THE BOOK OF LISTS: The 10 best UK TV commercials

1. Honda: A commercial that has courted equal doses of controversy and praise, "cog" is a tour de force of production skill and creativity. Provenance of the idea aside (who else thought of adapting the short film for a car manufacturer?), this is an exquisite spot that pushed the envelope for car advertising by breaking the "car zips around mountain corners" mould. A jaw-dropping spot.

Agency: Wieden & Kennedy London

Writers: Ben Walker, Matt Gooden

Art directors: Ben Walker, Matt Gooden

Director: Antoine Bardou-Jacquet

Production company: Partizan

Media buying: Starcom Motive

2. 118 118

This spoof of the iconic Sylvester Stallone vehicle Rocky took the moustachioed runners into the stratosphere of the public consciousness. Clever, catchy and with legs (in both the advertising and athletic senses), the 118 118 campaign became instantly recognisable - exactly what took the new directory enquiries service to the top of the pile, outperforming BT.

Agency: WCRS

Writer: Gary Dawson

Art director: Tony Hardcastle

Director: Jim Hosking

Production company: Partizan

Media planning: Naked Communications

Media buying: OMD

3. Lever Faberge

This ad works brilliantly because of the genius behind the casting. The slightly geeky guy busting his moves is a perfect, tongue-in-cheek look at the world of cool. Throw in an infectious dance track and you have an ad that drove the best-ever variant launch for the Lynx brand.

Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty

Writer: Matt Kemsley

Art director: Matt Kemsley

Director: Blue Source

Media planning and buying: Initiative

4. PlayStation

When it comes down to it, size really can matter. PlayStation's Christmas push features a cast of thousands in a stylish, visually engaging real-life portrait of the brand's gaming community. A resounding response to competitor Xbox, which took the plaudits last year.

Agency: TBWA\London

Writers: Paula Marcantonio, Tony McTear

Art director: Tony McTear

Director: Frank Budgen

Production company: Gorgeous

Media planning and buying: Manning Gottlieb OMD

5. Radio Five Live

Question: How do you dramatise the virtues of radio sports commentary in anything approaching an engaging way? Answer: Create a star-studded ad featuring the commentators battling each other in a hip-hop club a la Eminem in '8 Mile'.

Agency: BBC in-house

Creatives: Ron Scalpello and Danny McGuire

6. Mercedes-Benz

A healthy injection of post-production wizardry artfully blends the sublime images of world-class athletes in motion with the top performance of the new Mercedes-Benz. The refreshing decision to shoot in black and white adds a touch of class to this worthy successor to the Benicio del Toro 'Lucky Star' blockbuster.

Agency: Campbell Doyle Dye

Writer: Walter Campbell

Art director: Walter Campbell

Director: Ivan Bird

Production company: Serious Pictures

Media planning and buying: BJK&E

7. Adidas

Stars in ads is a tried and tested route for Adidas, yet this rugby-meets-football spot has a certain natural charm to it. The England heroes David Beckham and Jonny Wilkinson ad-libbing to each other about their different disciplines has a real boy next door believability. A refreshing production approach from the multimillion-pound extravaganzas that characterise the sector.

Agency: 180

Writer: Richard Bullock

Art director: Andy Fackrell

Director: Chris Palmer

Production company: Gorgeous

Media planning and buying: PHD

8. BMW

In a nod to the 'Terminator' films, ink from BMW's library pools together to form a perfectly crafted 5 series. Fantastic art direction makes this an engaging, convincing spot that sums up the quality and care of the brand. Classy.

Agency: WCRS

Writer: Andy Brittain

Art director: Yu Kung

Director: Daniel Barber

Production company: Rose Hackney Barber

9. Audi

Client to agency: "I want an ad on fuel economy." A yawn-inducing brief if ever there was one. But not in the hands of BBH. Take a tired cliche, "drinks like a fish", and produce a special effects number to turn streets of cars into lolloping fish. Gloriously original retort to the usual array of stock standard spots by agencies that have resigned the brief to the "too difficult to be creative" basket.

Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty

Writer: Alex Grieve

Art director: Adrian Rossi

Director: Frank Budgen

Production company: Gorgeous

Media planning and buying: MediaCom

10. Tango

Tango advertising with its eye for the outrageous seldom fails to rise a smile and these spots are no exception. An office worker strapped face down into a chair and then launched towards a barrel of oranges - in one execution hitting it and in another missing - is entertaining, but it is the commentator's voiceover with quirky little comments that make this spot a standout.

Agency: Clemmow Hornby Inge

Writers: Micky Tudor, Brian Turner

Art directors: Micky Tudor, Brian Turner

Director: Traktor

Production company: Partizan

Media planning and buying: MindShare

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