As we did last year, we’re taking a look at the year’s 10 best commercials, and rather than rely on my own opinions of what’s best, we look to the best guys in the business, AdWeek, who ranked their ten favorites of 2012. I won’t disagree with the ten ads they chose, but I would argue that they’re in the wrong order. In fact, 10 and 8 should probably be numbers one and two, respectively.
As the ten best go, however, 2012 was light on the comedy, and heavy on the inspirational angle, as one would expect in an Olympic year. Check out AdWeek’s 10 Best Commercials of 2012, and if you want full details and credits on the ads, check out Adweek’s list.
10. Carlton Draught Beer Chase — That this ad — which we loved so much it was featured twice on the UPROXX network this year — is only the 10th best of 2012 is a mystery. It’s a pretty perfect send-up of car chase scenes … on feet.
9. “Axe,” Susan Glenn
This was a great Keifer Sutherland narrated ad for Axe body spray that might have provoked many of us to fall in love with Susan Glenn, but I doubt it moved a lot of Axe body spray because, honestly, if Susan Glenn is so perfect, I don’t think she’d be into Axe.
8. Procter & Gamble, “Best Job”
This ad, which features parents from around the world raising children who will one day become Olympic athletes, will probably hit you in the soft spot. If you’re a parent, it’s wildly effective (I know, I welled up a bit). I’m almost glad that the products it is meant to advertise are a complete afterthought in the ad, but you know what? Next time I buy detergent, I’m going to buy Tide just to thank P&G for this ad.
7. Chrysler, “It’s Halftime in America”
This Super Bowl ad, featuring Clint Eastwood, got the Republican in a little trouble after pundits began accusing Eastwood of supporting Obama, but politics aside, it was a solid, heart-warming ad that highlighted the comeback of the American automotive industry.
6. Red Bull, “Red Bull Stratos”
This Red Bull ad basically edited Felix Baumbgartner’s free-fall from space down to a minute-and-a-half, and when a guy does something that daring and courageous, you don’t really need to embellish it much. Jesus, I still can’t believe that guy did that. Titanium balls, y’all.
5. Old Milwaukee, “Field Cut Off”
Will Ferrell’s Old Milwaukee Super Bowl ad made a huge splash on the Internet, in part because it was aired on television in only one town, North Platte, Nebraska (the second smallest television market in America). It was several days, in fact, before a clean copy even arrived on the Internet. Ferrell did the ad for free, and for no apparent reason, but hell if it didn’t work. It’s a fantastic ad not for its content, but for the marketing strategy behind it.
4. DirecTV, “Charlie Sheen” — I don’t really know why this series of ad spots ranked so high; they are mildly amusing, and while I’d like to commend Charlie Sheen for making fun of himself, it was really more of a matter of Sheen reveling in his own stupidity. DirecTV basically rewarded him for being a jackass.
3. Widerøe Airlines, “Grandpa’s Magic Trick”
This is the first I’ve seen of this Norwegian ad, and yeah: It’s cute. Better than the Carlton Draught Beer Chase? No. But it’s cute.
2. Nike, “Jogger”
This is a remarkably simply yet powerful ad about earning greatness, rather than waiting around to have it handed to us. You can bet your fat ass that this ad moved a lot of running sneakers.
1. The Guardian, “Three Little Pigs”
This cinematic send-up of the Three Little pigs is simply a great short film disguised as an ad for the British newspaper, The Guardian, and the power of the news media as a whole. Great ad? Yes. But I’m sticking with the opinion that the Carlton Beer Ad should’ve taken this slot.