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This month, Ad Age is expanding its “Creativity Top 5” series to include new roundups of our favorite special-interest campaigns and ideas from brands. The latest installment looks at the best celebrity-brand matchups of the past month and follows our ranking of the best brand NFT ideas. Visit our site each Thursday for a new list of niche campaigns from the past month. Check back next month for another installment of top brand and celebrity matchups.

This month: Tom Brady’s weirdest collab, Frito-Lay’s late-night merrymaker, an unexpected donut king and more. 

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5: Kevin Hart and Hydrow: Hydrow High

Agency: Mojo Supermarket

Ahead of the holiday season, in-home fitness brands have invested in promoting their wares, and we saw two rower fitness companies turn to stars to get the word out. Ergatta recruited ex-NFL pro and activist Colin Kaepernick for its meditative spot, but we found pitchman Kevin Hart a bit more compelling in his humorous ad for Hydrow, created as part of a campaign from Mojo Supermarket centered on the idea of a “Hyrdrow High.” Hart isn’t just a spokesperson touting the product benefits (“I’m high as hell!” he says in the ad.) Hydrow hired the actor/comedian as a creative director last year.

Watch: Kevin Hart, Dave Grohl and a host of other celebrities living under one roof for SiriusXM.

4: Tom Brady, Hertz and Tesla: Let’s Go

Agencies: Blue Memo, Shadow Lion and FKQ

This year, we’ve seen NFL star Tom Brady shill for FTX, the cryptocurrency exchange platform in which he has an equity stake. He also appeared to take a bite of Subway’s zero-carb bread (though we don’t know if he swallowed or even chewed). But his best brand pitchman performance this past month was for Hertz, promoting the brand’s partnership with Tesla that will bring a fleet of 100,000 of the auto brand’s vehicles into dealerships by 2022. In one of the ads, Brady simply appears as his “GOAT” self, sitting among a group of Teslas and plugged into one of the many charging stations that will be installed at Hertz outlets.

3: Jimmy Fallon and Frito-Lay: Share More Joy

Agency: In-House

Back in 2019, Frito-Lay got us really pumped for the holidays with its delightful film starring Anna Kendrick singing the praises of its snacks, a la “Sound of Music.” The company returns in full-force with a new musical extravaganza, this time, starring Jimmy Fallon with cameos from Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Fallon and his wife and kids. 

2: Justin Bieber and Tim Hortons: TimBiebs

Agency: Gut

Earlier this month, just as McDonald’s announced its latest star tie-up, this one with Mariah Carey (an entire menu that offers 12 days of free items with purchases from its app), restaurant chain Tim Hortons debuted its own celebrity collab, with fellow famous Canadian Justin Bieber. Together, they introduced a new donut collection, “TimBiebs,” a spin-off of the company’s existing Timbits mini treats. Available starting Nov. 29, they’re being promoted in a humorous spot created with Gut that shows Bieber brainstorming on TimBiebs flavors.

1: Elton John: The Foundations Collection with Walmart and Sam’s Club

Elton John continues to be a prominent face in marketing campaigns this year, such as in the latest installment of Uber Eats’ “Tonight I’ll Be Eating” campaign, in which he starred with Lil Nas X. More recently, he teamed up with both Walmart and Sam’s Club on what seems like a no-brainer branding move for the music legend—a line of eyewear. John’s stylish, distinctive specs have long been his signature accessory, so it’s a product idea that, for his brand at least, makes total sense.


Ann-Christine Diaz is the Creativity Editor at Ad Age. She has been covering the creative world of advertising and marketing for more than a decade. Outside of the job, she can be found getting in touch with her own creativity.