Top of the list of ads of the year is one which captures all that was best about our Olympic summer, Channel 4's “Meet The Superhumans” campaign for its Paralympics coverage. The beautiful, moving film deftly turned preconceptions of disability upside down. And there wasn't an ad agency in sight with this one, it was made by Channel 4 in-house.
Then there was The Guardian's Three Little Pigs film by Bartle Bogle Hegarty (widely acknowledged as the best performing ad agency of the year). It might have perplexed some with its zealous promotion of open-access journalism, but its powerful creative approach was undeniable. Perhaps the most important great ad of the year was the British Heart Foundation's commercial starring hard man Vinnie Jones. Created by Grey and set to the Bee Gees's Stayin' Alive, it has already saved 28 lives by demonstrating how to perform Hands Only CPR. Brilliantly scripted and directed, the film was the perfect iteration of a good ad: useful, entertaining and demonstrably effective. If it's entertainment you're really after with your ads, though, Paddy Power has the edge. The betting brand took its advertising from the embarrassingly crude to the wickedly funny this year with a series of films that mostly could only run online, so near the knuckle were they. Created by a relatively young London outpost of one of the world's most highly regarded creative agencies, Crispin Porter & Bogusky, the ads ranged from attacks on chavs at the races to airplane trails that flew over this year's Ryder Cup, spelling out anti-American tweets like "Europe has better hair".
The list of good work goes on. 2012 was a year when adland was bombarded by reports of faltering growth, nervous clients, reduced advertising budgets.
But these early signs of a creative renaissance and growing agency confidence leave the industry in good shape for whatever 2013 has planned.
Claire Beale is editor of 'Campaign'