2006 Adland Roundup: A look back at the advertising year that was

2006 was the year of consumer generated content, increased viral action, and every brand under the sun (from Pepsi to Rexona and Adidas to Carlsberg) jumping on the World Cup advertising bandwagon. Then there was the Nike Rooney ad that caused an uproar. Oh yeah, and we had a bunch of Winter Olympic Olympic Torino related ads as well, including Adidas' brand boo-boo.

And if 2005 was the year of WOM, 2006 was the year of consumer-generated content. Early on we learned from Chevy that you don't always get what you want when anti-SUV ads made it to Chevy's website. And then later in the year we saw how a Virgin Money consumer generated ad backfired. Alka Setlzer, Quiznos, and Southwest Airlines were just a few of the brands we watched jump into the fray. Chevy asked students to create a Super Bowl ad for them, which then turned into an Ad Trend Alert as other brands used the same idea. We'll have to wait unti February 2007 to see how that pans out.

One other trend was the making of epic shorts for brands which they all hoped would go viral. In some cases they did and others sort of fizzled out. Saatchi & Saatchi Canada made a film short for Toyota that aired only once during the Academy Awards. Then Peroni Beer payed homage to "La Dolce Vita" while Pirelli and Leo Burnett created "The Call" starring John Malkovich and Naomi Campbell. It wasn't the only such film to use celebrity. Dove and Ogilvy got Penny Marshall to cast Felicity Huffman into shows of yore to shill their Calming Night line. And of course we had the Adicolor films from a variety of well known directors, production houses and post shops.

One campaign that went viral due to bannage was Australia's tourism campaign that asked "Where The Bloody Hell Are You?" It was then restricted for the use of "bloody" in UK, then bloody became bloody OK for OZ, while we found out in Canada you can't show a half-full beer. Amnesty International's bus shelter posters also went viral, and became one of the most viewed ads on Adland this year.

Seems one (we hope short-lived) trend among young creatives is to try to follow in Lee and Dan's footsteps by creating outrageous spec ads. We first had those correction fluid ads that never were and never to be seen again. Then more recently, Lego's agency, Saatchi Shanghai fired a team for their outrageous lego spec that made its way onto the web. Hopefully we won't see to many more like that in 2007.

Creatively, we saw quite a trend in the "spot the ___" creative pieces pick up during the year. Last year we saw a few, but there seemed to be even more this year. First there was Virgin Music's "spot the song title" commercial, then Absolut wanted you to find the bottles. Love Films spot the movie title was rather close to last year's "Live Film" initiative for Stella Artois by Lowe London. M&M was the last to jump on the bandwagon with its "spot the horror movie" piece for Halloween.

Agencies saw some changes in pitching fees. And in-game advertising, along with a few agencies, got into the digital realm with Second Life.

The year began its agency controversies with Interpublic suing Frank Lowe after he left Lowe Worldwide to start Red Brick Road and took the Tesco account with him. The Neil French/ihavenanidea ruckus of 2005 as French apologized, kinda, then started his own award show. There was more agency fuss when Agency.com's video for the Subway pitch got mocked and then after all the hubbub, they walked away from the Subway pitch. More recently, Draft published a controversal lion ad and wouldn't won't say who screwed it up. Very shortly there after, Draft FCB was no longer on top as Wal-Mart walked, after Wal-Mart dismissed its advertising/communications chief Julie Roehm and a subordinate Sean Womack.

The architect of advertising's "Big Bang", Allen Rosenshine, Chairman of BBDO Worldwide announced he will retire at the end of this year. In May of 2005 Fred and Farid left Goodby to start Marcel. Then this October, they left Marcel to start FFL. What's next? We'll have to wait until 2007 to find out.

Sony seemed to have a penchant for creating blather about their advertising this year, keeping the steam going from their end of '05 graffiti around US cities for the PSP handheld. They started 2006 off with the graffiti characters showing up as handstamps at bars and clubs in LA. Then there were the PSP Posters in London. And finally, there was the recent "viral" mishap with Sony's faux blog. We'd have thought after the Coke Zero backlash in Australia and faux Popsecret fansite, they'd have been forewarned. I guess they don't read Adland. ;)

2006 also saw a strange string of war ads. First we saw Bank Audi bring 'sunshine' to Lebanon with advertising. Then Johnny Walker ads jumped into the fray aiming to improve morale in Lebanon. Then Lebanon's EFXFilms and Los Angelese based 900 Frames teamed to create an anti-suicide bombing spot that looked more like an action movie than a PSA.

We saw quality spoof ads this year, as 118 118 the number spoofed Honda's Choir spot. Then Tango ran with Bravia's Ball concept, which was stronger than the original. This year also had quite a bit of thievery as well. Saatchi stole from themselves. Apple ripped off The Postal Service's video to start the year off. Then, BMB ripped off Groovecutter's video for the French Connection. And the music video rippage continuted! Vasakronan copied Fat Boy Slim and Coke stole from Joel Veitch. Then there was the Cannes Titanium barcode badlander while McDonald's seemed to take their idea for Super Mario themed spot right from a sketch by Gordon College students.

Additionally, we saw some very strange ads that made us wonder what the hell adgrunts have been smoking. One ad that made us seriously scratch our heads was for toothpaste. Then near the end of the year Microsoft's Zune Eyes ad had us wondering if they got worried about the "soft" in their name. There were singing rays of sunshine, babies in bins, the infamously annoying HeadOn spot, the way overhyped Bravia Paint spot and the Oozinator.

Media in adland continued to look at new avenues. From kites with ads to roadside sheep, the media buyer's arsenal continued to grow. Stamps, blimps, asses, eggs, sickbags, thumbs and even prostitute's cleavage and thighs were not even safe from the new adcreep the adworld explored.

Viral ads got interesting this year as more and more brands embraced this newish media. Unfortuantely everyone started thinking that if they created a viral ad, it would indeed go viral, which isn't always the case. Virgin Music's Hold Nothing Back was highly popular and one of the first "spot the ___" creative concepts we saw this year. Addictive TV created a very funky remix for Take The Lead, probably one of the more interesting virals for a film this year. We saw some good bouncy breasts, old women attempting to climb mountains, samurai kittens, Philips and Gillette battle out the razor war in viral land, the Hoff make fun of himself, preppy Cape Codders rapping, Everyman asked us to notice our nuts, and snakes on your motherfucking phone. During the year there was discussion about virals flying under the radar and the involvement of the FTC in regulating the transparency of such ads. In the end, the FTC decided to handle each viral ad on a case by case basis.

And of course there were the award shows: BTAA Winners, Winners of Guldägget last night: Alternative Media, Asia Pacific Adfest, 2006 Good, Bad and Ugly Awards, 85th ADC Award winners, 2006 Andy Awards, Obies, Bessies, FIAP Awards 2006, One Show, D&AD 2006, The Neil French Awards, 2006 Radio Mercury Awards, Kelly Award Winners 2006, Cannes Direct, Cannes 2006 Grand Prix Winners (so far), More Grand Prix Winners From Cannes 2006, New Zealand AXIS Awards Creative Advertising, 2006 Midsummer Awards, And the Emmy for Best Commercial goes to..., APA 50 for 2006, and December Award Shows - Eurobest and Epica 2006 to name a few.

Stay tuned as more 2006 Adland Roundup goodness is coming your way during the next couple of days!

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