12 of the most creative ads on the planet

Tom Dennis rounds up a dozen of the world's most creative contemporary ad campaigns.

Like it or not, advertising is the life blood of the creative industry.

At some point every designer will have to put together an adverting campaign - whether traditional print, digital, interactive viral or video.

The 12 examples below are some of the most original, thought provoking and downright mind-blowing examples of creative campaigns to date. Some are subtle, others blunt, but all display the original thinking and brand awareness that makes a good ad great. Take them as your inspiration and you can't go wrong.

Human Rights Film Festival: Lights

Human Rights Film Festival: Lights

Human Rights Film Festival: Lights

New Zealand-based advertising agency Y&R conceived this brilliant static campaign for the Human Rights Film festival. Taking the idea of jumpers for goalposts that little further, it highlights the Homeless World Cup soccer tournament in makeshift floodlights.

Discovery Channel: The Deadliest Catch

Discovery Channel: The Deadliest Catch

Discovery Channel: The Deadliest Catch

Polish creatives Arsthenea travelled to Alaska for the reference imagery of this campaign, which was then worked up in Photoshop to give this astoundingly impact-driven effect. Read how the team produced it in issue 165 of Computer Arts.

Comex Paints

Comex Paints

Comex Paints

This campaign for Comex paints proves the simple semiotic power of colour. With just a few elements, four of the most famous painted characters created are instantly recognisable. Simple, clever and brings a smile to your face.

Nokia: Dance

Nokia: Dance

Nokia: Dance

The unbelievabley good Weiden + Kennedy are rightly celebrated for their high profile work, but this viral web ad is a splendid example of the creative agency's spirit.

Canal+

Canal+

Canal+

This print ad delivers all the power and aggression of the game of rugby. And while it isn't necessarily the most original ad, it certainly has impact.

Sensodyne

Sensodyne

Sensodyne

Anyone who has suffered from sensitive teeth will instantly reach for their jaw when viewing this ad from Brazilian creative ad company MatosGrey, which transmits a genuine physical reaction.

AMI

ami

ami

AMI sends doctors and nurses to areas hit by natural disasters or wars, and this interactive print campaign from Y&R Portugal rams their message home. The poster is made from donation tickets, which are stripped away to eliminate the image of a destroyed Chinese town, and revealing a thank you message underneath.

American Express: Roddick Vs Pong


Selling outright glamour while tapping into childhood nostalgia with a whimsical twist, this American Express ad by ad supreme Ogilvy's stables is super impressive, funny and effective.

The Economist

economist

economist

Less an outright ad and more a clever piece of campaign marketing, The Economist's drive to penetrate Philadelphia's university elite rested on transmitting its message via every student's favourite junk food.

Coca-Cola: GTA


Coke's old dependence on heritage marketing has arguably been one of its creative downfalls. This example, however, shows the world's biggest brand undergo a Grand Theft Auto treatment, conceived by the inimitable Weiden+Kennedy's Portland outfit in association with Nexus Productions.

Honda: The Cog


Is 605 days of production for a 120 second commercial overkill? We don't care when it's this good. The creative geniuses at Wieden+Kennedy drew on Rube Goldberg, Hitchcock and Honda's fixation with details to create one of the most memorable commercials of the last few years.


The Beatles: Rock Band launch trailer

beatles

beatles

Quite simply one of the most stunning pieces we've ever seen. Created especially for the launch of The Beatles Rock Band game, this mini film from Passion Pictures is jaw dropping. Not technically an ad, but we don't care - it's awe-inspiring.

Now check out these 30 examples of stunning print ads on our sister site Creative Bloq.