The 21 Most Innovative & Creative Ads of the Past Year - Rainmaker Media Solutions
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The 21 Most Innovative & Creative Ads of the Past Year

The 21 Most Innovative & Creative Ads of the Past Year

Written by Karla Cook

The landscape of content is evolving. In an age where most advertisements fall victim to the “skip” button, it takes something truly creative to make people pay attention.

It’s no longer enough to simply create a straightforward ad — to shine, content must make us laugh, cry, think, and believe.

There is no bigger stage for celebrating advertising that moves us than the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

This year’s recipients blur the line between marketing and art, delivering pieces of content that push the boundaries of media.

Get inspired by 21 of the best below.

Grand Prix Winners of the 2016 Cannes Lions International Festivity of Creativity



London-based communications agency adam&eveDDB mashed-up real security cam footage of shoplifters at Harvey Nichols stores with delightfully devious cartoon characters to create this extended spot for the retailer’s freebie rewards app. (Spoiler alert: All the thieves get caught.)

Film Craft


This gritty piece from Under Armour offers a peek into Michael Phelp’s demanding training regimen as the champion swimmer prepares for his final Olympic Games this summer. Aptly set to The Last Goodbye by The Kills, the ad was produced by New York-based agency Droga5 and directed by Epoch’s Martin de Thurah.



Venables Bell & Partners created this rebellious campaign for outdoor lifestyle brand REI, urging consumers to skip the mall and instead spend time outdoors on Black Friday. The call to ignore retail’s biggest holiday was whole-heartedly answered by the hundreds of National Parks that opened for free on Black Friday in direct response to the campaign.


FU 2016

With the 2016 presidential election rapidly approaching, advertising agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty saw an opportunity to insert Netflix’s political drama House of Cards into the conversation. This ad took the show’s main antihero, Frank Underwood, and cast him as a presidential candidate.


The Organic Effect

To highlight the positive impact that eating organic food can have on overall health, the Swedish Environmental Research Institute IVL and its client, supermarket chain Coop, documented a family as they switched to a fully organic diet.

Creative Data

The Next Rembrandt

After analyzing more than 160,000 fragments from Rembrandt’s paintings, ING and JWT Amsterdam 3D-printed a completely new piece of work in the revered Dutch artist’s distinct style.



Get your tissues out for this one — Spanish agency Leo Burnett Madrid gives us the touching story of a night watchman in a mannequin factory who forms a connection with the day-time staff by arranging the mannequins in charming displays. When his colleagues win the lottery jackpot without him, something truly touching takes place. The Pixar-style tale was an ad for Anuncio Loteria de Navidad, the annual Christmas lottery in Spain.

Product Design

Jacquard Wearable Fabric

In a big step for the internet of things, the Google-owned Advanced Technology and Product Group (ATAP) developed a fabric that could reasonably be described as nothing short of magical. Comprised of a special, conductive yarn, Jacquard fabric has the ability to turn everyday items of clothing into touchscreen surfaces.

Media and Print & Publishing


This campaign from Burger King ended up bringing home the top prize in two categories after the original print ad launched an ongoing conversation in the media. Styled as an open letter to fast food rival McDonald’s, Burger King invited the golden arches to “end the beef … with beef” at at proposed pop-up restaurant in Atlanta. Even though McDonald’s turned its fellow burger chain down, the Cannes judges thought that the campaign by Y&R New Zealand delivered. View Full Article >>

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