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2018: Navigating Successful Ads

Updated: 7 days ago


At Widefoc.us, our multi-talented team of Community Managers and strategists are always refining their craft of social media writing. One exercise is observing print and media ad campaigns and mentally rewriting them — especially when they are stinkers. The year was chock-full of sappy testimony, quippy plugs, misleading celebrity endorsements, and overdone streaming channel commercials. In review, here our favorite ads of 2018.



Sarah, Community Manager and Digital Storyteller

Ad: Macy’s - Believe in the Wonder of Giving – Signature Scent

I’m a sucker for feel-good holiday advertisements. I grew up with the seasonal M&M’s commercial and feeling warm and fuzzy about the importance of gift giving. This year, Macy’s created a series of ads that were both emotional and buzzworthy (important for becoming viral). In the ad “Believe in the Wonder of Giving – Signature Scent,” a man and woman fall in love and a constant connection in their relationship is her perfume. In 40 seconds, the audience discovers he is blind and is disappointed when she runs out. So, he runs to Macy’s, where an employee assists him in finding her signature scent for the perfect Christmas gift. It’s touching and explores the positive customer journey experience with Macy’s employees.


Nina, Community Manager

Ad: Nike - Just Do It: Serena Williams

Nike’s 2018 “Dream Crazy” campaign — the newest iteration of their classic “Just Do It” campaign — was stunning across the board. The print ads of bold black and white portraits of athletes force you to acknowledge their humanity, while the snippets of copy they are paired with make their exceptionalism undeniable. When the full “Dream Crazy” video ad dropped in September, the impact was immediate. With a controversial figure like Colin Kaepernick at the center of the campaign, there was no way it wasn’t going to make a splash. But for me, it was one of the teaser ads, featuring Serena Williams training as a young girl to become the superstar in a catsuit she is today; I have never seen an ad like it, and I admit with no shame that I cried the first time I watched it.


Sam, Community Manager

Ad: Apple - Share Your Gifts

Apple’s “Share Your Gifts” is less of an ad than it is an animated short. The beauty is that we all already know Apple’s brand, so they can focus on the story rather than product placement. The storytelling, animation, and craft are all meticulous. On the marketing side, Apple is able to make spinoffs focused on the people behind the ad — working on their MacBooks. You can’t help but be sucked into the world of the woman working on her creative project and the oversized dog who helps her to bring her art out of her bedroom and into the world. We never find out what’s on the paper that blows out the window into people’s hands, but the reveal is less important than the process. As a writer, I love the way this ad celebrates creativity and I appreciate the effort involved in creating this two-and-a-half minute spot.

KT, Senior Community Manager

Ad: New York Times - The Truth Is Worth It



The New York Times has been a subject of controversy in the last two years, but these commercials establish a simple fact about the newspaper publisher: They are an American institution dedicated to seeking the truth despite the obstacles. The commercials outline a journalist’s process beautifully, illustrating the NYT’s many contributions to news last year. Not only do they stand for truth and transparency in the journalistic process, but the ads position the New York Times as a leader in American journalism and instill trust in its readers.


Michael, Ad Strategist

Ad: “Big Dill” - Seventh Generation

As an avid proponent of the cord-cutting movement, a majority of my ad exposure comes from Hulu. Although advertising on Hulu is subpar at best, specifically regarding media strategy, occasionally I will have a good ad experience. If you’ve had the pleasure of viewing any of Seventh Generation’s advertising, you’ll likely agree they are top-notch. Seventh Generation’s ads consistently follow the basic advertising rules: simple, relevant, and memorable. “Big Dill,” one of the latest ads for their laundry detergent offers an all-around, wonderful ad experience. I have a passion for puns, and the use of them in this ad was outstanding. The other sign of a good ad strategy is increase in sales. Just by scrolling through the YouTube comments section, I can tell viewers are already jumping ship from other brands and moving over to Seventh Generation. Also, let’s be honest, Maya Rudolph was a marvelous casting choice.​

At WideFoc.us, we know that paid social ad strategy is as important as organic content. We dig deep into best practices to make sure your social ad spend is effective. If you are feeling anxious about writing and serving ads for your brand, contact us for dynamic strategy that will increase your ROI.


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