It certainly doesn’t seem like a year ago that we named Snickers’ and BBDO New York’s Brady Bunch work as our favourite ad campaign that leveraged an entertainment brand in 2015. The 12 months since then has presented us with some amazingly creative ways of tapping movies, TV shows, toys, animation and gaming in advertising from all corners of the world.

Here is our Top 16 of 2016.

16. “Doctors of America”

Market: USA
Creative Agency: McCann Erickson NY
Client: Cigna
Product: Health Insurance
Property: M*A*S*H, Grey’s Anatomy, ER, House, Scrubs
Month: September

What’s better than an iconic TV doctor? 5 of them! We weren’t the only fans of this campaign, it’s clocked over 1 million views on YouTube. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise considering they’ve tapped characters from 5 award winning TV series.

15. “Extra for Everyone”

Market: UK
Creative Agency: adam&eveDDB
Client: Halifax
Product: Financial Services
Property: The Flintstones
Month: June

Halifax launched a campaign with Top Cat early this year, and they continued with use of classic animation with this spot with The Flintstones. It was supported by strong in-store branding as well as outdoor and print advertising. A great example of how animated characters can used.

14. “Do Something Out of the Box”

Market: Australia
Creative Agency: Disciple
Client: Subaru
Product: Subaru Levorg
Property: G.I. Joe
Month: July

What better way to demonstrate doing something ‘out of the box’ than with the most iconic action figure of all time, G.I Joe? We’re a little biased as we worked with Disciple on this campaign to license G.I. Joe from Hasbro. We love the creative approach to this!

13. “Fawlty Car”

Market: UK
Client: Specsavers
Product: Retail
Property: Fawlty Towers
Month: January

This was the first campaign we spotted of 2016 and was a great demonstration of how a classic TV series can be revived in advertising. Tapping the iconic 1970’s comedy Fawlty Towers, we see John Cleese reprise his role as the cranky Basil Fawlty.

12. “I’m Back”

Market: USA
Creative Agency: Juice Group
Client: Jenny Craig
Product: Weightloss
Property: Cheers
Month: January

Jumping forward to the early 80’s, the first episode of Cheers aired and the series went on to run for 11 seasons. Here we see Kirstie Alley reprise her role as Rebecca, with fellow cast mates John Ratzenberger (Cliff) and George Wendt (Norm).

11. ” Meerkat Super Heroes In Action”

Market: UK
Creative Agency: VCCP
Client: CompareTheMarket.com
Product: Price Comparison
Property: Batman Vs Superman
Month: March

Sergei and Aleksandr somehow managed to find tiny meerkat-sized Batman and Superman outfits for this clever spot which celebrated the latest DC Comics superhero film release. As part of this customers could also receive a cuddly meerkat toy dressed as Batman or Superman.

10. “Kung Fu Panda Discovers the Power of Wix”

Market: USA
Client: Wix
Product: Web Solutions
Property: Kung Fu Panda
Month: February

Wix was one of the many advertisers that paid big $$ to be a part of Superbowl this year with their Kung Fu Panda campaign. Here we see character Po imitate other famous Superbowl commercials from the past.

9. “The Future of Technology Begins”

Market: USA
Creative Agency: BBDO NY
Client: Hewlett Packard
Product: Technology
Property: Star Trek
Month: June

To celebrate the launch of Star Trek beyond, HP positioned themselves as the future of technology and introduced us to ‘The Machine’. What is ‘The Machine’ you ask? We aren’t quite sure . . .

8. “Sky Fibre”

Market: UK
Client: Sky
Product: Subscription TV
Property: X-Men Apocalypse
Month: April

Sky love celebrating big movie releases and this year was no different. Out of all of them we favoured this one with X-Men Apocalypse because of the smart way it incorporates their product into the X-Men world.

7. “The Chase”

Market: US
Creative Agency: Anomaly
Client: Audi
Product: Automobile
Property: Captain America 3: Black Panther
Month: April

Marvel characters are scattered all over this list and were very popular choices for advertising tie-ins in 2016. We suspect this one was part of a much broader deal with Marvel as there was a fair bit of Audi production placement in the film too.

6. “Never Ending “

Market: USA
Creative Agency: W+K New York
Client: Spotify
Product: Music Streaming Service
Property: The NeverEnding Story
Month: March

New films aren’t always the best option for campaigns. This one is a favourite of ours, which takes us back to a classic 80’s masterpiece. We see Atreyu and Falkor soaring through the skies once again, a real nod to nostalgia.

5. “Timer”

Market: USA
Creative Agency: TBWA/MAL
Client: Apple
Product: iPhone
Property: Sesame Street
Month: March

This one is an absolute no-brainer. The cookie monster baking cookies? GENIUS! We weren’t the only ones who loved this, it’s racked up over 12 million views on YouTube!

4. “Coming for You”

Market: USA
Creative Agency: Wieden+Kennedy Portland
Client: Verizon
Product: Phone Network
Property: Yo Gabba Gabba
Month: July

We are super fans of any adult-targeted campaign that taps preschool characters. Parents saw this ad, related to it and laughed at it – while it got their kids attention too! A win for all.

3. “Hulk vs. Ant-Man”

Market: USA
Creative Agency: Wieden+Kennedy Portland
Client: Coca-Cola
Product: Beverage
Property: The Hulk, Ant Man
Month: February

The Hulk is really big. Ant Man is really small. There is one mini Coke to fight over. This was a big way to highlight the smallness of the Coke, which premiered during the Superbowl.

2. “Marilyn”

Market: USA
Creative Agency: BBDO New York
Client: Mars
Product: Snickers Confectionery
Property: The Seven Year Itch
Month: February

Another big Superbowl campaign here. Last year we awarded top honours for the Snickers Brady Bunch campaign. Here it gets really close to the top spot again. Marilyn Monroe’s scene in The Seven Year Itch where she stood above the New York subway grate is one of the most iconic moments in Hollywood history. Willem Dafoe is a good sport, playing the role as a hungry Marilyn.

1. “Everyday Hero”

Market: Australia
Creative Agency: Ogilvy & Mather London
Client: Philips
Product: Electronics
Property: Spiderman
Month: October

This one had us glued from the beginning. This has a little bit of everything – action, humour and a big emotional hit at the end. It’s a really unique approach to using a superhero in advertising.

Wishing everyone a fabulous 2017!