The Most Talked-About Ad Campaigns of the Year

Gigi Hadid Stuart Weitzman Fall 2016
Gigi Hadid in Stuart Weitzman's fall '16 campaign.
Courtesy of brand.

Nike

Nike UnlimitedNike’s “Unlimited” ad campaign. Courtesy of brand.

“Unlimited” was a major success for the Swoosh. With more than 1 billion TV impressions, the ads showcased high-profile athletes and everyday people. Other notable efforts this year included “The Conductor” ad (honoring Kobe Bryant’s 20-year NBA career) and the “#NYMade” campaign.

Adidas

Adidas Chicago Cubs Kris BryantChicago Cubs star Kris Bryant was featured in Adidas’ TV spot. Courtesy of brand.

The brand revealed its “Sport Needs Creators” campaign in September featuring a diverse roster of Adidas athletes, such as MLB’s Kris Bryant, the NFL’s Von Miller and Aaron Rodgers, the NBA’s James Harden and soccer star Paul Pogba. The TV spot revolved around sports greats tapping into their imaginations.

Puma

Puma Kylie JennerKylie Jenner in the fall ’16 Puma Suede campaign. Courtesy of brand.

Aside from Rihanna’s Fenty Trainer and faux-fur slide campaigns, Puma stepped up its marketing strategy with help from Kylie Jenner, YesJulz, Rae Sremmurd and Young Thug for its “Puma Suede Forever Fresh” initiative. These young influencers were photographed wearing the Suede and streetwear in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Stuart Weitzman

Gigi Hadid's Stuart Weitzman fall '16 campaign.Gigi Hadid’s Stuart Weitzman fall ’16 campaign.

Gigi Hadid was front and center in Stuart Weitzman’s fall ’16 campaign. The model channeled her real-life workout routine for the ads, which were shot by photographer Mario Testino. She also starred in the brand’s #DoItRight film, directed by James Franco, putting a spotlight on her very own design, called the “Gigi” boot.

Marc Jacobs

Missy Elliott Marc JacobsMissy Elliott featured in Marc Jacobs fall ’16 ads. Courtesy of brand.

The designer focused on famous faces for his fall ’16 ads, which were shot by photographer David Sims. The subjects included rapper Missy Elliott, actresses Sissy Spacek and Susan Sarandon, musicians Courtney Love and Marilyn Manson, and models Kendall Jenner and Cara Delevingne.

Reebok

Ronda Rousey Reebok AdRonda Rousey in her spot for Reebok. Courtesy of Reebok.

The brand’s “Be More Human” initiative continued in 2016 with new phases starring Reebok ambassador Ronda Rousey and its latest partner, Gigi Hadid. It also launched “Hunt Greatness” with NFL star J.J. Watt as an extension of Reebok’s call to “be more human.”

Balmain

Kanye West Balmain Fall 2016 Ad CampaignBalmain’s fall 2016 ad campaign starring Kanye West and Joan Smalls. Instagram.

Olivier Rousteing went outside the box for Balmain’s fall ’16 ad campaign by creating a film/music video with Kanye West’s “Wolves” song. The campaign — directed by Steven Klein with creative direction from Pascal Dangin — starred the rapper and wife Kim Kardashian, along with models Alessandra Ambrosio, Joan Smalls, Jourdan Dunn and Josephine Skriver. 

Ugg

Vic MensaVic Mensa featured in Ugg campaign for Footaction in Neumel style. Courtesy of brand.

Ugg named Rosie Huntington-Whiteley as its global women’s brand ambassador in April this year. The model and actress was featured in the fall campaign for the Classic II, marking the brand’s biggest relaunch. She currently stars in the Ugg holiday campaign. Rapper Vic Mensa was also added to the Ugg roster as a men’s ambassador, while style influencer Alexa Chung was tapped to art-direct a new campaign in October.

Vans

Vans 50 Years Campaign“The Story of Vans” campaign. Courtesy of brand.

Vans released “The Story of Vans” campaign as a tribute to its 50th anniversary in March. The visual package, made up of five short stories, combined a mix of animation methods to highlight iconic moments from the brand’s history. Professional skateboarders Jeff Grosso and Tony Alva lent their voices, with other narrators including Chuck D of Public Enemy and actress Chloe Sevigny.

Jimmy Choo

Jimmy Choo Fall 2016 Ad CampaignJimmy Choo fall ’16 ad campaign. Courtesy of brand.

The luxury brand marked its 20th anniversary with a star-studded fall ’16 campaign. In an effort to include women of different ages and backgrounds who embody the brand spirit, Jimmy Choo tapped seven models: Amber Valletta, Sasha Pivovarova, Milla Jovovich, Lexi Boling, Taylor Hill, Jasmine Tookes and Xiao Wen Ju.’

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