7 Best Ads of 2020

7 Best Ads of 2020 – My favourites

by Pranav Makhijani, SACAC Ad&PR 2020-21


It is undebatable that the Covid-19 pandemic brought about major economic slowdown world over. With lockdowns being imposed in many countries, 2020 was a disastrous year for all major industries. Businesses undertake advertising when they have the budget for it. Since so many businesses were experiencing losses, they cut their advertising spends. Also, in India, the production aspect of ads suffered a lot as The Association of Advertising Producers (ASAP) hit the pause button in March. The ASAP consists of 75 producer members that do 90% of the advertising work in India. Consequentially, and naturally so, brands lost out on many advertising opportunities in 2020.  But the brands that realize the power of advertising continued to spend on it and found ways to make their communication phenomenal even amid the pandemic.

One way to reap the benefits out of advertising during Covid times was to spend more on digital and social media channels as the consumption of content on these platforms saw a spike. Also, though Covid has been very detrimental to the advertising industry, it served as an opportunity for brands to do topical advertising and find creative ways to expand on their existing communications.

2020 saw many great advertisements coming from India and abroad. Some are 2020-specific while others are simply the result of great insight and intelligent communication. Below is a curated list of the 10 best ads of 2020 according to the Ad&PR students of SACAC.


1.     Vivo - #SmileWalaDiya



Conceptualization: Schbang


Insight: 2020 has been a tough year for all families, for parents at work and for children at school. Despite the harshness of this year, Diwali can still be celebrated with a smile.


This ad by Vivo captures in a nutshell what many families world over have been going through in 2020. It shows an overworked father and a bored child in the context of 2020’s reality of struggling businesses and online learning systems. It however also shows how all troubles can be forgotten to celebrate Diwali with a smile. It beautifully places the mobile phone (in this case Brand Vivo) that actually helped many of us get through these tough times, be it through Video calls or otherwise.


2.     Burger King – The Moldy Whopper



Conceptualization: INGO, Sweden


Insight: Food that has no artificial preservatives becomes stale to the point of being heavily inedible and ugly-looking after a month. If a fast-food chain has such food, it’s best to flaunt it. And what better, than just show it off to the world!


This ad by Burger King was a clever way to announce that it chucked out all artificial preservatives from its Whopper. The video shows a very appetizing Whopper on its day 1 in the beginning of the video and a completely moulded one on its day 34 in the end of the video. The ad aptly uses the song “What a Difference a Day Makes” to highlight what difference a day makes in making a Whopper stale.


3.     Swiggy – What the Falooda



Conceptualization: In-house


Insight: People tend to use abusive language when they are hangry.


‘What the Falooda’ campaign by Swiggy solves a very specific cultural problem. The ad shows that Swiggy’s customer care executives come at the receiving end of a lot of unpleasant language from customers when they have any problems with their orders. To address this problem, Swiggy made available extensions that converted abusive language into names of food items in customer service chats. To spread awareness of this extension, Swiggy aired a very quirky ad that showed hangry people insulting each other by saying names of food items.


4.     Nike – You Can’t Stop Us



Conceptualization: Wieden+Kennedy


Insight: Due to Covid-19, a lot of restrictions were posed to those who play sports. But people found out ways to be active even during the pandemic. The passion for sport is what keeps us united in times of trouble.


Nike has always stood for being united by sport. For them, “anyone with a body is an athlete”. This ad was the perfect way to communicate this in the times of Covid. We all may not have all the facilities to play but we still can be united by being active in our own different ways. This ad enabled Nike to expand on its previous messaging very well.


5.     Surf Excel - #BachpanZaraRukJa



Conceptualization: MullenLowe Lintas Group


Insight: Because of Covid-19, children are locked up in their houses and cannot play outside with their peers. Spending time outdoors is a crucial element of childhood that should not be missed out on.


Surf Excel expands on its messaging of “Daag Acche Hai” in the 2020 context. It is very disheartening for children to not be able to spend time outdoors. The ad shows the parents taking responsibility of making their children spend time outdoors with them in a safe way. In the end, Surf Excel advocates that if your clothes get dirty in the process of restoring the childhood, dirt is good!


6.     CRED – Not Everyone Gets It


Conceptualization: In-house


No doubt, credit cards are convenient. But they do make a strong case for being a hassle: irregular due dates, hidden charges, tedious reward claims etc. Makes one wonder if it's worth it. This is where CRED comes in. How exactly? The app aims to make paying credit card bills simpler and reward you for paying them on time. Not that something that you may need, but definitely something that be made to feel like you need it bro!


When introducing a new concept like CRED, it is imperative to break the clutter. So, the question probably was How to be unique. But that wasn’t enough, they had to show that it is for the smart few.

Here is where the whacky creative idea comes to rescue: Indians are bored of conventional celebrity endorsements and want something whackier in that regard, even if that means the brand making fun of the celebrities.


CRED aired a series of ads called “Not Everyone Gets It” to communicate the uniqueness of their brand. 90s celebrities are shown doing their signature acts which not at all align with CRED’s messaging. The celebrities are shown in a rather funny light. The ads are very hilarious and they got people talking about CRED immensely.


7.     Starbucks – Every Name’s a Story 

Conceptualization: Iris

Insight: It is a world where we talk inclusivity but often forget to act inclusively. People who transition, change their names after the process. True inclusivity is when they are called by their new name without any qualms, just like everybody else.

And every name indeed has a story behind. It is celebrity each of these stories that makes Starbucks a warmer brand.

Every Starbucks store follows the practice of writing the name of the customer on the coffee cup. In this award-winning ad, Starbucks narrates the story of Jemma who is transitioning. She is disappointed with always being called Jemma (a female name). However, when at a Starbucks store, she is asked her name, she says it is James. That moment validates the choice that James has took. Throughout the video, James tries to arrive at acceptance with himself and it is achieved through a cup of coffee at Starbucks. The brand, through this ad, raises a social concern and at the same time defines the brand importance.


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