Notable Commercial Campaigns
No advertising campaign wants to be forgettable. That would defeat the purpose. The point is to stick in the mind, to of course make people remember the product. There are many ways to do this, but this trope is for when the campaign works exceptionally. It's when people quote it. It's when it's mentioned or parodied in various media. Then the advertising agency can pat themselves on the back for a Crowning Moment of Awesome.
It's of course hard to tell exactly what makes a campaign stand out. A catchy slogan or a mascot are the most common forms, but even then it's hard to pin down exactly what makes either one work.
Regardless of what makes them work, they are memorable (although not always for the right reasons).
- CALL J.G. WENTWORTH! 877-CASH-NOW!
- Apple Computer's "1984" ad, directed by Ridley Scott and broadcast exactly once during the 1984 Super Bowl, is widely considered one of the greatest television advertisements of all time.
- In order to qualify for advertising awards, it had to be shown twice, so Apple ran it beforehand locally on some tiny station somewhere in Montana or Idaho so almost no one would see it except a few hundred to a few thousand who lived within the broadcast area of that one small station.
- Budweiser had the famous Budweiser Frogs ("Bud..." "...weis..." "...er.") and their brief rivalry with a pair of talking lizards.
- Before that, it was a series of ads about the Budweiser Clydesdales (horses) that pull the cart.
- More famous are the series of "Tastes great! Less filling!" commercials for Lite Beer from Miller (now Miller Lite), which tagline is still referenced over twenty years after their airing. You know you've earned your place in pop culture when even Cookie Monster quotes your commercial. And you're not even aiming at the same demographic. The line has also recently been used in a series of Subway ads.
- GEICO, an automobile insurance company, has several memorable series:
- One 'Bad News, Irrelevant News' parody; the bad news was always something horrible like "You have cancer" and the "good" news was always "I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance by Switching to GEICO"
- A series of Commercial Switcheroo ads. It slices, it dices, it regrows hair, it grates cheese, "but it won't save you any money on car insurance."
- One fictional series with the tagline "So easy a caveman could do it," with the real series following the cavemen offended by it. They somehow got their own sitcom, though it was quickly cancelled. Notably, the caveman has been in GEICO commercials for years, but without re-telling the original joke or using the slogan. Unless one were familiar with the original ad, they'd have no idea why a hairy guy keeps getting offended at the mere mention of GEICO.
- Famous actors, singers, and other well-known personalities being hired to tell the stories of normal customers, in their characteristic styles. The more memorable ads from this campaign feature Peter Graves, Little Richard, Verne Troyer, Don La Fontaine (In a World where both of our cars were totally underwater...), James Lipton, Tony Little from the "Gazelle" commercials (YAH BABEE!) and Mrs. Butterworth.
- Fictional exposes on well-known TV characters, such as revealing that Jed really made his fortune from the money he saved on his car insurance.
- And of course, the Geico gecko, who would originally complain about people mistaking the word "gecko" for the word "Geico", but has since become a more amiable mascot, talking intelligently about the virtues of Geico. They're different geckos. How can you tell? The new gecko has a Cockney accent; the old one's accent was more upper-class. When the gecko became a real mascot rather than a one off joke, they eventually changed the accent from "refined" to a more common accent, so that he would sound more appealing...replacing Kelsey Grammer in the process.
- Also, before even the gecko, there was a crudely drawn cartoon character who takes some kind of Schmuck Bait, and gets slapsticked for it. Geico logo comes up; "We all do dumb things. Paying too much for car insurance shouldn't be one of them."
- A car drives along a twisty mountain road. A squirrel darts into its path and the car swerves to miss it, careening off the road. A second squirrel appears and slaps paws with the first one as if to say, "You da squirrel!"
- "I just want to make an omelette!"
- A stack of bills with plastic googly eyes sitting on top, representing "the money you could be saving with Geico." Hey, nobody bats a thousand.
- Michael McGlone asking "Could switching to GEICO really save you 15% or more on car insurance?" followed by a random question: "Is Ed "Too Tall" Jones too tall? Does Elmer Fudd have trouble with the letter R?"... "Did the cavemen invent fire?" *switch to GEICO caveman on a couch, who uses a remote to 'turn on' the flame in his fireplace after looking at the camera and making a 'goddammit leave me alone' face*
- Esurance had ads featuring the animated adventures of Erin Esurance, a secret agent who fights both crime and the expense and red tape of other car insurance companies. Esurance had to retire Erin once it became glaringly clear that people were mainly watching the commercials for her, not because they wanted to quote, print, or buy.
- It's okay to be yourself / because you are...you / It's okay to release your pwrfl...power.... / 'cause it feeeeeeeeeels goooooooo-hoooooood~!! ♪
- In the 2010-11 commercials, Erin came back, though only as a still graphic on a wall in the call center they showed.
- Now that Allstate owns Esurance, the call center commercials have been dropped in favor of a new campaign narrated by John Krasinski. Erin is completely gone, and that fact is somewhat Lampshaded in one commercial where Krasinski intones that Esurance doesn't need a mascot to sell insurance.
- On the subject of insurance companies: Progressive Insurance has been running a series of ads featuring Flo, an Adorkable Cloudcuckoolander with a '60s hairstyle and a big, tricked-out name tag. Unlike Erin's commercials, Flo's are still trucking, likely because her commercials contain much less blatant Fan Service.
- Ernest P. Worrell got his start as a spokesman for practically everything under the sun.
- From a 1970s ad for Calgon water softener: "How do you get shirts so clean, Mr. Lee?" "Ancient Chinese secret!"
- HO HO HO. Green Giant.
- Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon?
- Taco Bell is still remembered for the Taco Bell Chihuahua, a tan short-hair with a Mexican accent extolling the virtues of Taco Bell. Though popular, the campaign was discontinued when a small regional Mexican restaurant insisted they had come up with a similar ad campaign with a chihuahua mascot. Faced with the possibility of a lawsuit or sharing royalties, Taco Bell dropped the character like a hot chalupa.
- This didn't stop him from making a cameo appearance in a Geico commercial.
"Oh, great...a talking gecko."
- Alka-Seltzer: "Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh, what a relief it is..."
- Their later "I can't believe I ate the whole thing" ad is still remembered nearly 30 years after its creation. (It was remade in 2005 with actors from Everybody Loves Raymond.)
- Similarly, an Alka-Seltzer commercial featuring an Italian man repeatedly screwing up a "Spicy Meat-a-ball" commercial and requiring the product after a number of takes, usually finds its way near the top of "best commercials" lists. Unfortunately, though hilarious, most viewers thought it was an advertisement for the meatballs. This ad was parodied in the movie The Mask when Jim Carrey (wearing The Mask, so he was able to do this) swallows a bomb, which explodes in his stomach, he then blows a smoke ring and announces "Now that's a spicy meat-a-ball!".
- WHOA, Robert Loggia!... technically, at least, for Minute Maid juice.
- This too was referenced by Everyone Loves Raymond, in an episode where Loggia guest-stars.
- The television ad for the console version of the first Mortal Kombat (involving teenage boys yelling in a deep voice for the game) was so well-known and famous for its deep-throated yell that it was sampled for the theme to The Movie.
- Guinness's US ads:
- "Thirty-second reels promoting our product? Brilliant!"
- My Goodness, My Guinness! "That animal is choking on a zookeeper's beer!"
- The original Commercial Switcheroo-based Energizer bunny commercials where they did fake commercials for nonexistent products, then interrupted them with their character. Though that particular campaign is dead, it propelled to prominence a mascot who keeps going, and going, and going, and...
- Of note was that Eveready could dish it out, but they couldn't take it. When Coors Beer decided to hire Leslie Nielsen to wear a pink bunny outfit in order to satirize the Energizer Bunny campaign, Eveready sued Coors to stop the ad. The judge in the case ruled Coors' ad was a valid parody, in part saying in his decision, "Mr. Nielsen is not a toy, and does not run on batteries."
- Also interestingly, the Energizer bunny was a direct spoof of a series of ads for competitor Duracell which featured a toy bunny. This has led to an interesting situation where Energizer is associated with bunnies in the US and Canada, but Duracell has that distinction in most other countries.
- In the realm of print ads, Eva Herzigov's "Hello Boys" ad for Wonderbra a few years ago. A lot of people thought it would cause car accidents.
- Ad agency Doyle Dane Bernbach's ads for the original VW Beetle (print and TV) have become textbook examples (literally). Not only did VW adopt the format for their ads worldwide, but they changed the entire look of print advertising in the course of five years or so. Incidentally, DDB was a Jewish-owned company known for "Yiddish wit", in a WASP-dominated industry. Applying that to a German product founded by the Nazi regime in an era when memories of World War Two were just beginning to fade removed a lot of Unfortunate Implications. These ads actually managed to coin THE catchphrase for the Beetle in Germany: "It runs and runs and runs..."
- DeBeers developed the slogan "A diamond is forever", specifically to reduce the diamond after-market. If a diamond really is "forever", then obviously you can't pawn it or resell it. And certainly you can't give your love a used "forever".
- There's a Heineken beer ad that involves a live lobster, a naked woman and a bath full of salty water...
- Fosters: Australian for beer... and translated it means "beer that we sell the tourists so we can keep the good stuff for ourselves". Within Australia, Fosters is barely even advertised much at all, because it is widely considered to be a low quality beer compaired to the other Australian brands. Indeed, pubs in Australia that even sell the stuff are now few and far between, and it's nigh-on impossible to find a place that has it on tap.
- How to speak Australian:
[guy is crushed by boulder] "ow."
- Coca-Cola spends big time on ad campaigns and has hit home runs multiple times:
- The "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" commercial that was so popular that a partially rewritten pop song version was released for radio.
- The Mean Joe Greene ad, in which a little kid shyly offers the surly NFL superstar a post-game bottle after a loss. Was so popular that a TV Movie was made to expand on it. Also a Coke Zero-supporting re-make for the 2009 Super Bowl, featuring Troy Polamalu.
- The Polar Bear campaign, famous as an early—thus strikingly unique—mainstream use of CGI.
- Coke even popularized the modern appearance of Santa Claus with their advertisements. How's that for a lasting ad campaign?
- Dunno if it had a very long run, but one of the best commercials of the 2007 Super Bowl was a Coke ad that started like a Grand Theft Auto style game. Car swerves through the streets, stops, badass gets out, walks into a convenience store, takes a Coke out of the cooler, and takes a drink. It turns into a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming pretty quickly; link here.
- The catchy 'Always Coca-Cola' campaign of the early 90's, which—for reasons probably not entirely unrelated to the then-recent New Coke debacle—traded on the sheer iconic-ness of the brand:
"Whenever there's a pool, there's always a flirt
Whenever there is school, there'll always be homework
Whenever there's a beat, there's always a drum
And whenever there's fun, there's always Coca-Cola!"
- The Taster's Choice commercial campaign that made an engaging romance about a couple bantering about coffee.
- In a similar vein, Teri Hatcher and Howie Long (?) flirted in a series of ads for Radio Shack.
- Electronic Data Systems' 2000 Superbowl commercial. Herding Cats
- Arrow Shirts' classic commercial. The perfect way to smash a stogy image with a joyful, colorful noise Youtube
- "Got Milk?"—developed in 1993 by ad agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners for the California Milk Processor Board. "Got Milk?" was just the latest of a string of campaigns the CMPB commissioned in hopes to stop the slow but steady decline in milk sales that had plagued CMPB dairies for decades. It worked. By 2000, sales figures had leveled off, but sales increases were almost non-existent. In an interview regarding the campaign, a CMPB spokesman said the group was thrilled with flat sales figures after so many years of losses. GS&P and the CMPB later licensed the ad campaign to other state milk boards. (Note: California is a milk monopoly state, meaning it is one of many states that restricts the importation of fluid milk from other states. In 2000, when the price of a gallon of milk in non-monopoly states averaged about $2.00, the price of a gallon in California was about $3.75. Yet, tellingly, because the federal WIC program mandated that beneficiaries of the program be allowed to buy two gallons for $4.00, the CMPB allowed California supermarkets to sell one gallon for $3.75 and then a second for 25 cents. In non-monopoly states, milk sales never experienced the declining milk sales that milk monopoly states have. So, if you've seen a lot of "Got Milk?" commercials in your lifetime, you were probably living in a milk monopoly state at the time.)
- The first commercial was the "Awwon Buww," ad by Michael Bay. And starring Rob Paulsen.
- Nintendo even took a part in the ad for a short time during the Nintendo 64 days. Mario would be trying to jump up to a high platform in his game world and then get exhausted from hitting his head repeatedly on the side of it. He then jumped out of the TV screen and walk into the kitchen to drink some milk, which made him huge! Mario then went back into the TV and continued the game as a giant, being able to climb up said platform.
- Other pictorial Got Milk? ads featured various Ms. Fanservices from various industries (movie, music, video games) with rather... suggestive appearances involving milk.
- A particularly memorable ad featured the Trix rabbit, in a live-action and realistic setting, claiming victory in buying Trix (which the cashier recognizes is for kids) from a grocery store (in a human costume), an emotion which soon turned to sadness as he forgot to buy milk.
- "Don't. Squeeze. The. Charmin!!" ...or Mr Whipple will come and get you in your sleep.
- Quiznos' commercials featuring the Spongmonkeys are notable in that it's the first time that an Internet meme was commercially exploited. You either loved or hated the commercials that resulted; the Modern Humorist commented that they are "what you see before you die." On the other hand, "they've got a pepper bar!"
- MasterCard's oft-parodied "Priceless" commercials.
- American Express's "do you know me?" campaign in the 1980's, which was parodied by a Whammy on Press Your Luck, as well as in the movie Major League. "Hi! Do you know us? We're a Major League Baseball team!"
- There was Nissan's briefly notorious 1989 series of Infiniti commercials, which slowly faded through a series of beautifully photograph landscape shots while never showing the car or even telling the viewers what an "Infiniti" was. Gorgeous but fundamentally content-free car advertisements have a long and respected history... sales of the Infiniti didn't increase much, though. "I guess the advertising isn't working," quipped Jay Leno on the Tonight Show, "although I understand the sales of rocks and trees are up 300%".
- "Hello, I'm a Mac." "And I'm a PC..."
Antivirus: You are coming to a crushing realization. Allow?
PC: [sigh] Allow.
- One of the most memorable ads in this campaign features PC stuffed up with lotsa programs and he's running slow. Somehow, this means when he's a human, he's super fat.
- In fact, this campaign is so successful, it's spawned a Livejournal community dedicated to slashing the guys playing PC/Mac.
- Lampshaded in a Crowning Moment of Funny for John Hodgman (the 'PC'); when he discussed the "Net Neutrality: act on The Daily Show, Jon coerced him into saying, "I'm a PC."
- Microsoft later responded with their "I'm a PC" ads.
- "...and Windows 7 was my idea."
- T-Mobile used the campaign against Apple and AT&T while debuting their new spokesmodel, Carly Foulkes, who was replacing Catherine Zeta Jones.
- M&Ms candy-coated chocolate: "Melts in Your Mouth, Not in Your Hand."
- And the commercials with the talking, walking M&Ms.
- "Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids!"
- For awhile there in the late 20th-century, it was impossible to sell cereal to American children except via whacky mascot. Other iconic examples included Cap'n Crunch, Frankenberry, Count Chocula, a little bird who was perpetually 'Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs' and a harassed leprechaun who instead of gold hoarded delicious marshmallows from devious kids: "They're always after me Lucky Charms!"
- Wendy's "Where's the beef?" campaign became one of the most widely quoted catchphrases in the 1984 US Presidential election campaign.
- "I've fallen, and I can't get up!" For all the serious nature of the product, the Life Alert call button, it was an unforgettable line.
- The line was so memorable, it actually survived the original company's demise. Life Alert is actually the second company to use the trademarked line (after buying the trademark from the now defunct LifeCall.
- NBC has a couple. "Must See TV" and "The More You Know".
- "I dreamed I wrote this example in my Maidenform Bra."
- The Marlboro Man, although that's loaded with Unfortunate Implications now. Especially after a couple of the models involved later sued the company whilst dying of lung cancer.
- The very, very lonely Maytag (appliance) Repairman.
- Oddly enough, this doesn't often overlap with Celebrity Endorsements. Usually it's just an individual ad that becomes iconic. "What Becomes a Legend Most?" for Blackglama Mink is an example of a whole campaign, because the very premise of the campaign was celebrities selling the product. And as the slogan states, these were the legends (like Audrey Hepburn in the picture), not any up-and-comers.
- The Pets.com sock puppet dog. Most notable for claiming copyright infringement on Conan O'Brien's "Triumph, the insult comic dog", then subsequently going out of business.
- Nike reminds you to "Just do it".
- "Beef. It's what's for dinner." You now have Aaron Copland's "Hoedown" playing in your head.
- The wannabe Foster Farms chickens.
- The American Dairy Association once ran a series of ads with the Catch Phrase "Behold the power of cheese" (Later changed to "Ah, the power of cheese"). While the various ads varied wildly in effectiveness, one particularly brilliant one started out by showing multiple scenes of a city being destroyed by aliens or Kaiju monsters. Halfway through one civilian mutters "Isn't it time for 'here I come to save the day'?!!" We then cut to a scene of Mighty Mouse calmly eating cheese while the city is being pummeled, and even at one point holding up a single finger while people pound on the window to get his attention. Cue the catchphrase.
- Dost thou love Life? Well, "Mikey likes it". (Something of a Beam Me Up, Scotty—the actual line is "He likes it! Hey, Mikey!!")
- We've secretly replaced this TV Tropes page with Folgers Crystals. Let's see if anyone can tell the difference.
- This was hilariously spoofed in a Saturday Night Live sketch with an outtake where a customer played by Chris Farley completely loses his mind upon being told this was not the coffee he ordered.
- This Penny Arcade comic imitates this format to slight the hugeness of the original Xbox controller.
- The Discovery Channel thinks the world is just so awesome, it deserves its own theme song. ("Boom-de-yada!")
- Also: "Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun" for McDonald's Big Mac.
- In the same vein, the "Menu Song" from the late 1980s, to the tune of Reunion's "Life is a Rock (But the Radio Rolled Me)".
- McWORLD~!♪ (Hey, it could happen.)
- "You deserve a break today...", which premiered around 1981 but has come back a few times since.
- Bah bah bah bah BAH! I'm lovin' it.
- Domino's Pizza introduced the 'Noid, an odd man in a rabbit costume who makes it his business to stomp on pizzas.
- "My bologna has a first name/ It's O-S-C-A-R. My bolgona has a second name/ It's M-A-Y-E-R." Couple that with the iconic Weinermobile (for Oscar Meyer's hot dogs).
Rainer Wolfcastle: [singing] Mein bratwurst has a first name, it's F-R-I-T-Z / Mein bratwurst has a second name, it's S-C-H-N-A-C-K-E-N-P-F-E-F-F-E-R-H-A-U-S-E-N.
- The "most interesting man in the world" commercials by Dos Equis. See for yourself.
- Bartles & Jaymes wine coolers: "...and thank you for your support."
- Star-Kist Tuna's Charlie the Tuna, and his hilarious if vaguely disturbing obsession with being classy enough to be put in a can. "Sorry Charlie, Star-Kist doesn't want tuna with good taste... Star-Kist wants tuna that tastes good!"
- This cooling shave/Will never fail/To stamp Its user/First class male/Burma-Shave
- Yoshi's Island is crammed with features, enemies, and levels up the wazoo. Thus begs the question, "When is too much too much?" (Note: inspired by Mr. Creosote and the Wafer-Thin Mint.)
- Genesis does what Nintendon't!
W E L C O
M E T O T
H E N E X
T LE V EL
- Sony Playstation: U R Not E
- The Japanese tagline at the end of some of the early Playstation ads ("pureisuteishon!")
- Live in your world, play in ours.
- The Play Station 3 ads with Kevin Butler.
- "Mr. Owl, how many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?" At one point, counters were sold so that you could find out.
- "Hey, this picante sauce was made in New York City!"
- The This is Your Brain on Drugs PSA, which used a frying egg to make its point, has been widely parodied in other media. E.g. "And this is your brain with a side of bacon and hash browns." Any questions?
- Who are you calling a cootie queen, you lint licker?!
- Old Spice's The Man Your Man Could Smell Like ad campaign. OK, look back to those other commercials. Now, back to me. Sadly, those other commercials don't feature me. Also, I'm on a horse.
- "Moo." "Cow."
- Which replaced this long-running campaign: "Old Spice means quality, said the Captain to the Bosun, So look for the package with the ship that sails the ocean. Yo ho, yo ho."
- HI, Billy Mays HERE!!...for miracle stain remover OxiClean, among many other things.
- Hilariously parodied on, of all things, UK children's series Horrible Histories: "HELLO, I'M A SHOUTY MAN!!"
- The Piels Bros. beer commercials of the late 50's, featuring animated Odd Couple siblings Bert and Harry Piel, as voiced by then-hot comics Bob & Ray. Widely conceded to be far superior to the product itself; at the campaign's peak, upcoming spots were actually listed in TVGuide.
- The Pepsi 'Forever Young' adverts. Pretty much Sweet Dreams Fuel.
- Before which, they would like to invite you to become part of the hip, young Pepsi Generation.
- And before that... "Pepsi-Cola hits the spot/Twelve full ounces, that's a lot!"
- Samsonite demonstrates the durabilty of its luggage by literally locking it into a cage with an alpha male gorilla and filming the results.
- Timex watches spawned a mid-20th century Memetic Mutation: "Takes a licking and keeps on ticking!"
- "Hey, dude, you're gettin' a Dell!" Though Dell Computer denies it, and says they were ready to retire that line of commercials, most still think that that guy shot himself in the foot when he was arrested for drug possession.
- The Free Credit Report.com band.
- Jack Gilford for Cracker Jack, and the jingle: Lip-smacking Whip-crackin Paddywhackin Knickaknackin Silabawhackin Scalawhackin Crackerjackin ... Cracker Jack!
- Gillette razor blades: "Look sharp, feel sharp, be sharp", "Gillette, the best a man can get", "How are you fixed for blades?"
- Arthur Godfrey for Creamo Cigars.
- bob-white bird call Rinso White and Rinso bright.
- "I want my Maypo!"
- Choo Choo Charlie for Good'n'Plenty candies.
- "It walks the stairs, without a care, and shoots so high in the sky..." for Slinky. Parodied in Ren and Stimpy with an ad for "Log"
- "Call for Philip Morr-eees..."
- "You can trust your car to the man who wears the star" for Texaco gas stations.
- "The bigger the burger, the better the burger, the burgers are bigger at Burger King."
- In the same vein: "Have it your way, have it your way, have it your way at Burger King"
- There's also the campaign starring 'Herb, the one man in America who has never eaten at a Burger King', which is memorable for just how spectacularly it failed.
- "We love baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet."
- Coors Light has a series of commercials in which two fans would ask football coaches questions and the "responses" would be spliced in, usually from an infamous or memetic press conference. Jim Mora's "Playoffs?" rant came into play, as did one of Bill Parcells'.
- The old commercials where Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble promoted smoking cigarettes. Mitigated somewhat when you realise The Flintstones was considered an adult sitcom at the time (it aired in prime-time, not Saturday morning), but still...
- Head On Apply directly to the forehead. HeadOn. Apply directly to the forehead. HeadOn. Apply directly to the forehead. Head On. Available at Walgreens.
- Reebok introduced a mascot called "Terry Tate, Office Linebacker," a man who would lay out vicious tackles on his office mates for minor infractions. His character became so popular that Epic basically made him a playable character in Gears of War.
(Man takes last cup of coffee, Terry tackles him) Terry Tate: You can't break that weak-ass **** up in this humpty-bumpty! You kill the joe, you make some mo'! WOOOOOOOOOOO!
- The adventures of Jack Box, mascot CEO of the Jack In The Box fast-food chain, the longest-running campaign in television history.
- The current generation will never, ever, ever forget the Empire phone number. 800 588 2300. IT WILL NEVER LEAVE.
- There was a local variant, ask anyone from Northern Ohio about the phone number "Garfield 1-2323, Garfield 1-2323," and they'll finish the tune for you, even if no one can recall the product—supposedly aluminum siding.
- Back in the 1980s, when they were still Federal Express (and the very idea of cross-country, overnight delivery was still pretty novel), FedEx briefly vaulted John Moschitta, the World's Fastest Talker, to bonafide celebrity status. Later on, he also showed up in commercials for Galoob's Micro Machines toys.
- If you watched any television at all in the 1970s, you may remember the commercials for Wisk. One of the very first mass-marketed liquid laundry detergents, Wisk's advertising executives built nearly a decade of commercials around being able to pretreat collar stains with it—with a side dose of horror and looming insanity. The initial run of ads seemed innocuous enough: housewives being embarrassed by children dancing around their drying laundry and chanting "Ring around the collar! Ring around the collar!" at the white dress shirts hanging there. But within a couple of years, the shirts themselves, fresh from the laundry, would taunt increasingly distressed homemakers over their inability to remove the grey line from inside collars using "ordinary" powder detergents. Eventually the campaign escalated to the point where the shirts would hurl themselves out of the dryer or laundry basket, flailing through the air as though demonically possessed while shrieking "Ring around the collar! Ring around the collar!" at the poor women while they cowered, fearing for both life and sanity. Naturally, the campaign was ripe for parody, and eventually it seemed the advertising agency realized this; by 1980, the commercials had abandoned the possessed shirts and had ramped the hysteria down into a much more low-key approach, while still staying rather psychotically fixated on the horrors of collar stains. (A problem which, more than one satirist pointed out, could be solved much easier by making the wearer of the shirts wash his neck better.)
- The Norelco Christmas ad has been running annually since at least the late 1960s. Animated in Stop Motion, it features a Santa gliding smoothly over snow-covered hills and dales in a giant Norelco razor, and ends with the announcer declaring, "Even our name says 'Merry Christmas'", while "Noelco" appears on the screen.
- The Burger King. Don't go to bed before he does.
- Pizza Hut's Pizza Face- Mr. Bill if he were a slice of pizza.
- This pantyhose commercial is even funnier if you know that Joe Namath got a lot of flack for having long hair which was considered extremely girly by older people in The Sixties. By making this commercial, he was intentionally invoking Stupid Sexy Flanders as a Take That.
- The Canada Heritage Minutes series of short vignettes, showing notable moments from Canada's history, and playing randomly on Canadian stations for more than 15 years.
- The long-running Christmas "Give like Santa... Save like Scrooge" ads for Canadian Tire. More recent, but (much) more despised, are the ads with the smug superior bearded guy smugly rescuing his doofus neighbors with his superior MasterCraft gadgets (available only at Canadian Tire).
- Concerned Children's Advertisers, a television monitoring group in Canada, did this with a anti-drug commercial where a man visits his incredibly sick brother in the hospital, set to The Hollies' "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother."
- Another hugely popular Concerned Children's Advertisers spot was about house hippos. Basically the point was to get kids to question what they saw on TV. The result was a generation or two of kids who will jokingly blame house hippos for missing mittens.
- Labatt promoted its Ice and Maximum Ice brands by using Michael Ironside (in an ad that seemed to be influenced by Highlander 2) and Alexander Godunov (Karl from Die Hard) to pimp the brand.
- Also, great though Neil Diamond is, Labatt is single-handedly responsible for why "Sweet Caroline" remains popular to younger people.
- A brief-but-popular mid-eighties campaign traded on both the brand name and Canada's multiculturalism: "So I go into La bar, and I order La beer..."
- Molson Canadian's 'I Am Canadian' ad. Basically an average Canadian (Jeff Douglas) gets on a stage and systematically refutes pervasive stereotypes of Canadians.
- Molson does this a lot actually. Some of the more popular ones include:
- "Mr. Christie, you make good cookies!" (like Oreos and Chips Ahoy, for instance...)
- Oliver's Jewelry, a small trade-in shop in Toronto, influenced television in Ontario for the last 15+ years thanks to the efforts of its owner, Russell Oliver. He shoots commercials in one take, standing outside his store and throwing piles of money at the camera while telling the audience how they can bring in their jewelery for "COLD HARD CASH!", and finishes with a trademark, "OH YEAH!!!"
- When you eat your Smarties, do you eat the red ones last?/Do you suck them very slowly, or crunch them very fast?/Eat those candy-coated chocolates, but tell me when I ask:/When you eat your Smarties, do you eat the red ones last?
- Canada's iconic coffee'n'donut chain has equally pervasive taglines: "You've always got time for Tim Hortons!". Alternatively, "Always Fresh at Tim Hortons!"
- Not to mention the recent, almost unbearably Crowning Moment of Heartwarming campaign linking Tim's iconic status to warm family memories...
- "Sleep Country Can-a-da! Why buy a mattress anywhere else?"
- Bizarrely, that jingle is know widely outside of Canada; in the U.S. Pacific Northwest, that is (just replace the "Can-a-da!" part of the jingle with "U.S.A.!"). For some reason, Sleep Country decided to expand its brand.... but only into Washington and Oregon, where the jingle is very much a local in-joke, with one of Sleep Country's commercials being parodied by a Western Washington company who themselves are well known for their commercials.
- "Who's better than Bad Boy?" "Noooooooooooooooooooo BODY!!" Became even more ubiquitous when the founder and president of this furniture-store chain, Mel Lastman, actually managed to become mayor of Toronto. We don't like to talk about it, thanks.
- The War Amps commercial featuring the android running through the Death Course. "I can put my arm back on, you can't." The live action version is considered superior to the later CGI version.
- Similar to the Canadian Heritage Minute are the Hinterland Who's Who vignettes, which were spoofed at least once on SCTV. The original versions were a brief description of a notable Canadian animal, the more recent ones are more explicitly environmental.
- In the last several years, there's been a campaign where a character is about to leave the house and starts having a hallucination giving the message "You are way too high to drive." Notable in that the message is not the simplistic "Don't use drugs", but "Don't toke up/snort/inject and drive."
- We see your American and Australian Coke commercials and give you this.
- Pepsi ran ads a few years ago in Quebec that used the slogan "Ici c'est Pepsi" ("It's Pepsi here"). They either featured oblivious English-Canadians in Quebec asking for a Coke and being handed a Pepsi with an angry look, or a bunch of young Quebecers listing seemingly awesome Quebecers stereotypes, finishing with shouting "Ici c'est Pepsi". Pepsi being blue - the color associated with the Quebec sovereignty movement, in opposition to Coke's red - helps a lot to boost the soft drink's popularity.
- Canuck AT&T-analog Rogers Cable ran a series of ads featuring three French-Canadian friends in Montreal, having hilarious and often absurd adventures featuring Rogers Mobility features.
- The Dairy Farmers of Ontario gave us the epic Milk Rap.
- The Get A Load of Milk campaign. Short (5 seconds) clips showing what milk can do you for you. They always end with that cowbell sound.
- "Only in Canada? Pity." Always spoken with a Received Pronunciation accent or facsimile thereof, always said immediately after taking a sip of Red Rose Tea. (Which is an average-quality tea, by the way.) The ads ran for decades.
- Guinness ads are particularly well known, with "Surfer" ("he waits, that's what he does"), "Noitulove" (which features three men backwards evolving to the tune of "The Rhythm of Life") and a long chain of dominoes ad. "You don't pour a Guinness, you bring it to life." The ad itself is pretty awesome though.
- Halifax has achieved some notability in recent years with its rewritten pop songs featuring real staff from the company. Most Halifax ads traditionally feature a large crowd of people forming an X in the middle of a wide open area.
- Honda's "Cog" ad- a 2-minute long Rube Goldberg machine constructed from car parts. It was actually two sequences spliced together, but otherwise used no tricks. They're known as a 'Heath Robinson' contraption, in the UK.
- "Cog" was also notable because all the parts came from one Civic - a pre-production prototype that was precisely-engineered, hand-crafted, and worth a few million dollars before the ad company took it apart.
- Hovis bread had a campaign featuring nostalgic reconstructions of Britain in the 1920s and '30s, with the tagline "still as good for you today as it's always been". Ironically they were accompanied by a brass band playing Dvorak's New World Symphony, a piece of music which had been inspired by the American West.
- The irony is that the adverts have turned a piece of music written by a Czech about America into the unofficial Yorkshire national anthem.
- Even more ironic as the best-known of these depicted a boy pushing a bicycle up a steep hill in Shaftesbury, Dorset.
- An anniversary advert had a boy go to pick up a loaf in the nineteenth century, then pass through every era since then as he brings it home.
- The irony is that the adverts have turned a piece of music written by a Czech about America into the unofficial Yorkshire national anthem.
- Fairy Liquid detergent used the same jingle for decades: "Now hands that do dishes can feel soft as your face, with mild green Fairy Liquid".
- You Brits clean your dishes with absinthe????
- R. White's Lemonade introduced its "secret lemonade drinker" campaign in the early 1970s. The second ad, which featured a man sneaking downstairs to raid the fridge in an (unsuccessful) attempt to prevent his wife from discovering his secret habit, was so successful that it was still running more than a decade later.
- Another long running campaign was for Cadbury's Flake bars, which featured various young ladies enjoying the sensual pleasure of crumbly chocolate in private. "Only the crumbliest, flakiest chocolate, tastes like chocolate never tasted before." Recently brought back, with Joss Stone.
- P. G. Tips Tea had a very long-running campaign featuring "talking" chimpanzees, until the concept became politically incorrect. The best-remembered ad (possibly inspired by a Laurel and Hardy short) featured two chimps as removal men trying to push a piano upstairs.
Son: Dad, do you know the piano's on my foot?
Dad: You hum it, son - I'll play it.
- These days, they use Monkey, a cuddly tiny sock monkey who was earlier on the (now-defunct) ITV Digital adverts. Strangely the 'Al and Monkey' adverts (Al being played by comedian Johnny Vegas) managed to be incredibly popular while at the same time apparently managing not to sell any ITV Digiboxes at all.
- The BBC's own digital adverts from the Turn of the Millennium featured celebrities ripping their faces off via CGI to become other celebrities. These were widely criticised--The BBC briefly obtained rights to ITV's "Monkey" after ITV Digital went bust and combined the two, featuring monkeys ripping their faces off and turning into celebrities.
- Later The BBC had another criticised set of adverts in a similar mode, advertising digital radio using people who did idiotic things like not getting dressed in the morning 'to make time for digital radio'.
- However, The BBC (to say they don't carry other people's adverts at all) have also made some of the best of all time, such as "Small People", which goes through almost every children's programme The BBC made in fifty years.
- Cadbury's "Milk Tray Man" adverts.
- I bet he drinks Carling black Label.
- "Happiness is a cigar called Hamlet's" is still remembered over 20 years after the UK banned tobacco advertising on TV.
- The OXO stock cube adds involving Lynda Bellingham are so well known, she's become known as the "OXO cube mum", despite a considerable career with other roles.
- The eSure adverts with Michael Winner, best known for their copious Memetic Mutation - "calm down, dear", "Hello, Mum!" and "It's only a commercial".
- Cillit Bang managed to make an extremely well-known advert on practically zero budget. How? HI! I'M BARRY SCOTT! LIP-SYNCED SHOUTING AND CHEESY FORCED DIALOGUE! LOOK HOW IT GETS THIS PENNY! Hey, it's notable, I never said it was good.
- Directory Enquiries service 118 118 have done some memorable ones, but the one where they re-wrote the lyrics to the Theme Tune to Ghostbusters and got Roy Parker Jr. to sing the modified lyrics tops the lot. The relevant ads included many a pun on "I ain't afraid of no ghosts!":
- "I ain't afraid of no goats!"
- "I ain't afraid of no coast!"
- The Coca Cola Christmas adverts aired over here that featured branded lorries travelling throughout a snowy landscape causing Christmas lights to magically light up as they drove by (complete with "holidays are coming" Jingle).
- One version emphasised Coca-Cola's long history by having Father Christmas (who never ages) drinking it with a little girl every Christmas as she grows up and lives her life.
- These Adverts are so part of British culture that many people believe Christmas begins when this advert turns up on TV each year.
- So some time in August then.
- The "Whooaah Bodyform" advert.
- "For Mash Get Smash!"
- The Alliance & Leicester bank used to run commercials where Hugh Laurie acted like his bank, Sproggit and Sylvester, was superior to A&L, until Stephen Fry deflated his ego. It usually ended with the slogan "You get a wiser investor at Alliance & Leicester" although it was once changed to "You get a dafter investor at Sproggit and Sylvester".
- "Compare the Meerkat Dot Com; Compare The Market Dot Com. Simples!"
- You do the shake and vac, and put the freshness back.
- Vic's Sinex "Course you can, Malcolm!" adverts became Memetic Mutation in The Seventies.
- Churchill Car Insurance, after years of fairly straightforward adverts, became notable after they adopted a Winston Churchill-like bulldog asked questions about insurance by an unseen narrator (originally voiced by Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer) who replies "Oh, yes!"
- A later variation featured an ordinary person asking the questions, while another tells them not to believe Churchill because he said he was doing something unlikely at the weekend--Gilligan Cut to him, of course, doing just that.
- Like America above and Japan below, Britain had its share of crazy Sega adverts, most notably the completely demented Sega Pirate TV campaign.
- Scotch brand videotapes were sold by an Uncanny Valley animated skeleton.
- Walker's Crisps, which feature former footballer Gary Lineker belying his nice-guy image by portraying an arch-villain who will stop at nothing to get his hands on the product. The campaign began with this one in 1995, when Lineker returned to the UK after playing in Japan. It was such a success that new ones are still being produced in 2011.
- The success of the Sega Saturn in Japan tends to be attributed to one man: Segata Sanshiro (Hiroshi Fujioka), a Badass judo master who trains in the mountains with a giant Saturn console, beats up people for not playing enough Saturn games, and turns unfortunate opponents into human bombs by throwing them hella far. He was eventually retired with the Saturn in a glorious manner, by saving Sega from a terrorist attack, but not before he was given his own action figure, music video, and video game. "Segata Sanshiro! Segata Sanshiro! Sega Saturn shiro~!"
- Interestingly, the MORNING RESUCE was kept for the overseas release of Puella Magi Madoka Magica subs, and it reached memetic status due to the Soundtrack Dissonance when compared to the anime. Know Your Meme goes more in-depth.
- The Telmex long distance ads, featuring a man saying "CALL HIM!" ("¡HBLELE!") in a ludicrously overblown Monterrey accent (which, for the record, is equivalent to Texan/Deep South).
- The Saladitas salty crackers ad, featuring a Chinese boy in a Mexican family saying "People, I have to tell you something... I think I'm adopted", but everybody ignores him and keeps commenting on the crackers. In a sweet, awesome case of meta-advertising, the Beijing Olympics 2008 Special features the same commercial, but reversed, starring a Mexican boy in a Chinese family saying exactly the same lines in Mandarin.
- The 1970s "pint of Harp" ads.
- Guinness campaigns in general.
- Miss Kennedy and the handsome French teacher sharing a bit of Kerrygold.
- David Kelly's Brennan's bread ads. Inspired this parody.
- The classic Financial Regulator ad: "I don't know what a tracker mortgage is!"
- We See Your American Coca Cola Ads, and say that we can do one better. Bask in This.
- Victoria Bitter had an ad campaign that began late-80s/early-90s that is still recognizable today.
- Australian Yellow Pages has had a few memorable ads, including the Goggomobile Guy and "Not Happy, Jan!"
- Carlton Draught's ads since the mid 2000s have been widely popular, mostly for their tongue-in-check parodying of other beer ads. Apparently, their beer is brewed in a big metal thing and driven around by horses. It also brought us, at the height of Lord of the Rings mania, "It's a big ad! Very big ad!" (to the tune of "O Fortuna")
- And then there's the Telstra ad which teaches us that Emperor Nasi Goreng build the Great Wall of China to keep the rabbits out.
- Qantas has run various versions over the years of their now iconic ads, involving a children's choir sing "I Still Call Australia Home" at various places around the world. Watch it [strike:here (deleted for TOS violation), instead go here! or here
- Parodied by the Chaser here.
- Now, everybody: "We're happy little Vegemites, as bright as bright can be...!"
- The Ear Worm qualities of this jingle are demonstrated by the Good News Week audience here.
- "I like Aeroplane Jelly! Aeroplane Jelly for me..."
- Then there's Mortein's "Louie the fly" and all of its descendants, which like the Vegemite and Aeorplane Jelly jingles cited above date back to before television.
- In a series of ads for Boag's Draught, they show that the pure waters of Tasmania have some...rather interesting effects.
- There's nothing like / Auss-tray-lee-yah / There's nothing like AUSS-TRAY-LEE-YAAAAAAAAAH~ ♪
"There's nothing like this bear!"
"That's not a bear."
- The swedish company Krisprolls was made very famous in France by its late 90's advertising campaign, which told of one Swede's struggle to eat Krisprolls toasts behind his wife's back. The ads ended either with said wife catching him red-handed (uttering a suspicious "Ingmar...") or with her almost catching him, in which case he would pretend to totally not be eating toast by, say, acting like the toast is a bird, throwing it into the air and looking at the sky in awe while the toast falls down on the ground. It should be seen.
- the Orangina commercials featuring a variety of anthropomorphic animals in what appears to be a juice fuelled orgy, and then there's the parody of the Gillette advert they did with the gay puma fur. It's all based on the fact the french word for "pulpy" can also mean "voluptuous", so it's an Incredibly Lazy Pun as well.
- Back in the late nineties, a guy dressed up to look like a tablet sung a stupid little ditty on how the painkiller Ipren is intelligent enough to know which part of your body hurts. Everybody loved it except the government, who decided it was false advertisement to call a brand of painkillers "intelligent". Of course, this caused people to love it even more, and the melody of the ditty to appear in the background of that company's commercials for years. It was only the text that was banned, you see...
- The commercials for the retailing company ICA, which portrays a floorwalker, his employees, and their regular trials in a regular retail store (while the camera highlights several products and their prices). Has been going on since 2001, with over 300 episodes.
- World History. Bank Imperial. Unsurpassed to this day epic masterpieces of storytelling each just one of one minute long, with characters and lines becoming part of the modern cultural background. The impact and quality of these ads look even more fantastic today considering when and where they were made (chaos of the middle 90s in Russia, and that was one of very first tv ads ex-soviet audience saw).
Also known as Homogenous Multinational Ad Campaign.
- In Argentina, the Telecom ads featuring "la llama que llama" (the llama that calls). Full of lame jokes, but funny all the same.
- "Mentos, the freshmaker!"
- "You will believe a man can fly."
- "L'oreal, because I'm worth it!"
- maybe she's born with it. Maybe it's Maybelline~! ♪
- "Try Frosted Flakes. They're GRRRRREAT!"
- The Coca-Cola Happiness Factory ads, premiered as the 2006 FIFA World Cup Special.
- The Axe/Lynx Effect.
- Heineken knows that every man wants a walk-in beer fridge.
- Both people in the U.S. and the U.K. fear The Burger King.
- iPod's dancing silhouettes against multicolored backgrounds.
- "Never Say No to Panda."
- "I've been internalising a really complicated situation in my head."
...going, and going, and going, and going...
- Sing it to the tune of the old novelty song "Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavor on the Bedpost Overnight?"