Adscam’s George Parker: best (and worst) ads of 2016

In his wisdom, Stephen has asked for my opinion on the great ads of 2016. I suspect that as he knows I have never failed to modestly represent myself as MAA’s Curmudgeon in Chief, so I would not expected to deliver laudatory gush about great ads for Tesco or Brexit… Whatever the fuck Brexit means! God forbid, we should ever understand that… As for Tesco, who the fuck knows? OK, enough bullshit, let’s get on with it this so I can then get onto the cocktails.

Firstly, a well deserved accolade!

Without a doubt, the very best campaign of 2016, which has rightly swept the boards of the ever proliferating numbers of award shows out there, is Venable Bell’s sterling work for REI. Via #OptOutside, which not only showed originality and creativity applied to today’s fractured communications scene. Even more dramatically, it shoved a giant shitty stick up the arse of America’s retailers, who are second only to car dealers and fast food franchisees in their slavish adherence to the kind of advertising they have run since Noah offered rides for twins on his Super-Glide-Ark.

Venable came up with the amazingly simple idea of proposing that a company which specializes in outdoor gear should close up shop on Black Friday and give its employees the chance to enjoy the outdoors for themselves. It gives me hope that the ad biz is not yet totally fucked. Kudos to Venable Bell for coming up with this… And uber kudos to REI for having the balls to sign off on it!

Now the bright blue shitty stick.

Oh dear, oh dear, Wieden + Kennedy’s “The Bud Light Party” campaign for Bud Light didn’t work. I am gob smacked. I mean what could go wrong if you pay big bucks for Amy Schumer and Seth Rogen to go through a patently faux enthusiasm for Nuns Piss in fluorescent blue bottles. Perhaps they could start off by making beer that tastes like beer (Bud is made from rice, by the way.) As Zippy the Pin Head would say… Nahh.” Perhaps W+K was trying to come in below the bar it established by with it’s truly gag worthy campaign for Kraft Cheesy Skillets. The one featuring the Lusty Smithy, rogering America’s housewives over his hot anvil. A word of advice guys… Stick to sneakers. You can do that shit with your eyes closed. God forbid Phil Knight should ever retire!

And if you think the ad biz is fucked up, wait ‘till President Trumpf starts making America great again.

Oh My God… Or, as we trendies say on Twitter… OMG.

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About George Parker

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George Parker has spent 40 years on Madison Avenue. He’s won Lions, CLIOs, EFFIES, and the David Ogilvy Award. His blog is adscam.typepad.com, which is required reading for those looking for a gnarly view of the world’s second oldest profession.” His latest book, Confessions of a Mad Man, makes the TV show Mad Men look like Sesame Street.