Sunday, 25 January 2009

The Best Adverts Ever?

Last year when I began my blog, I wrote the following post about great TV advertising.

Well, I've seen some excellent current examples in recent days, so much so that I've decided to extend this post and to re-print it...

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One of my little pet hates - something I would happily put into Room 101 given the chance, is bad TV adverts. There's nothing worse than a badly thought out advert that I have wasted precious seconds of my life watching. On the flip side, there is nothing better than a good, funny advert that not only makes you smile, but makes you remember what it is that was being promoted, days, weeks, months, even years later. After all, that's what advertising should be all about!

So I've trawled through my memory bank for some of those iconic, or at least to me personally, memorable adverts that have made me smile and which basically, did exactly what was said on the tin!

Iconic Advertising
Sometimes, it's the music that makes it memorable, sometimes, the iconic one liners.

Cadbury's Milk Tray is right up there with that famous line - 'And all because the lady loves Milk Tray'.

The 'Hovis' advert with Dvorak's famous New World Symphony, directed by Sir Ridley Scott is another iconic advert.

A personal favourite of mine from growing up in the 80s was the Yellow Pages advert - with J.R. Hartley looking for his book on fly fishing. Again, the melancholy and suddenly uplifting finale to the music, added to the piece.

This 'French Polishers' Yellow Pages advert was also ace!

The Hamlet adverts were superb. Again, the classical score, and the line - 'Happiness, is a cigar called Hamlet'. I've never smoked, and I don't agree with smoking advertisements. But as an advert of its day, did it do what it set out to do? Absolutely! The best one? Definitely, stuck in the bunker!

1992 was a kind of iconic year in my life. I don't really know why, but it was just a year from which everything else kind of flowed - even though I was only 10. From that year, the amazing Tango adverts. 'You Know When You've Been Tango'd' - a classic line. This was the re-make after the original, controversial 'happy slapping' original was banned!

Peter Kay's John Smiths adverts are just superb. Every one a hit. I'm biased as I think he's the best comedian in the UK - but looking at these adverts you can see why. Again, just fantastic humour and classic lines that everyone remembers. 'Top Bombing', 'Now come on, avante'. 'ave it'. Top draw advertisments!

Whatever happened to the Fairy Liquid adverts? Again, a long-running, famous brand of advertising with that hook - 'Now Hands That Do Dishes Can Feel Soft As Your Face, With Mild Green, Fairy Liquid'.

The BT adverts were also up there. Two in particular - Bob Hoskins' 'It's Good To Talk'...

...and Maureen Lipman's 'An 'Ology?!' Classic!

Maynards Wine Gums 'Set The Juice Loose' advert is just awesome! Simple, ridiculous, but incredibly catchy!

Now, I love Weetabix (it's my second favourite cereal), and this modern 'I Will Survive' advert mightn't go down in folklore as a great, but I loved it all the same!

That Vitalite advert has also stayed with me from my childhood - simply because of the tune!

The Guinness adverts have always had a touch of class about them. 'Good Things Come To Those Who Wait'. This one always won me over, simply because of the musical score. I've always thought of Guaglione as being the 'Guinness advert song'. Good advertising works guys!

There's also the 'Mambo No.5' Guinness advert from 1990.

Even the modern one is a hit!

There's also a few dodgy ones which I must admit to liking as they take me back to my childhood. The 'Birds Eye Potato Waffles' advert really isn't great, but then, the tune has still stayed with me years later, so perhaps it is! They're 'Waffly Versatile'!

This Bran Flakes advert is also rather awful - but I liked it! They're Tasty, Tasty, Very Very Tasty, They're Very Tasty!

Another awful but memorable cereal advert was Ross Kemp's Kelloggs Fruit'n Fibre escape - comically shocking!

Even Crunchy Nut Corn Flakes got in on the act! I remmeber this one well!

But, going back to some classic stuff - 'Papa! Nicole!' The Renault Clio adverts were great. The Vic and Bob wedding finale was blindin'!

The Ferrero Rocher advert was another favourite. A great tune and a visual image - 'The Ambassador's Reception',

Like Renault Clio, the Stella Artois adverts showed that there are plenty of foreign adverts that have become iconic. Again, it's the music and also the tag-line 'Stella Artois -Reassuringly Expensive'.

Honda make fantastic adverts. Easily their best one for me is 'The Impossible Dream'. Simply because I love the song sang by Andy Williams.

As an 8 year old, the 1990 Toys R'Us advert was very exciting. Even though I always thought it said 'There's millions of debris all under one roof'! This is the full version.

To finish on a few modern adverts which I think are fantastic, 'Compare the' is top draw. Simples!

But without doubt, possibly one of the best adverts for me of all time is the Skoda Fabia 'Cake' advert. Julie Andrews singing that iconic song, the sheer madness of making a car out of cake. Singing along whilst licking your lips at the thought of eating that car, it just worked on so, so, so many levels! The icing on the cake of TV adverts I would cringingly dare to suggest! Here it is once more!

There's many I'll have missed but these are a sample of what for me, makes good advertising. Mostly from the 80s/90s admittedly, but then that's when I grew up watching TV! Clearly I'm not going to show which ones are bad examples of TV advertising because I don't want to waste my life watching them again - but suffice to say, most insurance 'no claims' type adverts are right up there!

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Now, in modern 2011 time, I want to add a few more...

This 'Innocent Smoothies' advert is quite absurd and yet it plays on that very point, and that makes it fantastic advertising! Using a well done sound track with Brian Blessed is a master stroke!

Then there's the 'Go Compare' franchise. They've jumped onto the Meertkat advertising bandwagon and whether you like it or not, it's ain't half catchy! Here's Gio Compario!

This new advert featuring 'Two Jags' John Prescott is the latest in a line of very good Omid Djalili adverts for the brand.

Finally, a call out which I first made when I originally wrote this blog post and which I ask again...

One advert I can't find anywhere but which I adored as a child was a Yellow Pages advert which had the Ramones hit 'Baby I Love You' as the theme tune. It showed a young kid with glasses grow up and get married and have children of his own. It's another iconic advert which introduced me to that fantastic song and if anyone can find a link to it (with the original music!), Yell!!


  1. So where's the nostalgic computer-games console post, eh? And where did adverts come from? Was I listening to a completely different reality?
    John T

  2. Where's the nostalgic games console comment, eh? Was I hearing a completely different pub conversation last night?