The most creative media of 2015

Executives from Havas, MEC, Walton Isaacson and Noble People name their top picks of the year

Even the most inventive creative idea can’t reach its target audience without a smart media plan. We asked media executives to name their top picks for the "Best Media Placement of 2015." Selections include a thrilling VR activation, an inventive extension of a well-known brand campaign, a self-deprecating TV show integration and a comedic series from a hotel chain. Enjoy the recap!

Rori DuBoff
Global Head of Strategy, EVP
Havas Digital / Havas Media Group

Merrell, "Trailscape"
Trilia/Hill Holliday

We have been hearing so much about virtual reality this past year, especially in the last few months with the launch of Google Cardboard 2 and Samsung Gear. It seems almost every week, clients are asking their agencies/partners or vice versa to develop a VR idea.
Although VR is still very limited in reach, we already see that if you create something with brand purpose and unique experiential value, people will engage and share that content broadly even beyond the individual VR experience itself.
The  "Trailscape" VR experience that the outdoor apparel brand Merrell activated this past year was brilliant. During the Sundance Film Festival in Colorado, Merrell enabled people to experience a virtual hike through the famous mountains of Italy. People wearing the Oculus Rift headsets felt like they were walking on the dirt terrain, under falling rocks and across narrow passageways. 
The experience was multisensory. In addition to the headset, it included real physical ropes, a small rock wall and fans simulating wind. By using VR to create a true immersive sense of physical adventure, people could tangibly appreciate the benefit of Merrell’s new hiking boots and were inspired into action.

Kirsten Atkinson
VP, Media & Brand Integration
Walton Isaacson

Coca-Cola, "The world’s first fully personalized TV campaign"

The best media plan of this year is Coca-Cola’s "Share a Coke" campaign.  In year two, the effort developed 4 million dynamically generated, highly personalized TV ads for consumers. This custom creative idea leveraged data to engage and excite viewers across digital TV platforms. The unique use of media, coupled with an innovative idea, made this campaign a standout.

Shenan Reed
President Digital, North America

Marriott, "Two Bellmen"
Marriott Content Studios

Not your typical ad unit or marketing effort, this creative approach to telling the brand story is engaging and entertaining. It brings the brand to life through true cinematography and is truly something consumers loved based on the comments and feedback. As the industry sees a shift in consumer response to classic digital advertising efforts, I believe we will continue to see a rise in brands taking ownership over their story and finding new and interesting ways to engage current and prospective customers.

William de Lannoy
Communications Strategy Director
Noble People

Arby’s, "Thank You for Being a Friend"

There's a lot of homework involved in placing media.
Make sure that a celebrity partner hasn't insulted the brand on Twitter. Double-check that a magazine hasn't published a takedown of your popular product. Ask the network for a heads up if a program is about to crack a joke at your expense. Negative targeting can be as valuable as regular targeting.
Arby's flew directly in the face of that conventional wisdom in response to Jon Stewart's constant insults.
The best media placement of 2015? A brand farewell to Jon Stewart, hosted on Comedy Central’s YouTube channel.

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