The list is ubiquitous: whether it's greatest movies, best-selling singles or things to do before you're 30. Now, we're adding to the list with our review of the year's best commercials.

Unlike awards festivals - the most obvious method of ranking world advertising - our compilation is not affected by the kind of politics or bias common to many juries.

Instead, our selection is based on an objective opinion of what makes a good ad. Sometimes, this came down to the strength of an idea, its originality or whether it was beautifully executed. More often than not, it was a matter of sheer gut feeling, although the instinct is developed by trawling through vast swathes of ads. Finding a pearl in a sea of mediocrity soon becomes second nature, mercifully.

Although it hasn't been one of the best years in advertising, we have cherry-picked our way through previous issues to bring you the star spots of 2002. Once we started viewing the work, we yearned to go beyond the confines of the standard beer, automotive and finance categories. Given the space, our lists this year could have included Best Performance by a Dog, with Club 18-30's heated hounds demonstrating enviable sexual prowess. Statoil's flying pooch could also have topped the list for its death-defying stunts.

Tasteless ads was another category option, with MTV's knicker-sniffing businessmen and the posterior-inspecting optician in France's Visual spot. Maybe that's something for next year. In the meantime, we hope that, if nothing else, this issue provides an informative and entertaining snapshot of the current field.


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