Apple caps off ‘amazing’ year with more advertising honors

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Apple advertising
Spike Jonze created Apple's most celebrated ad of 2018.
Photo: Apple

Apple marketing set an even higher bar in the advertising industry this year and is closing out 2018 with three commercials in Adweek’s Top 25 Best Ads of the Year.

Adweek listed “Welcome Home,” Apple’s HomePod ad directed by Spike Jonze, as second-best. Nike’s “Believe in Something. Even If it Means Sacrificing Everything” was the top ad, featuring polarizing quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

The “Welcome Home” ad won nearly every industry honor this year, including the Grand Prix in the Cannes Entertainment Awards in June.

Apple’s recent holiday commercial, the animated “Share Your Gifts” was No. 9. The commercial “Unlock,” which shows a young woman unlocking her iPhone X with a glance, was No. 19.

Adweek said 2018 was such an impressive year for advertising, it expanded its usual Top 10 list to 25 and will also reveal lists in the coming days for favorite stunts and innovations.

Apple is present on the list more than any other company. Nike and KFC each had two.

Below are Adweek’s remarks about each Apple honoree:

19. “Unlock.” Agency: Furlined

Unquestionably, 2018 was an amazing year for Apple’s creative marketing, as you’ll see more than once again in this list. One exceptionally crafted piece that’s often overlooked, though, is one made by production house Furlined to launch the iPhone X. With a breathless pace and effortless style, “Unlock” is a feast of visual popcorn as a young woman learns that her glance can unlock the new iPhone—and maybe everything else?

9. “Share Your Gifts.” Agency: TBWA/Media Arts Lab

Apple’s holiday ads in recent years have all been quite delightful, but this year’s outing was a piece of such intense craft and rich storytelling, it immediately earned a special place in the pantheon of great Apple ads from across the brand’s history. The musically enchanting animation tells the story of a young, creative woman who spends a year on something that she’s just a bit too nervous to unveil to the world—until her closest companion gives her a nudge. With a relatable moral, exquisitely crafted visuals that mix physical miniatures with computer animation, and more Easter eggs than probably any other ad in 2018, it’s a spot you’ll want to watch over and over.

2. “Welcome Home.” Agency: TBWA/Media Arts Lab

One (probably valid) criticism of the most artistic and ambitious pieces in advertising history is that they often lack any real connection to the product and feel more like art for art’s sake. Not so with “Welcome Home,” the absolutely, arrestingly incredible spot created by TBWA\Media Arts Lab and director Spike Jonze for the Apple HomePod. The voice device kicks off a magical scenario that sees FKA twigs creating an expansive new reality within the confines of her cramped New York apartment—a metaphor anyone can appreciate for how sound quality can have a liberating effect on the soul. It’s one of the best ads of the year. It’s one of the best ads of all time.