THE BOOK OF LISTS: The 10 best UK TV commercials

campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 20 December 2002 08:30AM

The 10 best UK TV commercials as voted for by Campaign. Winner: Levi's Engineered Jeans

1. LEVI'S ENGINEERED JEANS

A jaw-dropper of a commercial, fit to rank with the Guinness "surfers" among the all-time greats. Simmers with tension from the start and quickly builds to an exhilarating climax. The perfect combination of music and dramatic special effects not only communicate the freedom-of-movement positioning perfectly but dramatise the free-spirited aspirations of a generation of youthful wannabes. Sales duly rocketed.

Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty

Copywriter: Antony Goldstein

Art director: Gavin Lester

Director: Jonathan Glazer

Production company: Academy

Media agency: Starcom Motive

2. NSPCC

Question: How do you galvanise people into action to stop child abuse without repelling them with harrowing images? Answer: By turning the child victims into cartoon characters. The tactic makes the film watchable without diluting its brutal message. A hard-hitting ad in every sense and a testament to the Dave Droga-led creative department at Charlotte Street.

Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi

Copywriter: Howard Wilmott

Art director: Duncan Marshall

Director: Frank Budgen

Production company: Gorgeous

Media agency: Zenith Media

3. BBC1

No special effects -- what you see is what you get. The French stuntman David Belle leaps across roofs high above gridlocked streets in order to be home in time to watch his favourite TV show. No corporate flummery either. Just a dramatic interpretation of a very simple idea - that people will always rush home when there's something good on the box.

Agency: Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO

Copywriter: Tom Ewart

Art director: Dave Sullivan

Director: Tom Carty

Production company: Gorgeous

4. JOHN SMITHS

OK, it's cruel, it's laddish, it's very un-PC, but this campaign is one of the funniest of the year, with each execution shining as brightly as the next. Definitely no nonsense.

Agency: TBWA/London

Copywriters/Art directors: Paul Silburn, Rob Webster, Chris Kelly, John

Allison, Chris Bovill

Director: Daniel Kleinman

Production company: Spectre

Media agency: MediaVest

5. XBOX

Ambitious, curious, relentlessly entertaining, the launch campaign for Microsoft's Xbox was widely considered to have trounced all other console ads this year. And it was a philosophical little gem, too. The theme of mosquitoes whose playful life was cruelly ended by the demand they should get to work embraces the loss of innocence, the corrupting nature of work and the transient nature of life itself.

Agency: BBH

Copywriters/Art directors: Fred & Farid

Director: Daniel Kleinman

Production company: Spectre

Media agency: Universal McCann

6. BARCLAYS BANK

The first work from BBH for Barclays was the perfect antidote to the big corporate message of the previous work. Beautifully written, beautifully shot, perfectly casted (the ad stars Samuel L Jackson) and rewarding to watch over and over. And a clever, weekend-focused media strategy to boot.

Agency: BBH

Copywriters/Art directors: Marc Hatfield, Pete Bradly

Director: Jonathan Glazer

Production company: Academy

Media agency: Starcom Motive

7. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT

DoT advertising never fails to provoke a sharp intake of breath and this campaign, warning of the potentially fatal consequences of falling asleep at the wheel, is no exception. A family dies in an horrific car crash as a driver nods off. Real off-the-leash creativity.

Agency: Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO

Copywriter: Nick Worthington

Art director: Paul Brazier

Director: Stuart Douglas

Production company: @radical.media

Media agency: Carat

8. LAND ROVER FREELANDER

A comedy vignette worthy of an episode of Frasier. Man surveys the intriguing contents of his date's living room while she makes coffee. Picking up what seems to be an unusual wind instrument, he gives it a toot. As he does so he spots a picture of his girl with some South American tribesmen. Guess what they're wearing as codpieces ... A neat idea promoting the rugged Freelander to a younger audience.

Agency: Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R

Copywriter: Dave Henderson

Art director: Richard Denney

Director: Paul Goldman

Production company: 2AM Films

Media agency: MindShare

9. STELLA ARTOIS

A campaign whose longevity and consistency makes you forget what a great blend of style, class and subtle humour it has always been. Who would have thought you could get a laugh out of a story about a country doctor tending the sick who is shunned by his fellow villagers who think he might be going down with something nasty? A film whose production values fit perfectly with the brand's "Reassuringly expensive" mantra.

Agency: Lowe

Copywriter: Vince Squibb

Art director: Vince Squibb

Director: Ivan Zacharias

Production company: Stink

Media agency: Starcom Motive

10. FIAT PUNTO

Funny without trying too hard, this ad is a disarming alternative to traditional car advertising. The ad was particularly singled out for the fine performances from the actors.

Agency: D'Arcy

Copywriters/Art directors: Trevor Webb, Stephen Campbell

Director: Jeff Stark

Production company: Stark Productions

Media agency: MediaVest

If you have an opinion on this or any other issue raised on Brand Republic, join the debate in the Forum here.

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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