10 of the Best Creative Adverts – Why they worked so well

Published January 7, 2015
Last Updated July 23, 2018
Jask Creative

We’ve hand picked (by hand picked, a shouting match over office lunch) 10 of the best creative adverts to have graced us in times gone by.

Picked for the creative marketing aspects, some are funny, some have an impact, some are clever, but most of all, they all just work and work so well.

So without further ado, here we go:

10. IKEA Bookbook

Brand: IKEA
Released: September 2014
We like it for: being so cleverly timed.

Why it works:

At the same time where smartphones, tablets and touch screen devices are all the rage and technical speak is on the tips of our tongues, IKEA have been clever enough to take that and use it in their favour for this viral advert, parodying the Apple MacBook adverts extremely well.

Viral adverts can be very hit and miss, and it is notoriously difficult to know whether they’ll catch on, but this one comes in at the right time with the right messages to get the attention and get people laughing. Plus we love “Chief Design Guru” Jorgen Eghammer to bits.

9. The Somersby Store

Brand: Somersby Cider
Released: March 2013
We like it for: being outrageously cheeky to Apple.

Why it works:

Like the IKEA bookbook advert, Somersby jumped on the Apple fun-poking bandwagon with their outrageously cheeky advert depicting an Apple Store, but replaced in a Somersby setting instead.

It’s fun, it’s cheeky, and most importantly, it’s memorable. As an FMCG product, that’s just what you want in a crowded marketplace.

8. The Epic Split (feat. Jean Claude Van Damme)

Brand: Volvo
Released: November 2013
We like it for: Its pure awe and impact.

Why it works:

Now we’re not lorry drivers, far from it in fact, but we’re certain that this advert speaks to lorry drivers universally.

A live stunt, being stable enough to hold Jean Claude Van Damme in his epic splits pose speaks volumes about the technology within these trucks. In a market where getting your cargo to your destination is paramount, and minimising the possibility of accidents, the overriding message of this ad is simple: buy from Volvo and you’re as safe as can possibly be.

7. Carlsberg Don’t Do…

Brand: Carlsberg
Released: April 2006
We like it for: The memorable, playful strapline.

Why it works:

Playing with its existing strapline at the time ‘Probably the best lager in the world’, Carlsberg created some hit TV adverts by tacking on the additional strapline of ‘Carlsberg don’t do… but if they did it would probably be the best … in the world.’, with one of the most celebrated adverts created featuring the England Legends put into a pub team.

Creatively it opened up Carlsberg to a whole host of different ways to use the strapline, and indeed the campaign went into other variations and Carlsberg even covered London in £5,000 worth of £10 and £20 bank notes with a sticker ‘Carlsberg don’t do litter. But if they did it would probably be the best litter in the world.’ as a stunt.

6. Don’t use mobile phones while driving

Brand: THINK!
Released: December 2012
Why we like it: Effective emotional messaging that rings home (pun intended)

Why it works:

THINK! are well renowned for their shock adverts and this is just one of many that we could have picked from. THINK!’s adverts work well because they do what they need to do, which is to fundamentally make the audience think hard about what they risk.

This particular advert carries the emotional messaging of losing a loved one and is powerful and long lasting. It’s effect is to say that as soon as you pick up your phone you are endangering not only yourself, but also risking the emotional harm for others involved with you.

5. Compare the Meerkat

Brand: Compare the Market
Released: January 2009
Why we like it: It gives insurance a good feeling. Simples.

Why it works:

Buying insurance is a pain. Everybody loathes it and when it comes round to that time of shopping around, it invariably brings up negative feelings.

Even worse is that insurance is cut throat. Brand loyalty is next to none and price is the overriding factor.

So what Compare the Market have done is simply ingenius. Their Compare the Meerkat campaign has done what others can only dream of, which is to tie ‘feel good’ emotions towards insurance.

Whilst other big players like Go Compare had the fat singing opera man to relentlessly make you remember the jingle (and subsequently turned out to be one of the most annoying characters ever), and Confused.com advocated making buying insurance pain-free and simple, they didn’t understand that the market could be tapped into with cute cuddly characters.

Compare the Market know that buying insurance will always be a pain, and there is only so much negativity that you can dispel before the market goes “so what”. What makes them different to others is that you’re not buying into insurance, you’re buying into a part of the meerkat story.

4. This is not just food. This is M&S Food.

Brand: Marks & Spencer
Released: September 2004
Why we like it: It’s a simply great example of how when you know your brand well, you can do great wonders with advertising.

Why it works:

At a time of well-documented decline, due to poor sales and a brand image that was in a less than healthy state (described as being corporate, introspective, masculine, inconsistent), and also in the limelight for being the subject of a takeover bid by Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group, things were fast going south for one of the nation’s mainstays on the British high street.

So how do you change the public perception amidst the swirling black hole of negativity? What can you do to start turning the tide and get audiences to trust your brand?

Marks and Spencer demonstrated this in 2004 when they launched, amongst their clothing adverts featuring Twiggy, the iconic This is M&S Food adverts.

Shot with extreme close ups of their sumptuous food range, paired with a seductive soundtracks (Groove Armada – At The River, in the above instance) and the voice of Dervla Kirwan to narrate, Marks and Spencer know that the market still trust in their brand and what they value of the brand is that it is quintessentially British through and through, and they are willing to pay for that value.

Viewers come away knowing the food is great, it is sexy, it is what you want to try, what you want to love. The style of the adverts were and are being talked about for years to come. It is what makes these adverts a resounding success.

3. Good things come to those who wait – Surfer

Brand: Guiness
Released: March 1999
Why we like it: Pure raw visual with a phenomenal soundtrack.

Why it works:

At a time when Guinness was seen as a bit of a ‘hassle’ drink and negative associations were being made towards the pouring time, Guinness decided to combat this by releasing new adverts with a new slogan that would put off these concerns.

‘Good things come to those who wait’ is a clever line that gives Guinness a premium feel, and their Surfer TV advert is a classic that resonates power and what you can expect from a great drink. The soundtrack is just a masterstroke in itself.

2. The Cog

Brand: Honda
Released: April 2003
Why we like it: Intoxicating, immersive and genius creative.

Why it works:

Now let’s be honest. Honda Accords probably weren’t the most exciting of cars around at the time this advert was released. In fact, at the time, Honda’s ranking in Japan was at a dismal number 3, behind Toyota and Nissan and they were slowly starting to be perceived as being a dull brand of car.

To combat this, a genius idea was to take the actual car itself out of the messaging, and instead to focus on what makes the car and what Honda as a manufacturer are about.

The Cog, an advert that takes most of the parts that make up the Honda Accord and placed them in a chain reaction type video, was considered groundbreaking and successfully puts our attention on Honda’s motto ‘The Power of Dreams’.

You just simply cannot help watching, admiring and sticking with it to the end. Top marks.

1. Take it to the Next Level

Brand: Nike
Released: April 2008
Why we like it: Because it is just so on brand

Why it works:

Nike positions itself as a premium brand. It associates itself with premium quality and creates premium products, but it still needs to retain a mass market audience and appeal.

So in such a competitive market, how do you carve out a position for yourself as being the best? How do you advocate for premium products against products that potentially do the same job at half the price?

Answer: Aspirational Marketing

The ‘Take It To The Next Level’ advert does this such in a superb way that we cannot place it anywhere else but number 1 on our list.

Featuring an array of top football stars such as Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo, Carlos Tevez, Ronaldinho, Cesc Fabregas and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, this 2 minute, first person point-of-view advert (we’re showing the uncut 3 minute version) gives you a taste of what it would be like if you wore Nike.

The messages are clear. By buying the best, you can become the best. You can live the dream if you wear Nike. It will help you achieve your goals, and you can aspire to be those that you admire so much.

Visually spectacular, aurally inspirational, creatively sublime. That is why Nike tops our list.

Do you agree with our choices for the best creative adverts? Have we missed any gems? Give us your thoughts by tweeting us, getting in touch on Facebook or contacting us directly.



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