by Oresti Patricios (@orestaki) Emotion — that’s the one thing in common with the adverts that have made their way to the top of the pile for 2014’s #AdoftheYear. All of these commercials entertain, but are remarkable because they connect to human feelings.

Let’s get on with it then. The countdown of the top ads of the year continues (see ads 10-6 here). The ads have been chosen by a select and top secret panel of judges. The judging criteria is undeclared. No correspondence will be entered into.

#5. Celebrate the Rainbow Nation with a…

In fifth place in this highly subjective ranking is that beverage the whole world knows, Coca-Cola. This wonderfully innovative promotion by the leading global beverage brand celebrates the Rainbow Nation, sunny skies and all things outdoorsy.

The campaign was devised by FCB Johannesburg, as part of the buildup to the Freedom Day celebrations of 27 April 2014. It also marked 20 years of democracy in South Africa. It’s the sort of experiential exercise that gets people talking, twitterers tweeting and instagrammers flashing.

A specialist ‘rainbow maker’ was brought in from the US to create artificial rainbows at Mary Fitzgerald Square in Johannesburg, using high-tech water sprinklers to make a fine mist at just the right place and time of day.

It was a campaign that drove a tremendous amount of social media buzz: it was visual, memorable and fun — a perfect association for the Coca-Cola brand [it also won a lot of awards — ed-at-large].

#4. Pop-up Street Store for the homeless shows real heart

Fourth on the list is the socially responsible Street Store for homeless people, created by Kayli Levitan and Max Pazak, with the support of M&C Saatchi Abel Cape Town.

The idea? To create pop-up ‘stores’ for people who live on the streets so that they can select used clothes in a comfortable environment, as opposed to the normal practice of bundles of clothes being ‘dumped’ by charities on a ‘take it or leave it’ basis. The concept was aimed at granting homeless people greater visibility and dignity.

The hope? That homeless folks might gain a sense of empowerment through being able to choose what they want.

Since I first wrote about this open-source project, it has been rolled out in many cities across the globe, including Brussels, Vancouver, Johannesburg, Belém, Kentucky, Sao Paulo, and many more. Currently 125* events in total have been held in cities throughout the world. Please visit to find out more.

* Updated 2014/12/03

#3. I see a different Brand Soweto

I See a Different You — Welcome to Soweto, 10 December 2011The ad that takes position no. 3 in our ranking is I See a Different You. This is not so much an ad as a self-started campaign by three Soweto residents to improve the image of their home town.

I See a Different You started as a photographic project in December 2011, with the three friends (two are brothers) taking pictures in Soweto. The trio used themselves as models, and played with a quirky juxtaposition of fashion and Soweto’s streets. Later on, they expanded into other areas, such as Alexandra and downtown Johannesburg.

Subsequently, the I See a Different You crew has been sponsored by Grant’s Whisky to do a project around South Africa based on the theme of ‘Stand Together’. The theme of this project is looking at how people help each other to succeed. The trio has also travelled to other African countries to take photographs, plus they’re involved in an offshoot video project.

This effort is a great demonstration of hope and entrepreneurship, blended with the power of social media.

#2. Give those ad makers a Bell’s!

Second place is awarded to the TV spot created by King James for the ongoing Bell’s Whisky campaign, and is called “The Reader”. The campaign’s classic payoff line is “Give that man a Bell’s” — a slogan that has become so successful that it has passed into common parlance here in SA.

This TV spot tells the story of an elderly man who enrolled for night classes to learn to read, largely because his son had written a book and he wanted to be able to read it.

This story certainly tugs at the heart-strings, but also speaks to the important issue of literacy. It is an inspiring ad that delivers a powerful, branded message.

Almost at the end

And so we come to the end of our journey through the best of the best. Almost, that is!

Next week we’ll reveal the top ad or campaign of the year (we know you can barely contain yourselves). Who will it be?

I’m afraid you’re going to have to wait one more week to find out.


Oresti PatriciosAd of the Week, published on MarkLives every Wednesday, is penned by Oresti Patricios (@orestaki), the CEO of Ornico, a Brand Intelligence® firm that focuses on media, reputation and brand research.

If you are involved in making advertising that is smart, funny and/or engaging,
please let Oresti know about it at

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