The 50 Best Commercials Ever – Ads That Shaped History!

Written by Hassan Ali

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Last updated on 17th June 2024

Welcome to our comprehensive guide to the 50 best commercials of all time. These ads didn’t just sell products; they became cultural landmarks.

From hilarious to heartwarming, each commercial on this list has left a lasting impression on audiences worldwide.

Dive in to get inspired by the creativity, emotion, and impact of these legendary ads.

Introduction to iconic commercials

Iconic commercials do more than just sell products; they become part of our culture. These ads stick with us because they use creativity, emotion, and great storytelling.

What makes a commercial iconic? It’s the ability to connect with people in a way that goes beyond just showing a product. Whether they make us laugh, feel nostalgic, or think deeply, these commercials tap into feelings that make them memorable.

In this guide, we’ll look at the 50 best commercials of all time. Each one has made a lasting impact, showing how powerful advertising can be when done right.

Best animated commercials

As an animated explainer video company, animated ads have a special place in our heart. 

Animation is a great way to make a memorable and timeless ad that appeals to a wide audience. 

It’s also surprisingly inexpensive because you don’t have to worry about hiring locations, actors, or expensive equipment. 

Let’s take a look at some of the best animated ads...

1. “Dumb Ways to Die” (Metro)

Just look at the view count on that ad – over 300 million and counting. Most can only dream of that kind of exposure!

This ad – showing cutesy, colourful characters experiencing horrifically over-the-top deaths while singing along to a very catchy song – is brilliant for many reasons. 

Not only is it delightful and funny, it also suckerpunches viewers at the end with a very real safety message: Be safe around trains.

It’s the exact opposite of what you’d expect from a public service announcement about train safety, and maybe that’s why it’s so memorable and still enjoyed today. 

Our Insight
This ad isn’t just legendary because it’s so fun, catchy and memorable. It’s legendary because of what it achieved. It inspired a whopping 127 million people to sign a pledge to be safer around trains, and led to a 10-20% reduction in train-related accidents as of February the following year.

2. “Magical Place” (Toys R Us)

This beloved ad first aired in 1989 and was remastered by Toys R Us decades later to celebrate their 25th year of trading in the UK. 

Mike Coogan, marketing director at Toys R Us said at the time: “The Magical Place TV commercial has become synonymous with the success of Toys R Us. We’re delighted to bring back this iconic commercial.”

This is another ad that can place a lot of its success down to a catchy soundtrack, and it’s probably not a coincidence. 

Scientists have found that music stimulates almost every part of the brain, particularly the limbic system – responsible for emotion and memory. 

This could be why some advertising jingles are so successful and catchy, and why we’re able to look back on them with fondness even decades later. 

Expert Tip
Music is a huge deal. Whenever you’re making an ad or video, it’s worth getting a clear idea in your mind of what sort of music you’re planning to use as early as possible. Royalty free music sites are often the best starting point to browse available tracks. Check out the article below to browse some of our favourites.
Recommended Article
Looking for the right tracks for your film, explainer video, app or video game? We’ve compiled this guide to the best royalty free music sites in 2023.

3. “The Last Game” (Nike)

This beautiful 3D animated commercial from Nike was released to coincide with the 2014 world cup. 

At just over 5 minutes long it’s probably considered a little lengthy for an ad, but when you have a gripping storyline, famous characters, and incredible visuals, length doesn’t really matter anymore. In fact, this ad feels and looks more like a short film.

It took over 7 months for a team of over 300 people to complete, including 101 artists and 25 animators. 

4. “June: Life is Better When You Share the Ride” (Lyft)

This ad by Lyft is also a beautiful short film, directed by Academy Award winning animator, John Kahrs.

While telling an engaging and – in places – emotional story, the video also showcases different use cases for the service and builds trust in Lyft. 

According to Ricardo Viramontes, the creative director for Lyft at the time, “The film was inspired by the Lyft drivers and passengers who make it more than just a ride…there’s a strong common theme of people coming together through the Lyft experience.” 

Another nice touch about this ad (and an additional nod to the sense of community that the film explores) is the original song “Moving” by Sir the Baptist, who was a Lyft driver for two years while pursuing his dream of becoming a hip hop artist.

Our Insight
This example illustrates how powerful storytelling can be. Go above and beyond the selling points and features of your product or service: focus on what it means to people’s lives.

5. “Back to the Start” (Chipotle)

This touching animated ad from Chipotle shows the company’s commitment to sustainable farming. 

It stands out from the crowd when it comes to similar ads on this topic that tend to focus on shock value and upsetting imagery – and perhaps that’s why it was so successful. 

Expert Tip
Want to stand out? We recommend watching 5-10 ads of your competitors. Make a note of the things they have in common. Then, think about how you can create the exact polar opposite, in every way. You might have to tone it down, but this is how you establish your differentiators.

The song that drives the story is a country cover of Coldplay’s “The Scientist” by Willie Nelson. After the success of the ad, the song was downloaded thousands of times and (true to the message of the ad) the proceeds went to the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation which encourages sustainable farming methods. 

6. “No Palm Oil” (Iceland)

This ad sparked many conversations and was featured across several news sites when it was banned from TV for being “too political.” 

According to the BBC, this was because of the connection to a body whose objects are wholly or mainly of a political nature – that body being Greenpeace. 

Still, the ad was very successful online and it’s easy to see why. It looks great, it spreads an important message, and it tugs at the heartstrings of viewers. 

Our Insight
It seems counterintuitive – but few things are as good for the reach of an ad as being ‘banned!’ The great thing is that, if you hit roadblocks with traditional channels, new channels like social media still offer you a direct route to your audience.

7. “Betrayed by your Best Friend” (Viven Health)

In this public service announcement about sepsis, a loyal dog is used as a metaphor for the body’s immune system. 

The 2D animation, cel animation, and textures help to tell this story in a dramatic and compelling way. Plus, the video cleverly uses colours and sounds to evoke emotion.

Animation is perfect for telling stories with a metaphor – a boy and his dog become a person and their immune system. This video was received very well and won 2 Emmys! 

Expert Tip
Metaphors are great for storytelling – they make complex ideas relatable. Animated video can help bring these metaphors to life, making tricky topics easier to visualise and understand.

Funniest commercials

Some of the best commercial ads ever are those that make us laugh every single time we watch them. 

Funny ads are also successful because they’re extremely shareable. Whenever people see something funny on the internet, the knee-jerk reaction is to send it to their friends.

People are twice as likely to share video content with their friends than any other type of content. 
Source: Wyzowl

8. “German Coastguard” (Berlitz)

At first glance, there’s nothing funny about this ad. But the punchline is definitely worth the short wait. 

This ad for Berlitz – a language learning company – gets its point across in a unique and funny way. And then ends on a serious call to action: Improve your English!

Our Insight
This ad is funny because it’s relatable and unexpected. It’s exactly the kind of ad people like to watch again and again, and even share with their friends. 

9. “New Fella” (IRN-BRU)

The rivalry between England and Scotland is no secret. This IRN-BRU ad cleverly plays on that fact to demonstrate their famous “IRN-BRU gets you through” tagline. 

Every time the father in the sketch is frustrated by the Englishness of his daughter’s new boyfriend, he takes a sip of IRN-BRU and feels a little bit better. 

Expert Tip
IRN-BRU are super clear about their brand identity: they know who they are and that allows them to tell their story in this kind of humorous, irreverent way. Get clear about who YOUR audience are: what do they love? What do they hate? How does your product help them live that life?

There are many ads in this series, all following different funny scenarios that characters handle by drinking IRN-BRU. Here’s another one (consider it a bonus video!):

10. “Get Some Nuts” (Snickers)

As the best-selling candy bar in the entire world, Snickers could probably get away with simple, straight-forward ads. Or even no ads at all. 

Insteads, Snickers goes all out with crazy, unpredictable ads like this one from 2007, featuring the A-Team’s very own Mr T. 

With Mr T exploding onto a football pitch in a tank to yell and throw a Snickers bar at a footballer feigning injury, you can’t help but pick your jaw up off the floor, laugh, and grab a Snickers. 

Our Insight
You might not be able to afford Mr T’s endorsement of your product, but this is a good example of how branding can be super simple and super powerful. You identify your brand values, create a scenario in which those values are NOT being displayed – then have your mascot/character/product enter the fray, and unleash chaos!

11. “Get Shaved in the Head” (Old Spice)

From one celebrity spokesperson to another, Terry Crews was the face of Old Spice for ten years and featured in several hilarious video ads like the one above. 

The ads are memorable for the funny and bizarre scenarios that Terry Crews finds himself in, and also for his energetic and loud delivery. 

Our Insight
The Terry Crews/Old Spice tie-up revitalised Old Spice’s marketing by injecting a fresh and dynamic energy into the brand. Terry Crews’s larger-than-life persona and comedic talent brought a new level of excitement and humour to Old Spice’s advertising campaigns, replacing the previous, more traditional approach. His outrageous antics, combined with Old Spice’s witty and irreverent style, resonated with audiences, particularly younger demographics. The collaboration helped Old Spice shed its outdated image and reposition itself as a modern and innovative brand, ultimately boosting sales and revitalising consumer interest.

12. “Alexa Loses her Voice” (Amazon)

This Amazon ad featuring a star-studded cast was originally shown during the 2017 Super Bowl.

The premise itself (Alexa losing her voice) is original and funny, but the celebrity guests make it even funnier. 

With a classic insult from Gordon Ramsey, Antony Hopkins reprising his role as Hannibal Lector, and even Jeff Bezos himself featured in the video, this has got to be one of the best commercials of all time. 

Our Insight
The celebrity appearances and humour of an AI being losing its voice steal the show here – but hidden in between the lines, we see how people use Alexa, and how useful these Amazon products can be.

13. “Our Blades are F***ing Great” (Dollar Shave Club)

Before this ad launched, Dollar Shave Club was a tiny, virtually unknown start up. Almost 30 million views, 4 million subscribers, and a $1 billion acquisition later, and it’s safe to say this video put Dollar Shave Club on the map. 

Every second of this video includes an element of humour – from the unpredictable dialogue to the strange props – and the most amazing thing? 

It only cost $4,500 to make. 

Expert Tip
This one’s another vote for being ‘different.’ They took everything Gillette do – the dominant brand in the market – and flipped it right on its head, down to the profanity, humour and simple ‘Stop paying for shave tech you don’t need’ value proposition.

Weirdest commercials

The mark of a successful ad is that it helps your brand stand out from the crowd and achieve your goal. 

When asked the question: 

What’s the best way to stand out?

Some brands have answered with: Get Weird. 

This theme of advertising has grown in recent years, and has actually now got its own name: “Oddvertising.”

Let’s take a look at some of the most weird and wonderful ads of all time…

14. “Gorilla” (Cadbury) 

This is one of the most well known ads of all time. In fact, it was actually voted the nation’s favourite ad by the British public.

It’s a man in a gorilla suit playing “In the air tonight” by Phil Collins.

Our Insight
This ad has nothing to do with chocolate! And yet, people adored it (and still do today) so much that it boosted Cadbury’s sales by 9% and helped the brand come back from a salmonella scare. 

Phil Rumbol, Cadbury’s newly-appointed marketing director at the time, said that it was “the hardest thing I’ve had to sell in my career.”

But now, Rumbol says, since the great success of the ad, “I hear of brands who go into agencies today and say ‘Give me a gorilla’.” 

15. “Puppy Monkey Baby” (Mountain Dew)

This ad for Mountain Dew is, without a doubt, the weirdest on this list (maybe the weirdest in the world). It first aired during Super Bowl 50, and it was the brand’s first in-game ad spot in 15 years. 

They wanted to stand out and Puppy Monkey Baby definitely achieved that. It’s a polarising ad with some people thinking it’s weird and creepy, and others thinking it’s brilliant. But it’s this polarity that drummed up so much attention for the ad. 

It was easily the most talked about ad that year and the Puppy Monkey Baby hashtag continued trending long after the game was over. 

You may be pleased to find out that the ad isn’t completely devoid of logic.

Expert Tip
According to the creators, Monty Pera and Don Marshall Wilhelmi, the idea came from a running gag in the ad world that the most popular Super Bowl ads feature puppies, monkeys, or babies. So they went for all three! This underscores how important it is to get out there and do your research! Find out what works, and stand on the shoulders of giants!

16. “Treadmill” (Skittles)

Just like “Maybe it’s Maybelline” or Nike’s “Just do it”, Skittles has a long-running, famous tagline: “Taste the rainbow.”

This has been the Skittles tagline since the early nineties, but in recent years the brand has been experimenting with ‘oddvertising’ to see how far they can really stretch it. 

The treadmill ad is one of their more weird ventures, in which we see a character sweating Skittles while another character collects and eats them. 

It’s quirky. It’s strange. And it definitely gets people talking about Skittles!

Expert Tip
Weird can be a good thing, when you’re looking to get people talking. How far can you push the envelope?

17. “Girls Don’t Poop” (Poo Pourri)

When your product is called Poo Pourri, you’re already starting from quite a weird place. It only makes sense to take that weirdness into your video marketing campaigns. 

The “Girls Don’t Poop” video ad went viral quickly. Viewers loved the bizarre contrast between the elegantly dressed and well-spoken main character, and the subject matter she was talking about. 

The video is currently creeping its way towards 50 million views and the brand has gone on to create a series of videos with the same character and toilet humour (pun intended!). 

Expert Tip
Challenging stereotypes – and using contrast – is a great way to push the envelope and create a viral buzz.

18. “A Certain Gooey Thing” (Jammie Dodgers)

A primate. A musical instrument. We’ve been here before, haven’t we?

It’s clear that this weird ad from Jammie Dodgers shares similarities with the Cadbury “Gorilla” ad. And it could also be argued that perhaps it influenced Mountain Dew’s “Puppy Monkey Baby”. 

The cheesy music video set up adds to the humour of this video, and the catchy (yet strange) song makes it memorable. 

Our Insight
We’ve seriously lost count of the number of earworm custom songs that have taken over our ears (and brains) for days afterwards. Many of them are on this list. If you’re struggling for ideas for your next ad, engaging a professional songwriter/musician might be a great first port of call.

19. “Unskippable Elevator” (Geico)

In the era of skippable ads, this idea from Geico is genius – and, yes, a little bit weird. 

It presents viewers with all of the information upfront – before they can skip – and then halts to a freeze frame for the rest of the video.

The great thing about this is that it keeps us watching – even though what we’re watching has really nothing more to do with Geico. We’re just watching two guys staring at each other. 

Pretty weird, but also pretty mesmerising – and memorable! 

65% of people skip pre-roll ads at the earliest possible opportunity!
Source: IPG

Most emotional commercials

If you can’t make them laugh, make them cry. 

That’s definitely not a saying. But in the advertising world, sometimes it works. 


People make decisions based on their emotions. So the goal of a great ad is just to make us feel something – whether that’s humour, weirded out, or a tug on the heartstrings.

20. “She’s Always a Woman” (John Lewis)

John Lewis is well-known for its emotionally driven Christmas advertisements, which often aim to tug at the heartstrings of viewers.

In the “Always a Woman” ad, the story revolves around a woman’s life, showcasing various stages from childhood to adulthood, and the pivotal moments she experiences throughout. The ad uses a cover version of Billy Joel’s song “She’s Always a Woman” performed by Fyfe Dangerfield, which adds to the emotional impact of the narrative.

There’s no doubt this ad is impactful, but it did cost a cool £6 million to create! 

Our Insight
For a relatively simple message – a commitment to never being undersold on quality or price – this is a pretty grandiose ad. It cost a staggering £6 million to create. But this sweeping story captures the essence of the John Lewis brand, emphasising themes of love, family, and the passage of time. In doing so, we think it makes for a much more memorable and impactful ad.

21. “Don’t Drink & Drive” (Budweiser)

This ad cleverly plays with the emotions of viewers. It lulls us into a false sense of security with an adorable montage of precious moments that all dog owners will be familiar with, and then ends with a punch in the gut. 

A perfect way to spread such an important message and ensure that message lingers long after the ad is over. 

22. “Heimkommen” (EDEKA) 

Sadly, the lonely older relative is a much used trope in Christmas ads. And it was beginning to get a little predictable, until this ad from EDEKA subverted all expectations. 

The German supermarket gained international attention when they released this ad in 2015 – and it created quite a divisive reaction among viewers and news outlets. 

USA Today called the ad a tearjerker, while Buzzfeed wrote an article about how it enraged people. 

Our Insight
However you feel about the ad, it got people talking. And it definitely has the power to make you want to call a loved one immediately. 

23. “Cartoon” (NSPCC)

This is another ad that subverts expectations. It begins with scenarios that would perhaps be deemed “funny” if seen in a cartoon.

Our Insight
The ad even features an accompanying laugh track to exaggerate this, which makes the 180 degree turn the ad takes at the end all the more shocking. Subverting expectations in this way is a great technique for creating impactful, memorable ads: make the audience think it’s one thing, when it’s actually the polar opposite.

The final image is harrowing and the ad did receive several complaints from viewers. However, the independent television commission (ITC) decided not to uphold the complaints, stating that the imagery was: 

“an effective means of communicating the seriousness of the issue and moving people to take action if they were concerned about a child.”

While upsetting, there’s no denying that the message of this ad is clear and memorable. 

24. “Thank You Mama” (P&G)

Released to coincide with the 2010 winter olympics, this ad – which feels almost like a short film – showcases the sacrifices and hard work that mothers do every single day of their children’s lives. 

On watching, it releases a whole wave of emotions and it’s a video that everyone can feel connected to, whether you’re someone’s parent or someone’s child.

From a commercial point of view, this ad helped P&G to leverage their global scale and it actually became the most successful global campaign in the company’s 175-year history. It resulted in $500 million in global incremental P&G sales, with 76 billion impressions, over 74 million views, and an incredible 370,000,000 Twitter interactions! 

25. “Find Your Greatness” (Nike)

One shot. That’s it. Just one long take of someone running, a powerful voiceover, and a whole lot of emotion. This is a pretty radical departure from Nike’s usual MO – the brand of Jordan, Tiger, Serena and more.

Nike could easily have gone for a campaign that focused on superstar athletes (and in the past, they have), but with this ad they focused on the rest of us. The everyday people that want to start moving their bodies more and improving their health. 

Our Insight
The “Find Your Greatness” campaign was widely praised for its inclusive message and motivational tone, encouraging people to pursue their passions and push their limits, regardless of societal expectations or limitations. In doing so, Nike massively expanded their own appeal – sending out the powerful message that THEY were the brand for entryist and hobbyist athletes inspired by the 2012 London Olympics.

26. “Give Blood” (NHS)

This ad is just 30 seconds long, but in that short time it really packs a punch and delivers its message with long-lasting effect. 

The milkman is an interesting device that allows the NHS to tell the story in a way that people can easily relate to, and the image of a young pregnant woman is powerful too – it really makes the viewer stop and think about the importance of donating blood. 

Our Insight
From a practical point of view, the inclusion of subtitles (that tell us the UK needs 700 new donors every day) is a great move, considering 50% of viewers say they watch videos with the sound off and 80% of people are more likely to watch a video if captions are available

27. “30 Years in the Making” (Renault Clio)

This is another ad that makes you feel like you’re watching a short film – and what an emotional rollercoaster it is. 

The love story runs parallel to Clio’s own history over the past thirty years, with different cars being featured throughout.

Although it’s a celebration of the company’s history, they made the smart decision to have the cars take a backseat (another intentional pun – sorry!) and make the love story the focus – and it’s this that captured the heart of viewers. 

Expert Tip
We all want to promote our products – their benefits, and features. But sometimes, putting that to the side and telling an emotive story is the key.

Most creative commercials

When making an ad – especially in today’s competitive video marketing world – the more creative and different you can be, the more you’re going to stand out. 

Here are some ads that we think are the most creative…

28. “Womb Stories” (Bodyform)

In this short film, Bodyform takes the stories that are often never told – womb stories – and tells them all in beautiful, creative, and memorable ways. 

Bodyform has always been a brand that isn’t afraid to go where other brands won’t, and this video is no different.

Endometriosis, menopausal hot flashes, and miscarriage are all handled very delicately here, with an eclectic mix of animation styles, in a way that speaks directly to Bodyform’s target audience: women. 

Expert Tip
Show you care! By demonstrating understanding and support for you customers’ concerns, your brand can build stronger emotional connections, foster trust, and differentiate from competitors. This approach helps to create a more engaged and loyal customer base while also driving positive brand perception and advocacy.

29. “Scary Clown Night” (Burger King)

Burger King’s marketing team are revered in the marketing world for their ability to consistently come up with creative and inventive ideas that often make tongue-in-cheek jibes towards their main competitor: McDonalds. 

This ad, featuring a terrifying clown that looks suspiciously similar to Ronald McDonald, is no exception.

And the promotion is really creative too! The call-to-action asks viewers to come to Burger King dressed as a clown and in return they’ll get a free Whopper. 

It’s the only ad on this list that actually offers the viewer something. This is definitely something to consider replicating if you want to increase the success of your campaign. 

Our Insight
It’s crazy to think of a brand as big as Burger King as a disruptor, but the truth is, compared to McDonald’s, they are relative minnows (as are 99.9% of companies.) By directly confronting larger competitors, disruptor brands can capture attention, highlight their unique value propositions, and attract consumers who seek innovation and change.

30. “Be Together. Not the Same” (Android)

Adorable animal videos. It’s what the internet was made for, right?

Lots of people browse the internet looking for videos just like the ones featured in this ad. By collating them all together, Android created an experience that felt less like watching an ad and more like a genuine perusal of the internet. 

But it still manages to get the point across perfectly – we don’t all need to have the same tech and the same gadgets. 

This hints at Apple (Android’s main competitor) in a similar way that the Burger King ad alludes to McDonalds, but Android does this in a slightly more covert way. 

Our Insight
Ads don’t always have to feel like ads, and this is a great example. You can get a great head start on your campaign by sharing stuff your audience loves! It won’t be right for every campaign but under the right circumstances, this can be a huge win.

31. “Man on the Moon (John Lewis)

John Lewis takes video marketing very seriously. Their ads are always unique, and they never fail to make an impact on viewers. 

This video – their 2015 Christmas ad – tells the story of a young girl who spots a lonely old man on the moon. She can’t stop thinking about him so she decides to gift him with a telescope for Christmas so that they can see each other. 

It’s a touching story and it gets the message across clearly: show someone they’re loved this Christmas. 

The reason we’ve put this in the “creative” category instead of the “emotional” or “Christmas” sections (even though it would fit perfectly into either) is because it’s a very unique way to highlight the power of giving.

As well as gaining an astonishing amount of online buzz – and helping John Lewis boost overall sales by over 5% – this ad also sent sales of telescopes skyrocketing (no pun intended.) Sales of the stargazing
Source: Mirror

32. “Man on the Moon Spoof” (ALDI)

You may be noticing a pattern here. This is the third “competitor dig” ad in our list. Spoofs like this one are so creative because they connect with the audience on a different level, and they have the power to get people talking. 

This ad (along with Burger King and Android) has an instant competitive advantage because it’s like the video is sharing a private joke with viewers. 

This video gets extra props because it was released so quickly after the ad that it parodies. If you can keep your finger on the pulse like this, your video marketing efforts will likely have an increased chance of success.

Our Insight
The polarised nature of online audiences is that, for every person who loves the emotional resonance of the John Lewis campaign – there’ll be someone else who thinks it was saccharine, overly sentimental pap! Challenger brands: take note. Directly satirising your bigger competitors can establish you as a likeable, plucky underdog and win HUGE customer loyalty.

33. “The Epic Split” (Volvo Trucks)

When Volvo wanted to demonstrate the stability and precision of the dynamic steering in their trucks, they probably thought of many different ways they could do this. 

But there’s surely no better way than to show Jean-Claude Van Damme carrying out his famous splits while giving a motivational speech as Enya plays in the background. 

This is close to video marketing perfection! And that’s why this video has over one hundred million views! 

Expert Tip
Boldness pays off: Don’t be afraid to think big and take risks in your marketing campaigns. Audacious ideas can capture attention and make a lasting impact, even for smaller brands.

34. “Keep Up” (Honda)

These days, people are bombarded with ads. They’re busy. They have the opportunity to skip. So just how do you keep them watching?

Honda’s answer to this: challenge them.

This video cleverly challenges viewers from the first second and it kind of makes it impossible to stop watching! 

The brand even released a faster version so that viewers could challenge themselves even more: 

Expert Tip
Don’t be afraid to experiment with unconventional formats or storytelling techniques. Creative approaches like split-screen narratives can help your brand stand out and capture attention in a crowded marketplace.

35. “Colour Like No Other” (Sony Bravia)

Most people own a television, so it’s easy to assume that marketing and selling televisions is easy. But the question becomes: how do you differentiate your product?

Sony decided to hone in on colour. And they did it in a unique and creative way that generated a lot of buzz and attention for their brand. 

It took 1 hill in San Francisco, 250,000 bouncy balls, 6 takes and 23 camera people over 4 days to capture the mesmerising footage.  

Our Insight
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to work out that the balls in this ad are a metaphor for the bold, vivid colour offered by the Sony Bravia. What metaphorical visuals could YOU use to convey your product benefits? By creatively linking your product’s features to visually compelling metaphors, you can effectively communicate your brand message in a memorable and impactful way, even with limited resources.

36. “Recipes for Delicious Kitchens” (IKEA)

This inventive ad by IKEA shows someone using their products as ingredients to make the perfect kitchen. 

This is a fun way to highlight the freedom that people have when they build their kitchen with IKEA, and it’s also memorable because it’s such a different way to showcase their products. 

Our Insight
Make sure your marketing campaigns resonate with your target audience’s interests and aspirations. IKEA tapped into the universal desire for a beautiful and functional kitchen by presenting its products as solutions for creating such spaces.

Best Super Bowl commercials

Is there a more coveted video ad spot than the Super Bowl? 

Probably not! 

The cost of a commercial slot increases every year, reaching $5.6 million for a 30 second slot in 2020

So, it should come as no surprise that the brands who snag a Super Bowl spot put in a whole lot of effort. 

Here are some of the best from over the years…

37. “Hare Jordan” (Nike) 

Before Space Jam, there was Hare Jordan. This 60 second Super Bowl ad by Nike was no doubt the catalyst for the cult classic film. 

At the time it was fun, different, and spoke to parents and children alike. The use of classic Looney Tunes props, scenarios, and lines (“That’s all folks!”) hooked the kids, and legendary sportsman, Michael Jordan hooked the grown ups – a win-win for Nike. 

Expert Tip
Many marketers approach the ad creation process from the perspective of live action OR animation. “Hare Jordan” is a very early example of the fact that you can successfully use both!

38. “The Force” (Volkswagen) 

Cute kid? Check. Humorous storyline? Check. Star Wars reference? Check. Everything you need to make a memorable Super Bowl ad. 

This ad was VW’s first Super Bowl spot in over a decade, and they knew they were competing for attention with other large automakers with more ad dollars to spend than they did. So they did something slightly controversial to try and help them stand out: 

They released the ad online first. 

This move was a huge success and has changed the way brands distribute their Super Bowl ads today. According to Tim Ellis, head of marketing for Volkswagen North America, “I thought if everything goes right, this thing will catch fire and go viral.”

And everything did go right. The ad racked up an incredible 17 million views before kickoff – paying for itself before the Super Bowl even started! 

39. “1984” (Apple)

Apple’s “1984” advertisement, which aired during the Super Bowl XVIII in 1984, is widely regarded as one of the most iconic and groundbreaking commercials in advertising history.

Directed by Ridley Scott, the ad presents a dystopian vision inspired by George Orwell’s novel “1984.” In the commercial, a female athlete in vibrant clothing runs through a dark, oppressive environment filled with mindless drones.

She hurls a sledgehammer at a giant screen displaying Big Brother, representing conformity and authoritarianism.

The ad concludes with the message, “On January 24th, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like ‘1984’.”

Expert Tip
The ad doesn’t show the product itself, but creates intrigue by ending on a bold statement. And this is an object lesson: sometimes, less is more, and you don’t NEED to show off your physical product.


40. “Loretta” (Google)

Google’s “Loretta” ad, which aired during Super Bowl LIV in 2020, is a poignant and touching commercial that showcases the capabilities of Google Assistant while telling a heartwarming story of love and memory.

The ad begins with an elderly man using Google Assistant to recall memories of his late wife, Loretta. He speaks into the device, asking it to remember details about Loretta, such as her favourite flowers and the way she hated his moustache.

As he reminisces, Google Assistant retrieves photos and videos from their life together, allowing him to relive cherished moments.

The ad concludes with the man expressing gratitude for Google Assistant, saying, “Remember, I’m the luckiest man in the world.”

Our Insight
As well as telling an emotionally resonant story, this ad fundamentally demonstrates the value of Google’s products: “A Little Help with the Little Things.” Striking this balance between story/emotion and product value is a real tough ask, but get it right, and you’ll create ads that audiences love – but also make them want to buy your product.

41. “It’s a Tide Ad” (Tide)

The stakes are SO high with a Super Bowl ad. It’s a spot that brands wait for every year, it costs so much money, and the competition is huge. 

You could have what you consider to be the best ad ever and all it takes is for another brand’s  video to be funnier, more emotional, more unique – and yours is left in the dust. 

One way to avoid that happening, as Tide discovered, is to mock every possible type of ad there is!

The Tide ad campaign, aired during the 2018 Super Bowl was a highly innovative and memorable series of commercials that brilliantly subverted traditional advertising conventions.

Led by actor David Harbour, best known for his role in the TV series “Stranger Things,” the campaign consisted of multiple short ad snippets, back-to-back, spoofing and satirising the conventions of various ad types.

This hilarious ad goes through all of the tropes we’ve seen before: the laughing with your friends beer commercial, the suave car commercial, the what-am-I-watching-here perfume commercial.

Expert Tip
Breaking the 4th wall is an interesting tactic that can help you build a relationship with the viewer with a nod and a wink. It’s about saying – yes, you’re watching an ad, and maybe you’d rather not be. Actually being honest in this way personalises your brand and creates fertile ground for humour and parody.

42.”Lemonade” (Bud Light Seltzer) 

One thing everyone in the entire world knows for certain: 2020 wasn’t exactly planet earth’s best year. 

This 2021 Super Bowl ad for Budweiser puts a clever spin on “when life hands you lemons” (referencing the 2020 pandemic) to market their new lemonade. 

The result is funny, relatable, and topical.

Our Insight
By presenting lemons as symbols of the challenges faced in 2020 and introducing Bud Light Seltzer Lemonade as a refreshing alternative, the ad seamlessly integrates the concept of turning sour moments into something enjoyable. It’s a great play on words, using the popular phrase – but it also uses current events to build a sense of empathy and relatability among viewers. Really clever!

Best Christmas commercials

Christmas ads have become a category all their own. Ever since John Lewis released their 2007 Christmas ad, “Shadows”, brands have been in friendly competition with one another to create the best Christmas ad of the year. 

It could be described as the UK’s answer to the Super Bowl, in terms of commercials. And every year the anticipation is greater! 

Let’s take a look at some of the best…

43. “Holidays are Coming” (Coca Cola)

Long before the hype of Christmas ads, there was one to rule them all. 

Here in England, there’s a saying: “It’s not Christmas until the Coca Cola ad is on TV.” 

The success of this ad now largely relies on nostalgia, but it’s a great lesson that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Even as recently as 2020, the “Holidays are Coming” ad was crowned the most effective Christmas ad of the year. 

Our Insight
Repetition is a fundamental principle in advertising known as the “mere exposure effect.” This theory suggests that people tend to develop a preference for things they are familiar with. By consistently airing the “Holidays Are Coming” ad each year, Coca-Cola reinforces its brand image and creates a strong association between the holiday season and their product. This continual exposure keeps Coca-Cola top of mind for consumers when they think about refreshments during the festive period – maintaining its status as an iconic holiday beverage.

44. “Snowman” (IRN-BRU)

Similar to how England views the Coca Cola ad, there’s also a saying in Scotland: “It’s not Christmas until the IRN-BRU ad is on TV.” 

So I guess we can easily determine each country’s favourite soft drink! 

This ad is a parody of the well-known Christmas movie The Snowman, and it not only checks the nostalgia box, it’s also pretty funny! 

The ad reimagines the classic tale of “The Snowman” by Raymond Briggs, injecting it with a humorous twist that is quintessentially Scottish. In the ad, a young boy builds a snowman, but instead of sharing a heartwarming adventure together, they soar into the sky with a can of IRN-BRU – which the Snowman promptly steals!

Our Insight
This ad cleverly subverts expectations and plays on cultural references, making it highly entertaining for viewers. “The Snowman” is a quintessential Christmas staple in the UK and highly recognisable. By changing the original story – a beautiful friendship between a boy and his snowman – to one where the Snowman steals the boy’s drink and drops him from the sky (!) the ad is dripping in humour and able to establish IRN-BRU as a disruptive, cheeky brand which scoffs at sentiment and emotion. Like it or not – this will resonate with a huge chunk of the population!

45. “Father Christmas to the Rescue” (Barbour) 

This is yet another ad that uses nostalgia to strike a chord with viewers. The visual style and storytelling here matches the timeless series of Christmas stories from author Raymond Briggs. He’s also the genius behind ‘The Snowman’ used in the IRN-BRU ad – if you spotted a similarity!  

However, this ad goes deeper than nostalgia. Based on a true story, the ad demonstrates Barbour’s brand values and lets viewers know that they make jackets to last.

Expert Tip
If you have budget to tap into beloved properties like Raymond Briggs’ Father Christmas, this is a huge advantage, obviously. Particularly if you’re able to use properties that overlap with characteristics of your brand like this. However, if you’re short of that budget – you can craft your own characters and properties, and use stylistic choices like colours, graphic styles and more, to create a world and a vision that truly reflects your brand and its values.

46. “The Greatest Gift” (Sainsbury’s)

This beautiful animated ad, featuring an original song performed by James Cordon, tells a heartwarming story about the importance of spending Christmas with your loved ones. It’s also sprinkled with some great humour and scenarios everyone can relate to. 

The advert follows the story of Dave, a hardworking father who finds himself caught up in the busyness of the holiday season, struggling to find the perfect gift for his family. As he juggles his responsibilities, Dave discovers that the greatest gift he can give to his loved ones is his time and presence.

James Cordon isn’t the only famous contributor to this ad. The song was composed by Oscar-winner Bret McKenzie, and the ad was directed by award-winning director Sam Fell, with stop-frame animation techniques and laser-printed puppets made by the company behind Fantastic Mr Fox

Quite a production! 

Expert Tip
The character of Dave, a hardworking father trying to navigate the chaos of Christmas shopping, served as a highly relatable protagonist, drawing audiences into his journey. This is a tip we strongly suggest when we create our videos: craft a character who is as MUCH like your target customer as possible. This will build empathy and make your message as impactful as possible.

47. “The Bear and the Hare” (John Lewis)

John Lewis is back again! This video has everything you need for a great Christmas ad: a heartwarming story, an emotional cover of a well-known song, and amazing visuals. 

Telling the tale of an unlikely friendship, The Bear and the Hare really captures the magic of Christmas. The bear, who usually hibernates through Christmas, is given the perfect gift from the hare – an alarm clock – and is able to enjoy the festivities with his friends.   

Our Insight
The ad is also extremely impressive from a technical point of view. It was made by placing 2D cutouts of the characters into real sets and then animating in-camera – techniques that had never been tried on this scale before. 

This ad still holds up today. As recent as 2019, it was voted as the most emotionally engaging John Lewis Christmas ad

48. “Monty the Penguin” (John Lewis)

One year after The Bear and the Hare, John Lewis struck gold again with Monty the Penguin

And they recycled a lot of the same elements. This ad also features an unlikely friendship, an emotional cover of a well-known song, and a heartwarming story about the true meaning of Christmas.

John Lewis proved that they found a recipe for success when it comes to Christmas ads. Monty the Penguin generated 349 million impressions and delivered a profit ROI of £7.44 for every pound spent! 

49. “Christmas Miracle (WestJet)

This ad is so great because it’s got many of the elements we recognise from the Christmas films we watch every single year: mad-dash shopping, music from The Nutcracker, and, of course, a Christmas miracle.

Our Insight
With now close to 50 million views, this ad is still going strong and has no doubt fostered a huge increase in loyalty for the brand. 

50. “Edgar the Dragon” (John Lewis)

Okay, one final entry, and of course it has to be from John Lewis. 

Once again, it’s easy to pick up on the pattern of an unlikely friendship paired with a cover of a well-known song, all wrapped up together with a touching story that makes viewers think about what Christmas is really all about: showing your loved ones that you care.  

Our Insight
It’s not all about storytelling for John Lewis. They also sell products directly related to their ads. Both Monty the Penguin and Edgar the Dragon were available to purchase as limited edition plushies after the ad aired, driving sales in the run up to Christmas – and this is why the John Lewis ads are some of the best of all time. 

Final thoughts

In conclusion, these 50 commercials are a testament to the power of creativity in advertising. Whether they made us laugh, cry, or scratch our heads, they all achieved one goal: they made us remember.

If you’re looking to create unforgettable ads, take inspiration from these masterpieces.

For more insights and help with your video marketing, contact us today.

Written by <a href="" target="_self">Hassan Ali</a>

Written by Hassan Ali

Hassan is Marketing Manager at Wyzowl. He is an expert in video marketing, video software, promotion & analytics.
Attract Book

How to attract your audience with video

In a noisy, easily-distracted world, successful brands need to grab attention, share information, and generate enough interest and excitement so that their audience can’t wait to find out more. In this book we explain how to use video as a tool to reach, engage and attract your audience at the perfect time.

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