Budweiser: "Puppy Love"
When it comes to a good commercial, interspecies friendship is the trump card. Anheuser-Busch and ad agency Anomaly scored a touchdown with their heartwarming Super Bowl ad “Puppy Love.” The spot follows the growing friendship of a mischievous puppy and the Clydesdale horse next door. As their friendship blossoms, so does the relationship between the puppy’s owner (played by former swimsuit model Melissa Keller) and the horse’s hunky trainer. After viewers were done reaching for the Kleenex, they voted it the top Super Bowl ad on Hulu and viewed the spot more than 53 million times on YouTube.
WREN: "First Kiss"
A first kiss can be awkward, sweet and scary — all at the same time. This nervous energy was perfectly captured in a cinematic three-and-a-half minute video that introduced strangers and then had them kiss. The clip quickly went viral, gaining 24 million YouTube views in 48 hours, before it was revealed as an ad for WREN clothing store. While that revelation left a bad taste in some people’s mouths, it still rang true to many. It has now been seen more than 70 million times.
Ford: "Upside: Anything is Possible"
In February, Cadillac made a commercial that celebrated the luxurious lives of its rich and fabulous customers. Ford’s ad agency, Team Detroit, responded a month later with a perfect parody of its competitors’ ad. Instead of focusing on luxury, this spot appeals to a decidedly more down-to-earth clientele.
Nike Football: "Winner Stays"
Nike created one of the most watched commercials of the World Cup. The ad shows a group of kids magically transforming into the world’s best football players — Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, David Luiz, Wayne Rooney, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Gerard Pique. Even Kobe Bryant makes an appearance in this spot.
John Lewis: "Monty the Penguin"
Every year at Christmas time, the British department store John Lewis releases a heartwarming ad full of holiday cheer. This year’s spot follows a CGI penguin named Monty. And as much as Monty loves jumping on the trampoline with the boy he lives with, the romantic movies the penguin has been watching have gotten him thinking about a mate. This commercial could be the start of a new movie genre: the penguin romantic comedy.
The White House: "1 is 2 Many"
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 1 in 5 women is sexually assaulted before graduating from college. As the issue continues to dominate the news cycle, the White House created a task force designed to combat campus sexual assault and released this PSA in April, which featured President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and actors Daniel Craig and Steve Carell calling the public to action.
Save the Children: "Most Shocking Second a Day"
The commercial begins in the familiar “one second a day” format. A child celebrates her birthday with friends, plays the recorder, and cuddles a stuffed bunny. But then things change. Forced to evacuate her home, the girl has to escape violence, dodge explosions and winds up in a refugee camp. Text soon appears on the screen: “Just because it isn’t happening here doesn’t mean it isn’t happening,” the non-profit’s call for donations for the children of Syria. Save the Children succeeded in getting the message out for since March, the ad has garnered more than 40 million views on YouTube.
Procter & Gamble: "Thank You, Mom"
This tearjerker shows that behind an Olympic athlete, there is a group of people who sacrificed to help him or her achieve a dream. “Thank You, Mom,” which ran during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, is Procter & Gamble’s sequel to its 2012 success, “Best Job.” Wieden + Kennedy produced the commercial, which celebrated matriarchs worldwide.
Microsoft’s 60-second Super Bowl ad merged technology with humanity. Narrated by Steve Gleason, a former football player now living with ALS, the ad showed the crucial role the company’s products play in people’s daily lives—from eye-tracking software that helps Gleason communicate to technology that helps the blind paint and double leg amputees run.
Hello Flo: "First Moon Party"
Tampon commercials usually involve smiling women doing yoga in all white outfits. Hello Flo’s “First Moon Party,” on the other hand, is a humorous tampon commercial that steers clear of stereotypes and is actually enjoyable to watch. The spot follows a pre-teen girl who lies to friends about having gotten her period. After overhearing the conversation, the mom decides to teach her kid a lesson in truth telling by throwing an epic first moon party, complete with vagina-shaped cakes and bobbing for ovary party games.