This was the year when zombies rescued heart attack victims, a kids' hospital launched an anti-pain police force, and bullets turned to bubbles in an African civil war.
Or at least those are the themes behind some of Canada's best commercials of 2012. It was a year in which non-profits raised awareness with inspiring ads and major corporations jumped in front of the cameras to battle bad publicity and explain their case to the public.
Witness, for example, McDonald's Canada's groundbreaking series of infomercials answering serious questions from the public about their food. Then there is Astral Media's mockumentary touting its involvement in support of Canadian film and TV. And the Canadian Paralympic Committee outdid itself with an inspiring ad showing a disabled athlete running past emergency vehicles and wheelchairs and breaking out into a run in a stadium. Awesome, inspiring stuff.
So here are what we say are 12 of the best Canadian ads of 2012. Vote for your favourites in the slideshow below.
Budweiser: Flash Fans
Arguably the most buzzworthy Canadian commercial of the year, this Budweiser spot that aired on Canadian stations during SuperBowl XLVI featured two Toronto-area amateur league hockey teams who were told they were being filmed for a documentary. Instead, the filmmakers got a flash mob to show up to the game, dressed in team colours, to throw confetti and cheer on the local teams. The end result was an ad that convincingly looked like a highlight reel from an NHL game. The video went viral in the U.S. and around the world.
Whistler Film Festival: Princess (GRAPHIC LANGUAGE)
Made by Vancouver's Dare agency, this promo for the Whistler Film Festival looks like a genuine Pixar CGI cartoon, right up until the end, when the video takes a seriously gangsta turn....
Canadian Paralympic Committee: Unstoppable
Made for the 2012 Paralympic Games, this ad features a disabled runner making his way past wheelchairs, emergency vehicles and an accident scene, before breaking away into a fast run. It's an inspiring metaphor for people's ability to overcome challenges, and one of HuffPost's most totally favourite ads of the year.
Zellers: Zeddy Gets Laid Off
Zellers is going out of business, but at least it's doing it with humour. In this ad, one of a series on the same theme, store mascot Zeddy is driven out into the woods and informed his services are no longer needed.
Shaw: Car Chase
This ad for Shaw Cable's on-demand movie service has viewers strapped into the middle of high-octane action sequences. A silly but noticeable way to get the message across that your movie service puts the audience "in the heart of the action."
Heart & Stroke Foundation: The Undeading
Is receiving CPR like becoming a zombie? We certainly hope not, but that's the amusing premise of this Heart & Stroke Foundation public service video, which shows a woman suffering a heart attack during a zombie invasion, only to be revived by the zombies ... and then attacked by them again. We'll overlook the conceptual confusion here and applaud the ad's eye-catching production values and the useful tidbits about carrying out CPR.
Maynards Mouth Chase: Fishing
Candy maker Maynards produced a series of ads called "Mouth Chase" in which a man in a mouth costume chases people in various random situations. The ads combine intentionally low-quality amateurish video with a dramatic, cinematic soundtrack to produce a uniquely bizarre effect.
Astral: In Between Odds
Astral Media wanted to show off its efforts to support the Canadian film and TV industry, so they made this mockumentary featuring a filmmaker who is suffering from an unfortunately flattened nose due to doors being repeatedly closed in his face. A subtle bit of humour, but it gets the point across.
War Child: Jam (CAUTION: GRAPHIC IMAGES)
This intense, at times disturbing ad made for the non-profit group War Child Canada shows a battle breaking out in some unidentified African civil war. As the battle rages, gun clips turn into crayons and bullets into bubbles. "Where childhood thrives, war does not," the ad concludes. Powerful stuff.
Sick Kids Hospital: Pain Squad
This promo video outlines how Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children managed to get child cancer patients to keep track of their treatment-related pain. The hospital built an app called "Pain Squad" that "recruits" kids into becoming part of "a special police force dedicated to hunting down pain." As far as promo videos go, it doesn't get much more touching than this.
McDonald's: Our Food, Your Questions
McDonald's Canada deserves kudos for coming up with a unique approach to selling its product this year: Telling customers the truth about it. The fast food chain ran a series of online and TV ads this year, answering challenging questions from customers. In this video, McDonald's explains why their hamburgers look a lot better in ads than they do in real life.
Tourism Commission: Canada Shared by Canadians
The Canadian Tourism Commission issued a call-out to the public to send them their video footage of Canada. They took the submissions and boiled them down to these two minutes of awesomeness. Canada has never looked better, or more fun.