As Don Draper once said, “Advertising is based on one thing: Happiness.” It’s something this year’s winners of the Association of Independent Commercial Producers’ Next Awards demonstrate handily (and sorry, Slate, for bringing yet another “Mad Men” reference into this world). The ceremony was held Tuesday at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, a clue that the ads being honored transcend the industry’s expectations.

While the AICP honored work in nearly two dozen Oscar-like categories such as cinematography, visual effects and musical arrangement, the winners could be split into two happy categories: the heartwarming and the clever. A program of these commercials will tour the country starting next month, making its way to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Boston and Richmond, but you can watch 10 of the standout spots below.


Unless you’re some kind of robot, these first two commercials are going to make you cry. “Dear Sophie” is a must-watch again with Father’s Day coming up, and “The Long Wait” reminds viewers, with a twist, what Christmas is all about.

Google Chrome “Dear Sophie.” Winner: Agency Art Direction, Advertising Excellence/Campaign.

John Lewis “The Long Wait.” Winner: Advertising Excellence/International.

More beautiful than heartwarming, these next four ads demonstrate that yogurt can be extraordinary, that color can brighten a dull day, that the simple way is the best way and that there’s a fine line between love and hate.

Fage “Plain.” Winner, Design.

Target, “Color Changes Everything.” Winner: Production, Production Design, Agency Art Direction.

Chipotle “Back to the Start,” the Willie Nelson commercial that Out Coldplayed Coldplay during the Grammy Awards. Winner: Visual Style, Musical Arrangement, Animation, Advertising Excellence/Single Commercial, Viral/Web Film.

United Colors of Benetton, “UNHATE,” the video component of the mega-controversial Obama-kissing-Chavez ad campaign. Winner: Original Music.


The most memorable commercials are always the ones that make viewers laugh. Like these:

Hahn Super Dry “Super In. Super Out.” Winner: Production Design, Direction.

Dirt Devil, “The Exorcist.” Winner: Student Commercial.

Canal+ “The Bear.” Winner: Advertising Excellence/International.

ESPN, “Shake On It.” Winner, Humor.

To see more winning commercials, go to the AICP Web site.