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Let’s face it.

Most ads aren’t that great.

They get skipped. They get forgotten about. They get ignored.

And then there are those ads that transcend their industry. They become more than just an ad.

They become a much loved part of pop culture.

That’s the kind of ad you want for your brand, product, or service.

But first you need some inspiration.

Here are the 50 best commercial ads of all time…

As an animated explainer video company, animated ads have a special place in our heart.

Animation is a great way to make a memorable and timeless ad that appeals to a wide audience.

It’s also surprisingly inexpensive because you don’t have to worry about hiring locations, actors, or expensive equipment.

Let’s take a look at some of the best animated ads...

Just look at the view count on that ad – over 200 million and counting. Most can only dream of that kind of exposure!

This ad – showing cutesy, colourful characters experiencing horrifically over-the-top deaths while singing along to a very catchy song – is brilliant for many reasons.

Not only is it delightful and funny, it also suckerpunches viewers at the end with a very real safety message: Be safe around trains.

It’s the exact opposite of what you’d expect from a public service announcement about train safety, and maybe that’s why it’s so memorable and still enjoyed today.

This beloved ad first aired in 1989 and was remastered by Toys R Us decades later to celebrate their 25th year of trading in the UK.

Mike Coogan, marketing director at Toys R Us said at the time: “The Magical Place TV commercial has become synonymous with the success of Toys R Us. We’re delighted to bring back this iconic commercial.”

This is another ad that can place a lot of its success down to a catchy soundtrack, and it’s probably not a coincidence.

Scientists have found that music stimulates almost every part of the brain, particularly the limbic system – responsible for emotion and memory.

This could be why some advertising jingles are so successful and catchy, and why we’re able to look back on them with fondness even decades later.

This beautiful 3D animated commercial from Nike was released to coincide with the 2014 world cup.

At just over 5 minutes long it’s probably considered a little lengthy for an ad, but when you have a gripping storyline, famous characters, and incredible visuals, length doesn’t really matter anymore.

In fact, this ad feels and looks more like a short film. It took over 7 months for a team of over 300 people to complete, including 101 artists and 25 animators.

This ad by Lyft is also a beautiful short film, directed by Academy Award winning animator, John Kahrs.

While telling an engaging and – in places – emotional story, the video also showcases different use cases for the service and builds trust in Lyft.

According to Ricardo Viramontes, the creative director for Lyft at the time, “The film was inspired by the Lyft drivers and passengers who make it more than just a ride…there’s a strong common theme of people coming together through the Lyft experience.”

Another nice touch about this ad (and an additional nod to the sense of community that the film explores) is the original song “Moving” by Sir the Baptist, who was a Lyft driver for two years while pursuing his dream of becoming a hip hop artist.

This touching animated ad from Chipotle shows the company’s commitment to sustainable farming.

It stands out from the crowd when it comes to similar ads on this topic that tend to focus on shock value and upsetting imagery – and perhaps that’s why it was so successful.

The song that drives the story is a country cover of Coldplay’s “The Scientist” by Willie Nelson. After the success of the ad, the song was downloaded thousands of times and (true to the message of the ad) the proceeds went to the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation which encourages sustainable farming methods.

This ad sparked many conversations and was featured across several news sites when it was banned from TV for being “too political.”

According to the BBC, this was because of the connection to a body whose objects are wholly or mainly of a political nature – that body being Greenpeace.

Still, the ad was very successful online and it’s easy to see why. It looks great, it spreads an important message, and it tugs at the heartstrings of viewers.

In this public service announcement about sepsis, a loyal dog is used as a metaphor for the body’s immune system.

The 2D animation, cel animation, and textures help to tell this story in a dramatic and compelling way. Plus, the video cleverly uses colours and sounds to evoke emotion.

Animation is perfect for telling stories with a metaphor – a boy and his dog become a person and their immune system. This video was received very well and won 2 Emmys!

Some of the best commercial ads ever are those that make us laugh every single time we watch them.

Funny ads are also successful because they’re extremely shareable. Whenever people see something funny on the internet, the knee-jerk reaction is to send it to their friends.

And, according to our Video Marketing Statistics report, people are twice as likely to share video content with their friends than any other type of content.

At first glance, there’s nothing funny about this ad. But the punchline is definitely worth the short wait.

This ad for Berlitz – a language learning company – gets its point across in a unique and funny way. And then ends on a serious call to action: Improve your English.

This ad is funny because it’s relatable and unexpected. It’s exactly the kind of ad people like to watch again and again, and even share with their friends.

The rivalry between England and Scotland is no secret. This IRN-BRU ad cleverly plays on that fact to demonstrate their famous “IRN-BRU gets you through” tagline.

Every time the father in the sketch is frustrated by the Englishness of his daughter’s new boyfriend, he takes a sip of IRN-BRU and feels a little bit better.

There are many ads in this series, all following different funny scenarios that characters handle by drinking IRN-BRU. Here’s another one (consider it a bonus video!):

As the best-selling candy bar in the entire world, Snickers could probably get away with simple, straight-forward ads. Or even no ads at all.

Insteads, Snickers goes all out with crazy, unpredictable ads like this one from 2007, featuring the A-Team’s very own Mr T.

With Mr T exploding onto a football pitch in a tank to yell and throw a Snickers bar at a footballer feigning injury, you can’t help but pick your jaw up off the floor, laugh, and grab a Snickers.

From one celebrity spokesperson to another, Terry Crews was the face of Old Spice for ten years and featured in several hilarious video ads like the one above.

The ads are memorable for the funny and bizarre scenarios that Terry Crews finds himself in, and also for his energetic and loud delivery.

This Amazon ad featuring a star-studded cast was originally shown during the 2017 Super Bowl.

The premise itself (Alexa losing her voice) is original and funny, but the celebrity guests make it even funnier.

With a classic insult from Gordon Ramsey, Antony Hopkins reprising his role as Hannibal Lector, and even Jeff Bezos himself featured in the video, this has got to be one of the best commercials of all time.

Before this ad launched, Dollar Shave Club was a tiny, virtually unknown start up. Almost 30 million views, 4 million subscribers, and a $1 billion acquisition later, and it’s safe to say this video put Dollar Shave Club on the map.

Every second of this video includes an element of humour – from the unpredictable dialogue to the strange props – and the most amazing thing?

It only cost $4,500 to make.

The mark of a successful ad is that it helps your brand stand out from the crowd and achieve your goal.

When asked the question:

What’s the best way to stand out?

Some brands have answered with: Get Weird.

This theme of advertising has grown in recent years, and has actually now got its own name: “Oddvertising.”

Let’s take a look at some of the most weird and wonderful ads of all time…

This is one of the most well known ads of all time. In fact, it was actually voted the nation’s favourite ad by the British public.

It’s a man in a gorilla suit playing “In the air tonight” by Phil Collins. It has nothing to do with chocolate! And yet, people adored it (and still do today) so much that it boosted Cadbury’s sales by 9% and helped the brand come back from a salmonella scare.

Phil Rumbol, Cadbury’s newly-appointed marketing director at the time, said that it was “the hardest thing I’ve had to sell in my career.”

But now, Rumbol says, since the great success of the ad, “I hear of brands who go into agencies today and say ‘Give me a gorilla’.”

This ad for Mountain Dew is, without a doubt, the weirdest on this list (maybe the weirdest in the world). It first aired during Super Bowl 50, and it was the brand’s first in-game ad spot in 15 years.

They wanted to stand out and Puppy Monkey Baby definitely achieved that. It’s a polarising ad with some people thinking it’s weird and creepy, and others thinking it’s brilliant. But it’s this polarity that drummed up so much attention for the ad.

It was easily the most talked about ad that year and the Puppy Monkey Baby hashtag continued trending long after the game was over.

You may be pleased to find out that the ad isn’t completely devoid of logic. According to the creators, Monty Pera and Don Marshall Wilhelmi, the idea came from a running gag in the ad world that the most popular Super Bowl ads feature puppies, monkeys, or babies. So they went for all three!

Just like “Maybe it’s Maybelline” or Nike’s “Just do it”, Skittles has a long-running, famous tagline: “Taste the rainbow.”

This has been the Skittles tagline since the early nineties, but in recent years the brand has been experimenting with ‘oddvertising’ to see how far they can really stretch it.

The treadmill ad is one of their more weird ventures, in which we see a character sweating Skittles while another character collects and eats them.

It’s quirky. It’s strange. And it definitely gets people talking about Skittles.

When your product is called Poo Pourri, you’re already starting from quite a weird place. It only makes sense to take that weirdness into your video marketing campaigns.

The “Girls Don’t Poop” video ad went viral quickly. Viewers loved the bizarre contrast between the elegantly dressed and well-spoken main character, and the subject matter she was talking about.

The video is currently creeping its way towards 50 million views and the brand has gone on to create a series of videos with the same character and toilet humour (pun intended!).

A primate. A musical instrument. We’ve been here before, haven’t we?

It’s clear that this weird ad from Jammie Dodgers shares similarities with the Cadbury “Gorilla” ad. And it could also be argued that perhaps it influenced Mountain Dew’s “Puppy Monkey Baby”.

The cheesy music video set up adds to the humour of this video, and the catchy (yet strange) song makes it memorable.

In the era of skippable ads, this idea from Geico is genius – and, yes, a little bit weird.

It presents viewers with all of the information upfront – before they can skip – and then halts to a freeze frame for the rest of the video.

The great thing about this is that it keeps us watching – even though what we’re watching has really nothing more to do with Geico. We’re just watching two guys staring at each other.

Pretty weird, but also pretty mesmerising – and memorable!

If you can’t make them laugh, make them cry.

That’s definitely not a saying. But in the advertising world, sometimes it works.


People make decisions based on their emotions. So the goal of a great ad is just to make us feel something – whether that’s humour, weirded out, or a tug on the heartstrings.

This sentimental ad by John Lewis (the first of several John Lewis ads on this list!) tugs on the heartstrings by showing us significant and relatable life events in a woman’s life.

The ad pairs smart camera movement – that makes the video appear as though everything is unfolding in one fluid motion – with a recognisable soundtrack, and manages to foster brand loyalty in the process.

There’s no doubt this ad is impactful, but it did cost a cool £6 million to create!

This ad cleverly plays with the emotions of viewers. It lulls us into a false sense of security with an adorable montage of precious moments that all dog owners will be familiar with, and then ends with a punch in the gut.

A perfect way to spread such an important message and ensure that message lingers long after the ad is over.

Sadly, the lonely older relative is a much used trope in Christmas ads. And it was beginning to get a little predictable, until this ad from EDEKA subverted all expectations.

The German supermarket gained international attention when they released this ad in 2015 – and it created quite a divisive reaction among viewers and news outlets.

USA Today called the ad a tearjerker, while Buzzfeed wrote an article about how it enraged people.

However you feel about the ad, it got people talking. And it definitely has the power to make you want to call a loved one immediately.

This is another ad that subverts expectations. It begins with scenarios that would perhaps be deemed “funny” if seen in a cartoon. The ad even features an accompanying laugh track to exaggerate this, which makes the 180 degree turn the ad takes at the end all the more shocking.

The final image is harrowing and the ad did receive several complaints from viewers. However, the independent television commission (ITC) decided not to uphold the complaints, stating that the imagery was:

“an effective means of communicating the seriousness of the issue and moving people to take action if they were concerned about a child.”

While upsetting, there’s no denying that the message of this ad is clear and memorable.

Released to coincide with the 2010 winter olympics, this ad – which feels almost like a short film – showcases the sacrifices and hard work that mothers do every single day of their children’s lives.

On watching, it releases a whole wave of emotions and it’s a video that everyone can feel connected to, whether you’re someone’s parent or someone’s child.

From a commercial point of view, this ad helped P&G to leverage their global scale and it actually became the most successful global campaign in the company’s 175-year history.

It resulted in $500 million in global incremental P&G sales, with 76 billion impressions, over 74 million views, and an incredible 370,000,000 Twitter interactions!

One shot. That’s it. Just one long take of someone running, a powerful voiceover, and a whole lot of emotion.

Nike could easily have gone for a campaign that focused on superstar athletes (and in the past, they have), but with this ad they focused on the rest of us. The everyday people that want to start moving their bodies more and improving their health.

And that’s what makes this ad so great, so memorable, and so inspiring.

This ad is just 30 seconds long, but in that short time it really packs a punch and delivers its message with long-lasting effect.

The milkman is an interesting device that allows the NHS to tell the story in a way that people can easily relate to, and the image of a young pregnant woman is powerful too – it really makes the viewer stop and think about the importance of donating blood.

From a practical point of view, the inclusion of subtitles (that tell us the UK needs 700 new donors every day) is a great move, considering 50% of viewers say they watch videos with the sound off and 80% of people are more likely to watch a video if captions are available.

This is another ad that makes you feel like you’re watching a short film – and what an emotional rollercoaster it is.

The love story runs parallel to Clio’s own history over the past thirty years, with different cars being featured throughout.

Although it’s a celebration of the company’s history, they made the smart decision to have the cars take a backseat (another intentional pun – sorry!) and make the love story the focus – and it’s this that captured the heart of viewers.

When making an ad – especially in today’s competitive video marketing world – the more creative and different you can be, the more you’re going to stand out.

Here are some ads that we think are the most creative…

In this short film, Bodyform takes the stories that are often never told – womb stories – and tells them all in beautiful, creative, and memorable ways.

Bodyform has always been a brand that isn’t afraid to go where other brands won’t, and this video is no different.

Endometriosis, menopausal hot flashes, and miscarriage are all handled very delicately here, with an eclectic mix of animation styles, in a way that speaks directly to Bodyform’s target audience: women.

Burger King’s marketing team are revered in the marketing world for their ability to consistently come up with creative and inventive ideas that often make tongue-in-cheek jibes towards their main competitor: McDonalds.

This ad, featuring a terrifying clown that looks suspiciously similar to Ronald McDonald, is no exception.

And the promotion is really creative too! The call-to-action asks viewers to come to Burger King dressed as a clown and in return they’ll get a free Whopper.

It’s the only ad on this list that actually offers the viewer something. This is definitely something to consider replicating if you want to increase the success of your campaign.

Adorable animal videos. It’s what the internet was made for, right?

Lots of people browse the internet looking for videos just like the ones featured in this ad. By collating them all together, Android created an experience that felt less like watching an ad and more like a genuine perusal of the internet.

But it still manages to get the point across perfectly – we don’t all need to have the same tech and the same gadgets.

This hints at Apple (Android’s main competitor) in a similar way that the Burger King ad alludes to McDonalds, but Android does this in a slightly more covert way.

John Lewis takes video marketing very seriously. Their ads are always unique, and they never fail to make an impact on viewers.

This video – their 2015 Christmas ad – tells the story of a young girl who spots a lonely old man on the moon. She can’t stop thinking about him so she decides to gift him with a telescope for Christmas so that they can see each other.

It’s a touching story and it gets the message across clearly: show someone they’re loved this Christmas.

The reason we’ve put this in the “creative” category instead of the “emotional” or “Christmas” sections (even though it would fit perfectly into either) is because it’s a very unique way to highlight the power of giving.

You may be noticing a pattern here. This is the third “competitor dig” ad in our list. Spoofs like this one are so creative because they connect with the audience on a different level, and they have the power to get people talking.

This ad (along with Burger King and Android) has an instant competitive advantage because it’s like the video is sharing a private joke with viewers.

This video gets extra props because it was released so quickly after the ad that it parodies. If you can keep your finger on the pulse like this, your video marketing efforts will likely have an increased chance of success.

When Volvo wanted to demonstrate the stability and precision of the dynamic steering in their trucks, they probably thought of many different ways they could do this.

But there’s surely no better way than to show Jean-Claude Van Damme carrying out his famous splits while giving a motivational speech as Enya plays in the background.

This is close to video marketing perfection! And that’s why this video has over one hundred million views!

These days, people are bombarded with ads. They’re busy. They have the opportunity to skip. So just how do you keep them watching?

Honda’s answer to this: challenge them.

This video cleverly challenges viewers from the first second and it kind of makes it impossible to stop watching!

The brand even released a faster version so that viewers could challenge themselves even more:

Most people own a television, so it’s easy to assume that marketing and selling televisions is easy. But the question becomes: how do you differentiate your product?

Sony decided to hone in on colour. And they did it in a unique and creative way that generated a lot of buzz and attention for their brand.

It took 1 hill in San Francisco, 250,000 bouncy balls, 6 takes and 23 camera people over 4 days to capture the mesmerising footage.

This inventive ad by IKEA shows someone using their products as ingredients to make the perfect kitchen.

This is a fun way to highlight the freedom that people have when they build their kitchen with IKEA, and it’s also memorable because it’s such a different way to showcase their products.

Is there a more coveted video ad spot than the Super Bowl?

Probably not!

The cost of a commercial slot increases every year, reaching $5.6 million for a 30 second slot in 2020.

So, it should come as no surprise that the brands who snag a Super Bowl spot put in a whole lot of effort.

Here are some of the best from over the years…

Before Space Jam, there was Hare Jordan. This 60 second Super Bowl ad by Nike was no doubt the catalyst for the cult classic film.

At the time it was fun, different, and spoke to parents and children alike. The use of classic Looney Tunes props, scenarios, and lines (“That’s all folks!”) hooked the kids, and legendary sportsman, Michael Jordan hooked the grown ups – a win-win for Nike.

Cute kid? Check. Humorous storyline? Check. Star Wars reference? Check. Everything you need to make a memorable Super Bowl ad.

This ad was VW’s first Super Bowl spot in over a decade, and they knew they were competing for attention with other large automakers with more ad dollars to spend than they did. So they did something slightly controversial to try and help them stand out:

They released the ad online first.

This move was a huge success and has changed the way brands distribute their Super Bowl ads today. According to Tim Ellis, head of marketing for Volkswagen North America, “I thought if everything goes right, this thing will catch fire and go viral.”

And everything did go right. The ad racked up an incredible 17 million views before kickoff – paying for itself before the Super Bowl even started!

George Orwell’s novel 1984 has embedded itself into pop culture. It almost acts like a manual for “what not to do” as society advances, and this Apple ad – released in 1984 – dares to show viewers a glimpse of how dark life would be if the fictional novel had become a reality.

The ad doesn’t show the product itself, but creates intrigue by ending on a bold statement.

Running during the 2020 Super Bowl, Loretta touched a lot of people’s hearts. And, according to Google’s chief marketing officer, the ad was based on a true story from a Google employee’s grandfather.

And that’s actually his voice in the ad.

The simplicity of this ad is genius. It’s a love story told through Google’s products, and it really shows potential customers how these products can help them in their lives.

The stakes are SO high with a Super Bowl ad. It’s a spot that brands wait for every year, it costs so much money, and the competition is huge.

You could have what you consider to be the best ad ever and all it takes is for another brand’s  video to be funnier, more emotional, more unique – and yours is left in the dust.

One way to avoid that happening, as Tide discovered, is to mock every possible type of ad there is.

This hilarious ad goes through all of the tropes we’ve seen before: the laughing with your friends beer commercial, the suave car commercial, the what-am-I-watching-here perfume commercial.

And the result is a memorable ad for Tide. It’s a Tide ad.

One thing everyone in the entire world knows for certain: 2020 wasn’t exactly planet earth’s best year.

This 2021 Super Bowl ad for Budweiser puts a clever spin on “when life hands you lemons” (referencing the 2020 pandemic) to market their new lemonade.

The result is funny, relatable, and topical.

Christmas ads have become a category all their own. Ever since John Lewis released their 2007 Christmas ad, “Shadows”, brands have been in friendly competition with one another to create the best Christmas ad of the year.

It could be described as the UK’s answer to the Super Bowl, in terms of commercials. And every year the anticipation is greater!

Let’s take a look at some of the best…

Long before the hype of Christmas ads, there was one to rule them all.

Here in England, where Wyzowl is based, there’s a saying: “It’s not Christmas until the Coca Cola ad is on TV.”

The success of this ad now largely relies on nostalgia, but it’s a great lesson that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Even as recently as 2020, the “Holidays are Coming” ad was crowned the most effective Christmas ad of the year.

Similar to how England views the Coca Cola ad, there’s also a saying in Scotland: “It’s not Christmas until the IRN-BRU ad is on TV.”

So I guess we can easily determine each country’s favourite soft drink!

This ad is a parody of the well-known Christmas movie The Snowman, and it not only checks the nostalgia box, it’s also pretty funny!

This is yet another ad that uses nostalgia to strike a chord with viewers. The visual style and storytelling here matches the timeless series of Christmas stories from author Raymond Briggs. He’s also the genius behind ‘The Snowman’ used in the IRN-BRU ad – if you spotted a similarity!

However, this ad goes deeper than nostalgia. Based on a true story, the ad demonstrates Barbour’s brand values and lets viewers know that they make jackets to last.

This beautiful animated ad, featuring an original song performed by James Cordon, tells a heartwarming story about the importance of spending Christmas with your loved ones. It’s also sprinkled with some great humour and scenarios everyone can relate to.

James Cordon isn’t the only famous contributor to this ad. The song was composed by Oscar-winner Bret McKenzie, and the ad was directed by award-winning director Sam Fell, with stop-frame animation techniques and laser-printed puppets made by the company behind Fantastic Mr Fox.

Quite a production!

John Lewis is back again! This video has everything you need for a great Christmas ad: a heartwarming story, an emotional cover of a well-known song, and amazing visuals.

Telling the tale of an unlikely friendship, The Bear and the Hare really captures the magic of Christmas. The bear, who usually hibernates through Christmas, is given the perfect gift from the hare – an alarm clock – and is able to enjoy the festivities with his friends.

The ad is also extremely impressive from a technical point of view. It was made by placing 2D cutouts of the characters into real sets and then animating in-camera – techniques that had never been tried on this scale before.

This ad still holds up today. As recent as 2019, it was voted as the most emotionally engaging John Lewis Christmas ad.

One year after The Bear and the Hare, John Lewis struck gold again with Monty the Penguin.

And they recycled a lot of the same elements. This ad also features an unlikely friendship, an emotional cover of a well-known song, and a heartwarming story about the true meaning of Christmas.

John Lewis proved that they found a recipe for success when it comes to Christmas ads. Monty the Penguin generated 349 million impressions and delivered a profit ROI of £7.44 for every pound spent!

This ad is so great because it’s got many of the elements we recognise from the Christmas films we watch every single year: mad-dash shopping, music from The Nutcracker, and, of course, a Christmas miracle.

With now close to 50 million views, this ad is still going strong and has no doubt fostered a huge increase in loyalty for the brand.

Okay, one final entry, and of course it has to be from John Lewis.

Once again, it’s easy to pick up on the pattern of an unlikely friendship paired with a cover of a well-known song, all wrapped up together with a touching story that makes viewers think about what Christmas is really all about: showing your loved ones that you care.

But it’s not all about storytelling for John Lewis. They also sell products directly related to their ads. Both Monty the Penguin and Edgar the Dragon were available to purchase as limited edition plushies after the ad aired, driving sales in the run up to Christmas – and this is why the John Lewis ads are some of the best of all time.

What a ride that was.

50 very different ads, all amazing in their own ways.

We hope you’ve gathered some inspiration and are feeling ready to make the next best commercial of all time!

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