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Award-winning former ad execs Janet Krestin and Nancy Vonk's favourite campaigns of the moment

Ms. Vonk and Ms. Kestin are out of the advertising game now. Their company, Swim, consults with individuals and businesses to teach them leadership skills. But they still judge ad competitions, and keep an eye on interesting work. Here's what has caught their attention lately.

New Zealand Transport Agency: “Mistakes”

This ad targets an unusual group for a safety campaign: people who are good drivers, but who tend to go a little too fast.

On a quiet country road, a father pulls out to make a turn, cutting it too close with an oncoming car. The other car is going too fast and does not have time to stop. The action freezes at the moment when the two men realize what’s happening. In shock, they open their doors to meet each other on the road. The father apologizes for his mistake; the other man regretfully tells him that if he were going slower he could change things. The father begs for help, for himself and his son in the back seat. The stricken driver says he’s sorry and they both return to their vehicles to meet their fate.

Ms. Kestin is a little emotional just describing the ad.

“Just when you think you couldn’t find a new idea to talk about speeding,” she says. “It’s a totally new way of thinking about it. It just blew my mind.”

La société de l’assurance automobile du Québec: “Texto 2013”

Another road safety message, this one from the consistently creative Quebec agency lg2, tackled texting and driving. Unlike other campaigns showing graphic crashes, however, the agency decided to communicate a simple idea: get people used to waiting for your response. In conversation, people are shown greeting others’ questions with uncomfortable silence before giving an answer. Awkward in person, sure, but totally acceptable over text message – and necessary when driving.

“They take an angle I’ve never heard before,” Ms. Vonk says. “The simple insight is, ‘Is it going to kill you to wait 10 minutes?’”

Watch the videos: Texto 2013 television campaign

Google+: “Hangouts - same sex marriage”

Both Ms. Vonk and Ms. Kestin are happy to see a trend toward more emotional storytelling in ads; a welcome break from the constant battle to have the most clever one-liner, they say.

Google did an exemplary job with a video about gay couples in France, where at the time same-sex marriage was not legal. It showed couples using Google’s video-messaging “hangouts” to reach a mayor in Belgium who agreed to officiate their marriages, and had the power to do so where he was.

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