Top 10 TV and cinema ads of 2016

Channel 4 takes the top spot with a dazzling, life-affirming ad for the Paralympics.

1. Channel 4 ‘We’re the superhumans’

It was tricky second album time for the creatives at Channel 4 after being showered with praise for the brilliant "Meet the superhumans" campaign to promote the 2012 Paralympic Games. But the team delivered in spades with this dazzling, life-affirming spot that features 140 people with disabilities performing a series of amazing feats – from high-profile athletic endeavours to quieter personal achievements. This ad deserves its own gold medal.

Agency: 4Creative
Creatives: Alice Tonge, Jolyon White, Richard Biggs
Director: Dougal Wilson
Production company: Blink

2. Virgin Media ‘9.58 seconds’

Another exceptional Olympic-themed spot, this time from Bartle Bogle Hegarty and Virgin Media. Having Usain Bolt as a long-standing ambassador did not guarantee success, given the restrictive conditions for non-sponsors. But BBH produced some explosive creative work, comparing the speed of Bolt to that of Virgin’s broadband. The ad comprises a series of 9.58-second vignettes – the time that it took for Bolt to set the 100m world record.

Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty London
Creatives: Nick Gill, Davud Karbassioun
Director: Seb Edwards
Production company: Academy

3. Lynx ‘Find your magic’

What does it mean to be a man in today’s society? That was the question for Unilever brand Lynx. For years, it was positioned as a teenage body spray that attracted girls. But men are outgrowing these stereotyped gender roles. So Lynx launched this spot that shows a diverse group of men and urges them to "find their magic" rather than try to conform to an outdated construct.

Agency: 72andSunny Amsterdam
Creatives: Laura Visco, Emiliano Trierveiler, Mario Guay
Director: Francois Rousselet
Production company: Division

4. Finish ‘Powerball vs life’

Respect to Finish and Wieden & Kennedy London for producing interesting, enjoyable creative in a category that is usually a sea of bland, utilitarian, forgettable advertising. The work pits the dishwasher against life’s constants. This spot on ageing shows how life leaves a mound of dirty dishes and how the humble Finish tablet will handle them.

Agency: Wieden & Kennedy London
Creatives: Sophie Bodoh, Carlos Alija, Laura Sampedro
Director: Canada
Production company: Canada London

5. Audi ‘Everyday extremes’

Audi continued to roll out impressive work this year. This spot features a car navigating a department store. Expertly crafted, interestingly designed and a welcome change from the usual "driving through an isolated landscape" car ad.

Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty London
Creatives: Tom Drew, Uche Ezugwu
Director: Daniel Wolfe
Production company: Somesuch

6. Ikea ‘Wonderful life’

Yet another beautiful ad from Ikea. The film shows a couple marking big moments in their life – from their first house together to an anniversary celebration – and urges people to enjoy the everyday moments in their own lives because they are the most important.

Agency: Mother London
Creative: Mother London
Director: Gary Freedman
Production company: Independent Films

7. John Lewis ‘Buster the Boxer’

Despite the pressure of creating the most highly anticipated ad of the year, Adam & Eve/DDB delivered again. This more joyful spot shows a dog bouncing on a little girl’s trampoline. It was viewed 28.5 million times on YouTube and Facebook within 24 hours of launch.

Agency: Adam & Eve/DDB
Creatives: Ben Stilitz, Colin Booth
Director: Dougal Wilson
Production company: Blink

8. Marks & Spencer ‘Christmas with love’

Marks & Spencer’s Christmas offering put the spotlight on Mrs Claus for a change – who, James Bond-style, uses a series of high-end technology to deliver a gift to a deserving little boy. As Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R hands over the account to Grey, M&S has finally found its voice.

Agency: Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R
Creatives: Psembi Kinstan, Alice Burton
Director: Tom Hooper
Production company: Smuggler

9. H&M ‘Come together’

Film-maker Wes Anderson catapulted H&M’s festive spot into the limelight, almost knocking John Lewis off the podium. The ad is shot in the director’s distinctive style and stars Adrien Brody as a train conductor. He organises a festive surprise for passengers on Christmas Eve after the wintry weather delays their train journey by 11-and-a-half hours.

Agency: Adam & Eve/DDB
Creatives: Paul Knott, Till Diestel, Tim Vance
Director: Wes Anderson
Production companies: The Directors Bureau, Riff Raff

10. Samsung ‘School of Rio’

Comedian Jack Whitehall returned for this year’s instalment of the Samsung "School of…" series. This time, he is taught by Olympians and Paralympians – including Sir Bradley Wiggins, Sir Steve Redgrave and Ellie Simmonds – in a series of spots that are as witty as the earlier rugby ones.

Agency: BBH Sport
Creatives: Jack Smedley, George Hackforth-Jones
Director: Gabe Turner
Production company: Rattling Stick

Annual 2016 edition