2019 MedAdNews Awards Agency of the Year Finalist


  1. Coca-Cola – Open Like Never Before – Quite possibly the best COVID-19-era ad I have seen so far. Optimistic, happy, and wildly inventive in style (spoken word poetry), this ad is spot on for Coca Cola’s strategy of selling happiness and optimism. 
  2. SetApp – Don’t Get Sidetracked – What this ad lacks in actually selling the brand, it makes up for in truly dark humor. The Hide and Seek ad is particularly dark. I had to watch these several times and read the article to realize that they were selling a subscription to a bunch of productivity apps. So on the advertising front: fail. The thing I love about these ads is that they do an excellent job of truly dramatizing a problem – in this case the danger of distracting – in an engaging way that grabs the viewer’s attention. 
  3. TENA Ageless – I started my pharma career working in market research at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals. I worked under some wonderful market researchers in women’s health who showed me the ropes in all things primary market research. As a cocky guy in my mid-20s, it was beyond eye-opening and humbling to be behind the glass listening to women talk about their health care (contraception, endometriosis, menopause, osteoporosis) learning about how little I actually knew about women. The thing I love about this ad is its authenticity and its comfort in discussing an uncomfortable topic (incontinence and sexuality) – even going so far as breaking the fourth wall to address the viewer’s discomfort. 
  4. Societe de l’assurance automobile du Quebec – Living Radars – How many of you have blown through a 15 MPH School Zone at 50 MPH (accidentally of course because you didn’t see the flashing signs)? This tactic is dead simple – turn kids’ backpacks into real-time radar guns and make the abstract concept of school zones very real, very quickly. 
  5. Apple – Privacy – I think what all of us have learned over the past decade with Google, Facebook, and Instagram is that if the product is free, then you are the product. Meanwhile Apple sells you phones that cost $1,200, but cares very deeply about protecting your privacy, so much so that it has fought the FBI multiple times to crack phones of convicted terrorists. This ad humorously shows you what it looks like when we inadvertently share all of our data with large publicly traded companies.
  6. Patagonia – Vote the A-Holes Out – I love this because it shows you how the smallest piece of your brand can bring your brand promise to life. Patagonia has become increasingly politically active over the years from its “Don’t Buy This Jacket” campaign to its lawsuit against the US government for taking part of Bears Ears National Park. They are a brand who positions itself on purpose and their objective is to keep the planet healthy so you can go out and explore it.
  7. Liquid Death – Killer Baby Names – How do you stand out in the bottled water category? Well, first of all, don’t package in a bottle, package your water in a 16 oz beer can. Next, go completely against category convention and market it in the least healthy way possible by calling it “Liquid Death”. Launched by a marketing lead at Netflix, all of their ads are excellent, but I particularly liked the ridiculousness of this one enough to immediately send to Kieran in case he needs any help with names for baby #2. Figure out your own baby names here. I’ll personally file Ragington Doomstar Rhodin away if I have another kid.


  • Raised by Wolves (HBOMax) – I’m a big fan of Ridley Scott science fiction (Alien, Prometheus, The MartianBlade Runner), so that alone had me intrigued enough to check it out. What it lacks in good dialogue and strong plot, it makes up for in art direction, cinematography, and inventiveness. If you saw the movie Prometheus and were like – hey, I wonder what a show about killer robots and the last of humanity battling it out on a new planet with some mystery box plot lines, then this might be your thing. If not,  there is always Schitt’s Creek!



  • Radiolab – Invisible Allies – While the plot synopsis of this podcast SOUNDS like an early pandemic-era White House COVID-19 briefing – the Radiolab team dives into whether sunlight exposure and Vitamin D may play a role in COVID-19 complications – I was personally disappointed that they didn’t look into the effectiveness of injecting bleach, but informative nevertheless.

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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