How To Structure Sponsored Content Campaigns

Author note: this is part 2 in a series about how to get started with sponsored content campaigns in order to drive sales, eyeballs and clicks to your website. For part 1, check out Getting Started With Sponsored Content.

The best practices for structuring a sponsored content campaign on each network are slightly different; however, there are some key things to get right that work across the board from my experience over the past four years running sponsored content campaigns.

Each campaign should be set up following some guidelines:

  • One piece of content per campaign
  • One device per campaign
  • One country per campaign
  • Limit to 5 -15 ads per campaign
  • Test 3 headline angles (ie none of them use the same words)
  • Test 5 different images with each headline

A few extra tips for effective testing & tracking:

  • The image is more important than the title to grab attention
  • Use Google Analytics to track post click performance
  • Track campaign name, source (ad network name), and the publisher site
  • Outbrain has publishers and sections, track both
  • Revcontent has Channels and widgets, track both
  • Taboola just has sites for tracking / blocking / bid modifying

Optimizing Sponsored Content Campaigns

This could be an article on it’s own so I will just give you the major items to check. The biggest mistake I see is people optimizing way too early. They cut off volume before even having enough data to make a proper decision.

Here is my testing approach:

  • Wait three days, if you don’t get clicks. Start over
  • Create a new campaign if no traction
  • Try new images & titles for the same piece of content
  • Do not add new ads to an unsuccessful campaign
  • Repeat this until you can get 50–100 clicks per day at a minimum
  • Once something takes off, wait a week before optimizing and blocking
  • Pause all ads except your top one. Two at most
  • Re-create other ads in a new campaign

A few extra tips for success:

  • Keep testing, sometimes it takes several tries, especially when you are starting
  • Continuously check competitive intelligence tools to see new advertisers & angles
  • Try out zip code targeting for local campaigns (Outbrain & Yahoo Gemini)
  • Use City or State names in your ad headlines using macros (Outbrain & Revcontent)
  • Use Brax.io to simplify creating ad variations, analyzing performance & optimizing campaigns

Now go out there and crush your traffic and sales goals using sponsored content. Right now, the price is cheap compared to Google and Facebook. That won’t last much longer as more advertisers jump on board to drive new customer acquisition.

This post was written by Mark Simon, co-founder of of Brax.io, a platform that helps performance marketers scale, automate and simplify native advertising. 

The JP Morgan Domain Spoofing Wild Goose Chase

With digital advertising passing tv advertising sales for the first time ever in 2016, it really makes you think just how many ads digital viewers are consuming, and where exactly they are being placed on the web. A single ad can make it onto hundreds of thousands of websites, which typically leads to advertising platforms placing them on sites that companies would prefer the ads not appear on.

Perfect example: JPMorgan Chase and the infamous ad placement on the “Hillary 4 Prison” website. Seeing a Chase ad on a website like this naturally allows viewers to draw conclusions. This may read as Chase being a supporter of the website, something Chase was clearly not. Chase drastically decreased the number of sites that their ads would be placed on moving forward; from 400,000 down to a shocking 7,000. By carefully selecting the sites they want to advertise on, Chase figured they could reach their target audience in a much more tactful and efficient way. This proved to be true when they saw that ad viewability increased by 5%. The overall goal was to reduce fraud, which they did by an impressive 49%.

The actions Chase has taken in the last 8 months have stirred up much conversation in the ad tech and advertising industries. As one of the biggest players in the game, they are speaking up about legitimacy and transparency in the often dark and fraudulent digital advertising industry. Many other companies are planning to take actions of their own, reducing the overall amount of inventory being purchased. For many sites that rely on advertising revenues to operate, companies purchasing less inventory could be a huge cash flow / revenue problem. Despite actions taken by Chase, it’s still an uphill battle.

Chase still faces issues with domain spoofing, where poser sites act as if they are high-quality sites. Domain spoofing can also be called inventory spoofing, where fraudsters illicitly list inventory belonging to a top-tier publisher, syphoning ad dollars from publishers. Although the IAB’s ads.txt initiative could potentially solve these issues, it remains yet to be seen. The Authorized Digital Sellers List was just rolled out last week, and Chase isn’t interested in using ads.txt until its major ad publishers begin to use it as well. Here’s looking at you, eBay, WalMart, Yahoo…

As always, stay tuned.

IAB’s Authorized Digital Sellers List Launched

authorized digital sellers list oarex

Today the Interactive Advertising Bureau is finally launching their anti-domain spoofing initiative, ads.txt. The Authorized Digital Sellers list, known as ads.txt, is an inventory verification system that assure advertisers they are purchasing real inventory from the claimed publisher. This initiative has been launched in response to domain-spoofing, where fraudsters list inventory belonging to top-tier publishers, stealing advertising dollars from those publishers.

Ad-spoofing has become a huge problem in the digital media ecosystem for both advertisers and publishers. For advertisers, they end up purchasing fake inventory, and for publishers, they miss out on advertiser dollars because fraudsters syphoned money from ad budgets that should have been spent on inventory on their own site. Ad-spoofing is big in video ads because of the limited inventory for video and the higher CPMs. The extent of ad spoofing damage was reported by the Wall Street Journal last December, which is likely the single event that triggered the brainstorm that created ads.txt.

The blueprint for ads.txt was made public end of May. The way it works is almost like a verification technology, enabling content owners to declare who is and is not authorized to sell their inventory (sounds a lot like block-chain technology, doesn’t it?). As the IAB explains it:

‘This new tool, known as ads.txt, is a pre-formatted index of authorized sellers that publishers can post to their domains. Programmatic buyers can then use these publisher ads.txt files to screen for fake or misrepresented inventory.’

(Source: IAB Tech Lab Press Release)

Sounds cool, right? The Authorized Digital Sellers list has received both criticism and support since the blueprint came out. However, Google has thrown its weight behind ads.txt, by recently stating it will only allocate advertiser dollars to publishers that have implemented ads.txt. Supply side partners such as AppNexus, IndexExchange and Teads are also on board, and claim to have initiated verification technologies prior to ads.txt. As of now, 13% of the world’s top-tier publishers are signed on with the Authorized Digital Sellers list, but that number will likely go up if they want to receive ad dollars.

The net effect of ads.txt, remains to be seen. Proponents claim publisher revenues should go up because fraudsters will no longer be able to syphon ad budget money from them. Opponents say it’s not enough, and that the fraudsters will find a way around it. We will be watching it closely and advise publishers to employ ads.txt, because, why not?

Stay tuned.

Getting Started With Sponsored Content

Native advertising is growing fast likely because it supplements a brand’s content marketing strategy. After all, no one wants to spend 40+ hours creating great content that nobody sees or cares to see, right? One of the less talked about but highly effective forms of native advertising is sponsored content aka recommended content. In this post, we guide you on how to take advantage of this massive source of traffic to grow your audience, brand and sales.

What is Sponsored Content?

Sponsored content is exactly that – content sponsored by someone (usually a business). You’ve seen it on Facebook with Sponsored Posts and Twitter with Promoted Tweets. It’s even on Reddit with “Promoted” stories. Below are content recommendation networks that show sponsored headlines at the bottom of online news articles.


Here is an example taken from ESPN:

sponsored content

Ever see this widgets on a website? Ok great, here is what they’re all about…

What You Need To Start With Sponsored Content

There are two main things you need to start: $100 and a great piece of content. The content can be a blog post, podcast, video, slideshow article, mobile app or even an advertorial.

If you don’t have at least a $100 budget to test then don’t even waste your time setting up an account with a major network. For some people a hundred bucks won’t be enough to test the waters. It is the minimum for consideration.

Sponsored Content: The Major Players 

Outbrain will let you start with as little as $10/day campaign budget; however, they are the most strict in terms of compliance. Why? Because they have big publishers on their platform such as CNN & ESPN.


Taboola competes head to head with Outbrain in size and prized properties such as MSN. It is a little easier to get advertorials approved on Taboola. You may need a higher initial deposit with Taboola to start off.


Revcontent is a bit smaller however they still have lots of quality traffic including Forbes.com. The tricky part with Revcontent is the minimum budget is $100/day so you need a higher test budget. Check out this Revcontent tutorial & optimization guide to make efficient use of your test budget.


Yahoo Gemini is how you advertise on all of the Oath owned properties from Yahoo & AOL including Yahoo Sports (think fantasy) and Finance. Yahoo is even more strict than Outbrain for compliance. However, they offer self serve sign up so you can get started quickly. Check out this Getting Started with Yahoo Gemini guide for a deep dive.


Sharethrough is a bit different because they are a Supply Side Platform (SSP) that offer in-feed units on major publishers such as Mashable, Men’s Health and Rolling Stone. They are a bit more like Yahoo Gemini because it is an individual ad similar to what you see in Facebook news feed than 3-4 ads in a “widget”  as shown in the example earlier.

There are several other smaller networks; these are just the biggest networks in the US and Europe.

Where to See What’s Working

There are several competitive intelligence tools that cover native ads so you can see who the top spenders are and what kind of ads they are running. Take a trial run of Adbeat, WhatRunsWhere or Advault to see which one fits your needs the most.

Or if you have more time than money; visit the publishers directly with your ad blocker turned off. It is inefficient but gives you a real sense for what is showing up “in the wild”.

Personally I start with a competitive intelligence tool to check my competitors ads and where they are showing up. Then I go to some of the major publishers manually that are exposed to see the ads in the wild in real time.

In part 2, I will be detailing how to structure sponsored content campaigns. Stay tuned!

This post was written by Mark Simon, co-founder of of Brax.io, a platform that helps performance marketers scale, automate and simplify native advertising. 

OAREX Secures $10M in Funding, Strengthens Digital Media Presence

CLEVELAND, OH – OAREX Capital Markets, Inc. (“OAREX”), a leading non-bank financing institution providing financing for digital media companies, today announced that it has closed on a $10,000,000 line of credit from a group of lenders, led by Arena Investors, LP, a New York-based global investment firm.

OAREX accelerates programmatic advertising revenue for digital publishers such as websites, app developers, ad networks and supply-side platforms. Accelerated cash flow allows media companies to scale their content promotion and user acquisition campaigns, and pay supply side partners and vendors sooner.

“This transaction significantly improves our ability to fund publishers,” Hanna Kassis, founder & CEO said. “It will allow us to continue to provide liquidity in a timely and efficient manner, allowing clients to better match their income with expenses to scale rapidly,” said Kassis.

Since inception, OAREX has helped accelerate programmatic advertising revenue for hundreds of websites and apps, and has purchased millions of dollars in outstanding receivables. “We tailor our service to our clients’ individual needs, making sure they’re positioned for growth,” Kassis said.

Capital & Credit as a Service

OAREX offers a non-loan product, making it appealing to many new digital media companies that are not interested in assuming debt and providing personal guarantees. OAREX accomplishes this by financing publishers’ advertising receivables, providing immediate liquidity for growth. Clients can sign up for one-time funding, or a monthly facility between 6 and 12 months. OAREX funds clients on a weekly or monthly basis, depending on their needs and cash flow.

“We are not a lender,” Kassis said, “we are a capital partner with the aim of helping clients grow.” OAREX takes a hands-on approach to servicing its clients, despite newly developed back-end technology that allows OAREX to verify receivables instantly. “We believe human interaction is critical to our providing the best service, even in the digital age,” said Kassis. As a value-add, OAREX offers a database to clients of all payment, collection and credit data on ad networks, ad exchanges and other intermediaries in the digital media ecosystem. “If this information can help our clients, then it can only help us by sharing it with them,” said Kassis.

About OAREX Capital Markets, Inc.

OAREX Capital Markets, Inc. (www.oarex.com) provides fast, flexible funding for companies in the digital media ecosystem earning revenue from advertising, affiliates and marketplaces such as the App Store. Established in 2013, OAREX is an acronym for the “Online Advertising Revenue Exchange”, and is located in the heart of Cleveland’s historical Tremont neighborhood. For more information, please contact Hanna Kassis or Taylor Haddix at (855) 466-2739.

About Arena Investors, LP

Arena Investors, LP (www.arenaco.com) is a global investment firm and merchant capital provider that invests across the entire credit spectrum in areas where conventional sources of capital are scarce. Arena focuses on corporate private credit, real estate private credit, commercial & industrial assets, structured finance, consumer assets as well as structured private investments in public securities.

Update: Tech Consortium Launched by AppNexus

While the rest of the ad tech world awaits the announcement of AppNexus’ IPO release date, we decided to check back in on the New York-based firm. Originally, it was predicted AppNexus would go public by Q2 2017, but they have yet to be listed on public markets. They did however recently launch their open source tech consortium called prebid.org.

We covered the buzz about the tech consortium between AppNexus, LiveRamp, and MediaMath back in May. Index Exchange, Rocketfuel, Live Inent and Open X are also collaborating to create a strong alliance against the ad tech duopoly held between Google and Facebook. These tech companies are forging an alliance within an industry that AppNexus President Michael Rubenstein has labeled as “broken”. The overall goal for these companies through the consortium is to bring transparency and economic efficiency to publishers, and to present engaging and relevant content to internet users. Very much in line with our mission at OAREX as well.

In late June, Tech Insider spoke with Rubenstein to discuss IPO updates. Although that particular conversation was dismissed, he did share that AppNexus works closely with and has a “deep relationship” with Facebook and Google. While they may be rivals, the ad tech giants actually benefit from AppNexus’ efforts considering antitrust authorities may scrutinize their business activities due to their control in the market place.

Interestingly enough, Google has the chance to thrive whether or not the consortium presents new challenges. They are actively trying to please their clients and not push them to seek a third option like AppNexus through features like ad blocking. We are inspired by AppNexus Chief Strategy Officer Keith Petri who, like us, loves seeing “…leading companies bonding together to address an industry-wide problem which cannot and will not be solved without collaboration.” We look forward to seeing what opportunities the consortium will present publishers.

Digital Media Receivables Financing

In 2016 for the first time ever, digital advertising — across desktop and mobile — exceeded television. This year alone digital advertising is expected to exceed traditional avenues by over $10 billion globally. It’s evident why: most of the world owns a smart phone or uses social media, and the internet will soon become ubiquitous thanks to pioneers like Elon Musk. Given the number of eyeballs available in the digital world, ad budgets are starting to be weighted toward desktop, mobile and smart phone apps.

Advertising as a Revenue Driver… and Revenue

Many companies employ advertising as a revenue driver. The formula is seemingly simple: promote your product, app or content across various advertising platforms (like Facebook), in order to drive sales, downloads and clicks. But if you don’t sell a physical product, then how do you make your money? For many digital businesses like publishers (i.e. content publishers and smart phone app developers), it’s advertising. They’ll promote their digital property in order to drive activities like downloads and clicks to their website. Here is a breakdown of the digital media revenue life cycle:

digital media receivables financing

The only issue facing publishers is the mismatch between their income and expenses. Content promotion and PUA platforms requires money up front, but programmatic ad revenue and marketplace revenue (i.e. App Store, Android, Amazon) pays anywhere from 30-90 days. Without being able to immediately receive money from clicks and in-app purchases, publishers are forced to operate under the status quo or find a way to raise capital for promotion. That’s where digital media receivables financing comes into play.

What Are Digital Media Receivables?

Digital media receivables are invoices created from advertising revenue and purchases generated within digital mediums such websites and smart phone apps. Essentially any revenue generated from a digital platform (advertising, affiliate revenue, in-app purchases) payable at a later date (30-90 days), is a digital media receivable.

Digital Media Receivables Financing

OAREX offers digital media receivables financing, by advancing funds against outstanding  leverages outstanding digital ad revenue and marketplace revenue payable to publishers, by advancing funds for them. Each month, as OAREX’s publisher clients generate ad revenue and in-app revenue, OAREX will advance funds against those invoices that are normally payable in 30-90 days.

Advantages of Financing Digital Media Receivables

Digital media invoice financing allows publishers to immediately reinvest the proceeds into hot content promotion and PUA campaigns that have a direct, measurable ROI (i.e. revenue recycling). In turn, this fuels growth because publishers are able to turn over their money into campaigns with a positive ROI more often, thus increasing overall revenues. Additionally, having the ability to shore up outstanding revenues and match income and expenses allows publishers, who often have cyclical revenue cycles, to prepare for both busy and slow season.

What is Revenue Recycling for Apps?

As a mobile app developer, there are multiple ways to make money on smart phones. The most popular is creating an app — a free game, utility or novelty — and earning revenue from ads and in-app purchases. Sounds easy enough, right? But how does your app ever get seen? However most app developers spend significant amounts of capital into the actual development of the game or app, but then how does it get seen? The ideal method would be revenue recycling, which allows quick internal reinvestment of revenues for growth. Before we define revenue recycling, we’d like to give a little background.

Since 2015, we’ve helped over 65 app developers (400+ apps) by accelerating digital revenue. 

It’s no secret that the key to success is getting your app found (and downloaded) by the masses. Your app can be featured in an app store, written about by a popular blog, or advertised via proven marketing channels. The best proven approach to have your app seen by the masses is successfully advertising it to convert into downloads, called Paid User Acquisition (“PUA”). App developers pay to put ads for their app in front of certain audiences, across various platforms and devices, to increase downloads (acquired users).

PUA requires a capital up front, which can be sourced from bootstrapping with revenues, angel investment or personal loans.

Paid User Acquisition (“PUA”)

Paid User Acquisition, the most common approach to user acquisition, is a three-step approach in no particular order. The order depends on the creativity and experience of the app developer’s creative team. One factor is identifying the marketing channels to advertise your app through. Another factor is figuring out the audience and device you want to put your ads in front of. Lastly, creating the numerous ad copies and figuring out which ads work in front of which audiences is the most important — once you figure this out, you’re basically printing money.

Revenue Recycling: Funding Paid User Acquisition

The only issue to successful PUA campaigns is the mismatch between revenue and expenses, i.e. the timing between ad revenue or in-app revenue and funding required for PUA. Most PUA campaigns require capital up front or within 15 days, but revenue pays much later: Google Store pays in 45 days, the App Store pays in 65 days, and advertisers pay in 60-90 days. If your PUA campaigns are successful, this requires a float of at least 30 days, at worst 75+ days. Credit cards and angel investment will only get you so far. That’s where revenue recycling comes in.

Revenue recycling is a method of quickly obtaining revenue from digital marketplaces, to immediately reinvest into successful paid user acquisition campaigns.

Revenue recycling eliminates the wait associated with revenues earned from digital marketplaces and advertising. This allows app developers to “scale” by quickly reinvesting revenues into their proven and successful PUA campaigns.

The problem is that many of the content promotion platforms do not have the capital base to extend credit to app developers, or they do but they are not qualified in underwriting the risks of extending credit to advertise. That’s where OAREX comes into play.

OAREX: The Online Ad (or App) Revenue Exchange

We help app developers with revenue recycling by advancing funds against outstanding advertising invoices, or digital marketplace invoices from Google Store or the App Store. This enables app developers to “step on the gas” and exploit winning PUA campaigns and start other campaigns that they know, with great confidence, work.

Interested in learning more? Contact us at 1-855-GO-OAREX or see if you qualify here.

Header Bidding: Understand it in 200 Seconds (or less)

header biddingHeader bidding. Every publisher has heard about it, brags about it or hates it. The one thing that every person will agree on is it’s complexity. As a pub, how many times have you heard “we bring full transparency to your tech stack”, “we offer the highest yielding header bidding solution”, or “we maximize every impression”. It’s tough to verify these bold statements with each header bidding solution being chalked full of punchy marketing slogans. But how many people actually understand it? How can you determine which ad networks deliver on their promises? Below we take a look at what’s really going on behind the scenes.

Life Before Header Bidding

Long before header bidding came to be, publishers were forced to live and die by the “waterfall”. The waterfall is aptly named for it’s step by step descent down the list of demand sources in search of the next best CPM. Whatever doesn’t get “filled” simply defaults with the next demand partners’ ads, trickling down to the last one with the lowest CPM offer. With this downward descent comes an inherent race to the bottom as you bounce downward from one exchange to the next in search of the next highest paying customer.  If you’re in digital publishing, you can recall the challenge felt during waterfall construction and modification.

A Quick Header Bidding History

The true genesis of header bidding is tough to trace but the CEO of Appnexus lays claim as the sole inventor all the way back in 2009. Others will tell you that a small group of publisher side ad-tech platforms were the creators. While we don’t know exactly who is behind the earliest rendition we do know that they were seeking better yield. They knew that if they could make calls to each exchange in the waterfall all at the same time they would ultimately earn the most revenue. They did this by allowing outsiders in to play with Google’s DFP, and fairly at that.

ELI5 (Explain It Like I’m 5)

Imagine yourself sitting at an auction and the auctioneer rattles off the current bid and openly accepts new bids. Each bidder argues back and forth as the seller waits in anticipation.The process takes some time and makes for a long day.

This is exactly how the first version of header bidding worked. The header script made calls out to exchanges one by one, returned bids and compared those bids with all of the others. This process led to a lot of latency, or delay, creating a less than amazing user experience.

Now imagine this, you’re at an auction and the auctioneer accepts all of the bids at the exact same time. The bids are reviewed and the highest bidder wins.

This refined process is called parallel calling. The header script – the code that runs header bidding – collects bids from every exchange at the same time. This drastically cuts down on latency issues and subsequently enhances user experience.

To improve the user experience even further publishers are beginning to move to server-side header bidding. Server-side bidding conducts the auction away from the browser, putting the task of bidding onto the supply-side SSPs.  This further evolution is helping publishers chase away any possible latency and user experience problems.

The Pros and Cons of Header Bidding

Like every single thing ever created, header bidding has a host of pros and cons.

The pros of header bidding:

  • Flatten your waterfall – managing the order in which partners gain access to inventory is no longer necessary because each demand partner declares how they value the impression up front
  • Better yield management – tag based integrations create inefficiency because they force an average rate to compete with the impression level bids of AdX (if the publisher is on DFP). This setup leaves money on the table with both the SSP and AdX. Consider this: if the SSP is bidding anywhere between $0.50 and $5, but averaging $2, then AdX will win every impression over $2.00, even if the SSP would have paid far more, because there’s no way to know what the SSP would have paid. Similarly, any impression where AdX would pay less than $2 but the SSP would not fill at all, or would fill far below their average is lost revenue as well. Header bidding solves this inefficiency.
  • Reduce discrepancies – discrepancies arise through latency, and multi-partner waterfalls are inherently latent.

The cons:

  • Operational setup – Header tag integrations require a much more involved set-up process. It can sometimes be technical too, and require you to hire someone with greater technical skills. However the benefit is that once setup, publishers likely won’t need to touch those line items in the future like they do to manage the waterfall with a tag setup.
  • Longer page load – publishers need to watch their page load times like a hawk because even fractional improvements in page load result in better user engagement. Header tag integrations therefore require some partnership with IT resources to both implement and manage.
  • Yield risk  (compression of profits) – the biggest risk we see for publishers is that it could decrease bids from buyers (yes, believe it). That flattening the waterfall results in greater bid density and demand liquidity, leading to greater revenue and ultimate nirvana? Yes, the risk is that buyers identify which pre-bid partner allows them to buy for the lowest price and move their demand there. In other words, buyers optimize to the platforms of lowest bid density. Remember, header tag integrations don’t allow the publisher to run their own second price auction across all platforms; they just let the publisher pick the best result out of many second price auctions.

Are you using header bidding? Are you waiting to get paid? Find out if you qualify for accelerated ad revenue payments.

3 Super Creative TV Ads That Will Leave You Smiling

Although OAREX operates in the programmatic advertising ecosystem, we have a special love for advertising in general. Especially creative TV ads. The creativity and ingenuity that comes from the agencies and marketing teams never cease to amaze us. While there are a ton of creative TV ads in history, these 3 following ads – two which are airing on TV and streaming outlets as we write this post – struck a funny cord with us.

Enjoy!

#1. The Samsung Galaxy 8: “Do What You Can’t”

This is definitely one of the best active campaigns on the air right now, and perhaps will go down as one of the greatest of all time. A lonely and adventurous ostrich has strayed away from it’s flock and accidentally plucks its face into a Samsung Galaxy 8 Gear VR head set. For the first time, the ostrich (which as you know ostriches can’t fly) experiences what it’s like to be in the clouds. Having fallen into the grips of VR as many people do, the ostrich attempts to fly but lands flat on its face. Without expression by the other ostriches, you can tell they’re laughing at the lone adventurer. With perfect choreography and cinematography to Eric Clapton’s “Rocket Man” that starts after a few seconds, the ostrich sets out to do what it can’t do: fly. Eventually the ostrich is airborne, nailing the theme of the commercial so eloquently – do what you can’t. Very creative, funny, inspiring and motivating, to say the least. Props to the creative team that put this together.

#2. The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas: “Luv Bug”

This is another commercial currently on the air right now, created by Volkswagen’s in-house creative team. It starts off with a blue car rockin’ back and forth that reminds us of the famous Seinfeld episode. Meanwhile Dino “Dean Martin” Crocetti’s “Birds and the Bees” plays in the background. The implication here is obvious – someone is shaggin’ in the car. Next thing you know, the lovely couple has a newborn baby with them, and they’re trading in their blue “luv Bug” for a bigger Volkswagen model, a red Jetta. Then it cuts to the Jetta, parked in the woods, while an owl uncomfortably watches the car shaking again. M0re shaggin’! Back to the dealership, now with a new baby and a slightly older and bigger first child. The family upgrades to a gray Taureg. Then it cuts to a scene where they’re in a cornfield while cows try to look away at the Taureg rockin’ back in forth. By now we know what happens next. The family is going to outgrow their Taureg and will need to upgrade to the Atlas, the biggest car offered by Volkswagen. This time, it’s an entire family – mom, dad, three kids and a dog. The last scene cuts to the Atlas rocking in the woods, but surprisingly, there’s no shagging. It’s ultimately a funny, PG-rated ending that makes the viewer feel like they have a dirty mind. And leaves them with a smile as potentially one of the best creative TV ads ever.

#3. Florida Orange Juice: “Diner”

This is a classic by the agency BBDO ATL, one of the best of the best of creative TV ads. Originally airing in 2012, this remains a favorite of our CEO. It begins with a man sitting at a breakfast diner booth with all the people he’s going to run into for the day. And it appears he is going to have a very bad day. He asks each one individually what’s “on the agenda for today?”, as he takes his first sip of orange juice. A toll booth lady tells him he won’t have any change to pay the toll, not even under the seat (we all can imagine how bad that can turn out!). Then a co-worker dressed in golf gear says he’s going to call in sick. His “girlfriend” says she’ll call crying that he hasn’t announced their relationship is “FB official” yet, and more. With each negative piece of news, he simply response nonchalantly with something positive i.e. “Excellent”. Then at the end, he just expresses gratitude that despite such a shitty day, he’s thankful he drank his orange juice. The acting is tremendous! And despite this being an entire campaign of ads, none of the others come close to how good this one is. Regardless, job well done by BBDO.