Header image featuring still from Nike 'You Can't Stop Us' ad and text reading 'The Five Best Ads of 2020'


More than ever, last year illustrated the importance of video marketing. According to research by Wyzowl, 91 percent of marketers believe video is more important for brands in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. So how did marketers get creative in 2020? As with previous years, we decided to round up some of the best ads of 2020 (that aren’t our own!) and examine what it is that makes each of them so powerful. From pre-pandemic times to the festive season, here are our five favourite ads of 2020.

Our first pick for best ads of 2020 represents a brave and unexpected move for the food industry. We all expect fast-food brands to inflate their products’ image. But back in February, Burger King chose to centre a video ad on one of their Whoppers slowly decaying and growing mouldy. Although this risks an unpleasant association, it ends with the statement, ‘the beauty of no artificial preservatives.’ A clear response to growing concerns around what goes into our food. Concerns of artificial ingredients have long plagued the brand’s biggest competitor, McDonald’s. The simple but bold premise combined with this context made the ad a success. It proved very shareable, generating press attention and sparking conversations across social media.

This impactful ad by Women’s Aid, a UK charity which aims to end domestic abuse, is the first one on our list that was made within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent national lockdown. What struck us was its ability to take the current situation to powerfully highlight the impact of lockdown on victims of domestic abuse. An eerie atmosphere is created through using various shots of an unusually silent Central London. These scenes are made all the more unsettling with the reminder, ‘Domestic abusers are no longer walking the streets. They’re at home with their families.’ What an effective way to raise awareness about a distressing issue.

When the Blueprint team sat down to discuss our favourite ads of 2020, this ad from Nike was a unanimous choice. It features star athletes such as Serena Williams, Lebron James, Naomi Osaka, Cristiano Ronaldo and Megan Rapinoe. But the real star of the show is the editing work. As well as being ridiculously satisfying to watch, the seamless splicing together of different sporting shots resonates with the ad’s theme of unity and diversity. Another key theme here is strength and persistence in the face of different challenges. Once again, Nike does not shy away from politics. Released in July, it responds to the pandemic and the George Floyd protests with respect and humanity. We challenge you to fault it. 

This is one of the smartest political ads we’ve ever seen. Released in the run-up to the November presidential election, with this ad, the Biden for President campaign made the clever choice to let Donald Trump speak for himself. At the start, we hear the voice of the (now former) president making claims about climate change through an animated mouth. As it progresses, his voice becomes more and more muffled, until it is silenced by a pen filling in the mouth, which is actually a circle on a ballot paper. The power lies in its simplicity of style and message, making it all the more shareable. On Twitter alone, the video received 85.5k likes and 18.3k retweets. This is how you make a statement.

We end our list with a festive ad – from a festive season unlike any other. John Lewis’ Christmas adverts are always highly anticipated, and their latest one has once again raised the bar. ‘Give a Little Love’ depicts various acts of kindness through a mix of live-action and animated segments. Unlike other festive ads, John Lewis decided not to directly touch upon the year’s circumstances – but its message still resonated. Our creative industries were hit hard by the pandemic. Thus, the decision to hire 8 different artists for the animation work felt like a particularly meaningful move. Rather than clashing, the different animation styles – from claymation to puppetry – end up working well together. We can’t wait to see whether they’ll be able to top this next Christmas.

What do you think of our list? Do you think there were any amazing adverts from last year that we forgot to mention? Let us know by either leaving a comment down below or interacting with us on social media. 

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Gemma Laws

Gemma joined the Blueprint Film team in 2021 as our marketing coordinator. She takes care of our social media, email marketing and advertising campaigns. Her strengths lie in following trends, conducting research and writing compelling copy.

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