The 2013 Joshys: The #1 Commercial Of 2013

#1: Robinsons “Pals”

And here it is. The best commercial of the year. I’d never heard of Robinsons, a British drink company. And I was confused why they were adding water to their juice. But what an ad. What appears to be a nice spot featuring two young friends turns out to be much, much deeper. This was an ending I didn’t see coming. And something that really makes it great is watching it again and observing the subtle Sixth Sense-esque clues. The one boy throws rocks further. His shadow is bigger. He gets tired pushing his friend. He encourages his friend to talk to a girl. Of course, it’s because he’s the dad as well as a pal…which makes the Star Wars “I am your father!” reference even more amusing. A spectacular and poignant ad with a surprise ending is a well-deserved #1 of 2013.

The 2013 Joshys: #4-2

#4: Vodafone’s “The Kiss”

Simply beautiful. There’s no spoken copy and sometimes the less said, the better.

#3: Tullamore Dew

This Tullamore Dew ad made me want to jump a plane to Ireland. And the twist ending turns it from melancholy to weirdly uplifting and subversively funny.

#2:. Chipotle’s “The Scarecrow”

Lovely dystopia sounds like an oxymoron, but that describes the atmosphere for the majority of the video. Wonderfully shot. Fiona Apple’s hypnotic and haunting cover of “Pure Imagination” is the best use of music in advertising this year.

The 2013 Joshys: #7-5

#7: Guinness’ Wheelchair Basketball

Friendship exemplified. I’m a sucker for surprise endings, and this spot has a good one. Friendship and twist endings will continue to loom large as the list goes on.

#6: Kmart’s Ship My Pants

Immature, punny, and also the funniest commercial of the year. I can only imagine the “eureka” moments the writers had with it. Kmart also had followups with “Big Gas Savings” and the Dickensian holiday version “Ship My Trousers”, but the original was the best.

#5: Dick’s Football

Dick’s Sporting Goods had two great commercials this year with a similar, ultra-realistic style. The first was a baseball ad, the second for football. Honestly, it was a bit of a tossup, but I think I liked the football spot a little more. A friend who played high school football said it gave him flashbacks.

The 2013 Joshys: #10-8

#10: Mike’s Golf Shop

Mike’s Golf Shop slips in at the #10 slot in large part due to how low-budget this commercial is. Shot by Mike on his phone, it basically cost nothing, and still has racked up 400,000 views on YouTube. Not bad. The “we buy golf clubs” becomes a hypnotic mantra along the lines of “Head On: Apply directly to the forehead!” And the halting start with “This here’s Mike! Down at Mike’s Golf…Shop” cracks me up.

#9: Geico and Dikembe Mutombo

OK. Geico’s “Hump Day” was one of this year’s best-received, most viral, and most meme-worthy ads. But as a sports fan, I actually enjoyed this one a little more.

#8: The Anti-Defamation League Imagines

There’s possibly no question more haunting than “what if?” Still, the lessons we learned from these inspirational figures who were cut down because of hatred will continue to guide us into the future.

The 2013 Joshys: Just Missed The Cut

Here we are near the end of the year, and so it’s time for the 3rd edition of The Joshys. In previous years, I avoided an overdone top 10 format, and instead went with some more interesting awards and categories. This year, I’m doing a top 10. Whatever. As always, the only requirement is that I must have written about each ad for it to appear on the list. That means some qualified candidates (The Epic Split and Camp Gyno, for example) didn’t make it. Before diving into the best of 2013, I’m going to mention five commercials that just missed the cut. These aren’t in any particular order.

Foot Locker’s “All Is Right”

I have a special appreciation when people are able to poke fun at ridiculous incidents from their past.

Coca-Cola: Here’s To Falling

An extremely cute and innocent ad about two young people “falling” at a Six Flags. The great “here’s to falling” tagline would prove unfortunate months later when a woman fell to her death off a Texas Six Flags roller coaster. Apparently, the ad was still being played in movie previews days later. Oof.

New Era’s Jackie Robinson Tribute

A quiet, classy, and moving tribute to an American hero.

GoPro’s Kitten Rescue

Oh man. This one made me so happy when I watched it, and then so bummed when I did a little digging into the aftermath. Nevertheless, it’s great work.

Honda’s Hands

I had kind of forgotten about this Honda ad, so I had to watch it again. Very simple and very compelling.

The 2012 Joshys: Part III

The Timothy Leary Award: The trippiest commercials. You might not have been on drugs, but these made you feel like it.

Winner: The Skittles Walrus

It’s trippy, alright. The connection to Skittles Riddles is pretty out there and pretty damn tenuous.

Honorable mentions: Axe’s Office Love: Very polarizing.

Old Spice’s Terry Crews ads: Whoa. The definition of a guy commercial.

The Boner Award: Sexiest of the year. I look at analytics for this blog and know that the audience is like 65% male, so I’m going to include a lot of honorable mentions too. If you’re a female reading this and want to suggest a commercial with sexy men, feel free.

Winner: Anything with Kate Upton.

Now a 2-time winner of this prestigious category. I just really like Kate Upton.

Honorable mentions: Adriana Lima for Teleflora and Fiat’s Seduction: Both Super Bowl commercials. I remember being unimpressed with both of them, though in retrospect, the Fiat ad is better than I remember. The Teleflora commercial has a decidedly non-progressive message which many objected to.

Samsung Work Trip and Liquid Plumr Double Impact: Both on here for the suggestiveness. Samsung’s is more subtle and sly while Liquid Plumr’s is a solid minute of obvious, ridiculous, and amusing innuendo.

The Traffic Awards: The posts that brought people to Commercial Society.

Ragu’s Long Day Of Childhood

This one premiered during the Olympics. I remember seeing it and knowing I needed to get something up really quick. Within an hour, it had something like 4,000 pageviews. The next day (August 6) Commercial Society had slightly more than 18,000 pageviews, with the Ragu spot accounting for close to 15,000. By far the busiest day ever. And the Ragu post was WordPress.com’s #1 post of the day…out of more than a million posts!

The Wendy’s Redhead Saga

The original post about the Wendy’s redhead (Morgan Smith Goodwin) is the most popular in Commercial Society history. People REALLY like her. This one has almost 77,000 pageviews. 4 of the top 7 posts on my blog are ones from this campaign.

And that wraps up The 2012 Joshys. Hope you enjoyed it!

kate upton carl's jr

The 2012 Joshys: Part II

The WTF? Award: The commercials that I watched numerous times to figure out what just happened.

Winner: Brad Pitt and Chanel No. 5

Ridiculous and pretentious. Brad Pitt’s wistful acting is decidedly not Oscar-worthy. And primed for parodies.

Honorable mentions: Henry and Aaron’s Central Institute of Technology: This Aussie video is WTF? worthy for an entirely different reason. It’s just awesome and totally unexpected. Probably a great recruiting tool for kids who would want to go to tech school.

Oxy’s Exploding Pimples: Yeah, it’s disgusting. And yeah, these are probably cysts which are more serious and should get medical attention. But the juvenile side of my personality is quite amused.

The “Aww” Award: Simply put, commercials that will make you say “aww.” A decent amount of overlap with The Field of Dreams Award.

Winner: Google Chrome’s “Jess Time”

Google can really pull at the heartstrings. Here, a father and daughter help each other adjust to life’s changes. Sweet, genuine, and just nice.

Honorable mentions: Subaru’s Rainbow and 200,000 Miles: Both ads from Subaru’s “Love” campaign, which seems like it could be a constant contender in this category. The rainbow commercial (titled “Looking for Gold”) captures a father and young daughter in a whimsical and adorable moment. “200,000 Miles” is also cute, but has a deeper meaning about random events and how they can change our lives.

Nike Free “I Would Run To You”: This one had some mixed reviews, as many thought it relied on the formula of an incompetent man (who reminds me of myself) and a super-competent woman. But personally, I find it cute, romantic, and funny. Love will make people do silly and irrational things…maybe even run cross-country. The song is very catchy too.

Purina’s Rain Rescued Cat: If you love cats, you’ll love this one.

The Beautiful Award: Most beautiful visuals in an ad.

Winner: Getty Images “From Love To Bingo”

Sometimes the best stories don’t need any words at all. Love it. From Brazil.

The Explosions in the Sky Award: The most epic of the year. And yeah I know, “epic” is totally overused now. Sorry.

Winner: Audi’s “Ahab”

The first time I saw this commercial, I was like “Well, that was cool, but I feel like I’m missing something.” Then I realized that the whole ad is an homage to Moby Dick (it is called “Ahab” after all). The wide-open vastness of the landscape and lonely narration of the forlorn truck driver makes this one a winner. Manly as hell, too.

Honorable mention: Canadian Paralympics “Unstoppable”: Unstoppable is the right word.

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