Inventive Uses of Media and Interactivity Displayed in AdForum's Best of 2002

Troubled times for the ad industry spurred innovative uses of media last year. The Best of 2002, as chosen by advertising resource, AdForum, indicates that while sensitivity and caution prevailed in the first months of the year, advertisers have emerged from the post-9/11 doldrums with bold, and sometimes even brassy exuberance.

Sixty-two ads and campaigns created by agencies from Spain to Singapore received accolades from AdForum. Executions hailing from the US garnered the most of any country.

“It’s really a kind of editors’ choice,” says Euphrate Khantouche, editor and information and research supervisor at

The showcase of ads is in its second year. Winning spots, some representing entire campaigns, were chosen mainly by AdForum’s editorial staff who based decisions on ad content, execution, press buzz and other awards, as well as subjective appreciation of the judges. They can be viewed on the AdForum site where they’re listed in no particular order.

Because of the international nature of the contest, no singular zeitgeist dominated advertising in 2002; however, trends were apparent. The first half of the year, a mood of discretion and subtlety was prevalent, particularly in the US where consumers and marketers alike were still in a mournful mood.



“It’s hard to sell products and services when people have worries on their minds,” observes Khantouche. “I think that’s why they were being cautious at beginning of year.”

Prudishness gave way to cheekiness towards the year’s second half, as exemplified by European campaigns especially. Khantouche cites a daring approach by France’s BETC Euro RSCG entitled “Revelation” through which consumers learned that “Traces of mercury, ammonia, hydrocyanic acid and acetone have been detected in a commonplace consumer product.” The campaign incited War of the Worlds style panic among people who rushed to call the phone number listed in the black and white, text-only ad to discover the dangerous product is in fact the cigarette. London’s Bartle Bogle Hegarty was also recognized for its spine-tingling “Champagne” spot for Microsoft Xbox.

Named in the Best of 2002 for its IKEA “Lamp” ad, Crispin Porter + Bogusky has been employing media in a variety of inventive ways of late. According to the agency’s president and partner, Jeff Hicks, CP+B “had one of the best years we’ve ever had because we’ve been pushing and redefining the boundaries in this industry.” Inventive components of the shop’s recent Mini campaign included ads featuring car-customizable stickers, a Mini centerfold in Playboy and an outdoor effort during which an SUV topped with a Mini drove around LA, SOHO, and other hip spots.

More and more advertisers are integrating interactive formats into campaigns, comments Khantouche who highlights Publicis’ ad for Depaul Trust which enabled viewers to choose an ending using their TV remote controls.

Concludes Hicks, the industry “is thinking about media more broadly and pushing into mediums where advertising hadn’t been before.”

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