At Fidelitas Development, we are constantly on the lookout for creative inspiration. This year, we found inspiration in the enthusiasm of our clients, a doll designed to improve the behavior of kids during the holiday season, and even the turmoil of our own personal relationships. Ideas came to us in the shower, while surfing in the oceans of southern California, and while stuck in traffic on the 5. 2016 was a great year for our growth, both as an agency and as a team of creative, innovative, and supportive individuals.

Part of what drove our growth in 2016 was our love of great creative. It’s exciting when we see a Super Bowl commercial that really makes us laugh or an unknown brand that blows up on Reddit. Thankfully, 2016 was full of campaigns that we couldn’t stop talking about. Here are just a few of our favorites:

To make our list of marketing favorites for 2016, a campaign or ad had to meet 3 criteria:

We have to know what the brand was and what they’re “selling”: We’ve all seen ads that are cinematic masterpieces or extremely goofy bits of comedy, but leave us feeling like we have no idea what we just watched. While we can certainly appreciate a work of art, let’s not forget the name of the game here. If a piece doesn’t inspire us to take the next step in building a relationship with the brand, why was it made in the first place?

We have to know who the intended audience is: Great marketing is targeted and calculated. Is an ad great if you can’t tell who it’s for?

It has to make us want to share it: In 2016, the success of a campaign doesn’t come from the eyeballs the media buyer puts it in front of, but rather from the number of shares it generates. If an ad or campaign made our list, it’s because we couldn’t help but share it around the office, online or with friends, family or complete strangers.

Rae Sremmurd Mannequin Challenge

Without a doubt, the mannequin challenge was the biggest viral sensation of 2016. Everyone was doing it; we even did one with the team. While Atlanta rap duo Rae Sremmurd didn’t invent the mannequin challenge, they certainly owned it.

The rappers’ audience-wide mannequin challenge video positioned their song “Black Beatles”, panned as too vulgar for most mainstream radio, as the official anthem for all mannequin challenges to come. At the time of this writing, “Black Beatles” sits at #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, even though most of us just know it as “The Mannequin Challenge Song”. Even real Beatle Paul McCartney used the track for his own challenge as he posed frozen over his piano.

 

Patricia Houlihan Shoots Lasers Out of Her Eyes

 

Patricia LasersThis year Patricia Houlihan, a lawyer and real estate agent in Vancouver, BC, captured the hearts of millions on social media by posting a bus stop ad telling the world that, in addition to her real estate talents, she is also a superhero that shoots lasers out of her eyes.

Houlihan, in fact, did not run an ad saying that she shoots lasers out of her eyes, but thanks to Reddit that’s the version that most of us saw. The real estate agent’s ad, telling potential buyers and sellers that she has the unique talent of seeing what others see prompted a wave of user generated content, with dozens, if not hundreds of versions of the ad floating around social media. Let’s face it; we aren’t in the market for a home in the brutal real estate market that is Vancouver, British Columbia, but if we were we would most certainly want an agent with superpowers on our side.

Tinder on Apple TV

Once upon a time internet dating was so shameful that the idea of mom or dad seeing your dating profile would have been grounds for disownment and no one would have blamed you. These days, it’s nearly impossible to find anyone who hasn’t huddled around a friend’s iPhone while they screened their Tinder matches, and parents of aging millennials are so desperate for grandkids that they’re joining in on the party.

Tinder’s newest campaign promoting their Apple TV app, which makes the search for love more of a family affair than ever, captures this awkwardness perfectly:

Clearasil Doesn’t Know Teens

I got my first pimple in 1995. For as long as I’ve been aware of acne commercials, they have fallen into one of three groups:

Goofy cartoon
Teen models washing their faces
Puff Daddy and Kelly Clarkson lamenting their own skin issues

None of these campaigns ever hit home with me, especially during my most angsty years, but it seems like Clearasil has finally become self-aware, and started to do things right.

If there’s one thing we know about teens it’s that they don’t want to be catered to. They don’t want ads to tell them what’s cool or how things could be. They just want fewer pimples. While it’s too late for most of us here in the office, we’re excited that someone is finally getting that message across.

Please Re-Elect Gerald Daugherty…Please!

In a year plagued by horrendous political attack ads, this campaign ad from Gerald Daugherty, candidate for Travis County Commissioner was like a ray of sunshine. The ad features all of the charm, friendliness and sense of humor that 99% of political ads so desperately lack. Best of all, the ad answers the top two concerns of most voters in 2016:

Is this person experienced? Do they know about the issues?
Is this person an emotionless cyborg?

Gerald Daugherty’s team answers both of these questions flawlessly. Daugherty knows so much about the issues that it’s all he ever talks about. Not only that, he’s so human that he annoys his wife to death, just like you and me! We all know a Gerald Daugherty, someone who talks about their business and nothing else, and while we may not want his personality type in our homes, we do want him running our government.

What were some of your favorite ads and campaigns of 2016? Let us know in the comments below.