The Round-Up: 2023 Ads

Bibiana Obahor
December 4, 2023
left to right: Cardi B for Skims, Zendaya for louis vuitton and Kylie Jenner for ACNE studios
The line between commerce and culture has never been more blurred. From celebrity campaigns to AI—these are the ads we couldn't stop talking about in 2023.

Navigating the world of advertising in 2023 feels akin to attending the most eclectic party of the decade. It's an arena where celebrities, technology, and a constant redefinition of what's 'in vogue' congregate to grab your attention.

From Megan Thee Stallion taking us to Flamin' Hot University to the jaw-dropping AR magic of Jacquemus, it's been a landmark year for brand storytelling. We've sifted through the standouts, analysed the trends, and dissected the controversies to bring you a comprehensive overview of this year's advertising masterstrokes.

Best Celebrity Inclusion

The Nominees

Megan Thee Stallion x Flamin' Hot

Megan Thee Stallion teamed up with Frito-Lay's Flamin' Hot brand for a humour-laden tour of the fictional Flamin' Hot University, with proceeds going to HBCU scholarship programs.

Ben Affleck x Dunkin'

The campaign satirises the frequent mix-up between Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, making it one of the most entertaining celebrity-led efforts.

McDonald's Duo Meal with Cardi B and Offset

The fast-food giant introduced its first-ever duo meal in collaboration with Cardi B and Offset.

The Winner

'Drive-Thru' Starring Ben Affleck – Dunkin'

The collaboration between Dunkin' and Ben Affleck leverages Affleck's likable persona to perfection, adding a dose of humour to a relatable, everyday experience.

Call us smitten, but when two Hollywood legends like Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez co-star in a Dunkin' commercial, you better believe we’re watching. The cheeky confusion between Ben Affleck and Matt Damon's careers was nothing short of genius, making it one of the best uses of celebrity inclusion we've seen. The campaign perfectly captured Affleck's affable, everyman charisma while delivering a playful nod to pop culture.

Best Use of AI / CGI / AR

The Nominees

Coke x OpenAI

Coca-Cola invited consumers to utilise OpenAI’s GPT-4 and DALL-E tools to create original ads.

Meta-AI Technology

Celebrities like Kendall Jenner, Snoop Dog, and Tom Brady came to life via Meta-AI technology.

Maybelline UK's CGI Campaign

Maybelline UK used CGI to animate London's public transport in a campaign that has become nothing short of viral.

@maybelline 📣 All aboard the Sky High Mascara Express ✨🚄 After hitting the NYC Streets, we’re taking over London💂🇬🇧 We are on the move with #SkyHighMascara elevating your lash game to new heights🌤️ 🌇 it’s guaranteed to serve limitless lash length 📏 and full volume😍 #Maybelline ♬ original sound - Maybelline New York

The Winner

Jacquemus AR Bags

The brand used augmented reality in an engaging manner, allowing audiences to virtually 'try on' their bags via Instagram filters.

In a market saturated with augmented reality applications, Jacquemus managed to make our jaws drop. A mere swipe on Instagram transports you to the streets of Paris, where the brand's iconic Bambino bags float down the avenue in harmonious pairs. It’s not just an ad; it’s an experience—proving once again that when it comes to innovation, Jacquemus is ahead of the game.

Best Fashion Campaigns

The Nominees

Louis Vuitton Starring Zendaya

An ad campaign exuding luxury and elegance, featuring Zendaya.

MCM Starring Lindsay Lohan

A surprisingly chic comeback for Lindsay Lohan in the world of fashion.

Mugler x H&M

The high-street brand partnered with fashion house Mugler for a much-anticipated collection.

The Winner

Acne Studios Starring Kylie Jenner

The campaign managed to harmoniously blend high fashion with pop culture, a balance that many attempt but few achieve.

Let’s be frank, Kylie Jenner could don a burlap sack and still make headlines. Yet, her collaboration with Acne Studios goes far beyond mere celebrity cachet. The campaign's raw aesthetic diverges from Kylie's usually polished image, illustrating how a brand can both utilise and challenge a celebrity's persona. In a year packed with high-profile fashion collaborations, this one stood out for its originality and daring.

Best Beauty Campaign

The Nominees

Dove's Self-Esteem Project

A meaningful campaign focusing on the psychological effects of social media.

e.l.f. Beauty x Jennifer Coolidge

A Super Bowl commercial that stood out for its amusing take on beauty routines.


A campaign that masterfully used the Super Bowl as a launching pad.

@fentybeauty That #FENTYGAMEFACE never fumbles! 💯🏈 Start the play with a layer of #HYDRAVIZOR to tackle any SPF worries 🌞 Then, touchdown on #PROFILTRFOUNDATION for that fresh AF, soft matte flex 💪🏿💪🏾💪🏽 #GAMEDAY is just 6 days away, so re-up on the essentials now to prep for the big day at the 🔗 in bio, @sephora, @sephoracanada, and #sephoraxkohls ♬ original sound - Fenty Beauty

The Winner

RHODE Lip Tints

Launched by Hailey Bieber, this campaign resonated for its perfect blend of trendiness and utility.

Full confession: We've been long-time fans of Hailey Bieber’s understated glam. When she extended her Rhode beauty line with lip tints, it wasn't just a product drop—it was a cultural moment. The campaign manages to encapsulate her personal brand of effortless cool, making it our favourite in the beauty category for 2023.

Most Surprisingly Entertaining

The Nominees

Heinz and Absolut Vodka

Leveraging a TikTok trend, they launched a limited-edition tomato vodka pasta sauce.

Mailchimp's "All in a Day's Work"

An animated comedy series that authentically portrays the highs and lows of entrepreneurship, resonating with Mailchimp's core audience of small business owners.

Doritos Dippers

Attempting a world record for the longest cheese pull, involving helicopters and giant Doritos.

The Winner

Netflix’s “Wednesday” Campaign

Creativity meets entertainment, making it the most memorable campaign in this category.

It's hard to outdo a giant cheese pull or vodka-infused pasta sauce, but leave it to Netflix to steal the show. Their campaign for the series "Wednesday" wasn’t just entertaining; it was a masterclass in engagement, suspense, and clever content rollout. In an era of constant digital noise, this campaign managed to make us stop, watch, and, most importantly, tune in.

Honorable Mentions

SKIMS: Celebrity Galore

Kim Kardashian seems to have a sixth sense for cultural trends. With a plethora of star-studded campaigns featuring everyone from football star Neymar Jr., rapper icon Ice Spice to Snoop Dogg's entire family, SKIMS continues to capture public attention without missing a beat.

Barbie: The Icon Reimagined

Ahead of its much-anticipated 2023 movie, Barbie staged a grand comeback this year. With Margot Robbie dazzling in designer outfits and the massive cross-brand collaborations, this campaign was a burst of nostalgic glamour infused with modern-day relevance.

Disney 100: A Century of Magic

Celebrating its 100th anniversary, Disney gave us all the feels without being overtly sentimental. A carefully curated montage took us through a century of iconic moments, capturing the essence of the brand while inviting us into its storied history.

As we wrap up this year's round-up, one thing is clear: The art of advertising is continually evolving, and we're here for it. From the savvy use of celebrity influence to technological feats that blur the lines between virtual and real, 2023 has set a high bar for creativity, innovation, and cultural resonance in advertising. The gauntlet has been thrown down; let's see who picks it up in 2024.


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