and she also appeared at a Facebook Live event.
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One Source
Absolut, VML
Charged with reversing declining market share in South Africa, Absolut and VML teamed up with hip-hop star Khuli Chana to highlight how the vodka brand uses ingredients sourced from only one location in Sweden. Under the name "One Source," it created a recording of eight tracks featuring 10 African artists, a documentary series, a music video and live performances—and a Khuli Chana signature edition bottle. The music video reached No. 1 on iTunes in Africa and gained airplay on major news and music shows in Africa.
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Rick Ross Buys Back the Block
Checkers and Rallys, Fitzco
In a campaign for fast food chains Checkers and Rallys, agency Fitzco enabled rap artist and entrepreneur Rick Ross to buy a Checkers in greater Miami, near where he grew up. A documentary style film, "Rick Ross Buys Back the Block," explored his connection to Checkers and his links to the area, showing him driving around his old haunts in Carol City. The campaign was covered in mainstream press—and contributed to a record sales year for the franchise.
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Typecast
The Atlantic, Wieden & Kennedy New York
The first brand campaign from The Atlantic in a decade examined America's political landscape in a nuanced and thought-provoking way. In a film by Wieden & Kennedy New York, directed by David Shane of O Positive, actor Michael K. Williams played four different versions of himself, each questioning the other about whether he can escape being typecast, raising topical issues ranging from race relations to the U.S. election.
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Experiential Campaign of the Year Finalists
Adidas Originals X Alexander Wang Season 2
Adidas Originals, Johannes Leonardo
Adidas Originals' Season 2 Alexander Wang collection referenced NYC rave and bike culture, using the streets of NYC as a canvas for a dealer-style delivery system. Created by Johannes Leonardo, the campaign used posters to display a phone number customers could text to place orders via chatbot. Bike messengers outfitted in the collection delivered the goods.
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Cook This Page
Ikea Canada, Leo Burnett, Toronto
Ikea wanted store managers across Canada to show customers how to get creative in the kitchen. So agency Leo Burnett Toronto devised the "Cook This Page" campaign: a recipe series incorporating Ikea food items, printed on parchment paper that was actually edible. Stores held events where people were invited to fill in the blanks on the recipes... then roll, cook and eat them. Every one of the 12,500 parchment recipe books distributed across the country were snatched up within hours.
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Fearless Girl
State Street Global Advisors, McCann New York
Heralding a new era of female empowerment, "Fearless Girl"— the bronze statue of a girl that stands defiantly across from the iconic Wall Street "Charging Bull"—transcended the many controversies of its patron, State Street Global Advisors, to become an modern-day icon, winning multiple Grand Prix at Cannes 2017. The statue was conceived by McCann New York duo Tali Gumbiner and Lizzie Wilson.
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Google Home of the Whopper
Burger King, David Miami
Burger King's "Google Home of the Whopper" hacked new technology in a cheeky stunt to promote the brand. The campaign started with a 15-second TV spot by David Miami in which a BK server calls on Google Home virtual assistants to elaborate on the Whopper, via its Wikipedia entry. Soon after the ad aired, Google blocked the ad from setting off its devices, but BK and David went on to release tweaked versions that triggered the device once again.
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The Donald J. Trump Presidential Twitter Library
The Daily Show/Comedy Central, Pop2Life
Comedy Central and The Daily Show "honored" President Trump with "The Daily Show Presents: The Donald J. Trump Presidential Twitter Library," a satirical museum experience showcasing Trump's relationship with Twitter. The free pop-up, created via Pop2Life and situated just around the corner from Trump Tower, offered interactive installations and decor inspired by Trump's infamously gaudy taste. The event hashtag #DailyShowLibrary generated huge social buzz during the 72 hours it was open.
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Technology Application of the Year Finalists
Google Home of the Whopper
Burger King, David Miami
Burger King's "Google Home of the Whopper" hacked new technology in a cheeky stunt to promote the brand. The campaign started with a 15-second TV spot by David Miami in which a BK server calls on Google Home virtual assistants to elaborate on the Whopper, via its Wikipedia entry. Soon after the ad aired, Google blocked the ad from setting off its devices, but BK and David went on to release tweaked versions that triggered the device once again.
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Live Looper
Downtown Records, BBDO New York
To promote The Academic's new single "Bear Claws" ahead of their U.S. tour, Downton Records and agency BBDO New York created a Facebook Live music video that used Facebook's delay as a audio/visual loop pedal. The project rearranged every instrument on the song to fit the length of Facebook's delay and introduced all the different layers one by one. Its popularity online propelled it to the front page of Reddit.
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Safecap
Ford Trucks, GTB Sao Paulo
Falling asleep at the wheel is a major danger for motorists, and a leading cause of accidents for truck drivers. So Ford Motor Co. and the Sao Paulo office of GTB, WPP's global creative agency for Ford, invented SafeCap. Appearing like a baseball cap, the wearable technology keeps drivers from falling asleep at the wheel. GTB mapped truck drivers' movements to identify which ones are job-related and which indicate the neck muscles are relaxing as the driver drifts off to sleep.
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Unsafety Check
Black Lives Matter, J.Walter Thompson New York
In a week that contained Martin Luther King Jr. Day and President Trump's inauguration, Black Lives Matter and JWT New York released an app that invited black people living in America to "Mark Yourself Unsafe." In a twist on Facebook's "safety check" feature, the app allowed people to log in with Facebook or Twitter and make a statement on social media about feeling unsafe as a black person in America.
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Craft of the Year Finalists
Clowns
Audi, BBH London
Audi used a bunch of clowns doing ill-advised things in their clapped-out vehicles as a brilliant foil to the tech capabilities of its A8 vehicle in a film by BBH London and Rattling Stick director Ringan Ledwidge. Replacing the glare of sheet metal was an array of expertly crafted details that gracefully showcased the car's impressive features, while an elegiac cover of "Send in the Clowns" completed the package.
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Cook This Page
Ikea Canada, Leo Burnett, Toronto
Ikea wanted store managers across Canada to show customers how to get creative in the kitchen. So agency Leo Burnett Toronto devised the "Cook This Page" campaign: a recipe series incorporating Ikea food items, printed on parchment paper that was actually edible. Stores held events where people were invited to fill in the blanks on the recipes... then roll, cook and eat them. Every one of the 12,500 parchment recipe books distributed across the country were snatched up within hours.
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Live Looper
Downtown Records, BBDO New York
To promote The Academic's new single "Bear Claws" ahead of their U.S. tour, Downton Records and agency BBDO New York created a Facebook Live music video that used Facebook's delay as a audio/visual loop pedal. The project rearranged every instrument on the song to fit the length of Facebook's delay and introduced all the different layers one by one. Its popularity online propelled it to the front page of Reddit.
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Original Is Never Finished
Adidas Originals, Johannes Leonardo
Set to a re-mixed, modernized version of the Frank Sinatra classic "My Way," Adidas Originals' "Original Is Never Finished" illustrated the idea of originality as a work in progress and juxtaposed creative and cultural legends with up-and-comers. Created by Johannes Leonardo and directed by Terence Neale via RSA, it included artist Petra Collins' spin on Botticelli's "Birth of Venus" and Snoop Dogg's reinvention of his classic "Doggystyle" album cover.
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Rivalry
PlayStation, BBH New York
To promote PlayStation's "Star Wars: Battlefront II," BBH New York created a fun TV spot focusing on the "Star Wars"-themed rivalry between a little boy and the girl next door. Directed by Wayne McClammy at Hungry Man, the film depicts a competition that escalates over the years, he on the Jedi side and she on the Dark Side. Superb VFX mingles with romantic comedy to appeal to both hardcore fans and anyone who likes the movies.
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The Ostrich
Samsung, Leo Burnett Chicago
Samsung's "Ostrich" brought a fantastical twist to depictions of VR's ability to transport users other worlds. Created out of Leo Burnett Chicago, directed by MJZ's Matthijs Van Heijningen and set to Elton John's "Rocket Man," the film allowed an ambitious ostrich to take flight and become more than he ever imagined.
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Best Work for Good Finalists
Care Counts
Whirlpool, DigitasLBi Chicago
Whirlpool's "Care Counts" initiative from DigitasLBi installed washing machines and dryers at schools around America after research showed that thousands of children every day don't go to school because they lack clean clothes. The brand found the initiative, in two school districts, led to major improvements in attendance and grades.
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Down Syndrome Answers
Canadian Down Syndrome Society, FCB Canada
When told that the child they are expecting might have Down Syndrome, the first thing many prospective parents do is get on the internet to look for answers. So the Canadian Down Syndrome Society created a series of videos in which people with Down Syndrome answer some of the most commonly searched questions on Google. The videos, by FCB Canada, address tough topics like how long children Down Syndrome live, when they will talk and whether they will be able to read, play sports or ride a bike. The campaign continued with a new phase showing what you should say to parents of children with Down Syndrome.
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Immunity Charm
Ministry of Public Health Islamic Republic of Afganistan, McCann Health New Delhi
A campaign for the Ministry of Public Health, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, by McCann Health's New Delhi office enlisted traditional charm bracelets to encourage Afghan mothers to vaccinate their children. The "Immunity Charm" used the local tradition to get mothers to add special beads to signal to physicians what immunizations a child has received—and to interest and reassure other mothers who might be wary of vaccinations.
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School for Justice
Free a Girl, J. Walter Thompson
India's "Free a Girl Movement" took real action to raise awareness about child prostitution in the country. Along with agency J. Walter Thompson Amsterdam, it opened The School for Justice, where victims of child prostitution train to become lawyers so they can combat those who have caused their suffering. Girls receive tuition, education and mentoring until they reach college, after which they'll spend five years pursuing law degrees.
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The Talk
P&G, BBDO New York
P&G lived up to its "Proud Sponsor of Moms" mantle when it debuted a poignant film that shed light on the particular challenges faced by African-American mothers. It shows how struggles we may have thought were left in the past remain a heartbreaking reality today. Various vignettes depict how mothers balance their fears with hope as they nurture their children in an uncertain world. BBDO New York created the spot, directed by Malik Vitthal via Corner Shop.
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Unsafety Check
Black Lives Matter, J.Walter Thompson New York
In a week that contained Martin Luther King Jr. Day and President Trump's inauguration, Black Lives Matter and JWT New York released an app that invited black people living in America to "Mark Yourself Unsafe." In a twist on Facebook's "safety check" feature, the app allowed people to log in with Facebook or Twitter and make a statement on social media about feeling unsafe as a black person in America.
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Short-Form/Tiny-but-Mighty Finalists
Ikea's Response to Balenciaga
Ikea, Acne
When Balenciaga came out with a large bright blue tote that looked unabashedly like Ikea's Frakta take-home bags, the Swedish retailer was quick to respond with a brilliant social media post out of agency Acne. The post instructed consumers on how to distinguish an original Frakta from a fake: It rustles when it shakes, it can carry hockey gear, bricks and water, it cleans up easily with a spray from a garden hose and it has a price tag of just 99 cents, compared to Balenciaga's $2,145.
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#NuggsForCarter
Wendy's, VML
A tweet to Wendy's became the most retweeted of all time after 16-year-old Carter Wilkerson asked the brand how many retweets it would take to get him free chicken nuggets for a year. Wendy's social media team, coordinated by VML, quickly responded "18 Million," and before long, celebrities and brands championed his "cause." Wendy's said it would donate $100,000 to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption if Carter's tweet at least beat a previous popular Twitter post by Ellen DeGeneres. Carter eventually earned more than 3.5 million retweets.
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11 Herbs & Spices
KFC, Wieden & Kennedy Portland
To highlight the message that KFC is made with 11 herbs and spices, Wieden & Kennedy hid an Easter egg in KFC's Twitter account by following only 11 people-- six guys named Herb and the five Spice Girls. Having quietly unfollowed the 35,000 accounts it was previously following, it waited to see if anyone would notice. They did—and the campaign was covered everywhere from the "Today" show to Vice.
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Campaign of the Year Finalists
Breaking2
Nike, Wieden & Kennedy Portland and Dirty Robber
In May 2017, Nike, Wieden & Kennedy and production company Dirty Robber issued a challenge to three of Nike athletes to run a marathon in under two hours. Documented over social media and later captured in a documentary, the ambitious "Breaking2" event garnered plenty of attention for the brand, although ultimately noone broke two hours: Eliud Kipchoge won the race in two hours and 25 seconds.
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Did You Mean MailChimp?
MailChimp, Droga5
MailChimp's "Did You Mean Mailchimp?" campaign, created out of Droga5 New York, ingeniously raised awareness of the MailChimp brand by creating bits of pop culture out of "mistaken" versions of its name. The idea centered on research that found people regularly mispronounce or screw up the brand's name, and all the executions led back to the correctly spelled MailChimp brand.
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The Ostrich
Samsung, Leo Burnett Chicago
Samsung's "Ostrich" brought a fantastical twist to depictions of VR's ability to transport users other worlds. Created out of Leo Burnett Chicago, directed by MJZ's Matthijs Van Heijningen and set to Elton John's "Rocket Man," the film allowed an ambitious ostrich to take flight and become more than he ever imagined.
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Fearless Girl
State Street Global Advisors, McCann New York
Heralding a new era of female empowerment, "Fearless Girl"— the bronze statue of a girl that stands defiantly across from the iconic Wall Street "Charging Bull"—transcended the many controversies of its patron, State Street Global Advisors, to become an modern-day icon, winning multiple Grand Prix at Cannes 2017. The statue was conceived by McCann New York duo Tali Gumbiner and Lizzie Wilson.
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The Return of Colonel Sanders
KFC, Wieden & Kennedy Portland
Having brought back Colonel Sanders to KFC's marketing in 2015, Wieden & Kennedy in 2017 took the campaign even further. Efforts included featuring the Colonel as a Fabio-like hero of a steamy romance novella for Mother's Day as well as making him a playable character in a WWE video game. Meanwhile a creepy version of the Colonel appeared in a VR Escape Room challenge for staff training to fry chicken. The agency also sent KFC's new Zinger chicken sandwich to the edge of space and quietly followed "11 herbs and spices" on Twitter to see if anyone would notice.
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The Truth is Hard
The New York Times, Droga5
Droga5's campaign for The New York Times reminded us that the "truth is hard" in a world awash with "fake news" and "alternative facts." The campaign used typography and sound to portray the publication as a "safe harbor" in a noisy storm of information. The first ad, which broke during the Oscars in February, laid out, line by line, a litany of conflicting statements, anchored by the three words, "The Truth Is." The campaign also included ads highlighting the efforts of individual correspondents, a special kid-focused spot and another ad focused on the importance of transparency.
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PEOPLE
Creative of the Year Finalists
Nicole Blauw
Art Director, Wieden & Kennedy
Art Director Nicole Blauw's hand was evident on a number of Wieden & Kennedy's standout campaigns in 2017. Her projects included KFC's "Tender Wings of Desire" romance novella featuring a Fabio-like Colonel Sanders, the multi-platform mom-and-son-themed pitches for Old Spice's "Wild" line and a series of banana stunts that made Chiquita ubiquitous during a produce industry convention.
Tali Gumbiner and Lizzie Wilson
Creative Director and Senior Art Director, McCann New York
Tali Gumbiner and LIzzie Wilson wrote themselves into advertising history—or rather, history, full stop—with "Fearless Girl." The statue of the defiant young lady confronting Wall Street's "Charging Bull" for State Street Global Advisors began as an effort to promote the client's initiative to get more women on corporate boards but became a global symbol of female empowerment. The duo's work for other clients shines too; it includes unusual Russian-nesting-doll-like holiday packaging for Godiva and the whimsical "Hippo" spot for USPS.
Juan Javier Peña Plaza and Ricardo Casal
Associate Creative Directors, David Miami
Our inaugural winners in this category, for their work in 2016, didn't stop delivering innovative ideas in 2017. Among them were some of the industry's most talked-about campaigns, including the Kraft Heinz effort that turned fictional ad man Don Draper's failed pitch into real ads and the Cannes Lions Grand Prix-winning Burger King "Google Home of the Whopper" campaign that used a boring 15-second spot to hijack Google Home devices into talking about the Whopper at length.
Jessica Toye
Senior Art Director, J. Walter Thompson New York
JWT made a creative mark last year with a number of socially-minded efforts that stood out from the fray, including the thought-provoking "Unsafety Check" app for Black Lives Matter and the distinctive "Fake News" font for the News Literacy Project, which urges readers not to take the letters they see for granted. Driving these projects and others was Jessica Toye, a Canadian transplant whom JWT says is the first to jump in on work that makes a difference.
Media Planner of the Year Finalists
Kimberly Aiello
Executive VP-Managing Partner, Horizon Media
Kimberly Aiello has an eagle-eye for spotting powerful integration opportunities, evident in her ongoing work with Geico. She helped bring the insurer's Gecko and "Hump Day" camel Caleb to the big screen in PSAs asking moviegoers to silence their cellphones and, most notably, turned a presumptuous plea from Ellen DeGeneres for Geico to sponsor her show's Skybox into a real deal that led to lots of fun, and funny, branded content.
Simeon Edmunds
VP-Associate Director for R&D, MullenLowe Mediahub
Judging from his fun, unexpected ideas to promote clients, media is Simeon Edmunds' playground. As a key player in Mediahub's R&D group, he played a role in taking over LAX's sound system to promote the MTV VMAs. For Chipotle, he and his team worked with Soundcloud to create Savor.Wavs, a competition for free burritos that let people create their own tracks from stem files by Rza.
Creative Director of the Year Finalists
Tim Gordon
Executive Creative Director, Droga5
After eight years at Droga5 on clients from Air Wick to Under Armour, Tim Gordon was promoted to executive creative director in 2017. He went on to lead more of the agency's best work, including The New York Times' powerful "The Truth Is Hard" campaign and Ancestry's effort bringing together diverse descendants of America's founding fathers.
Magnus Jakobsson
Executive Creative Director, Åkestam Holst / NOA
Ikea has long been known as an innovative advertiser, but the brand became powerfully human with the "Where Life Happens" campaign, led by Magnus Jakobsson. The campaign has included Google searches about real-life problems answered in the form of Ikea furniture and extremely long pre-roll ads that were simultaneously riveting and boring because they depicted people doing everyday things. When he wasn't working on Ikea, Jakobsson helped conceive "Humanium," the Cannes Lions Innovation Grand Prix-winning initiative that turned metal from illegal weapons into products with proceeds going back to communities in need.
Tony Kalathara
Creative Director, David Miami
Tony Kalathara's creative imprint can be found on all the agency's notable work, which in 2017 included the Grand Prix-winning Burger King campaigns "Google Home of the Whopper" and "Burning Stores" as well as the "Pass the Ketchup" fictional-"Mad Men"-pitch-turned-reality for Kraft Heinz. In 2018, he'll be stepping up to the role of executive creative director.
Zoe Kessler
Creative Director, Barton F. Graf
Words of advice from Zoe Kessler: "If you can figure out why people should give a shit, you can make them give a shit." Such thinking has driven not just the ideas she's come up with at Barton F. Graf but her leadership as well. Her work includes the Emerald Nuts campaign born from a two-word Amazon.com review ("Yes Good"), a Broadway-style animated film for Supercell's "Boom Beach" and a campaign for the Hinge dating app that followed a real-life romance on billboards throughout NYC. She also rallied a team of industry pros to form the Coverage Coalition, encouraging insurance sign-ups under the Affordable Care Act after President Trump cut the ad budget to promote it.
Jason Kreher
Creative Director, Entertainment and Editorial, Wieden & Kennedy
Jason Kreher will go anywhere to get a brand's message across, as evident in the ideas that made KFC a ubiquitous part of pop culture through comic books, a romance novel and wrestling gigs--not to mention a bunch of great TV ads too. In August, he stepped up to oversee Wieden & Kennedy's entertainment and editorial arm and oversaw more hits, including standout videos for Portugal The Man: "Rich Friends" and "Feel It Still," the latter of which doubled as social commentary and a social empowerment tool.
Laura Visco
Creative Director, 72andSunny Amsterdam
Laura Visco has worked to help re-shape the gender conversation in advertising--for both men and women. She began at age 19 in Buenos Aires as the only female creative at a male-dominated agency and went on to help modernize the message for former bro brand Axe. She helped conceive the brand's "Find Your Magic" campaign that aims to expand the definition of masculinity and helped develop the "IsItOkforGuys" effort saying it's alright for men to wear pink, cry and be virgins.
Account Manager of the Year Finalists
Jesse Johnson
Account Director, KFC, Wieden & Kennedy
Wieden & Kennedy's outlandish recent moves for KFC include sending a sandwich to space, a VR escape room for training employees, romance novels and wrestling matches. They're ideas that could have easily floated off into the realm of wishful thinking, but under the steady guidance of Wieden & Kennedy Account Director Jesse Johnson, became reality.
Beba Rivera
Account Supervisor, MullenLowe U.S.
Beba Rivera has helped JetBlue fly to lots of interesting places. She was an instrumental figure in realizing the company's "Tax Return Return Flight" campaign that helped make tax season more palatable for people who owed money to the IRS—by giving them free flights. She also helped empower kids to buy tickets for their families on the "Little Tickets" initiative. Perhaps most important, in the wake of Hurricane Maria, Rivera worked tirelessly with her client and others to bring relief to her homeland of Puerto Rico.
Strategic Planner of the Year Finalists
Jason Chaney
Chief Strategy Officer, Cossette Inc.
Cossette Chief Strategy Officer Jason Chaney shows how strategy can lead to impressive, effective creative. Most notably, his insights led to the powerful "VS" platform for Toronto's SickKids hospital, which brought the language of performance brands to the non-profit world by recasting children affected with illness as badasses--an effort that shattered donation records for the client, buoyed by an increase in millennial and male contributions. Chaney also delivered the strategy on the celebrated "Bring Back the Bees" campaign for Honey Nut Cheerios in Canada, which the client later brought to the U.S.
Gareth Goodall
Managing Partner, Chief Strategy Officer, Anomaly
Gareth Goodall's strategic leadership at Anomaly propelled the success of a number of the agency's key efforts. He helped define a new audience for Johnnie Walker by homing in on the growing multicultural affinity for whisky, an insight that led to powerful new work for the "Keep Walking America" campaign. He was instrumental in the development of Anomaly's cannabis venture Hmbldt. And he helped reposition Jolly Rancher and steer its digital-marketing strategy, leading to a 2017 Effies Gold in Media Effectiveness.
Marina Pen
Global Strategy Director, J. Walter Thompson New York
JWT Global Strategy Director Marina Pen may have changed the world for the better with her insights. For Northwell, she helped steer "The Return," recounting how an amputee veteran's desire to teach his children to swim led to the development of an amphibious prosthetic leg. Her insights led to the #HeforShe campaign for the UN Women, which invited boys and men to take an active role in ending gender bias. And she spoofed luxury advertising in a film starring Amber Rose supporting Period Equity's goals to rid 36 states of the "tampon tax," leading to a 42% rise in petition supporters.
Britton Taylor
Group Strategy Director, Wieden & Kennedy
Behind all of those crazy KFC ideas that brought Colonel Sanders into the wrestling wring, a videogame and even a romance novel, and others that saw a fast feeder following 11 guys named Herb and all the Spice Girls on Twitter and shooting a Zinger chicken sandwich into space, there was actually sound business strategy. And behind that strategy was Wieden & Kennedy's Britton Taylor, who had previously delivered on other major turnarounds--most notably, Old Spice's celebrated "Smell LIke a Man, Man" and "Responses" campaigns.
Brand Marketer of the Year Finalists
George Felix
Director of Brand Communications, KFC
As the company's director of brand communications, George Felix set the stage for making KFC a creative and innovation darling—as well as a thriving business. Thanks to daring and totally unexpected ideas centered largely around bringing founder Colonel Sanders into the heart of pop-culture--wrestling, comic books, ASMR, a romance novel, an online boutique and more--the once-flailing brand has seen a dramatic turnaround.
Fernando Machado
Global CMO, Burger King
Burger King's Fernando Machado is a marketer who eats, sleeps and breathes creativity. He's steered the company's creative renaissance, helping it to earn the honor of Cannes Marketer of the Year in 2017. BK went on to earn two more Grand Prix at the festival for the "Google Home of the Whopper" and "Burning Stores" campaigns and then continued to surprise throughout the year and beyond with efforts that used Whoppers to shine a light on bullying and net neutrality.
Ukonwa Ojo
Senior VP, CoverGirl
Ukonwa Ojo had already proven her chops steering brands at Unilever, General Mills and Reckitt-Benckiser before she arrived at Coty's CoverGirl in the fall of 2016. Once there, she took charge of putting a fresh, modern face of the 60-year-old brand with the purposeful and empowering "I Am What I Makeup" campaign via Droga5 as well as a complete overhaul of packaging, in-store and other communications. The effort made "CoverGirls" out of a range of role models, including Issa Rae, Katy Perry, Ayesha Curry, racer Shelina Moreda and 69-year-old model Maye Musk.
David Rubin
Senior VP-Audience and Brand, The New York Times
David Rubin established a bold new voice for the 166-year-old New York Times with "The Truth Campaign," the company's first international brand push in over a decade. After debuting with a powerful spot during the 2017 Oscars, it continues to spotlight the role of the publication's coverage and its reporters in a media environment awash with conflicting information. Rubin, the organization's first-ever Senior VP for audience and brand, draws from his 15 years of experience at Unilever and time spent at Pinterest. His efforts have successfully helped the company reach 3.5 million subscriptions, the most of any U.S. news brand in history.
Jennifer Saenz
Senior VP, CMO, Frito-Lay North America
Jennifer Saenz knows how to make a bag of of chips travel really far. While overseeing PepsiCo's entire $14 billion snacks portfolio, she's led innovative marketing moves like Doritos' "Party Safe Bag" that doubled as a breathalyzer, Stacy's Chips' colorful Women's History Month bags that put you quickly in touch with your local government official and Doritos' "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" packaging that gave consumers a preview of the film's soundtrack. Under her watch Cheetos also garnered a ton of buzz for its pop-up restaurant "The Spotted Cheetah" and a museum that exhibited the brand's most curiously-shaped cheese curls ever.
Chief Creative Officer of the Year Finalists
Richard Brim
Chief Creative Officer, Adam & Eve DDB
Richard Brim can easily be dubbed the "King of Christmas" for leading some of the most memorable holiday campaigns in the U.K., including the famous John Lewis adverts and fanciful work for H&M like the charming Wes Anderson-directed ad about a boy who finds magic on a train. But he's also led the agency on powerful work for FIFA 18, in an exuberant ad that introduced a strange new soccer move for Ronaldo; for Skittles, which lost its rainbow and debuted an all-white bag in support of Pride; and for Marmite, which introduced genetic testing kits so people could find out if they have the "Love It, or Hate It" gene for the product. All the while, his leadership propelled the agency to 12.5% growth and ten new account wins.
Colleen DeCourcy and Susan Hoffman
Chief Creative Officers, Wieden & Kennedy
Colleen DeCourcy and Susan Hoffman have steered Wieden & Kennedy's incredible output of creative ideas--a collection that includes the ever-growing, weird and delightful KFC "Return of the Colonel" campaign, eye-opening branded content for "The Atlantic," driver-celebrating work for "Lyft," Bud Light's "Dilly Dilly"—and all those Nike ideas, to name just a few. All the while, they've helped prime the agency for the future by solidifying leadership across the globe with the introduction of its "Stakeholders" model, supporting education programs like The Kennedys and nurturing independent-minded thinking with an investment in start-up shop Callen.
Margaret Johnson
Partner and Chief Creative Officer, Goodby Silverstein & Partners
Less than two years ago, Margaret Johnson became Goodby, Silverstein & Partners' first chief creative officer. Since then, the company has added major clients including PepsiCo and Liberty Mutual while increasing its media billings by nearly $1 billion. The shop has created notable work for clients like Doritos, Stacy's and Tostitos that tweaked snack packaging to promote social causes or even save lives. Beyond the bags, Johnson has made innovation a priority with the help of GS&P Labs, which conceived outstanding tech ideas such as the "Dreams of Dali" VR experience, Sonic #SquareShakes and the "I Am a Witness" anti-cyber bullying emoji. She's also helped make the agency welcoming to female leadership; 64 percent of the management team comprises women execs.
Nick Law
Former Vice Chairman, Global Chief Creative Officer, R/GA
While Nick Law has signed onto his next leadership role as chief creative officer at Pubicis Groupe, at R/GA he helped steer the venerable shop through numerous industry shifts, through its transition from interactive agency to a full-service organization. He's helped to keep the company at the forefront with innovation-driven initiatives like the Prototype Studio and R/GA Ventures Studio and led groundbreaking ideas across the globe, including BotBot, which simplifies the bot-making process for small businesses; "Fans of Love," the latest iteration of Ad Council's "Love Has No Labels" campaign that used a kiss cam to highlight an array of loving relationships; Bradesco's Next Bank mobile banking platform for millennials; and a Cannes Lions Media Grand Prix-winning Jet.com campaign.
David Lubars
Chief Creative Officer, BBDO Worldwide
The ideas that continue to flow from BBDO Worldwide may be testament enough to the strength of David Lubars' leadership--jarring work for Sandy Hook Promise, laugh-out loud moves for Snickers, digital innovation for Lowe's, heart-rending pushes for Pedigree, conversation-shifting content for Libresse. But the work also speaks to the powerful bench of chief creatives he's steadily brought on board, including Robin Fitzgerald in Atlanta, Andres Ordonez in Chicago, Matt Miller in San Francisco and Levi Slavin at Colenso BBDO in Auckland. Such is the formula for the agency's consistent chart-topping at creative festivals--in 2017, BBDO was named Network of the Year at Cannes for the sixth time and was No. 1 on the Effie Effectiveness Index for the fourth time in the index's seven years.
Director of the Year Finalists
Autumn de Wilde
Anonymous Content
You know you're in for a stylish ride when Autumn de Wilde is at the helm. She shot a head-twisting take on fashion for Uniqlo, choreographed a festive, sophisticated party in the streets for Martini and reprised her fantastical tales for Prada in the second installment of the fashion house's "Postman Dreams" series.
Ringan Ledwidge
Rattling Stick
Rattling Stick director and co-founder Ringan Ledwidge is back in the running this year with his memorable moves for clients including Jose Cuervo, Chanel and Audi. His flair for detail and story was evident on Cuervo's blockbuster "End of Days"-themed ad, which saw the patrons of a bar making the most of their last minutes on earth dancing to Elvis while downing the tequila. Audi's "Clowns" was one of the most artfully-crafted product demos in recent memory.
Aoife McArdle
Somesuch
Somesuch director Aoife McArdle is a Creativity Awards finalist once again thanks to standout work like Audi's moving "Daughter" ad from the 2017 Super Bowl, the rollicking "Equal Love" ad for Absolut that featured a seemingly endless chain of kisses and a moving spot for State Farm depicting how the need to give continues after the holidays. She also helmed her first feature, the stylish coming-of-age story about a wayward Irish teenager, "Kissing Candice."
Mark Molloy
Smuggler
Comedy, drama, visual intensity… Mark Molloy can do it all, as seen in his 2017 body of work. It includes Tile's debut campaign featuring a sad, lost panda, Sheraton's surprisingly dramatic yet funny ad that showed the lengths to which a staffer goes for customers and a curiously cinematic spot for Westin that gives a fresh interpretation to waking up in the morning.
Matthijs van Heijningen
MJZ
Matthijs van Heijningen was in the chair for some of 2017's most noteworthy spots, including Samsung's whimsical "Ostrich," imagining the flightless bird soaring with the help of VR, and Kia's blockbuster 2017 Super Bowl ad starring Melissa McCarthy, which hit the top of the USA Today Ad Meter. He also captured the birth of a new hamster for the Kia and brought a feel-good, King Kong-inspired spin to an ad for Monster.com.
COMPANIES
Visionary/Founder of the Year Finalists
Kat Gordon
Founder at 3% Conference
After 20 years as a creative director, Kat Gordon created The 3% Conference to challenge the drastic underrepresentation of women in creative leadership. Last year she conducted a study to understand where to find gender-parity watermarks within agencies and introduced 3% Certification, a program to help agencies assess and improve "gender friendliness."
Bob Greenberg
R/GA Founder, Chairman and CEO
R/GA founder, chairman and CEO Bob Greenberg foresaw many of the trends in digital and design that have become crucial to agency work. He has moved to keep R/GA abreast as consultancies moved in on the sector and technology continued ahead. The shop's consulting unit is profitable and growing quickly, its Venture Studio programs are matching marketers with tech partners and R/GA Ventures is keeping the shop tight with tech startups.
Bryn Mooser
Ryot Co-Founder and CEO
A co-founder and CEO of the virtual reality and augmented reality video company Ryot, Bryn Mooser has helped expand visual journalism in 360 degrees through Ryot Films and brought print to life at Ryot Studio. Ryot has also supported groups such as Pencils of Promise, for which it created a short film and activation for a fundraising gala.
Product of the Year Finalists
Ember Ceramic Mug
Ember Technologies
If we don't have flying cars and much of the other future tech we used to anticipate, we at least now have a mug that can keep your coffee from getting cold. The Ember Ceramic Mug uses temperature sensors, a heating system and an app to get drinks to preferred temperatures and keep them there.
Jibo
Jibo Inc.
Described as a social robot for the home, Jibo uses face and voice recognition technology to interact with the people in its orbit, turn to face people speaking to it, answer questions, take pictures and even dance, more or less, on its tabletop pedestal.
Tasty One Top
BuzzFeed
BuzzFeed's Tasty brand for coverage of cooking and food last year made the leap to actually cooking food with the introduction of One Top, a high-tech and high-design hot plate. Consumers can control it via the Tasty app to prepare Tasty recipes or perform other work. The One Top was created by BuzzFeed Product Labs and GE Appliance's First Build unit.
Ad Tech/Marketing Tech of the Year Finalists
Datorama
After building a business centralizing data streams for its clients, Datorama last spring introduced Genius, an AI-fueled system to help customers figure out how they can improve this measure or that. Tell Genius what you want to boost and it builds a bot to generate insights.
Popwallet
Wielding the insight that smartphones' virtual wallets shouldn't just carry credit cards and plane tickets, Popwallet built a way for people to stock them with promotions and other brand content as well. Brands can use its software-as-a-service to build and distribute deals, membership programs, gift cards, tickets and more. Then Popwallet tells clients what worked.
Sling TV
Dish Network this year brought programmatic ad buying to a new venue bursting with potential: live, streaming TV in the form of its Sling service. Its new offering let advertisers bid on commercial inventory in real time, targeting prefab but useful segments like vacationers during summertime.
Smartly.io
In 2017, the Facebook and Instagram ad specialist Smartly.io introduced Dynamic Video Templates and a Video Editor feature to help marketers personalize their social advertising on a large scale. Customers can layer their video ads with items from their product catalogs, for example, creating potentially thousands of variations to be targeted or retargeted according to users' behavior.
SteelHouse
Life comes at you fast, including in marketing. That's why SteelHouse built a self-serve platform to let brands create ads with multiple scenes, animation and video—and then automatically generate 30 or more versions to distribute through a host of channels with different specs and consumer expectations.
Startup of the Year Finalists
Brandless
Here's a brand that turns branding inside out, offering a range of food, housewares, office supplies and personal products for for $3 across the board and claiming that rivals' higher prices just reflect a "BrandTax." Since its debut last July, the Brandless product line has grown to nearly 250 from 110.
Dosist
To stand out in a business category that was simultaneously saturated and ripe for innovation—cannabis—MDC agency Anomaly and entrepreneur Matt Seashols teamed up on a vape pen with a pitch: accuracy, safety and control. The pen's design projects precision; the dose, according to the company, is always the same. They changed the brand name in December to Dosist from Hmbldt.
Msg.ai
Msg.ai, whose tech helps marketers use AI to chat with consumers, last spring introduced a bot called TMY.GIRL to promote and sell Gigi Hadid's fashion line. It remembered customers' style preferences and purchase history, all the better to actually move merch through the bot itself. Other clients include Aflac, Nestle, Target and T-Mobile.
Winners will be announced at the A-List & Creativity Awards Gala in New York on April 19.