2019 MedAdNews Awards Agency of the Year Finalist


  1. Amstel – Hidden Fridges – Similar to several other competitive hijacking campaigns run recently like Tide’s “It’s a Tide Ad” and Skittles “Most Exclusive” Superbowl commercial, Amstel doesn’t let the constraint of not being the official beer sponsor of Carnival (that would be Skol) be an impediment for brand engagement. I’m a sucker for a good scavenger hunt, which is why I love this tactic – Amstel hid ice-cooled beer all over the city that could be found by geolocalized posts on Instagram. You’d receive a free can of Amstel if you successfully followed the clues. Smart use of technology and gamification to bring relevance to their brand when they were technically iced out from the party.
  2. Naked Heart Foundation – #borninclusive – Incredibly interesting and emotionally engaging campaign from the Naked Heart Foundation that takes a psychological insight of children to drive a call to action for adults. While this is a bit of a long ad (3 minutes), I was completely engaged throughout and impressed with how effectively they landed the call to action.
  3. Horizon – Down and Out Kidney – Interesting and engaging disease awareness ad from our former agency (Area 23) that shows uric acid invited in by the kidney terrorizing the body. Love the narrative that both anthropomorphizes uric acid as the Yoko Ono of the body and uses the metaphoric narrative of addiction to show how uric acid can destroy the body. I’m sure this ad will add to their trophy pile.
  4. Taco Bell – TikTok Dad – The other day my mother asked me if was on “The Snapchat”. I told her, “I am not because I’m trying to minimize social media use and I’m also too old for Snapchat”. This proven by the fact that the only people who I was connected to on Snapchat were my wife and my siblings who are almost a decade younger than me. This humorous Taco Bell ad shows what happens when parents try to dominate their kids’ social media. In my opinion, long walk to connect the ad to the product, but entertaining nevertheless.
  5. Canadian Lung Association – The Flavored Vapes Hook Kids –I love me some sanctimonious stunt-related guerilla advertising. Smart Canadian Lung Association ad sets up a nicotine-infused ice cream truck with the same flavors in vape pens to highlight the danger of marketing flavored vapes to children. Don’t worry, no kids were actually injured in the stunt. The same can’t be said for vaping…


  • Baader-Meinhof Phenomena (aka Frequency Illusion) – An illusion where something that has recently come to someone’s attention suddenly seems to appear with improbable frequency shortly afterward giving you the feeling of déjà vu. This is likely a crossover of two behavioral principles – selective attention (we tend to tune out non-relevant information, so we prioritize things of new interest) and confirmation bias (we prioritize information that confirms our beliefs). My personal experience with this was after my brother started working in eSports (competitive videogaming). It went from something I had never heard of to something I suddenly saw everywhere.


  • Reply All – The Case of the Missing Hit – Episodes like this continue to make Reply All one of my favorite podcasts. PJ and Alex tell the story of one man’s obsession to discover an ear wormy song that is stuck in his head that everyone he knows and the Internet says never existed. Impressive storytelling and detective work. 


  • Fleabag – I’m way late to the party on this one, but Phoebe Waller-Bridge is a genius TV writer, which is probably why she was selected to help touch-up the writing in the most recent Bond movie. I don’t think I’ve seen TV writing that has created characters as realistically dysfunctional or multifaceted as those in the show. (Caution that most episodes are very British and very NSFW.)

Written by Nick Rhodin

Managing Partner,
Executive Director of Strategic Planning

Nick is devoted to discovering and leveraging core customer insights to drive brand strategy development.

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