If your New Year's resolution is to take a more creative approach to advertising, then we've got some inspiration to get your 2017 started off right.
While many of us were still adjusting to a normal work schedule again after the holidays, these agencies were producing some of January's most captivating, hilarious, and admirable work.
This month's roundup includes standout spots from around the globe, including a particularly existential clothing commercial from the Middle East, and an anti-smoking PSA from the Netherlands that takes on big tobacco with a unique spin. We've also included the viral, student-produced spec ad that AdWeek called the "most moving work we've seen so far in 2017."
Check out our recap of January's best ads below, and get inspired to tackle your own big projects in 2017.
10 of the Best Ads from January
1) Meat & Livestock Australia
What brings people together better than ... lamb meat? That's the premise of this extended spot for Meat & Livestock Australia, which assembles an ambitiously diverse cast of lamb-lovers for one epic beach side barbecue.
Produced by Sydney-based agency The Monkeys, the entertaining ad features Indigenous athletes Cathy Freeman and Greg Inglis, transgender comedian Jordan Raskopoulos, and several boatfuls of colonizers from Europe and Asia -- all of whom are super into grilled lamb, apparently.
The inclusive tone seems like an attempt to make up for the company's ill-received Australia Day ad, which was one of Australia's most complained about ads of 2016 for its perceived lack of sensitivity to Indigenous people and vegetarians.
2) Film Academy of Baden-Württemberg (Spec Ad for Adidas)
Get the tissues ready for this one. Students at Germany's Film Academy of Baden-Württemberg created this poignant and visually stunning spec ad for Adidas, and it went viral on YouTube seemingly overnight. The short film follows an elderly protagonist as he attempts to escape his convalescent home for the simple pleasures of an outdoor run.
Writer/director Eugen Merher, who created the piece as his second-year project at the Film Academy, told AdWeek the inspiration came from a late relative: "An old man with a very young spirit who used to walk two kilometers every day and bring his wife flowers."
This ad's answer to existential dread? Looking great.
Impact BBDO Dubai created this ad for Middle Eastern clothing retailer Centerpoint, and it somehow manages to make life's potentially fatal uncertainties seem oddly quirky. You can't control a fiery piano falling towards you, but you can control what you wear while it happens.
If anyone knows a thing or two about defying expectations for their age, it's ballerina Alessandra Ferri, who appears in No7's latest campaign for an anti-aging serum. The now 53 year-old Italian dancer was the youngest prima ballerina at London's Royal Ballet when she was 19, and continues to dance professionally today.
In the ad, which was produced by Mother London, Ferri is shown dancing alongside a ghostly vision of her 19 year-old self. It's a truly mesmerizing concept that's especially unique for a skincare ad.
Promoting a message of global fellowship, this ad for Expedia follows a woman through a lifetime of purposeful travel. From the time she looks over her neighbor's fence as a child to see the world beyond her own backyard, she's compelled to immerse herself in new cultures and experiences.
Clocking in at just one minute, the 180LA-produced spot packs in a surprising amount of narrative. "We believe that the more each of us travel and peek over our neighbor's fence, we learn that we have more in common than we have different," said Vic Walla, senior director of brand marketing at Expedia, to Adweek.
"We're taking a lighthearted look at the real issue of trust," said Ramon Velutini, Duracell's vp of marketing. "Because while you do need trustworthy power when you're climbing K2 -- the world's second-highest mountain -- you also need it for your game controller and your kids' toys."
What if employees at a tobacco company party were completely honest about their industry?
Stivoro, the Netherlands' Foundation for Smoking and Health, teamed up with Wefilm to shed some light on the dangers of smoking (and the hypocrisy of the tobacco industry) in this darkly comic new PSA.
8) Planet Fitness
Being judged sucks. Being judged by a CPR dummy you're attempting to give mouth-to-mouth? Well, that really sucks.
9) New York Lottery
It's a common icebreaker question: What would you do if you won the lottery?
If you're like the guy in this ad for the New York Lottery, your answer involves dogs. A lot of dogs.
To promote their Cash4Life game, the state-run lottery teamed up with McCann New York to highlight one of the nonmaterial benefits of winning: having more free time to volunteer. It's a simple spot with an uplifting message -- featuring some hilarious slow-motion closeups of running dogs.
10) Angel Soft
The ad chronicles a single dad raising a daughter on his own, and it does a great job capturing some the little, commonly overlooked moments of growing up -- all framed in the context of toilet paper, of course.