Book of lists: The 10 Best TV Ads

19 december 2004, 10:23

  1. Honda Diesel ‘grrr’

    This spot kicks ‘cog’ in its shiny metal arse. Rabbits, rainbows and flowers lead the revolution against dirty, noisy diesel engines in a cheery world of happy primary colours. Sheer animated bliss.

    Agency: Wieden & Kennedy. Writers/art directors: Sean Thompson, Michael Russoff, Richard Russell. Directors: Smith & Foulkes. Production company: Nexus Productions. Media planning: Naked Communications. Media buying: Starcom Motive

  2. Stella Artois “pilot”

    Stella Artois pays homage to the flying aces of the First World War. The black-and-white film is packed with suspense and detail, and comes up with a cheeky bit of Frenchie-bashing at the end.

    Agency: Lowe, Writers: Vince Squibb, Jason Lawes, Sam Cartmell. Art directors: Vince Squibb, Jason Lawes, Sam Cartmell. Director: Ivan Zacharias. Production company: Stink. Media agency: Starcom Motive

    3 Levi’s “bike”

    A sultry and intriguing portrayal of inner-city living: unbeatable dialogue and understated acting create an off-beat spot in a strong campaign. One of the flirtiest ads of all time.

    Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty. Writer: Toby Allen. Art director: Jim Hilson. Director: Nick Gordon. Production company: Academy. Media agency: Starcom Motive

    4 FCUK “denim range”

    Trevor Beattie, TBWA’s creative director, said it was the first time in the history of advertising that a company had “dared not speak its name”. Denim-clad youths take a road trip across a desert but the ad doesn’t name the company. Very FCUK.

    Agency: TBWALondon. Writer: Trevor Beattie. Art director: Bil Bungay. Director: Bil Bungay. Production company: RSA. Media agency: Manning Gottlieb OMD

    5 HSBC “okey doke”

    “The world’s local bank” campaign has matured with age. A cool young hunk motors through South America to the soundtrack of Hendrix’s Ezy Rider, while managing to offend the colourful, vest-clad locals with his ignorant attempts to communicate.

    Agency: Lowe Worldwide. Writer: Vince Squibb. Art director: Vince Squibb. Director: Chris Palmer. Production company: Georgeous Enterprises. Media agencies: PHD in UK, ZenithOptimedia worldwide.

    6 NSPCC “ventiloquist”

    This ad for the chilling “someone to turn to” campaign drives its message home by the device of a ventriloquist’s dummy. The little girl, we realise, is unable to speak for herself because she is under the control of her abuser.

    Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi. Writer: Leo Premutico. Art director: Ian Jacobs. Directors: Danny Kleinman, Mary Marsh. Production company: Large Corp. Media agency: ZenithOptimedia

    7 Lynx “getting dressed”

    A sexy young couple retrace their steps through city streets, picking up their clothes where they dropped them, in this Cannes gold-winning spot from Bartle Bogle Hegarty.

    Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty. Writer: Nick Gill. Art director: Nick Gill. Director: Ringan Ledwidge. Production company: Small Family Business, London. Media agency: Initiative Media

    8 Department of Health “anti-smoking testimonial”

    No matter how many times you see it, this ad always gets to you. Its powerful twist—that Mr Hicks died two weeks after filming and never saw his daughter again—gets right to the heart of the issue.

    Agency: Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO. Writer: Dianne Leaver. Art director: Simon Rice. Director: Dominic Savage. Production company: Large. Media planning: PHD. Media buying: COI Communications

    9 Travelocity “Hello Whicker”

    With his distinctive blazer, glasses and voice, the dry-witted Alan Whicker remains a likeable spokesman for Travelocity, with this endearing self-parody.

    Agency: Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy. Writer: Ben Tollett. Art director: Emer Stamp. Director: Blue Source. Production company: Blink Productions. Media agency: Klondike

    10 Smirnoff “diamond”

    A man chokes to death on a cracker while watching TV and his friend has his corpse converted into a diamond, all accompanied by Beethoven’s fifth symphony.

    Agency: J Walter Thompson. Writer: Jonathan Budds. Art director: Anita Davis. Director: Traktor. Production company: Partizan. Media agency: Carat

Marco Derksen
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