There was no dearth of marketers pushing the envelope to create some brilliant ads in 2018. But not all brands — or rather ads — are created equal.
Several of the ads that stood out this year involved brands like Nike and McDonald’s taking a stand on a political or social issues. Beyond TV commercials, this year’s most memorable ads also took the form of outdoor and experiential stunts.
As 2018 comes to a close, we look back at some of the most creative, thought-provoking, and amusing ads by marketers, ranked from good to best. Check out the year’s worst ads here.
Doritos Blaze vs. Mountain Dew Ice “Battle” (Grade: B)
Pepsi came back strong from its disastrous protest ads in 2017 with this ad for Mountain Dew and Doritos that made its debut in the Super Bowl. Peter Dinklage and Busta Rhymes teamed up against Morgan Freeman and Missy Elliot in this epic showdown between Doritos Blaze and Mountain Dew Ice.
OKCupid’s “DTF” (Grade: B)
OKCupid and Wieden+Kennedy New York reclaimed the term “DTF” — a derogatory shorthand used to slut-shame women — for this outdoor campaign, getting people across the country to unabashedly say that they were “DTF.” Despite being rejected by Chicago Transit, the campaign won praise and helped grow the dating site’s user base by 25%.
McDonald’s “The Flip” (Grade: B)
McDonald’s flipped its Golden Arches from an M to a W at one of its locations to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8. The fast-food chain and its agency We Are Unlimited also rolled out special “W” packaging at 100 women-owned McDonald’s locations that day across the country, and changed the logo on its social channels. Some praised the move while others charged that McDonald’s was co-opting feminism without making real change, like paying its workers a living wage.