For all the bad advertising we see now and again there is a campaign which truly stands out. Whether the content is refreshingly unique, thought-provokingly different or just downright hilarious there are some campaigns which were created to go viral. Here we have chosen our 15 favourite advertising campaigns of all time.
15. Sony – Bouncy Balls
Sony had announced the arrival of the BRAVIA LCD and 3LCD range, with a short film featuring coloured bouncing balls (real time) bouncing down the streets of Russian Hill in San Francisco. The message conveyed? The colour we’ll see on these screens will be ‘like no other’. The Bravia advertisement takes a number of forms. The original ad was over 2 and a half minutes long, but even the 30-second version which most of us saw in the UK had us staring at our TV’s wide-eyed.
14. Coors – Jean Claude Van Damme
Coors knocked it out of the park with this set of spoof adverts (although I don’t think anyone told Jean Claude Van Damme it was a spoof) as he delivers some of the most serious performances of his career. The £6m ad campaign was filmed in the Rocky Mountains and quickly went viral due to their creativity.
13. Norwegian Flag
A simple idea – someone cleverly spotted how many countries flags are hidden inside the Norwegian flag and decided to take advantage. A strong example of how you can do a lot with very little.
12. Samsung – School of Rio
Far from the typical serious and competitive nature of Olympic adverts, Samsung’s ad campaign in the summer of 2016 saw the relentlessly awkward Jack Whitehall find himself in training with many of Britain’s leading athletes. The ads came off the back of a successful campaign with the England Rugby team, so although this idea wasn’t entirely new, it was no less funny.
11. John Smiths – Peter Kay
‘Have it!’ You all remember it, and you al laughed at it. Peter Kay was the perfect face to front John Smiths ‘No Nonsense’ campaign, and it was so popular it was revived for 3 more adverts almost 6 years after its original run.
10. Metro Trains – Dumb ways to die
Australia’s most awarded and talked about campaign in recent years is the Metro Trains ‘Dumb Ways to Die’. Indeed, this campaign by McCann Melbourne has achieved near-legendary status in advertising circles. The campaign launch centred around a melodic music video featuring animated creatures who die in comically unintelligent ways, before finally highlighting that due to train predictability, accidental death due to contact with trains is quite possibly the dumbest way of all.
9. Three Mobile – Dancing Pony
The hilarious advert shows famed Shetland pony Socks sliding its hoofs backwards across the countryside to the tune of Fleetwood Mac’s Everywhere.
The oddball video, which is a promotion for mobile provider Three, tries to show that the network understands the “silly stuff” its customers like.
8. Red Bull – Space Jump
Felix Baumgartner’s record-shattering 24mile (38.6km) space jump has put the Austrian skydiver into the history books and Red Bull’s Stratos event into every marketing archive on the planet. The company, whose brand slogan is ‘Red Bull gives you wings’, engaged over 7 million people via social media for the stunt. A record 8 million viewers watched the live stream of the skydive on YouTube, giving invaluable exposure to the Red Bull brand.
7. ALS Bucket Challenge
The ice bucket challenge, the charity campaign that went viral in the summer of 2014 and left scores of notable persons from Gates and Mark Zuckerberg to George W. Bush and David Beckham shivering and drenched, eventually paid off in the most spectacular way.
Dismissed by some at the time as “slacktivism” – an exercise that appears to do good while achieving very little – the ice bucket challenge raised more than $115m (£88m) for motor neurone disease in a single month. Now, scientists funded with the proceeds have discovered a gene variant associated with the condition – a campaign with the best possible outcome!
6. Guinness – Surfing Horse
Any discussion about Guinness’ greatest advertising always comes around, eventually, to “Surfer,” the 1999 spot from Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, directed by Jonathan Glazer, that likened the act of waiting for a slow-poured pint of Guinness to waiting for the perfect wave. The tagline: “Good things come to those who wait.”
5. Paddy Power – You Beauty campaign
Paddy Power introduced a new ‘You Beauty!’ strapline in a brand campaign that celebrates sport’s unsung heroes. The campaign communicates the optimism of the unsung heroes through music as the protagonist in each spot puts their own twist on classic songs, the most popular of which was a Paddy Power steward signing altered lyrics to ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ by Bonnie Tyler to fans who are taunting him.
4. Compare the Market – Meerkats
The campaign, launched on 5 January 2009, was created by advertising agency, VCCP and production company Passion Pictures. The campaign centres on his frustration over the confusion between his website and comparethemarket.com, playing on the similarity between the words market and meerkat.
The adverts proved popular and became a commercial success for comparethemarket.com, which became the fourth most visited insurance website in the UK as a result. The campaign is still going strong to this day, normally parodying pop culture and films to keep itself ahead of the curve.
3. Old Spice – The Man Your Man Could Smell Like Campaign
The campaign centers on the eponymous “Man Your Man Could Smell Like” (Old Spice refers to him as “Old Spice Man”) addressing the viewer in confident, rapid-fire monologues, which promote the benefit of using Old Spice products. While reciting the monologues, the character progresses through various activities, locations, costumes, and extraordinary situations, all in one uninterrupted take while maintaining constant eye-contact with the camera in a nonchalant demeanour. The ad’s instantly quotable dialogue made it a hit with the YouTube generation and out Old Spice back in the limelight.
2. Budweiser – Whassup Campaign
The ad that was parodied endlessly in films and TV of the time, but you know that old saying – don’t hate, imitate! Budweiser were no stranger to strong advertising campaigns, but this campaign cemented them as one of the coolest brands in the world when it was released at the turn of the new millennium. (Source: www.thisisnotadvertising.com)
1. Cadburys Gorilla
A drumming gorilla playing along to Phil Collins with no mention of chocolate whatsoever? On paper it sounds ridiculous, but in it’s execution it was legendary. The advertisement, which first appeared on British television on 31 August 2007, has since gone on to appear in a number of other countries. A version uploaded to YouTube received 500,000 views in the first week after the launch, which was a record at the time.
So there you have it. In our humble opinion the top 15 best ad campaigns. Think we’ve missed any? Think you can change our mind? Then tweet us @we_are_guerilla.