The Best Examples of Commercial Advertising

The Egyptians in 2000 BC technically invented the first form of outdoor advertising, although today we could consider it slightly different. One of the most successful print marketing campaigns was Absolut's, which began in 1980 and lasted 25 years with more than 1500 different images. This creative campaign used everyday items and landscapes to mimic form, creating an exciting narrative that everyone loves. In 1957, a print ad was created with the slogan “does it or does it not?” following a real conversation between editor Shirley Polykoff and her mother-in-law, taking advantage of the idea that hair coloring could be a secret between a woman and her hairdresser.

Prior to Nike's “Just Do It” campaign in the late 1980s, the sportswear retailer almost exclusively supplied professional athletes and marathon runners. This huge campaign managed to change the perception of the brand by taking advantage of the latest US fitness fad and rebranding as a clothing store for the masses. Google also produces annual videos to promote their services, reminding users how much they use and trust the search engine in their daily lives. All videos contain a powerful message and tell a story of the past 12 months.

At Biteable, we like to think we know a thing or two about creating great video ads and commercials. We have put together some of our favorite commercials of all time to inspire you for your next video ad. So what does it take to make a good announcement? Well, as you'll see in the examples below, there are some common traits shared by the best commercials. In addition, experts are divided as to whether even a hilarious and popular ad will result in increased revenue and knowledge.

In some cases, a funny ad can cause the so-called “vampire effect”, in which viewers remember the ad, but not the product or company with which it is associated. An example of this is Reebok's “Terry Tate: Office Linebacker” commercial from 2003.The announcement was flatly praised by critics and viewers that year, although it is questionable whether it really managed to boost Reebok's brand. According to a poll after it aired, only 55% of viewers remembered that the ad was affiliated with Reebok. Another example is John West's commercial from 2011 which begins with a serene documentary-style shot of nature of fishing bears, as a narrator describes the scene in his best impression of David Attenborough.

Then things take an unexpected turn. Animated TV commercials are nothing new. They have been a mainstay of advertising since at least 1941, when the first animated commercial aired, and their popularity grew in the following decades. As you'll see in our picks of the best animated commercials, animated characters are endearing and easy to identify, attract people of all ages and are capable of performing actions that would be impossible to film with real-life actors (or animals).

You don't need to be an animator to create your own ads and animated videos. Biteable makes it easy with hundreds of free animated video templates. Perfume commercials are widely known to be strange and, as a result, are the subject of parody. Calvin Klein's “Obsession” ad series from the 1980s was no exception.

Channeling art cinema and Ingmar Bergman's films, these ads were dreamlike, very stylized and, yes, somewhat incomprehensible. And true to form, the ad was famous for Saturday Night Live, in the show's perfect “Compulsion” sketch. There is no shame in crying in commercials, and in some cases it takes a heart of stone to prevent it. No, we won't be making you watch Sarah McLachlan's heartbreaking ASPCA ads but you may still want to have some tissues handy for other emotional commercials like Wrigley's Extra gum one-minute spot starring a father, a daughter and some rubber-wrapping cranes or one for dog lovers starring a cute little boy and his dog named Duck.

In parts of Asia, particularly Thailand, advertisers seem to want to make viewers cry. One company, Thai Life Insurance is especially known for producing massively popular and moving advertisements. For millions of Americans, the Super Bowl is really about commercials. While older viewers tend to remain interested in the game, a survey found that most viewers under the age of 30 prefer ads to halftime show or on-field action.

An example is Apple's 1984 commercial directed by Ridley Scott which refers to George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four positioning their soon-to-be-released personal computer as the hero that would free us from “Big Brother” (possibly a blow against Apple's rival IBM). According to the writer responsible for the script “Joe was perhaps the first black man to appear in a national brand commercial” and had a profound effect at the time as people wrote letters full of gratitude and enthusiasm for this commercial parodying aspirational ads.

Patti Goldenman
Patti Goldenman

General bacon lover. Hipster-friendly travel guru. Proud bacon ninja. Incurable zombie trailblazer. Professional bacon fanatic.

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