It's that time of the year again, when we all pause and reflect on the year about to end. What have we achieved in 2014? What are the highlights of culture, business, technology and trends that we have observed around us?
In my case, I take a look back at the year in advertising and marketing, and think about the most memorable commercials in 2014. I look at the ads that made an emotional connection, that made us laugh, smile or simply entertained us for 30 seconds or more. While some are funny and others more serious, each commercial achieved what it set out to accomplish: They took viewers on an emotional and entertaining journey.
This year, viewers were treated to memorable spots with all forms of wit and creativity, featuring everything from the Super Bowl, to the Olympics, to Mother's Day. Now, let's take a look at these five memorable ads from 2014.
Procter & Gamble: "Pick Them Back Up"
Procter & Gamble's "Thank you, Mom" campaign, broadcast during the Winter Olympics this year, successfully leveraged some strong emotions to thank the person behind each athlete's success. The "Pick Them Back Up" commercial shows Mom as our greatest supporter with the perfect blend of music and touching moments.
As Jodi Allen, Procter & Gamble's vice president of North American marketing and brand operations, says: "Mom's contributions to their kids' lives are full of incredible sacrifices. We're so moved by these moms and the way they help their children overcome obstacles to achieve their dreams. We celebrate the person that helped get each athlete there and who picked them up each time they fell -- mom!"
Beats by Dre: "#SoloSelfie"
Beats by Dre harnessed the power of the selfie to create a memorable commercial, featuring more than 20 celebrities wearing the world's best-selling headphones. Just in time for Black Friday shopping, Beats captured Kendall and Kylie Jenner, rappers Funkmaster Flex, Big Sean, Jadakiss, Nicki Minaj, Fabolous and more taking selfies as the camera pans from ear to ear. In a few short days, the commercial garnered more than 1.5 million views online.
American Greetings: "World's Toughest Job"
American Greetings enlisted the help of Mullen Advertising to create an unforgettable Mother's Day campaign. After an employee suggested that being a mom is the world's toughest job, Mullen's creative director, Jon Ruby, ran with it, and a viral video was born.
The commercial shows a job interviewer explaining the inhumane conditions to work in the position in question, a "director of operations." The candidates look disgusted and then later smile when they find out that the position they have applied for is actually "mom."
Under Armour: "Misty Copeland - I Will What I Want"
For the most part, when we think of athletes, we think of baseball or football players. Ballerinas are certainly not top of mind. However, Under Armour's out-of-the-box thinking landed Misty Copeland, soloist for American Ballet Theatre, in a national ad.
In the spot, a young girl voices the words of a rejection letter as Copeland -- the second black soloist in the history of American Ballet Theatre -- cuts the air with her moves. Adweek called it this year's best campaign targeting women, and it's no wonder. This is a campaign that made us think and changed our perspective on sports.
In February, Microsoft aired their first-ever Super Bowl commercial. The company took a new approach to its marketing, using powerful, emotional stories to touch viewers.
The Super Bowl commercial is just a portion of a larger campaign that highlights how Microsoft's technology helps people lead better lives, whether it's at home or at work. The ad features former professional football player Steve Gleason -- who was diagnosed with ALS in 2011 -- as he uses a Surface tablet to interact with friends and family. It also includes the moving video of Sarah Churman, a mother who was born deaf, hearing herself for the first time thanks to a hearing implant. Churman is also featured in another "Empowering" ad.
2014 was a great year for advertising, and a great year for creativity. Over the years, we've seen how it's more than just selling a product -- it's about storytelling and connecting with others. It's a field that lends itself to innovation -- great minds coming together and finding new ways to tell a story. I can't wait to see the new stories that will be told in 2015.