The 10 best ads of the year

PuppyhoodYouTubeBuzzFeed and Purina’s ‘Puppyhood’ commercial was a branded content winner.

There was a bounty of brilliant ads in 2015.

From viral campaigns to Super Bowl classics, we have picked out the 10 best ads of the year. If there was a theme to be woven between the top ads of 2015, it would seem that the advertising trend of the year was tugging on the heartstrings of viewers or promoting the idea of empowerment.

As with last year, some of the ads in our rankings will be familiar, but others you may not have seen.

Our ranking is entirely subjective: We looked at originality, entertainment value, and success stories. These were the brands and the campaigns that stood out. Congratulations to everyone whose work made the list.

10. Women's Aid -- 'Look At Me.' This digital billboard used facial recognition technology to recognise when people were looking at the ad. The more people paid attention, the more the bruises and cuts on her face appeared to heal.

9. Extra Gum -- 'The story of Sarah and Juan.' This touching love story set to a cover of Elvis Presley's 'Can't Help Falling in Love' showed the romance between a young couple as they grew older. The romantic 2-minute spot reduced people to tears.

8. Chevy -- Super Bowl. The automaker's TV spot, which ran right ahead of the Big Game was evil genius. Chevy successfully made millions of people think their TV had died right before the Super Bowl was about to kick off in order to promote the chevy Colorado's in-built 4G WiFi capabilities.

7. Depaul -- 'There's Another Side To The Story.' These clever poster ads, placed on street corners, explained the negative preconceptions people have about giving up their spare room to a homeless young person. The left-hand side summed up preconceptions, but when both posters were read together, the poster showed that there's a more more positive side to volunteering with the charity.

6. Volvo -- 'Life Paint.' Volvo created a reflective spray that cyclists could apply to their clothes and bikes to increase their visibility to cars. The ad agency behind this campaign picked up two prestigious Grand Prix Awards for the project at the annual Cannes Lions advertising awards. The campaign also received a huge amount of press -- although some of it was negative, with some people accusing the car maker of 'victim blaming.' Nevertheless, the product flew off the shelves.

5. BuzzFeed/Purina -- 'Puppyhood.' This cute video showing the relationship between a playful dog and his owner proved that consumers really will watch branded content if the content is quality. The video has been viewed on YouTube 7.7 million times.

4. Google -- 'Furever Friends.' This adorable spot to promote Android was not only the most shared ad of 2015, but the most-shared ad of all time, according to video ad tech company Unruly.

3. -- 'Slap her.' This public service announcement from an Italian video journalist has been viewed more than 31 million times on YouTube. The three-minute anti-domestic violence video asked boys aged 6- to 11-years-old to slap the girl in front of them -- watch their reactions.

2. Sport England -- 'This Girl Can.' This multi-award-winning campaign was designed to get women of all ages, shapes, sizes, and fitness levels moving. Set to Missy Elliott's 'Get Ur Freak On,' this edgy but empowering spot motivated lots of women into exercising and gained the campaign hundreds of thousands of followers on social media, extending the legacy of the project.

1. The Spanish Lottery -- 'El Mayor Premio Es Compartirlo/The Greatest Prize Is Sharing.' This Spanish ad tells the touching story of a lonely overnight security guard who passes the hours by setting up the factory's mannequins into funny poses for the day workers to enjoy. In the end, they repay his generosity in a way that will probably make you well up. As Adweek described it, this three-and-a-half-minute ad is almost like watching a Pixar short. The ad was also coupled with an Instagram account for the star character, which has amassed more than 11,000 followers.

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