All-Time 5 Best Ever TV Advertisements (And Why)

07 August, 2014 — 6 Comments

When it comes to TV advertisements, we tend to turn a blind eye. Though there are a few adverts that are so good you cannot help but carry on and watch.

Here are my all-time 5 favourite adverts; all are there for varying reasons, but they all share one distinct characteristic which is exactly why each has made this list on this unorthodox blog. Can you guess what it is?

Can you guess what it is?

5. Sony — “Balls” (2005)

Probably my personal favourite. Director Nicolai Fuglsig’s stunning award winning ad for Sony Bravia sees 250,000 multi-coloured balls unleashed on the steep streets of San Francisco. Released bang in the middle of Sony’s brand repositioning strategy, this successfully positions the “Colour – like no other” theme to market its products through it’s viewing experience.

Released bang in the middle of Sony’s brand repositioning strategy, this successfully positions the “Colour – like no other” theme to market its products through it’s viewing experience.

And this advert really is an experience, because it’s all real. The combination of the camera shots and Jose Gonzalez’s calm music brilliance makes this ad one of the most entertaining I’ve ever seen.

You can easily go into a trance watching this.

This explosion of colour represents the visual quality of Sony’s range of LCD TVs. Watch out for the flying frog in this advert!

4. John West — “Bear” (2000)

Voted as the funniest TV advert of all time within the advertising industry. This humoristic take on David Attenborough’s documentary style shows a John West fisherman fighting a bear for fresh salmon in the highlands of Scotland.

The bear appears to fight back in martial-arts from, and funnily gets distracted when the fisherman shouts “Oh look, an eagle”, who then runs off with the prized salmon!

This entertaining take (on what is otherwise a relatively boring product) makes it one of the UK’s best adverts of all time, and certainly one of mine too.

Not only have John West been able to increase market share with this advert, but they also managed to produce one of the most talked about videos online, hitting well over 300 million views in 2006, which then made it the sixth most-watched video on the internet.

3. Guinness — “Surfer” (1999)

Another creative ad that won a string of awards is Guinness’ never-seen-before surfer advert. Built around the theme of “all good things come to those who wait”, this advert dazzled viewers with similar production technology as that used in the movie Titanic.

So it cost a small fortune – but to good effect as this is considered as one of the best TV ads of all time.

Visually, it’s impressive, and filmed in the black and white of the Guinness product itself. A group of surfers are waiting for the perfect wave to take to the seas.

This wave arrives and then turns into a hoard of crashing white horses that conquer all but one surfer who is always ‘waiting’ for that kind of wave, just like a Guinness drinker who is waiting for the perfect pint to settle before drinking.

2. Coca-Cola — “Holidays Are Coming” (1995)

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without Coca-Cola’s iconic and long-running “Holidays Are Coming” advert hitting the TV screens. In fact, ever since its first even screening in winter 1995, these adverts build huge anticipation and excitement towards Christmas, all through carefully marketing The Coca-Cola Company’s main product.

The makers have cleverly included a bunch of traditional Christmas stuff, including a signing choir, the thousands of Christmas lights standing out in the night and using Santa Claus to strengthen the brand image.

It really is a great TV advert that is proving time and time again to boost brand awareness and product sales during the festive period.

1. Cadbury — “Gorilla” (2007)

Had to be #1 for the UK crowd! What makes this advert such a success – like the majority of the above – is that it’s not really an ‘advert’ as such in the first place. It involves a giant gorilla playing drums over a classic pop song.

That’s all. Oh, and I shouldn’t forget the distinct Cadbury colour ever present in the background.

Understandably, people actually wanted to see this advert. That doesn’t happen to your every day ad, in fact, it hardly ever happens at all. Perhaps it’s down to the Phil Collins soundtrack? Or down to the giant drum-playing gorilla?

Either way, it’s a classic example of a viral advert that won a string of awards and gathered over 7 million hits on YouTube. More importantly, though, this campaign resulted in a direct growth of 5% in company revenue.

So, why are all of these so good?

The answer is real simple. It’s because they all share a common theme that they are NOT designed nor produced like a ‘TV advert.’

Documentaries, music videos…  The traditional style (for which is still most obvious within the US) is completely absent.

This is the main factor that these adverts have not only been a massive success for the creators but have also been a success for the respected companies in terms of revenue and market share.

How else would they have gone viral?

7 thoughts on “All-Time 5 Best Ever TV Advertisements (And Why)

  1. Just putting together a post on my favourite TV spots to post in the next few days so it was a cool coincidence to see this. Some great choices here but the less said about Gorilla the better :p Two from here are my joint(ish) top though.

    Thought you were going to come to a different conclusion – that they’re all pretty soft on the sell, pushing the feeling of the product rather than the product itself. All very John Willshire, really

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