We may only be a few months into 2019, but already, tons of new digital video productions have caught our eye. In honor of March Madness, we are narrowing down our top six digital video ads and productions of 2019 so far.
First, we have a couple of consolation winners that just didn’t make the cut of the Final Four. Then, we’ll count down our Final Four to our favorite video production of the year so far.
Dream Crazier – Nike, Serena Williams
Nike’s “Dream Crazier” ad premiered the night of the Oscars and is voiced by Serena Williams. She calls out many gender-based double standards that dominate sports over a montage of women achieving their “crazy dreams” in the world of sports. The ad ends with Nike’s famous tagline, “It’s only crazy until you do it.”
Ads like these continue to make waves across the ad industry and speak to the continued efforts to bring more diversity to advertising. These types of powerful statement ads will continue to be a trend in 2019, and we’d love to see more of them.
The World Needs More Cowboys – University of Wyoming
While this ad has generated a small amount of controversy over the meaning of “cowboy,” it still is one of the best ads to come out for the first quarter of the year. The University of Wyoming’s “The World Needs More Cowboys” emphasizes that the world needs more innovators and daring people, just as cowboys (UW’s mascot) used to be for the frontier.
The voiceover claims that their cowboys are “diverse cowboys who come in every sex, shape, color, and creed.” In UW’s words, “It’s not what you are that makes you a cowboy or cowgirl, but who you are.”
We love this type of inspirational advertising because it has something to say, and it says it well. Ads are most effective when they tap into an authentic experience and tell a compelling story that people can relate to. UW identified the pioneering spirit of their mascot and used it to tell a story of curiosity and how their academic institution helps people be a part of that story.
4. Colombian Coffee – Burger King
Burger King seems to love playing off the artistic crowd as of late, and it looks like it is working. Their Super Bowl ad with Andy Warhol was as ill-advised as it was bold, but it got people talking about the burger chain. Now Burger King has turned to director David Gelb of the Netflix series Chef’s Table to produce a short film about its coffee.
The short film starts with sweeping scenes of the Colombian forest and focuses on the story of Don Diego, a coffee farmer whose family has been growing beans for a century. The ads artistic seriousness is quickly undercut by the ever-presence of the King—Burger King’s mascot. Their point was simple: “We go out of your way to bring you coffee your way.”
While this special emphasis on its coffee may seem out-of-the-blue, Burger King recently announced a coffee subscription model: Pay $5 a month for a small cup of coffee every day of the month. Efforts like these show how you can be both serious and silly while still getting your point across.
3. McCafé Simple Pleasures – McDonald’s (UK)
Coincidentally, McDonald’s also released an ad this month about its coffee. The ad agency responsible for this ad said it was not a direct response to Burger King’s Colombian coffee ad. Regardless, this ad also focuses on the quality and simplicity of its coffee compared to that of its competitors.
The ad shows scenes you might find in a typical coffee ad: slow-motion coffee beans flying through the air, cinematic scenes, hipsters brewing coffee in chemistry equipment, artistic metaphors for coffee and milk, and a hodgepodge of other clichés. Instead of emphasizing any one of these marketing tactics, McCafé makes it clear that they keep it simple and sometimes that’s the best way to have your coffee.
Not only is this ad amusing, but it also showcases the McDonald’s coffee ethos: Their customers are not looking for high-flying, fancy, or pretentious experiences. Their customers just want a simple cup of coffee.
2. Privacy Matters – Apple
It seems like every other month, we hear of privacy breaches involving major companies or the ever-encroaching eyes of corporations or governments peering into our daily lives. This subject can be grim and downright distressing, but Apple wants you to know that they’re doing what they can to protect your privacy in their new ad “Privacy Matters.”
The lighthearted ad cuts among several scenes that demonstrate how much we still value our personal space and take steps to make sure we can keep to ourselves. The ad really focuses on how uncomfortable it is when others start to intrude on our personal space.
The ad is brilliant for several reasons, but the biggest is that it plays on the legitimate privacy fears most people face online. The iPhone is “designed to protect your information,” and the ad has “privacy matters” emblazoned across a final shot of the iPhone.
The ad is simple, effective, and puts a period on Apple’s continued defense of data privacy within the tech industry. We applaud you, Apple!
1. Journey to Certainty – Mayo Clinic
A young man and his father embark on a road trip, a husband and wife take a train journey, and a woman makes sure to bring her lucky hat before she heads out with her friend. It is not clear where any of them are going—the loved ones barely exchange a word as they pack up to go, make rest stops or gaze out of windows.
However, their thoughtful interactions—an embrace, a pat on the back, heartfelt glances—show that they’re all on important journeys with life-changing implications. When they finally reach their destination, the Mayo Clinic, it all becomes clear.
Three new films from the academic medical institution, known for its high-end and holistic care, avoid the normal clichés of hospital marketing, such as patient testimonials and doctors in lab coats. Instead, they seek to recognize the emotional journey patients take as they prepare for a diagnosis.
The ad highlights Mayo Clinic’s ability to provide answers and the best care possible for you and your loved ones. The focus on relationships offers hope and certainty to viewers on similar healthcare journeys. This ad is one of the best ads so far this year because it speaks to an authentic experience that is sensitive but powerful.