One hundred and eight years. That's a long time to wait for anything, so when then Chicago Cubs finally won the team's first World Series since 1908, it's no surprise that brands were ready and poised to mark the occasion, with congratulatory tweets from New Balance, Beats By Dre, Adidas, Under Armour, and more. ESPN even quickly added an occasion-appropriate addition to its "This Is SportsCenter" office ad oeuvre. But perhaps it should come as no surprise that the big ad winner of the night was Nike, who went right for the sports feels with a simple, timely spot that taps directly into the sense of hope, fun, and possibility felt by anyone who's ever picked up a ball and glove. Onward!
What: Nike's salute to the World Series-winning Chicago Cubs
Who: Nike, Wieden+Kennedy Portland
Why We Care: After all the champagne and beer dries up, the cheering subsides just a little, the vocal chords raw and exhausted, Cubs fans will reflect on what the World Series means to them, a fan base whose identity over the last century has been that of "lovable losers." And when they do, that's when this mellow tribute—expertly written, cast, and soundtracked with Willie Nelson's "Funny How Time Slips Away"—will resonate, as a perfectly tuned advertising equivalent of a long, slow smile stretching across your face.
What: A cinematic "festive film" based on the life of Burberry’s founder, starring Sienna Miller, Domhnall Gleeson, Dominic West, and Lily James, directed by Academy Award winner Asif Kapadia, (Amy, Senna) and with a screenplay by Oscar nominee Matt Charman (Bridge of Spies).
Why We Care: Whomever first coined the term "branded content" as an aspirational moniker for marketing communications that aim to entertain and engage people in much the same way as traditional entertainment, this is probably what they were thinking about.
What: A new spot for Toronto's SickKids Hospital fundraising drive that directly links the research happening at the hospital with the potential to save lives.
Who: SickKids Foundation, Cossette
Why We Care: It's great 80% of kids with cancer survive, Grace Bowen represents the remaining 20% that SickKids aims to help. Bowen died of osteosarcoma less than two years ago, and her story here powerfully illustrates the struggles and strength of kids and families facing deadly disease. This is the real-talk follow-up to the tough talk of the first ad of this campaign.
What: The cat snacks brand shows us the feline Christmas version of the old adage, "like a bull in a China shop."
Who: Mars Petcare U.S., adam&eveDDB
Why We Care: If you've ever owned a cat, this ad will ring true like so many jingle bells. As both a PSA to cat owners of the risks around the holiday season, and a fun 60 seconds of watching cats wreck havoc, this succeeds on every level.
What: A new PSA that has charming young people with Down syndrome answering common questions people have about the condition.
Who: Canadian Down Syndrome, FCB Canada
Why We Care: As FCB Canada Chief Creative Officer Nancy Crimi-Lamanna told Co.Create,"When parents learn their unborn child has Down syndrome, they only have about 10 days to decide whether to proceed with the pregnancy," and the goal of the campaign is to get parents to pause and seek a second opinion about Down syndrome before they make "one of the most important decisions of their lives."