2011 best tv ads


It is the end of the year … but .. at the end of November (I think) AdWeek magazine (the people magazine of the advertising industry) published their top 10 television ads of 2011.

As Adweek states … it doesn’t seem that long ago that we were watching the “super bowl ads” and assessing the good and the bad.

and, at the end of the year. we now we see that 2 of the ads, the Chrysler Eminem execution and the VW Darth Vader execution, made their top ten list (and, I guess, my top 10).

About their top 10. All of the spots in the top 10 are strategically sound, often insightful to the audience it was developed for and flawlessly executed. As usual the greatest of the great are defined by nuances (which I will attempt to identify) and interestingly some of the best advertising comes in commodity-like categories (milk, communication). Oh. And they are all very different – using different techniques (albeit ones we have seen before) but using them in ways that bring the story to life.

Their list celebrates work across a wide variety of products, themes, styles, and geographies. You’ve got candy bars and zombies, cats with thumbs, film-directing bears and proud fathers.

Here is the list (10 to 1) as decided on by AdWeek (and I agree with most).


SNICKERS • Focus Group – this was 10th on the list … it may have been in my top 5. Finding different ways to showcase candy innovations is tough.  They did it. It would be disturbing if it wasn’t so funny … and incredibly well executed (poorly executed and this would have made the worst 5 list).

NISSAN LEAF • Gas Powered Everything – This is vivid demonstration at its best. And using a dental drill to ease into the closing thought? Brilliant.

CRAVENDALE • Cats With Thumbs – there are so many charming & relevant aspects to this execution you almost have to watch it a couple of times to get it all (and it is worth every viewing). I am not sure milk advertising could ever be as creative as this ever again. Damn those Brits can do some funny good smart stuff.

DEEP SILVER • Dead Island Trailer – I am not a gamer but boy I would be tempted to become one. I personally would have chosen Gears of War/Into Dust with Hope Sandoval/Mazzy Star soundtrack (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5AVJXw–IQ) but this execution is an excellent use of reversing footage and music. Disturbing. But good.

CANAL+ • The Bear – The close with “why not me?” …. Brilliant. What an ending. French advertising at its best.

TALKTALK • Homes Within Homes – This probably wouldn’t have made my top 10 but it is beautifully done. And effectively communicates what it needs to communicate.

GOOGLE CHROME • Dear Sophie – Ok. This is proof that while you may use celebrities (Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber lent star power to the campaign in other executions) to build a business nothing works better than the simplest tugging of heart strings – a young father using Google tools to fill a digital scrapbook with notes, images, and videos of his young daughter … which he intends to share with her “someday.” For anyone who doesn’t think the web is personal you have no heart.

CHRYSLER • Born of Fire – It could have been called “Imported from Detroit” and that would have sealed the deal on this but they also took the in-your-face Eminem ‘lose yourself’ song and paraphrased the lyrics in a voice over and … well … this is car advertising at its best. I was not only proud to be an American but, dammit, I found something to like about Detroit.

CHIPOTLE • Back to the Start – Communicating a environmental philosophy in a meaningful way is … well .. tough. Here? It’s the music. Using Coldplay’s “The Scientist” but sung by Willie Nelson. The song is lyrically perfect. Yeah. I am probably biased because it is music-driven … but Adweek chose it not me.

Their number one?

VOLKSWAGEN • The Force – nothing more to say about this one. I have written about it before.  It’s brilliant. It’s the kind of ad I wish I had done.

Just wanted to share because its fun.

Written by Bruce