Ad man picks his favorite campaigns of 2011

Resource for journalists reporting on advertising and public relations

Image: John OnealFairfield University Dolan School of Business faculty member John E. Neal, a former advertising executive at Campbell Mithun Esty, thinks Audi, Corona Extra, Apple, and Starbucks had the best campaigns of 2011.

His resume includes positions at Young & Rubicam, a premier Madison Avenue agency, and Lever Brothers where he learned how to speak "client language." Neal, who was honored earlier this year by students with the school's Excellence in Teaching Award, teaches "Public Relations" and "Introduction to Marketing."

Below, he shares his favorite TV commercials and print campaigns:

Audi - The automobile maker Audi has hit its stride with a campaign that places Audis ahead of the most elite - and expensive - cars. "Audi has always been second tier to Mercedes and Lexus but no more," Neal said. "A current campaign shows a Mercedes in front of an old, fuddy-duddy house and an Audi in front of a sleek, modern house. It tells a great story about who you are if you own an Audi, and it's no surprise that Audis are all over the place now."

Corona Extra - Neal loves the beer maker's ads that place a couple side by side in beach chairs, with Coronas in hand and a placid ocean at their feet. "The company's 'Find Your Beach' campaign is the anti-beer commercial," Neal said. "It tells you that not everyone who drinks beer is out partying or with a bunch of guys getting drunk. I love campaigns that are singular - a can of Bud or Miller Lite wouldn't work in this one."

Apple - The fun and hypnotic iPad advertisements are just the latest in a long line of winning Apple TV and print campaigns. "You want people salivating for your product even if it's not food," Neal said. "You want people saying, 'I've got to have it.' Apple's marketing and their stores accomplish that."

Starbucks - The coffee retailer's "Help U.S. Jobs, Get an Indivisible Wristband' campaign is well-timed and is just the sort of project that will resonate with young Americans. (The wristband, which costs $5, is an avenue for supporting job creation in the United States.) "People want to support companies that do good," Neal said. "I think young people today especially want to support socially responsible or environmentally aware companies and products. It gives customers an extra reason to choose you."

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726,

Posted on December 13, 2011

Vol. 44, No. 147

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