Thought Leadership

2023: A year of resilient creativity

As the industry heads towards the festive finish line BITE rounds up the best work of 2023

Nicola Kemp

Editorial Director Creativebrief


How will you measure your year?

For an industry which is second only to the hairdressing sector for awards, there is no question that many brands and agencies will be counting their silverware at the end of the year. The plethora of lists, new business rankings and end of year round ups provide ample reasons to look back on the achievements of 2023.

While there are unmistakable jitters surrounding the year ahead, many agency leaders understandably have their eye on the core metric of cash flow. Yet it's equally important to recognise that the creative flow of the people within it remains the undeniable driver of the industry. The ultimate measure of the year remains the work.

With that in mind here is a round up of 2023’s Hot Picks from the Creativebrief member agency community. 

All People All Places campaign uses Blue Plaques for storytelling 

Cogent’s heartfelt campaign that used Blue Plaques to successfully change the narrative for homeless people and promote the work of homelessness charity, All People All Places. 

New Balance shows anyone can run 

MullenLowe showed the mental and physical benefits of running in a campaign urging people to “runlock” their potential. 

Sofology highlights quality and comfort amidst cost of living crisis

Helena Bonham-Carter starred in the ‘Nothing Feels Like’ campaign. Created by The Corner, the campaign embraced staying at home during the cost-of-living crisis. 

The&Partnership shows the creative firepower of employee engagement

In a groundbreaking campaign to ban conversion therapy, The&Partnership underlines the creative firepower of employees bringing their whole selves to work. 

Dr. Martens celebrates its British heritage

ACNE focused on the people and the craftsmanship that make every pair of Dr. Martens shoes, in this heritage campaign. 

Bupa smashes stereotypes of ageing

In this lighthearted spot, MullenLowe underlined the fact that age is just a number. The campaign pulled on the agency’s own research, The Invisible Powerhouse

Mother shows the marketing firepower of kindness with Friendly Faces campaign

Free sticker packs of well-known Ukrainian cartoons were created to help Ukrainian children feel welcome in the UK. 

Difflam and VMLY&R show the power of craft

The beautifully executed campaign used creativity and character to bring to life the symptoms of a sore throat. It was a compelling reminder of the power of creativity to puncture category norms. 

CPB London successfully punctures #IWD fatigue

The clarity of the ‘Double Standards’ campaign successfully landed a complex message about gender biases in language. 

VMLY&R tells the full story of menopause for Boots

The empathy fuelled print campaign underlined the power of creativity in the margins. 

Autistica calls out unjust hiring practices

‘Hire Differently’ from House337 pointed to inequalities in the hiring process which create unnecessary barriers for autistic people. 

PETA and House337 campaigns acts as unflinching reality check on animal cruelty

‘Red River Farm’ aimed to re-educate viewers about fashion through a band of abused farm animals. 

When she moves she breathes

The powerful campaign from Asics and CPB London underlined the mental benefits of movement for women. 

Tena and AMV BBDO latest campaign is a love letter to carers

The campaign demonstrated the power of being seen in advertising, spotlighting the experiences of carers. 

Sheba and AMV BBDO cut through the cute

A campaign that highlighted how cat lovers will do anything for the love of their feline friends. 

Buxton breaks new ground with emotive campaign

The ‘Sweat and Tears’ campaign was produced in partnership with mental health charity Mind, and aimed to normalise crying. 

VMLY&R and Tommy’s win the Marketing FA Cup Final

While Chelsea triumphed on the pitch, VMLY&R and Tommy’s showed the power of marketing with purpose. 

American Express reminds consumers to enjoy life

Dentsu Creative underlined the power of looking on the bright side. The campaign celebrates the brand’s rewards programme in the midst of the cost of living crisis. 

Disney+ teams with Uber Eats for Ant-Man pop up

The shrunk-down diner from Mother London brought a tiny slice of joy straight to audiences' homes. 

16th Century Life Expectancy calls to end misinformation around Trans People

The campaign from McCann London for UK Black Pride exposed the dangers of misinformation and its ability to fuel hate in this eye-catching campaign. 

The National Lottery and Adam&EveDDB deliver pitch perfect love story

A life changing lotto win was brought to life with lived-experience and an enduring love. 

The All England Lawn Tennis Club highlights the true breadth of tennis

McCann London highlighted the show-stopping drama of Wimbledon in their ‘Always like never before’ campaign. 

Greenpeace and Mother team up to recruit climate activists

The specially created cover of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Don’t Stop’ premiered at Glastonbury to highlight the climate crisis. 

MullenLowe marks NHS 75th Birthday with Organ Donor Drive

The OOH activation, a huge Birthday Card to the NHS, aimed to close the organ donation gap. 

Gleam Futures shows the power of taking a stand on filters

The agency’s bold influence campaign took a stand against the crisis of self-worth that has been triggered by beauty filters. 

adidas World Cup kit drop infiltrates Gen Z culture

With the help of TBWA\London, the sportswear brand identified cultural hotspots to let fans discover kits for themselves. 

Yorkshire Tea takes the brew abroad in dancefloor banger

The catchy song and accompanying music video from Lucky Generals positioned Yorkshire Tea as a holiday essential this summer. 

CALM highlights the unseen signals of suicide with Lioness Fran Kirby

Launched during the Women’s World Cup 2023, this campaign aimed to help tackle the rising rates of suicide in young women under 25. 

KFC capitalises on GK Barry’s cultural clout for burger launch

The Teriyaki Burger launched in a social-first campaign from Mother London, and featured a TikTok star. 

Adidas and TBWA\London make it impossible to look away

The Play Until They Can’t Look Away campaign was powered by footballing superstars including Alessia Russo, Lena Oberdorf and Mary Fowler. 

Co-op donut highlights sweet member prices

The playful campaign from Lucky Generals showcased the Co-op’s new member proposition and pricing during the cost of living crisis. 

Uber and Mother turn to craft to highlight Reserve service

The campaign’s creative used origami to highlight how you can wrap up your plans with a pre-booked Uber. 

Aldi billboard showcases employees ‘proper raise’

The out of the box campaign from McCann Manchester highlighted the supermarket’s cheeky tone of voice and value proposition. 

UNHCR and Jellyfish puncture the Back to School bubble

An impactful campaign hijacked back to school social posts to highlight the harsh realities for children in conflict. 

Loaf campaign acts as a protest for the right to relax

The Make Loaf Not War campaign from isobel showcased the joy in kicking back and slowing down, through song. 

Disney celebrates 100th anniversary with landmark campaign

PrettyGreen brought iconic Disney moments to life in a real world campaign. 

Freemans campaign steals the spotlight

The Made You Look campaign showcased the brand’s refresh and successfully connected with midlife women. 

Sky Sports embraces the cultural currency of women’s football

The remix of Stormzy’s track Shut Up elevated the unique energy of the Barclays Women’s Super League. 

Ocado and Beano team up to fight food waste

To help households make their food go further, Ocado Retail and The Beano created a cookbook. 

JD Williams and House 337 deliver a masterclass in midlife marketing

The campaign successfully smashed the stereotypes surrounding midlife women in advertising. 

E45 and The&Partnership show the power of comfort marketing

The new brand platform, ‘This is ME45’, underlined the power of comfort in marketing. 

EE harnesses the power of communication through demonstration

The genre defining campaign lead with insight and action, working towards reducing the ‘say do’ gap. 

RNIB change the narrative with ‘Before You Ask’ campaign

The campaign from The&Partnership beautifully banished the myths about living with sight loss. 

John Lewis Christmas spot is a reminder of the power of weird

The showcase festive campaign from Saatchi & Saatchi was the Christmas gift we didn't know we needed. 

Tesco turning shoppers into Christmas trees hits the mark

#BecomeMoreChristmas leant on radical simplicity to bring a refreshingly weird and feel-good festive advert. 

Rockshore and M&C Saatchi show the power of the festive anthem

A festive anthem from former Boyzone star Ronan Keating underlined the power of thinking beyond families in the festive period. 

Temptation’s festive felines want in on the Christmas action

The Christmas spot from Adam&eveDDB makes cat owners feel seen.

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