At the start of each year, Blueprint Film announces our picks for the best video adverts of the last year. (Our list for 2020 included entries from John Lewis, Nike and Women’s Aid.) 2021 saw changes in COVID-19 restrictions, the return of major in-person events, and more businesses than ever getting involved in video marketing. Our favourite adverts of 2021 range from the simple to the bold and the hard hitting.
In no particular order, here are our picks for the 5 best video adverts of 2021.
guinness – welcome back (#Lookslikeguinness)
As with the previous year, many adverts in 2021 tried to respond to lockdowns and changes in restrictions. Some were more successful than others. This advert for Guinness is a great example of one that works. While the acoustic cover of ‘Always On My Mind’ is a nice touch, it’s the visuals that truly make this advert. Most of the video is made up of a series of shots of quiet scenes with objects resembling a pint of Guinness. Finally, we see the real thing being enjoyed by a group of friends in a pub. It’s the perfect toast to the reopening of pubs and bars.
Humane society – Save ralph
We’ll warn you now: this advert (or ‘brand short film’) for Humane Society International is the most hard-hitting entry on this list. At points, it is hard to watch. And that is what makes it so effective.
The stop-motion animation style featured here is usually reserved for light-hearted and fun adverts and films. This creates an excellent juxtaposition with the advert’s brutal storyline. It tells the story of Ralph, a rabbit being interviewed about his life as a “tester” in a lab. To make him even more sympathetic, voicing Ralph is Oscar winner Taika Waititi – known for his playful and charming characters. It pulls no punches in showing the trauma and injuries that animals like ‘Ralph’ go through, leaving a lasting impression on viewers.
The postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games inspired some fantastic advertisement campaigns. (See our closing list of honourable mentions for another example.) We believe the best advert came from Channel 4 and their coverage of the Paralympics. ‘SuperHumans‘ shows the blood, sweat and tears that Paralympic athletes put into training for the Games – including a brutal injury montage. What makes it so watchable is the cheeky and defiant tone, helped by the excellent song choice. It leaves you with an undeniable feeling of triumph, reminding us what makes the Paralympics so engaging.
HEINZ – DRAW KETCHUP
Not many brands could create an advert like this. All companies aspire to dominate the market for their product or service. But how many can prove they have accomplished this?
The ‘Draw Ketchup‘ campaign from Heinz boldly relies on the global recognition of their brand. It starts with a simple enough premise: asking random people from different countries to draw ketchup. Amazingly, (aside from one participant who draws mustard instead) they all draw a Heinz Ketchup bottle, complete with the label. A powerful (and fun) demonstration of brand dominance.
APPLE iphone 12 – fumble
What makes this advert great is its simplicity. Apple’s ‘Fumble’ ad for the iPhone 12 shows a woman dramatically fumbling with her phone to a unique musical accompaniment. Then she watches in slow motion with horror as her iPhone 12 crashes to the ground. Upon impact, two words appear on the screen: “Ceramic Shield”. She picks it up, sees no signs of damage, and continues seamlessly with her day.
‘Fumble’ features no dialogue and lasts under 40 seconds. In this time, it manages to respond to a relatable customer problem (accidentally dropping and breaking your smartphone) with confident reassurance (“Relax, it’s iPhone”). Simple yet effective.
Alexa’s Body – with over 78 million views, Amazon’s 2021 SuperBowl advert features our favourite use of a celebrity this year. A woman imagines Alexa in the form of Michael B Jordan, to highly entertaining results.
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.