Friday, May 9, 2008

The Best 10 Video and Television Ads

10. Pepsi Jimi Hendrix “Phew that was a close one”


  • In 2004, Pepsi socked it big time at one of the largest commercial rivalries on the planet. Little Jimi Hendrix at age 11 equally spaced between the coke machine and the pepsi machine. Definitely shows the product, and makes excellent play off of the well known coke-pepsi rivalry. Also very funny. Doesn’t directly pitch the products, but ads a lots of “between the line” commentary that the viewer extrapolates from the short.

9. FedEx “Carrier Pigeons”


  • FedEx has lately had relatively large success with its most recent advertising campaigns. This commercial starts off mildly interesting as the man explain carrier pigeons to his bewildered boss. As the commercial progresses, it just gets more and more ridiculous until he explains how “big packages” are handled. At that point hilarity ensues. FedEx did an excellent job of mixing humor with their underlying message of responsible, efficient delivery systems.

8. Don’t squeeze the charmin.


  • 1960s advertising at its finest. “Don’t Squeeze the Charmin” practically invented reverse psychology and to this day is still joked about (and even used in modern Charmin commercials). A little before my time, but still a classic that deserves to be on this list.

7. 2000 E-Trade “Wasted 2 Million Bucks”


  • Okay, this commercial is just plain funny. I mean there’s a monkey dancing and two really out of beat guys playing along. Beneath this very simple humor, however, is a grand story about dot-coms at the turn of the millennium. The dot-com fever in silicon valley ran so high that venture capital money was flowing by the millions from all corners of the street. This ad represented the epitome of one of the big dot-coms of the day. The complete divergence from a “normal” advertisement ensures that it catches your attention and the monkey with the etrade logo definitely gets the name out there. For those in tune with the times, people caught on to the underlying message.

6. 2001 E-Trade “Chimp on a Horse”


  • This one directly is intentionally placed right next to the 2000 E-Trade commercial. These two commercials actually say a lot about the time from which they represent. The chimp on a horse passes by the shadows of the dot coms after the bubble burst to the sound of dreary music and a ghost-town like scene. Then just to sum it up at the end, a sock puppet lands in front of the monkey who starts to cry. That sock puppet was a play at the iconic logo of In 2000 had millions of startup money and flopped when the bubble burst. Once again, has e-trade’s logo prominent and makes a great 1-liner punch at the end: “Invest Wisely.”

5. Budweiser “Whassup” (Original 1999)

4. Budweiser “What are YOU doing?”


  • This was the Budweiser making fun of itself in an incredibly masterful way and creating one of the funniest cultural phenomenons that made the Whassup campaign only more successful. The original whassup campaign made characters doing something so completely outlandish that it instantly became an aspect of pop culture. After some continued pushing by Budweiser, most notably the “What are YOU doing” ad, they secured “whassup” forever in the popular culture dictionary. And yet, they also successfully placed the actual product at the critical beginning and end of the ad. “Watching the game, having a bud” is also associated with this cultural masterpiece.

3. Dove “Evolution”


  • This exceptional video made by Dove as part of their “Campaign for Real Beauty” is a masterpiece of a film and became an instant internet phenomenon. While not directly advertising any product, they ad conveys a very well executed and powerful message that made itself well known in the online community. It even spun off a lot of parodies. One of them is done almost as well as the original.

2. Microsoft redigns the ipod


  • This isn’t necessarily a widely televised ad per say, but it is still an effective marking gimmick that became instantaneously successful on the internet. This video is actually written by the Microsoft internal graphic design department as a “what not to do” video. It was done so darn well that it makes a powerful, yet extremely entertaining statement about the two companies. Great music, really good design, and funny comments easily place this on my list

1. 1984 Apple Macintosh Commercial


  • A lot of hype, an excellent theme, and some great cinematography is what puts this one on the top of my list. This is probably one of the most famous ads of all time and demonstrates a dark fantasy that George Orwell + Ridley Scott can do so well. From a design perspective, this ad is visually powerful and emotional. The dramatic contrast between the sporty female hero and the bleak oppressing Orwellian background is subsequently imbued upon the release of a computer system. Extremely effective subconscious branding. No product is being pitched here. No slogan is being said. Just a really cool commercial

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