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Top 10 most iconic TV ads in the UK

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Some TV ads are made to last. Some not. So here is a little compilation of some that stayed in our mind - and yours, we’re sure… Let’s go back in time!


1/ Coca-Cola - Christmas is Coming

Every year, that’s how we know the Holiday Season has started: no, it’s not with those drafts of Christmas lists that appear here and there, or with everybody bragging about they are going to spend their holidays. The Holiday Season starts with the Coca-Cola adverts, featuring, as always, the famous truck and the famous song, that give us a little taste of our winter holidays.

Click here to watch this TV ad:



2/ John Lewis – Man on the Moon

Let’s stay in winter, with this other TV ad played at Christmas. The chain of department stores John Lewis and its agency Adam & Eve / DDB London imagined a new ad that pulls at our heartstrings. Isn’t a real tearjerker to imagine an old person being all alone (on the moon!), especially for Christmas? Well, yes, it is, and John Lewis knows it. That’s why, as they say, we should show everybody they’re loved at Christmas.

Click here to watch this TV ad:




3/ Yellow Pages – Mistletoe

Ok, we all know that all the brands are showing off at Christmas, spending big budgets on TV adverts. One of them is none other than Yellow Pages, which features 2 cute kids on a winter night. A little girl is holding mistletoe and is waiting for someone to come and kiss her. What can help a little boy too short better than a big old Yellow Pages?

Click here to watch this TV ad:



4/ Honda – Cog

How could a 120-second TV commercial, without any word, just music, created for a car, can win more awards than any commercial in history (in 2009)? Maybe because it is mesmerizing, maybe because it is extremely precise, maybe because nobody (nobody!) can start and not finish watching it. Anyway, “Cog”, launched by Honda in the UK deserves to be in this ranking, maybe because it got its own “making-off” DVD release.

Click here to watch this TV ad:



5/ Cadbury – Gorilla

This is the typical example of a TV ad made to prompt higher brand engagement from the audience. The Cadbury brand had been undergoing some criticism in the years prior to 2007 (the ad release year), and this new ad, original, full of rhythm (of course, it plays “In the air tonight”, Phil Collins), truly propelled Cadbury into the limelight. And we understand why.

Click here to watch this TV ad:



6/ Budweiser – Whassup?

We could sum up this ad with only one word: “Wazaaa”. Yes, you know what we are talking about! This catchphrase stayed in people’s mind for quite a long time (until now actually). We’ve all wanted to be friends with those guys, seating around, talking over the phone and drinking beers (a Bud, of course), roaring “whassup?” to one another. It was parodied or used at many occasions in pop culture.

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7/ Tango – Slap

Well, it has been banned, but stays nevertheless a classic. Everybody knows the “orange man”, everybody knows the “Tango ad”, everybody knows “the slap”. In this ad, a teen is drinking a Tango, and it affects him as much as being slapped in the face (which he actually is). The ad ends with Gil Scott Heron saying: “You know you’ve been Tango’d” in his deep, sensual voice. The perfect ingredients for an ad that was meant to stay in people’s mind (and on Internet if not on TV anymore).

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8/ Cadbury – The Milk Tray Man

Here, it is all about legends and icons. Yes, we are talking about “The Milk Tray Man”, who appeared on TV in 1967 and made a remarkable comeback in 2016, with his iconic strapline “All because the lady loves”. Hopefully, the Milk Tray Man is always around to bring a lady some fine chocolates… No matter what it takes.

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9/ Hamlet Cigars – Photobooth

What is happiness? For some, it is having their toes in the sand sipping cocktails, for others, it is giving hugs to an army of pups, for Hamlet Cigars, “Happiness is a cigar called Hamlet”. So, for Scottish actor Gregor Fisher who played in some of those ads, Happiness struck him when, after failing several times to take a descent photo in a photo booth, he could smoke a Hamlet Cigar.

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10/ Nestlé – Milky Bar Kid

You must admit that, if your kid is blond, you, at least once, called him “the Milky Bar Kid”. That’s what we thought. Those ads, often taking place in a (Wild) Wild West setting, feature kids playing together until the hero says “The milkybars are on me!”. The first Milky Bar Kid appeared in 1961, so they’ve grown up a bit! But they stay little and cute in our minds.

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