Hot in 2018: Top 15 film ads

Throughout December, we are revealing the best of our industry in 2018.

15 Pride in London 'Pride matters'

Some 46 years since London’s first Pride march, this ad highlights how far there is still to go before the LGBT+ community can feel equal. Protagonists are subjected to abuse and rejection while singing Over the Rainbow, though the final line, "Dreams really do come true", hints at a brighter future.

Agency BMB Creative Harry Boothman Director Billy Boyd Cape Production company Academy Films

14 'Epic Action Man'

It wasn’t quite Mother’s Moneysupermarket swansong – a Thelma & Louise parody featuring Sindy dolls was to follow – but this joyfully camp spot, featuring Hasbro’s retro toy soldier dancing in the desert to celebrate the savings he had made, provided a fitting reminder of why the brand’s "Epic" campaign will be sorely missed.

Agency Mother London Creative n/s Director Tom Kuntz Production company MJZ

13 Ovo Energy 'It’s time to power your life differently'

From the first strains of Slayer’s thrash-metal anthem Raining Blood, through the crescendo of the "Get mad" speech from the 1976 film Network, viewers were left in no doubt about Ovo’s view on climate change. The film marked a statement of intent – both for the brand and its creative agency.

Agency Uncommon Creative Studio Creative n/s Director Andreas Nilsson Production company Biscuit Filmworks UK

12 Greenpeace 'Rang-tan'

Greenpeace struck an emotional chord with its latest attempt to stop corporations using palm oil. The animated ad tells the harrowing story of an orangutan called Rang-tan and the destruction of its rainforest habitat. It gained greater notoriety after being co-opted by Iceland for use as the retailer’s Christmas campaign, and its subsequent "ban" from broadcast by Clearcast.

Agency Mother London Creative n/s Director Salon Alpin Production company Passion Animation Studios

11 BBC 'Wonderland'

The BBC also delivered a Christmas ad that tugs at the heartstrings. In this story, the world freezes and allows a mother to spend a memorable day with her son during the hectic festive season, capturing the feeling of time slowing down when you are with someone you love.

Agency BBC Creative Creatives Xander Hart, Edward Usher Director Sam Brown Production company Rogue Films

10 Cadbury 'Mum’s birthday'

Cadbury’s simple story about human connection was its first campaign since VCCP won the business. The shopkeeper steals the show with his subtle facial expressions as a young girl attempts to buy a chocolate bar for her mum, using trinkets such as a button to pay.

Agency VCCP Creatives Chris Birch, Jonny Parker Director Frédéric Planchon Production company Academy Films

9 John Lewis & Partners 'The boy and the piano'

As Elton John prepared to embark on his farewell tour, John Lewis paid him a fitting tribute in the retailer’s much-anticipated Christmas ad. Set to his hit track Your Song, the story follows the music legend’s life in reverse, finally arriving at the gift of a piano that started it all.

Agency Adam & Eve/DDB Creatives Ant Nelson, Mike Sutherland Director Seb Edwards Production company Academy Films

8 Sainsbury’s 'The big night'

The boy dressed as a plug, who hurls himself into a wall, stole the show this Christmas. Despite going up against John Lewis and Waitrose, which had also staged a school play for their joint ad earlier in the year, Sainsbury’s production of kids belting out New Radicals’ You Get What You Give was a true delight.

Agency Wieden & Kennedy London Creatives Freddy Taylor, Philippa Beaumont, Andrew Bevan Director Michael Gracey Production company Partizan

7 Department for Education 'Every lesson shapes a life'

This heartwarming film follows a girl’s journey through the school system, with a support cast of real teachers. Never succumbing to mawkishness, the ad emphasises the important work that goes into building a young person’s skills and self-confidence over the course of their education.

Agency Havas London Creatives Lynsey Atkin, Wil Maxey, Elliott White Director 32 Production company Pulse Films

6 Audi 'Escape'

How do you follow up an all-conquering ad like "Clowns"? Do something completely different, apparently. Audi’s martial-arts, blockbuster-style clip, in which a gang member flees the clutches of an evil henchman, only to find himself being serenaded by the Commodores’ Easy while hiding in an Audi R8, was a slice of comedy gold.

Agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty London Creatives Marc Rayson, Callum Prior Director Matthijs van Heijningen Production company MJZ

5 John Lewis & Partners/Waitrose & Partners 'Bohemian Rhapsody'

Here we have that rare beast: a big-ticket John Lewis ad outside the festive season. In lesser hands, it might have proved a laboured metaphor for the virtues of partnership-based retail employment models but it had enough wit and warmth to win over even the most curmudgeonly viewer.

Agency Adam & Eve/DDB Creatives Tim Vance, Paul Knott Director Dougal Wilson Production company Blink

4 Three 'Phones are good'

What if Henry VIII had swiped left on Tinder? And RMS Titanic’s captain had checked his satnav? As we debate the impact of technology on our mental health, Three deployed its irreverent tone of voice to brilliant effect in this hilarious film pondering how history may have been improved with smartphones.

Agency Wieden & Kennedy London Creatives Tom Bender, Tom Corcoran Director Ian Pons Jewell Production company Friend London

3 Ancestry 'Together forever'

If Brexit turns out to be catastrophic, at least we’ll have this film by Ancestry to console us. As German butchers and Swedish fishermen remind us that the average Briton’s DNA is 60% European, Rick Astley’s 1980s hit Together Forever has never sounded so good.

Agency Droga5 London Creatives Charlene Chandrasekaran, Dan Morris Director Noam Murro Production company Biscuit Filmworks UK

2 Amazon Prime Video 'Great shows stay with you'

What if the programmes we’re binge-watching are changing our personalities? Amazon ponders this with a series of funny films exploring how people develop new traits over the course of a show’s season on Prime Video. The shows in question include Vikings and Outlander.

Agency Droga5 London Creatives Dave Wigglesworth, Frazer Price, Ed Redgrave, Teddy Souter Director Steve Rogers Production company Somesuch

1 Nike 'Nothing beats a Londoner'

Nike’s love letter to the capital proved an instant classic. Cameos by sports and music stars, including Skepta, Mo Farah, Harry Kane and Dina Asher-Smith, may have stolen the headlines, but it was the campaign’s pitch-perfect, laugh-out-loud observations of everyday London life that won our hearts.

Agency Wieden & Kennedy London Creatives Tom Bender, Tom Corcoran Director Megaforce Production company Riff Raff

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