The 6 Greatest TV Commercials Of All Time
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“TV advertising is dead.”
“TV commercials are not the goldmine they used to be.”
“We’re experiencing the end of TV advertising.”
These are all statements that have repeatedly been made over the last few years.
And yet, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
In fact, studies show that TV advertising generates four times the ROI of digital advertising. What’s more, consumers are 11 times more likely to purchase a product they’ve seen on TV as opposed to online.
How’s that for the death of TV commercials?
However, times are changing, and the cliche dealership commercial featuring a man shouting the benefits of their dealership for local customers has passed. These days, TV viewers want creative, engaging, and captivating ads. And who can blame them?
So, to help spark inspiration and better understand what makes a great TV commercial, we’ve listed below the six best commercials ever made.
This TV commercial is iconic among all generations making it, hands down, one of the best TV ads of all time. When it first aired back in 1999, it became one of the first TV commercials to become viral. And it quickly turned into a global phenomenon. So much so that ‘’what’s up’’ became a pop-culture catchphrase, and the ad was spoofed many times, including in the original “Scary Movie’’.
Riding on its huge success, Budweiser recently revamped the famous ad with a quarantine-themed remake to encourage people to check in with friends and family.
But what made this ad so popular in the first place? The ad shows friends calling each other while watching a football game and drinking beer which is highly relatable to the target audience. Add to this that the ad doesn’t feel like an advertisement because it conveys a genuine sense of camaraderie and friendship, and you have your recipe for success.
John West Salmon is a British canning company.
Not the sexiest product to market, right?
Yet, to show consumers their products are fresh and high-quality, the company came up with a lighthearted, entertaining, and original ad, which turned out to be one of the best TV commercials ever produced with over 360 million views in the first six years.
The ad starts like an animal documentary showing a few bears catching salmon in a river. The footage even uses a David Attenborough-like voice-over. Suddenly, a John West employee runs down screaming, ready to fight a bear to snatch a salmon away from it. The ad ends with a compelling punchline that resonated well with the company’s audience “John West endures the worst to bring you the best.”
We couldn’t write about the best TV commercials of all time without talking about the Old Spice ad “your man could smell like’’ which is perhaps one of the most viral ads ever. At the time, Old Spice was perceived as a body wash for grandpas.
So, Procter & Gamble decided to convince women to stop buying lady-scented products for their men. The ad features an attractive man only wearing a towel, asking ladies to compare him to their better half, implying he’s the superior choice. But even though their man can’t look like him, they can, at least, smell like him if they use Old Spice instead of lady-scented products.
The commercial is lighthearted and fun, and the final line “I’m on a horse,’’ even became a favorite among many viewers.
In its ‘’I just shipped my pants’’ TV ad, Kmart uses an edgy sense of humor to communicate about its new free shipping service to its customers. The advertisement shows people of all ages saying “I just shipped my pants’’. The funny thing is that it sounds as if they were using a vulgar word that sounds very much like ship.
The ad was deemed brilliant by some and vulgar by others, but regardless of the viewers’ opinion, Kmart successfully achieved its goal as they sure knew that the company could ship items to them for free.
We’ve got to give it to Kmart; with 10 million views in a few days, the company managed to create buzz with its irreverent ad.
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In this heartwarming ad, Disney changes its brand messaging, shifting it from a fun vacation spot for the family to a magical destination “Where magic becomes reality” for all children around the world.
In this TV ad, a fluffy little duck finds a booklet about the stories of Donald Duck. As the days go by, he starts identifying himself with Donald Duck and dreams of being like him. Unfortunately, one day, the adorable duck loses the book and is heartbroken. But all’s well that ends well like in any Disney fairytale as the duck eventually meets Donald Duck, his hero when he visits Disneyland.
The storytelling is on point and beautifully captures the magic children and adults alike experience at Disneyland Paris. What’s more, the soundtrack “The Impossible Dream” adds a moving factor to this touching commercial.
“Ikea Lamp’’ Commercial
What if we told you that the famous brand managed to create a connection between their audience and a lamp? That’s right, in its iconic “Ikea Lamp’’ commercial back in 2002, the company managed to create a moving video that went viral using the story of a lamp. This incredible ad has even been deemed one of the most creative ads in advertising history.
In the ad produced by genius musician and filmmaker Spike Jonze, a lamp gets replaced by a new one and left on the pavement. And what might sound like the most boring story ever turned out to be an instant hit with Ikea’s audience.
Why? Because the incredible storytelling abilities of Spike Jonze and his team, combined with moving music, elicited genuine feelings of sadness from the audience. And besides creating this unusual emotional bond between people and a lamp, the genius of this ad is that it still manages to turn this moving story into a funny one using a hilarious ending!
The ad was so successful that Ikea produced a sequel in 2018 with a happy ending for the lamp.
We hope this article provided some great inspiration for your future videos. And if you need more inspiration for your upcoming projects, check out the following resources: