January 21, 2022

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VaynerMedia’s Becky McOwen-Banks: Ads of the Year 2021

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Ads of the Year.

Firstly, this one from Guinness would get my vote. It’s such a simple concept my art director soul soars – I like the ‘faces in things’ IG account – once you see it, you start seeing pints (or faces) everywhere.

Guinness wasn’t trying too hard, it had a little bit of fun – it opted for a light touch when some other brands were overly-worthy. It also chose the perfect time to resurrect a line with poignance for the moment the nation was feeling.

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I had to include an ad that just keeps on hitting the zeitgeist – Just Eat is simple, easy to execute and always on point. I know this one won’t win me any fans with the ‘TVC needs art’ side of adland but these ads just keep cutting through. From using text to speech style narration to the endless versions of the same set. Bravo.

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And one that flips usual advertising tropes with great effect for Refuge.

What a brilliant way to show how it is the innocuous things that can ruin lives, things most of us wouldn’t think of. The sinister additions to the voice-over are less affecting than the reality that abusers will use every tool they have – including technology – giving the audience a deeper understanding of the situation Refuge faces every day.

Such an important message for the charity’s 50th anniversary. It shows how the abuse suffered and the abusers move with the times too, by stepping away from images of violence or victims it allowed the message to be heard more widely.

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Becky McOwen-Banks is executive creative director of VaynerMedia. She joined the agency in 2020 after five years as creative director of FCB Inferno.

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