Advertising at its best does more than promote a product or precisely target a demo. It does more than generate impressions or make us laugh during the Super Bowl. Great advertising inspires. It uplifts. It brings out what is best in us and who we want to be.
With that in mind, we selected 10 campaigns created by brands and agencies across the globe that inspired in 2017.
2017 was a big year for us. We called for the reinvention of an industry, went public with NeboCMS, and published our first post in another language (if you count emojis as a language). And that was just on the Nebo blog.
It’s no secret we use the blog to blast our thoughts into the universe. We talk about our industry and pop culture, the things we love and the things we hate. It’s our opportunity to write about what interests us, without the weight of client expectations or KPIs to live up to. So every week, we publish a new post about email marketing, open letters to our coworkers, or why it’s important to have fun.
And, based on the numbers, you all actually care about what we have to say.
With the help of a top secret and very complicated algorithm — taking into account things like views, engagement, and how many times it was talked about in the office kitchen — we narrowed down the 54 blog posts of 2017 to only the best of the best. (And maybe a few personal favorites because this is our list, damn it, and we’ll do what we want with it.)
Our top 10 posts tell the story of what was important to us this year. These are the ones that made us laugh, inspired us, and helped us understand things like AI and programmatic advertising. And we hope they did the same for you, too.
In 1997, the Spice Girls invaded America. My brother came down with a disastrous case of frosted tips. And Radiohead’s “Creep” played on MTV’s “Dawn Patrol” while I ate my Honey Nut Cheerios.
Life was all about rocking board shorts, Drew Barrymore barrettes and scouring Seventeen for full-page spreads of Jared Leto (aka Jordan Catalano). When we weren’t fighting over the bathroom mirror, kids like us were accessing the World Wide Web via Netscape and crunchy dial-up internet tones.
But in this pre-TRL, pre-Britney boom time, one cultural touchstone broke through all the noise. And that iceberg, ladies and gentleman, was “Titanic” — the James Cameron mega blockbuster that redefined film for the dawning 21st century.
My name is Betty. I’m 94. I was born in 1923, lived through the Great Depression as a young girl, and waited with bated breath as my husband fought in World War II. This had a profound effect on my life, and his.
We had a good life, though. Money was tight, but we were blessed in so many ways.
I gave birth to a beautiful son who then grew to have kids of his own. Some of my grandchildren have already had kids of their own, too. My grandchildren (and great-grandchildren) are everything to me. Every time I see their faces, I see the hope of an entire generation. I see my mom and my dad. I hear my siblings in their laughter. Their hugs warm my heart and remind me of the vigor that I used to have.
I’m telling you all of this so you get to know me. Because I’m not the typical customer advertisers talk to these days. I’m not a millennial or even a baby boomer. I don’t use the internet frequently. I still watch cable.
But I matter.
Growing up, I had no idea what I wanted to do when I got older. I would go from marine biologist to race-car driver to nighttime security guard in the span of an hour. At any given moment in high school, I might have told you I either wanted to study sociology at UC Berkeley or drop out to find a berth on a cod-fishing vessel.
The only things I could never see myself doing were marketing and sales (might also throw air traffic control and law enforcement in there for posterity). I was passionate about social and environmental causes as a child, and my parents made sure that I hated Wal-Mart before I could even pronounce the name of that unholiest of places.