20 of the best

This is the presentation I’ve been making about great advertising. It’s only my personal opinion but I’ve chosen to share my views on what makes for 20 of the most interesting ads/campaigns and commercials that I could lay my hands on and these are they…

The Avis campaign is 40 years old now and was created by the peerless DDB. Surely no agency (and one man in particular, Bill Bernbach) has made a greater impact on the history of advertising.


This is a wonderful example of both a great strategic insight and a brilliant execution in the world of social marketing.

This is best ad I’ve seen this year. In a sector where you’d least expect to see creative genius it’s a revelation.

Is this the most talked about ad ever? It’s a great example of Picasso’s view that bad artist’s copy, good arists steal. Show me the truly great creative that has no love of music, film and art and I will buy you a Picasso.

I loathe this ad. It is vacuous and is a true case of style over substance…

My all time favourite political poster is this one, done by Yellow M in Edinburgh.


The Ology ad, part of the long running Maureen Lipman campaign for BT is just brilliant populist TV that demonstrates the wonder of the telephone call.

This is a great leap of thought and my favourite VW ad in a long line of great ads…

And this is it in English!!!

This is another great VW ad with an amazing tone of voice..

Scotland’s greatest ever commercial? I think so.

One I was involved with myself. For Gold Bier, God knows how I gotr away with it…

This ‘ad’ has swept the boards at this year’s award ceremonies and rightly so, and it wasn’t even done by an ad agency.


Apple Mac 1984. What can you say. Brilliant. That’s what you can say…

But I actually prefer this as it captures the user’s values far better…

And see how brilliantly it has been spoofed here. That is the sign of greatness in advertising.

Alka Seltzer ran quite stunning demonstration advertising in the 1960’s, again with a fantastic tone of voice.

A great insight into defining your audience and creating empathy is seen in this wonderful Levy’s Rye bread campaign (yet again, I think, by DDB)




The recent Dove ‘Evolution’ campaign is a wonderfully empathetic campaign that eschewes the traditions of beauty advertising in favour of promoting its benefits to real women…

And this is magnificently planted in the mind of the target audience. Utter empathy. Utter brilliance.


And finally, the Blackcurrant Tango ad is another great tone of voice commercial.

And finally, finally. A momentary lapse of judgement. A 1576 house ad from the 90’s.

But we are meat, not metal.


Dave Trott writes some great things in his blog.

But the title of this log really blew me away. He was talking about human beings can be hypocritical (They diss speeding, then speed, they decry Maradonna’s hand of God but celebrate England’s equally dubious 1966 World Cup winning goal.)

And he sums it all up by saying “But we are meat, not metal.”

How brilliant an analogy is that?


Go Dave go…