World Creative Rankings 2023
The best campaigns, agencies, brands and people of 2022
Welcome to The Drum's World Creative Rankings 2023, the definitive guide to the advertising industry's most-awarded agencies, brands, campaigns and people of the past year. These rankings come from carefully sorting through 2,438 campaigns from 1,698 clients who worked with 1,233 agencies.
Scroll down to discover some of the best agencies and advertisements from Europe, the Middle East, and Africa region (ie. EMEA), the United States, as well as the Asia-Pacific (ie. APAC). Each campaign has a story behind it, and we break down what each agency did to make those narratives win our hearts and minds.
Still to come are the top networks and holding companies, the leading advertisers, as well as the most acclaimed chief creative officers, executive creative directors, creative directors, art directors and copywriters – you can see our future rankings here when they are released.
The Best of Europe, the Middle East, Africa:
Brand: Penny Germany
Agency: Serviceplan Munich
German agency Serviceplan Munich was the industry’s favorite creative shop last year, according to an exacting study carried out by The Drum’s research team.
The agency's emotionally-charged film 'The Wish' spotlighted the ways in which the pandemic robbed young people of foundational life experiences, showing a teenager asking his mother “What do you really want for Christmas?” to which she responds “I wish you wouldn’t hang out at home all the time.”
The award represents the first Film Craft Lions Grand Prix win for Germany at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
The Elections Edition
Agency: Impact BBDO Dubai
When the Lebanese government was looking to postpone elections in 2021, one of the excuses offered was a shortage of materials to print ballots. The newspaper An-Nahar decided to help uphold democracy by not publishing for the day (the first time in its 88-year history) and instead sent all the ink and paper from its unprinted edition to the government’s printing associates.
'The Bread Exam'
Brand: Spinneys and the Lebanese Breast Cancer Foundation
Agency: McCann Paris
Tradition prevented Lebanese women from talking openly about their bodies, which meant that showing them how to perform a self-exam without mentioning or showing breasts was problematic. The answer was ‘The Bread Exam’, a recipe video where a traditional Lebanese baker demonstrates the steps of a breast self-exam through a similar gesture: the act of kneading and pressing dough.
Agency: Havas Middle East
With 32% of women around the world saying they felt uncomfortable swimming in public, and that percentage rising to 88% in the Middle East, Adidas invited women in Dubai to become ambassadors for its new inclusive swimwear collection, erecting a five-meter high liquid billboard and encouraging women to embrace the waters and benefit from the mental and physical benefits that come with it.
The Best of the United States:
'The Lost Class'
Brand: Change the Ref
Agency: Leo Burnett Chicago
3,044 high school students who would have graduated in 2021 didn’t because they were killed by a gun, so gun reform non-profit Change The Ref, along with Leo Burnett Chicago, decided to hold a graduation ceremony for them. Two well-known gun advocates were invited to give the commencement speech and were filmed addressing 3,044 empty seats during what they thought was a dress rehearsal, turning them into very unlikely anti-gun spokespeople.
Agency: Area 23
For kids with cystic fibrosis, airway-clearance therapy is the worst part of their day as they don a giant vest that pounds their chest to loosen mucus. Armed with the knowledge that certain sound frequencies (40 Hz) are clinically proven to break up mucus, however, Woojer created the world’s first music-powered airway-clearance vest for cystic fibrosis.
Area 23’s CCO, Tim Hawkey, tells us how ‘holy shit’ projects like this one made the agency’s name with clients and propelled it to the top.
Better With Pepsi
Agency: Alma DDB Miami USA
Pepsi commissioned a blind taste test to find out how hamburgers from different US fast-food chains paired with different sodas. The results showed a preference for Pepsi over Coke and informed a campaign where strategically crumbled burger wrappers from Wendy’s, McDonald’s and Burger King – chains that notably don’t serve Pepsi – actually contained a Pepsi logo within their creases.
A Song For Every CMO
Agency: FCB New York
‘A Song for Every CMO’ blurred the lines between direct marketing and pure entertainment by reaching major brands’ CMOs directly and personally on Spotify. To showcase the creative potential of Spotify Advertising, FCB created original songs dedicated to individual leaders at top Spotify target advertisers, including Kimberly-Clark, Indeed, CVS and Frito-Lay.
The Best of the Asia-Pacific:
The Unfiltered History Tour
Brand: Vice News/HBO
Agency: Dentsu Webchutney India
To help place Vice at the forefront of conversations around under-reported issues such as colonialism, Dentsu Webchutney created a guerrilla tour of the British Museum using Instagram filters that, instead of just adding dog ears to a selfie, allowed visitors to strip back centuries of colonial narrative and scan 10 disputed artifacts of the museum and see them teleported back in time to their home countries.
Shah Rukh Khan My Ad
Brand: Cadbury Celebrations
Agency: Ogilvy Mumbai
Ogilvy India and Cadbury Celebrations teamed up once more to lend a helping hand to small businesses in India, this time resorting to the power of tech, dynamic creative optimization and AI to create hyper-local personalized advertisements that doubled as ads for Cadbury and for thousands of local businesses, all featuring Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan and urging people to remember their local retailers when making festive purchases for Diwali.
Brand: Matilda Bay
Agency: Howatson Company
In partnership with Howatson+Company, Australian craft brewery Matilda Bay launched ‘Rejected Ales’, a limited-edition collection of the 27 near-perfect brews that didn’t quite make the cut when crafting its award-winning Original Ale. Rather than keeping these beers a secret, the brewery canned them and made them available to the public. With names like ‘Yeah…nah’, ‘Keep dreaming’ and ‘Ballpark’, each of the 27 cans tells a story of rejection.
One House To Save Many
Brand: Suncorp Banking
Agency: Leo Burnett Sydney
Created by Leo Burnett Sydney in collaboration with The Glue Society, ‘One House to Save Many’ aimed to build a more resilient Australia. Working with leading housing resilience experts James Cook University, the CSIRO and Room 11 Architects, Leo Burnett designed, tested and prototyped the One House – a home that is truly capable of withstanding fire, flood and cyclone.
Agency: DDB New Zealand
To finally settle the iPhone versus Android debate, Samsung teamed up with DDB to launch the 'iTest' campaign. Over 5 million iPhone users downloaded the iTest app, which emulates an Android phone, allowing the user to navigate their Apple device as if it were an Android.