Ten of the best online ads of January: Volkswagon, Energiser, AA, WWF, Virgin Money, NAB, End7, Lurpack, Nike, Audi

First up from January is Volkswagen’s Super Bowl teaser campaign, The Dog Chorus. No wonder the Empire has gone to the dogs if this is all Darth Vader can muster to strike fear into the hearts of the rebels.

An amazing idea executed beautifully. Now don’t get me wrong, I can see in the Twittersphere that ‘Star Wars’ themed ads are hitting overload – but this a nice follow-up to VW’s excellent ‘Dark Side’ video last year.

Energiser

Moving from real animals to stuffed ones is this Energiser ad, Gift of Life, from the Philippines. A hauntingly beautiful ad that while paralleling Romeo and Juliet, but with toys, managed to be more heartfelt and lovely than many big budget romantic films. Pass the tissues because this is a bona-fide tear-jerker.

The AA

Third is a horror film, Who’s going to stop Jack Frost?, courtesy of the AA – surprisingly! In pushing the 3 and half minute barrier this is an ad that is crossing into advertorial territory, but the growing tension and jumpy moments kept us peering over the top of our keyboards in terror.

WWF

Next up is a clever ad from the WWF in South Africa, Hand Drawn. On face value it is a nicely art directed ad, pushing out well-trodden messages about climate change, but doesn’t set your heart alight – until the pay off. A very clever idea that genuinely made us go, “Oh yeah. That’s good.”

Virgin Money

40 Years of Better is next with a lovely retrospective of 40 years of Virgin innovation. It’s one of the only times we have seen Virgin bring together all of their different brand offerings into one advert. With Virgin Money’s entrance into the world of banking, it seems the brand has grown up, but this ad shows it still retains that little bit of quirkiness that made it famous.

NAB

This home loans ad, The Job Interview, from Australian bank, NAB, really plays on peoples’ fear of job interviews, pushing candidates to the limit. You can often be playing with fire when heading down the real-life route, but the interviewer is so calm as he nails pieces of wood to the door and the interviewees are so genuinely scared that the end result is an authentic video advertisement that really hammers home the message (pardon the pun)..

End7

Next up is an ad from End7, the campaign to end seven diseases by 2020. The compassion and sincerity of Our Mission in a Minute really worked its way into our hearts, with a simple, but striking message.

Lurpack

Lurpack Lightest butter is full of vegetables apparently. Does this mean that butter is now one of our five a day? Well, Be Wonderful and Wise takes an everyday product in a cluttered brand space and gives it a new twist. Similar messaging can be seen all across this brand category, but a great execution helps this to stand out, and might even get you thinking about what you’re planning to cook this evening.

Nike

Apparently there is a big sporting event this year?! This ad from Nike, How will you #makeitcount?, strikes one of the first Olympic efforts and starts the pulse racing for the Summer’s excitement. The monochrome is a clever touch and brings the script to life. As always, Nike stick to a tried and tested format of big name, sponsored sportsfolk shot going about their daily business – and as always, it delivers.

Audi Ahab

Finally we get to Audi’s Ahab, (possibly our favourite of the month). Audi has a long history of beautiful and inventive work and this pastiche of Moby Dick ticks all of those boxes, while also being funny. It manages to convey the Audi brand truths in a very clever way. Gotta love those eyes.

James Grant is country manager at online video platform VINDICO.