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Generally speaking, the third millennium brought with it an era of eclectic creativity, opening an enormous window of opportunity for both creators and consumers.

Thanks to the technological progress, practically every person on the planet has the possibility of creating content that could theoretically be seen by everyone. That is why it is very hard to specify a dominant, most significant tendency regarding advertising in 2013. It was a year of incredible expansion of creative content, shrinking of space and acceleration of time.

However, we seem to be witnessing a specific phenomenon called a “fast evolution”, which is of greater proportion and a more powerful meaning than ever before when advertising, art and creativity in general are concerned.
A progress in technology which is almost impossible to track has caused great changes in the advertising industry. The media in the traditional sense no longer exist – literally every action of any brand or individual via the Internet and the social networks has become accessible to everyone. That has made dramatic change in the directing of campaign budgets, and the whole area of media planning has become a field of creative expression as much as the campaign idea itself. Beside some traditional values, the production has changed also; we are witnessing that many campaigns, for example, are consisted of only a powerful message or that videos made by mobile phones are making amazing results. Focus groups and other recently popular forms of testing the public opinion are substituted with “in vivo” tests on social networks, which are now by far easier, faster, cheaper and more flexible than any other available method. For this reason, it is now a generally accepted opinion that a campaign never even existed if it didn’t make viral success.

And the “commercials” are no longer commercials. They have become those things that “aren’t exactly advertising, but are very interesting”, which “look like commercials, but I don’t know what they are”, which “I don’t know if it is some artistic act or a commercial”. It is the so-called “branded content”, which is essentially art sponsored by the brands, art with the purpose of product sale or a commercial in a new, artistic disguise. Having in mind the fact that more and more brands are setting goals and missions which beside sales aim for ideals of a better world, and that on the other hand artists are turning to advertising methods in their work, it is no surprise that it is hard to make a difference between advertising and art. It seems that questions like “Is Banksy’s work a campaign or art?”, “Is Pharell’s new album a commercial?”, “Is the last Dove campaign just a psychological experiment?” are becoming absolutely irrelevant. This is mostly due to the fact that the boundaries between science, art and advertising has become so porous that they practically don’t even exist. Brands have become modern patrons of art, scientists have become artists, advertisers have become scientists, and the artists got employed in the agencies where they are creating what they would naturally create at some other place.
The influence of advertising in the age we live in has grown so much that is on equal terms or even above art regarding its significance, and the popular culture is almost unimaginable without it. All brands which don’t realize this and don’t find their place in these new circumstances are destined for mediocrity, and will soon lose the attention and the trust of their audience.

Finally, one of the rare things that has not changed and probably never will is the core of advertising – the creative ideas. The most exciting ideas are born on the places where science, technology, and creativity meet. The best of them have a very visible meaning in the life of people, changing their lives for the better in a very tangible way. The word “creativity” that in the end of the last millennium became so void of any meaning that it is turned into an unpleasantly sounding cliché, now has a completely new dimension, equally meaningful as ever in the human aspect, with an influence probably bigger than ever.

Having all this in mind, the selection of best campaigns of the previous year is possible only if they are graded by criteria used for any other form of art: through emotional potential, the craftsmanship of the form inseperable from the essence, and the power and the capability of the idea to change the world for the better.

The top list of 5 best advertising campaigns, made according to the above mentioned criteria and absolutely subjective affinities of the text author.

5. “Legends never hide” print campaign, Ray Ban, Marcel agency, France.
Besides promoting the product, this perfectly crafted print campaignalso advocates a very liberal attitude.

4. “Why don’t you come over, Brits”, Romania Tourist Organization,  GMP Advertising agency, Romania.
An incredibly creative Romanian reply to the current British conservative political push, perfectly blended with client’s goals (print campaign)

3. “Real beauty sketches”, Dove, Ogilvy agency, Brazil.
A sociological experiment that has presented the touching truth about the women’s perception of their own beauty

2. “Dumb ways to die”, Melbourne Metro McCann Melbourne agency.

An animated campaign moving the boundaries of virality with over 50 million Youtube views and a serious message hidden in entertaining content.
1. “Yesterday you said tomorrow”, Nike, Wieden & Kennedy agency.

Yes, it is possible for a simple, strong, and genius message to changes peoples’ lives

Author of the text:  Vladimir Ćosić, creative director of  „McCann Beograd“ agency