The Greatest Commercials of All Time

The form of commercials has changed. They used to force people to sit through lines of ads before they were allowed to watch the real show. But as always, times change and people change. People went from living room TVs to small screens in their palms. With this, we skip ads. This is what we do now. Commercials nowadays do not have the time to make a full story and deliver messages. There is no time to squeeze in the greatest commercials of all time. They only have seconds to capture the audience’s attention and therefore tend to jump to the conclusion at once. 

However, thankfully, God has made it possible to trigger people with nostalgia. People are now looking up for old TV ads that used to give us time to gather breath to talk with whoever was in the room. And once they see them, they realize commercials in the old days were fine, good, full of stories and messages. So here I am, back with the kings of commercials, ready to be loved already.

CHANEL NO. 5 – “MARILYN”(1994)

Source: Marilyn and N°5 (30″ version) – Inside CHANEL by CHANEL

Kicking off to a scented start, the first commercial is Chanel No.5. “What do you wear to bed?” “Chanel no.5” So simple, yet so innovative. And of course, very true. Even Marilyn wouldn’t have known that her short answer to a Marie Claire interview would help Chanel capture the new generation 50 years after her death. Well, she was that great. Monroe wears it to bed, then half the world would do the same.


Source: Energizer – Escape of the Bunny (1989) by tv commercials

Nothing outlasts the Energizer. He just kept going and going. Energizer’s mascot bunny has shown the world that he would never stop going. “Escape of the bunny” connects videos with different moods- parodies of coffee, sinus remedy, and wine spots- all of which are very calm, polite, and somewhat formal. But they all get rudely and ruthlessly interrupted by the non-stop drumming pink bunny making its way to deliver the message “nothing outlasts the Energizer”. And I am happy to say, the commercial succeeded in breaking the norms of commercials, wiped away its rivals, and headed to the top of the battery industry.

Wendy’s – “Where’s the Beef?”(1984)

Source: Where’s The Beef Commercials – Wendy’s 1984 by haikarate4

I bet most of you have at least once used the phrase, “Where’s the beef?”. We blurt out this expression whenever we can’t find what we were promised to have. If you’ve never known where this came from, it came from Wendy’s. The commercial satirizes the reality of fast food industries, where consumers have to face their tedious meal. The ad made sure that Wendy’s knew about these problems and connected with the consumers, and therefore rescued the on-the-verge-of-bankruptcy brand a year after this ad. 

Apple – 1984(1984)

We can never discuss great advertisements without Apple. Even after the change in forms of ads, people purposely go to Apple’s YouTube channel just to see their new commercial. And of all those great work Apple has managed to provide, this is the greatest of all, and it was aired in 1984. 

Source: Apple – 1984 by antisubliminal

Inspired by the famous novel “1984” written by George Orwell, it depicted a woman throwing a sledgehammer at a brainwashing screen. It promises the world that 1984 won’t be like 1984, and as a result sold $155 million worth of the product three months after the ad was aired. The greatest thing about this ad is that it was in fact aired only once at Super Bowl but still managed to leave a mark in commercial history.

Coca-Cola – “Meet Joe Greene”(1979)

Source: Coca-Cola Classic ad: ‘Mean’ Joe Greene [Full Version] (1979) by stiggerpao

Another Super Bowl’s regular guest, please welcome Coca-Cola. Coca-Cola is also famous for making good advertisements, but they really knew what they were doing in 1979. 

Picturing a little boy sharing his bottle of Coke with Joe, this ad did more than just advertise its brand and product. It softened the tough-guy image that Joe Greene was stuck with as well as touched the audiences’ heart through featuring a meeting-hero moment. 

So it was a commercial, but like a short movie, capturing the audience and flooding them with an emotional rush. It seems everyone agreed because apart from its fame, it won several awards including a Cannes Gold Lion.

Moving on to more current commercials, we can see that the commercial world is not yet to die.

Old Spice – The Man Your Man Could Smell Like(2010)

Source: Old Spice | The Man Your Man Could Smell Like by Old Spice

Old Spice aired a comical ad with a weirdly charming guy, smug face, and self-aware, telling that this man is a better choice since he smells extremely good with their product. Not to mention all kinds of witchcraft he can do. Smelling like the man your man could smell like seems a lot of fun AND yummy.

A man with a fit body, very attractive, gives tickets to your favorite thing, turns an oyster into diamonds, and on top of anything else, smells nice. Ending with a final line of “I’m on a horse,” it almost makes me feel like this is the man I’ve been looking for all my life. And it seems everyone else was on the same train because the sales rate rose 11% after this commercial went on TV. 

Nike – “You Can’t Stop Us” (2020)

In the year 2020, the year of the depression of the Covid crisis, Nike came back with a viral ad that put the world together. “You Can’t Stop Us” features a split-screen, putting together people from all sorts of races, sexuality, disabled, and able-bodied, embracing all diversity, social justice, and collectivism. Split-screen as it is, the whole video stitches two people into a one-person, delivering that we are one.

Source: You Can’t Stop Us | Nike by Nike

Seeing its high quality, there were comments worrying about the health status of the video editors(because clearly, the sync is so perfect that the editor must’ve lost an eye, sold their soul, or something). It is just that good.

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