21 of the Best Video Ads of All Time

Written by Jemma Melvin

Approx reading time:

Last updated on 6th March 2024

Are you ready to see some of the most epic, unforgettable video ads ever made?

Whether you’re a marketing pro or just a fan of creative content, you’re in for a treat.

We’ve scoured the internet and curated a list of 21 ads that will blow your mind, make you laugh, and maybe even tug at your heartstrings.

So get ready to be wowed, because these videos are nothing short of legendary. Sit tight and let’s get into it!

Here are 21 of the best video ads of all time (in our humble opinion!)

21 totally amazing video ads

1. Rang-tan (Iceland)

Entrancing animation and a voiceover by famed British actress Emma Thompson combine to quickly suck you into the story of Rang-tan. In the video ad, an adorable orang-utan leaps around a little girl’s bedroom. But what starts out as a Dr.Seuss-style rhyme quickly turns dark…when we discover the reason why the rang-tan is there: Her habitat is being destroyed by the palm oil trade.

The vortex-like emotional pull of the ad helped it rack up more than 65 million views across TV and social media. This video ad is also credited with lifting the Iceland brand from seventh to second place in talkability score among supermarket brands, after they promised to stop using palm oil in their products.

Our Insight
The emotional resonance of “Rang-tan” lies in its ability to blend captivating animation with a powerful environmental message, evoking empathy and prompting viewers to reconsider their consumer choices. With its bright colours and cute characters, animation is a natural way to capture peoples emotions.
Expert Tip
‘Feels’ move the needle. Incorporate compelling storytelling and socially relevant themes into your advertising campaigns, and you’ll create a deeper connection with your audience – inspiring meaningful action and brand affinity.

2. Web of Fries (Taco Bell)

In this 90-second faux movie trailer, a regular guy (played by movie star Josh Duhamel) stumbles onto a dangerous conspiracy. A global conglomerate of French fry makers don’t want anyone else to sell fries, including Taco Bell’s mouth-watering new nacho fries. And once he starts asking questions, it quickly becomes too late. Our mild-mannered hero is soon going up against “Big Burger” – all to hilarious effect.

The ad was a spectacular hit with viewers who couldn’t get enough of the ad’s funny thriller clichés. They also couldn’t get enough of those cheesy fries. Taco Bell’s nacho fries were one of the most successful food launches in history with 53 million sold in their first five weeks.

Our Insight
What’s great about this example is that it goes beyond what you’d typically expect. A suspenseful movie trailer might not be the vehicle you’d expect for an ad about Taco Bell’s nacho fries: but that’s why it’s so effective.
Expert Tip
‘Spoofing’ the tropes of another genre of content can be a great way to mix up your message and cut through the noise. Spitball some ideas with your team while discussing your next ad: what would it sound like if your brand made a movie trailer? A soap opera? A musical? Think outside the box!

3. Perspective (Apple)

This sleek and cerebral video ad opens on a quote about saluting those who have always “seen things differently,” a take on the historic Apple motto “Think different.” But we only understand what the quote actually says when the right angle comes into perspective.

The video goes on to illustrate its theme with dazzling feats of perspective. Each time the camera pans around the white loft we only understand what the quote says when we arrive at just the right angle to view it. Since it debuted in 2014, the ad has continued to dazzle. To date, more than 4.4 million people have viewed this video advert on YouTube alone.

Our Insight
‘Mixing it up’ and ‘keeping it on-brand’ is a difficult balance to strike, but Apple seem to nail it every time. This one reads like a brand manifesto – a screaming commitment to innovation that celebrates the power of individuality and creativity. But with its polished sheen, white work surfaces, bold, simple typefaces – it feels Apple. Just the right mix between standing out, and remaining true to what makes the brand.
Expert Tip
Why not follow Apple’s lead and proudly showcase the virtues and values of your audience? This example is crystal clear about who they’re for, and the values they celebrate. By speaking directly to your true supporters, you build a stronger connection, fostering a community that truly resonates with your brand.

4. Dumb Ways to Die (Metro Trains)

If you’ve ever been tempted to take your helmet off in outer space or eat an entire tube of super glue, this is one PSA you don’t want to miss! In this award-winning ad produced by Metro Trains in Melbourne, Australia, we see a rather startling number of adorable animated blobs meet their doom in increasingly bizarre ways. We finally reach the moral of our story when the last three blobs are killed due to unsafe behaviour near trains.

In PSA terms, this video ad was something of a blockbuster. The video took home five grand prizes at the Cannes Lions festival. To date, the video has received over 290 million views. Most importantly, this video advertisement has been credited with reducing the number of accidents on Metro trains by 20%. (We say just try getting that tune out of your head.)

Our Insight
“Dumb Ways to Die” ingeniously combines dark humor with a serious safety message, effectively raising awareness about train safety in a memorable and entertaining way. This demonstrates the power of creativity in addressing serious issues – but also how the ‘typical’ fear factor, ominous scenes and stark statistics, pale into comparison vs. something people actually love to watch.
Expert Tip
Sometimes, it can be helpful to think: i) What is the ‘obvious’ or most widely-used method to achieve the aims of my ad? And ii) What would happen if I did the exact opposite? Subvert expectations and you can win big!

5. The Sculptor (Peugeot)

Called one of the best car adverts of all time, this video shows the extreme lengths one man will go to for a Peugeot car. Spoiler alert: It involves an elephant!

The fast-paced 40-second video commercial opens on a young Indian man seeing a sporty Peugeot 206 and falling in love at first sight. He then jumps into his old beat-up car and smashes it against a wall. Bemused onlookers watch him smash his car in a rather dazzling variety of ways (including having an elephant sit on it). When he’s finally finished, he has ingeniously “sculpted” his old clunker into a Peugeot-shaped car.

Our Insight
Peugeot’s “The Sculptor” ad cleverly positions the Peugeot 206 as a great status symbol for young Indian men. On the face of it, it’s just a silly story about a humorous and audacious plan by our protagonist. But behind that, lie values the brand is looking to tap into: the demographic’s desire for social recognition and upward mobility.
Expert Tip
The best ads are incredible stories. Make it your starting point to identify the core aspirations and values of your audience. Then distill these insights into a story – a journey, from state ‘A’ to state ‘B’ hat communicates directly to their hearts and minds.

6. Write the Future (Nike)

This sweeping sports epic takes us around the world with some of the greatest footballers of all time, including Cristiano Ronaldo. Produced for the 2010 World Cup, “Write the Future” spans more than 3 minutes (on the long-ish side for video ads).

In each sequence of this video commercial, we see a moment that determines how each player will write themselves into history. The final culmination is the unveiling of a colossal statue of Ronaldo that would seemingly give the Statue of Liberty a run for the money. History was made in the video department too. In one week, more than 7.8 million people watched this video – breaking all previous records for most views of a video ad gone viral.

Our Insight
This ad is lovingly remembered by football fans and Nike’s brand aficionados, and it’s easy to see why. Fast-paced, witty, and with the fun factor dialed up to ‘100’ – it’s dripping in all the things that make Nike great.
Expert Tip
Exaggeration is used here to amplify the emotional impact of the message. By showcasing extreme scenarios and exaggerated outcomes based on players’ actions – from national hero status to disgraced retirement! – the ad captures the high stakes of the World Cup. This can be a really effective tactic for pretty much any product or service. When you don’t have much time to work in, you have to dial up the benefits or consequences of using/not using our product or service. This is often the fastest way to make it clear what you’re offering – and why it matters.

7. Skillfinity

In this comedic video ad, we meet an accomplished little stick figure named John who can play the piano, writes books in multiple languages – all because of what he’s learned on Skillfinity.io!

We go on to discover John has picked up a rather dazzling list of skills using the service. Yet the quirky voiceover wisely undercuts the stick figure smarty pants in a fun way that keeps the ad from taking itself too seriously – or even worse from becoming boring. Who wouldn’t want to learn from Skillfinity in such a fun way?

Our Insight
This is a great example of how you can use irreverent humour and character-driven storytelling to engage the audience: by focusing on John’s exaggerated talents and quirky personality, rather than dry selling points, the ad creates a memorable and entertaining experience that resonates with viewers, and brings the message home that much more impactfully.
Expert Tip
Combining irreverent, humorous dialogue with an overly simple, almost sketch-based style, seems counterintuitive. But actually, this approach – almost bordering on recklessness – can be an incredible way to stand out from others in your industry.

8. BuyMyVitara (Eugene Romanovsky)

When special effects pro Eugene Romanovsky put his 1996 Suzuki Vitara up for sale, he made what some have modestly called “The Greatest Used Car Advertisement In History.” In the video, his used Suzuki Vitara speeds around dinosaurs from Jurassic Park and zooms around with Mad Max amidst dunes. But this car will not be stopped. The Suzuki then plunges into the ocean to swim with sharks – it even goes to the moon!

While we’re not sure if this beloved 1996 Suzuki is still on the road. But this tribute video lives forever. More than 6 million people have watched this video advert.

Our Insight
“BuyMyVitara” captivates viewers with its imaginative and visually stunning portrayal of a used car, effectively leveraging storytelling and special effects to showcase the product’s features and ignite viewers’ imagination.
Expert Tip
Like Eugene, it can be helpful to get crystal clear about your product’s unique features and capabilities, and creatively showcase them to your audience through visually compelling storytelling. Incorporating callout text – like this example – can effectively highlight key features, making them stand out and resonate with viewers.

9. Unmasking a Killer (New York Presbyterian)

While the title may sound more like a true crime episode, the star of this dramatic 2-minute ad is the cutting-edge immunotherapy treatments being developed at New York-Presbyterian Hospital to beat cancer.

The bold black and red animation in this video tells the story of the body’s T-cells, which protect us from cancer – until they don’t. Immunotherapy works by turning these T-cells back on and helping the body to fight cancer. First aired during Super Bowl 50, the ad went on to win two Clio Health Awards.

Our Insight
The metaphor of “unmasking a killer” in the script not only humanizes the scientific process but also provides a vivid illustration of how cancer operates within the body. By likening cancer to a stealthy intruder that evades detection by the immune system, the script creates a powerful “lightbulb moment” for the audience, helping them grasp the complexities of cancer biology in a relatable way. The use of animation enhances this understanding by visually representing cellular interactions and mechanisms that are otherwise invisible to the naked eye, illuminating the intricate battle between cancer cells and the immune system. This combination of metaphor and animation not only educates but also empowers the audience to appreciate the groundbreaking advancements in immunotherapy and cancer treatment.
Expert Tip
When it comes down to it, it’s often easiest to create ‘learning’ moments for your audience through story. This means separating out jargon and complexity, and focusing on simplicity and story.

10. Real Fires

This classic ‘80s video ad opens on a roaring fire in the fireplace while “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” plays sweetly in the background. Soon a dog saunters into the fireplace scene. He’s quickly joined by a cat, who inexplicably gives him a sweet kiss on the cheek – instead of taking a swipe at him! Even more bizarre, a tiny white mouse joins them. The mouse gets a peck on the cheek from the cat too, instead of being gobbled up in one bite! Just goes to show, a real fire is so romantic even cats and dogs (and mice) can get along with one blazing in the background.

Our Insight
This one – from perhaps the golden age of advertising – runs at just 22 seconds. It uses humour to subvert expectations and essentially drives home the core point ‘Real fires are so romantic, they turn dogs, cats and mice into loving companions!’ This simplicity is why this campaign has stuck for so long in the memory.
Expert Tip
Unlikely combinations of characters and scenes can be great for comic effect – and making important points about your product, brand or service.

11. Check This (Google)

Set to a kicky rap beat, this video shows just how much fun it can be to use a Google spreadsheet. The demo quickly moves us through all the cool things we can do with the Google program. The video was part of a series of ads created for Google’s G Suite featuring their products being used to the beat of entertaining music. Another video in the series showed someone creating a presentation to the A-Team theme song, and having a blast doing it. Who knew work could be so much fun?

Our Insight
What’s beautiful about this – and particularly notable for SaaS marketers – is that the product really is front-and-centre. No gimmicks: just a close-up look of how easy it is to use the software. Super simple and very impactful.
Expert Tip
Capturing direct screenflow from your app interface is all well and good. But to achieve this kind of aesthetic – with super zoom-ins and slick transitions – you’ll need to re-draw your app screens and tie them together into an animated video. It’s more expensive and takes longer, but it’s definitely worth the investment.

12. The Worst Song in the World (Monoprix)

Why would someone suffer through the “Worst Song in the World”? The heroine of this video advertisement is walking down the street when a truly awful song comes on. If we’re to believe the lyrics of the song, it is the “Worst Song in the World.”

Unfortunately, the song only seems to get worse as it goes. Our poor heroine only gets more and more frustrated, yet she keeps listening. We don’t learn why she suffered through the miserable music until the big payoff at the end. The on-screen copy reads, “Having your hands free changes everything… get your groceries delivered.”

This hilarious video racked up 16 million views in 2 weeks and more than 25,000 people listened to the music video for the “Worst Song in the World” song featured in the ad.

Our Insight
The use of “the worst song in the world” was a deliberate strategy by Monoprix to break through the clutter of traditional advertising and create a memorable experience for viewers. While some may have found the ad irritating or perplexing, it ultimately achieved its goal of drawing attention to the brand and its products.
Expert Tip
Sometimes, grabbing attention is most effectively achieved by grabbing it in the WRONG way. Ordinarily, annoying your customers is a bad idea. But if you can create something so annoying it really sticks in their mind? It might not actually be the worst idea!

13. Listen (NO MORE)

What starts as a 911 call quickly turns into a possible prank call – then is revealed to be a real 911 call from an abused woman terrified her husband is overhearing her conversation.

If the operator didn’t listen to the caller, he may have hung up on her and she might not have gotten the help she needed from police. The point of this video advert is that you have to listen. Really listen. It’s hard to imagine a more effective way to learn such an important lesson than by watching this video.

This exceptional ad aired during the Super Bowl on February 1, 2015. The Washington Post called the PSA “the most powerful ad of the game.” Since 2015, it’s garnered more than 10 million views.

Our Insight
This ad was widely praised for its impactful message and innovative approach to raising awareness about domestic violence. It effectively conveyed the importance of recognizing signs of abuse and the need for intervention, even in unconventional ways. The simplicity of the concept, combined with its emotional resonance, made Listen: 60 one of the most memorable and talked-about commercials of Super Bowl 49. It sparked important conversations about domestic violence and encouraged viewers to take action to support victims and survivors.
Expert Tip
When creating an ad addressing sensitive issues, it’s important to prioritise emotional storytelling and subtlety to engage viewers without being overly explicit. Use symbolism and metaphors to convey your message effectively, ensuring authenticity and respect for those affected by the issue. Include a clear call to action and tailor your messaging to resonate with your target audience, encouraging them to take meaningful steps towards addressing the issue.

14. Gulp (Nokia)

Gulp is a short film that billed itself as “the world’s largest stop-motion animation shot on a Nokia N8” when it premiered. Using a record-breaking 11,000 sq. ft. set, this video commercial was shot in South Wales with a Nokia N8 camera.

The story begins with a fisherman on his boat hitting the high seas, as fishermen do. After catching “the big one.” He gets eaten by an even bigger one! Luckily, he escapes with the help of a bomb… oh just watch it yourself to see! This is a truly delightful little video ad that shows the huge possibilities when filming with a Nokia camera.

Nokia scored more than 1.5 million views for its brand since the ad debuted in 2011.

Our Insight
Incorporating viral elements into your marketing strategy can amplify brand visibility and engagement. Just like Nokia’s clever approach with their stop-motion animation, prioritize captivating content over direct product promotion to organically draw in your audience and drive shares.
Expert Tip
Notice how little of this ad actually talks about Nokia? It won’t be right for every campaign: but in some circumstances – if you tell a great story – self-promotion isn’t necessarily the most important thing about your ad!

15. Lamp (IKEA)

Directed by Hollywood hotshot Spike Jonze of Being John Malkovich fame, this much-praised ad took home a Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival Film Grand Prix. It all begins ominously on a dark and stormy evening. We see a woman pick up an old lamp from a table. She takes the lamp out to the curb. Somber music tells us this is going to be emotional and thought-provoking – not!

After we see the new lamp replace the old lamp sitting in the rain, the tone completely changes. A man comes into screen with a sharp rebuke for the viewer. He tells the audience that it’s crazy to feel bad for the old lamp. The new one is much better!

Our Insight
This ad works because it hits the sweet spot between what modern consumers want: convenience and sustainability. By showing how the product nails both, they’re not just selling something handy; they’e tapping into a mindset that cares about both ease of use and the planet. It’s a win-win that keeps people coming back for more.
Expert Tip
Another interesting element here is the music, and its ability to set the mood. Crafting the right tone and mood through music in your campaigns is really important. Whether it’s a playful jingle for a fun product or a serene melody for a wellness brand, choose music wisely to set the stage for lasting connections with your customers.

16. Sepsis (Viven Health)

This Emmy-award winning video ad titled “Betrayed By Your Friend” shows both the heartwarming relationship between a boy and his dog – and the terrifying way the dog can instantly turn on the boy and attack him. Just like sepsis, an all-too common disease in which the immune system turns on itself and attacks the body. Sometimes with deadly consequences.

This animated production is a beautifully drawn example of the advertising maxim “Show don’t tell.” What might have been difficult to explain in medical terms is easily understood in this video, as are ways to help to prevent it like washing your hands.

Our Insight
Sepsis is sometimes called the hidden killer: and, as a result, it’s really hard to visualise. The idea of using a metaphor is what really makes this an excellent explainer.
Expert Tip
When looking to explain any difficult or abstract concept, look for metaphors and new ways to visualise it.

17. The Unique Connection (Pandora)

Much of the appeal of Pandora jewelry is the way you can create something completely unique with their charms. This video advertisement celebrates the uniqueness of all women with an emotionally charged experiment. In the video, six women are put in a lineup. Then their blindfolded children have to identify them.

To watch the looks on the mom’s faces, you immediately see who belongs to whom. When the child finally identifies their mother solely based on touch (while still blindfolded), the moment shows the amazing connection between a mother and her child. Viewers have been dazzled ever since the video debuted in 2015. To date, it has garnered more than 19.5 million views!

Our Insight
This one is great because it embraces what we sometimes call a ‘universal theme’ – maternal love and the emotional bond between mothers and children. These universal themes – things that matter to just about EVERYONE – take you past the specifics of a brand, product or service and massively widen the emotional appeal of your ad.
Expert Tip
Harness the power of universal themes in your advertising to forge emotional connections with your audience across diverse demographics. By embracing themes like love, family, and belonging, you can create narratives that resonate deeply with viewers, transcending cultural boundaries and driving strong brand affinity.

18. Send it App to Cash (Western Union)

The great thing about this video is the way it’s focused on benefits and doesn’t get bogged down in features. From the moment the button on the Western Union app is pushed, money springs into action! We see a fast-moving coin blaze through a yellow-sky landscape down to the depths of a yellow ocean.

By the end of this video commercial, we’re excited to start using an amazing, new way to send money. We certainly know it’s Western Union by the yellow graphics.

Our Insight
This video could go into detail about how the app works, what button to press… but how boring would that be compared to watching money fly all over the world instantly?!
Expert Tip
When promoting a service, focus on illustrating the benefits rather than getting lost in technical details.

19. Your Music, Your World (Spotify)

This is a beautiful ad that merges live action with animated screen recording.

Instead of focusing solely on the product, the campaign showcases how Spotify becomes an integral part of the user’s life, shaping their daily experiences. We all know that music informs how we feel and how we interact with the world. This video does a great job of illustrating that idea.

Through a combination of live-action scenes and screenflow, the video metaphorically illustrates how Spotify helps “build” the user’s world, capturing the positive impact of music on their mood and daily routine.

Ultimately, the campaign effectively sells the idea of a fulfilling and enjoyable experience rather than just promoting the product itself.

Our Insight
This example embodies the essence of the adage, “Don’t sell the mattress – sell a good night’s sleep.” It makes our list not just because it’s beautiful, short, compelling – but because it strikes to the heart of what the product means, and how it enhances the lives of its users.
Expert Tip
Isolate not just what your product DOES but what that really MEANS to your audience. This is the golden nugget that will make your ad really inspire!

20. Cycling Experiences (Airbnb)

Sometimes a video is just way too cool to look away. The playful graphics of this Airbnb video are so cool you almost can’t stop watching it. You certainly want to see what happens next!

Playing with colours and forms, the video created an experience that was so much fun it actually makes you want to try one of Airbnb’s many cycling experiences in real life. Shorter versions of this video double as a series of gifs Airbnb used to illustrate a press release. A great example of how you can re-use a video in unexpected ways to bring your brand to life.

Our Insight
We’re often asked whether it’s best for a video to include a voiceover or not. Truth is, it really depends on the project. But this is a great example of an ad that works WITHOUT the voiceover. The animated text – sometimes called ‘kinetic typography’ – does a brilliant job of leading the narrative, and letting the graphics speak for themselves. A very cool ad indeed.
Expert Tip
Consider using kinetic typography instead of a voiceover – particuarly if you’re working with facts and figures.
Recommended Article
In this article we’re going to take a look at 50+ amazing video examples of kinetic typography that will help to inspire you for your next project!

21. Gravity (Casper)

In the one-minute Gravity video, we begin with a refresher on gravity à la Sir Isaac Newton (i.e., guy gets hit on the head with an apple). The kicky little science mini-course then expands to include all the many ways Caspar is a great mattress – beyond its formidable ability to help you deal with gravity. The super-creative mix of animation and live action keeps you guessing as to what will happen next, and we’d say more engaged.

Our Insight
The Casper ad opts for a friendly and approachable tone, resonating with viewers by framing the struggle against gravity as a shared experience. This down-to-earth approach not only humanizes the brand but also highlights the convenience and comfort of purchasing a Casper mattress online. By speaking directly to the audience’s everyday concerns, Casper fosters a sense of trust and connection, making it a top choice for a restful night’s sleep.
Expert Tip
Keep your advertising copy conversational and friendly to connect with your audience authentically. By using language that feels like a casual conversation with a friend, you can effectively convey the benefits of your product or service in a relatable and engaging way.

Discover even more amazing video ads

We hope you were inspired by these 21 video ads to do something amazing yourself. Whether you’re looking to expand brand awareness or drive sales, there’s almost no limit to what video ads can do for your organisation.

Want to see even more amazing videos like these? Watch 60+ Awesome Explainer Video Examples. Fresh for 2024, these are the explainer video ads you don’t want to miss!

To learn more about just how video ads work, check out these video ad examples.

Written by <a href="https://www.wyzowl.com/author/jemmamelvin/" target="_self">Jemma Melvin</a>

Written by Jemma Melvin

Jemma is Senior Copywriter for Wyzowl. She writes client scripts and longer form articles about video marketing. She has a wealth of knowldge on all things video.
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