Time for end of the year lists, and this year as an added bonus, we get end of the decade lists too. As cliche and hackneyed as these lists have become I enjoy them, as much to catch up on things I might have missed. Here is the list of Ad Age's best ads of the decades.
I can't really remember any ads from the past ten years, so I don't know what I'd add, though I'm pretty sure I'd drop the Sony "Balls" ad.
It's an interesting list, more for the fact that all these ads are focused primarily on entertainment and brand rather than on pure message delivery. You don't see Honda telling you how quiet their new engine is, or Nike saying you'll run faster, or the iPod telling you how much memory their portable music device has, each of these ads is more about the feeling they brand wants to convey.
I'm not saying these ads don't have a message at all, but most them are 90% build up, 10% message and payoff.
Here are my top three from this list (in order):
I remember this one. The visceral feeling of watching all those children eat cake, my mouth gets dry every time I watch it. The unexpected ending, no milk. Brilliant.
Total game changer. This ad took the ipod and launched it into the minds of consumers. It's so iconic, yet so simple. Ipod..., Mac or PC..., Apple Logo. It's conveys hip and cool, cutting and and different, fun and exciting. For anyone who doesn't think it's about connecting to viewers feelings, well they should take a look at this ad, and let's talk.
On the principle of unexpectedly awesome, this one is a winner. I didn't see it coming at all, when it does come wow, great use of music. My only knock on it is that I can't quite see the connection between a Gorilla playing drums and Cadbury, though there's something to be said for defying the conventions of the genre. An ad like this about candy, is preciously memorable and effective because it's not about the product per se -- in the way a car ad that doesn't show the car would be memorable (think Bubble Boy from VW).