THE BOOK OF LISTS: The 10 Most written about ads

1. Wrigley's Xcite "dog breath"

It was a creative's wet dream: to depict a dog emerging from a man's mouth to gasps of admiration from the industry. Except for the teeny tiny matter that it made viewers dry heave, not rush to the corner shop, thump the counter and shout: "Sell me all your Xcite!" Then again, did any of the 800-plus people who complained to the ITC (making it history's most complained about ad) fall into the "hip young thang" consumer category Wrigley's was chasing? Methinks not.

2. Sainsbury's re-signing Jamie Oliver

We watched him fritter his reputed half-a-million a year from Sainsbury's on spotty, tardy teenagers who took liberties with Oliver's chirpy mockney good nature. Then the supermarket hands him another 12 month's worth of bish bosh dosh. OK, so his ads delivered £1.12 billion in incremental revenue making them 65 per cent more effective in adding sales than previous ones, but will he spend it wisely?

3. Smirnoff "drink in moderation"

So, let's just run through this again. The drinks colossus Diageo spends £50,000 of its precious cash, which it earned flogging us grog, on telling us not to drink too much of it. Blimey.

4. Lynx "pulse"

Geeky guy gets girl(s) ... yawn. But you can't help but snigger at this skinny fella's pulsating dance moves. Of course, to handsome, strapping blokes it's all a big joke, but you have to wonder whether bespectacled bottom-less wonders out there are ordering truck-loads of Lynx just in case it works.

5. Gap with Madonna

Madonna and Missy: did they fight like cat and dog on set like the tabloids said? Who knows and who cares? With a superstar and a rap star dancing on down the street, Gap executives must have counted the press cuttings, thrown their heads back and exclaimed: "Our plans for world domination are almost complete. No-one can stop us now. Ha ha ha ha ha."

6. Honda Accord "cog"

Every now and then, an ad comes along that makes everyone, from eight- to 80-year-olds, go "oohh", and not because it gives them an attack of the heebie-jeebies or makes them feel like they ate too much cheese. The Honda "cog" commercial is one such beauty. The Guardian described it as "the most-talked about thing on television". And no, I don't know how they did it, but isn't it nice when things just ... work?

7. Walkers - Nation's Favourite Brand with Lineker

Lineker has dressed as a nun, a punk and a headmistress. Here he sports a bindi and marries Granny Kumar. Yes, he's paid shedloads to endorse Walkers crisps and it's all a bit of good, clean, British fun, but you've got to wonder as you watch him, all grinning and goggle-eyed, about his self-respect issues. Let's hope therapy fixes them.

8. EasyJet - Beckham, Major Fraud, WMD Spoofs

Stelios plays the underdog card to the media and wins again. By having a stab at the "establishment", be it famous celebrities (such as Posh and Becks), BA or Avis, he's sidling up to us in a pub, clutching a pint of beer and saying: "I'm one of you guys. But with a £500 million fortune."

9. 118 118

Acres of press coverage was lavished on the 118 118 moustachioed twins but not all of it favourable. The former British 10,000m world record holder David Bedford recognised his handsome 70s self and wasn't best pleased. He wanted the ITC to banish 118 118 from our screens but in marketing terms the boys have already broken away from the pack (BT), crossed the line and are heading out of the arena.

10. Government anti-smoking campaign

Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO portrayed babies and toddlers exhaling cigarette smoke. It made the stomach of every parent turn and it made the headlines.


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