Top marketers and agency bosses tell us about the TV ads that make them tingle
A view from Staff

Top marketers and agency bosses tell us about the TV ads that make them tingle

To round up our celebration of the 60th anniversary of TV advertising in the UK, Marketing asks some top marketers and ad agency bosses to share their favourite ad of all time and tell us why it works so well.

Russell Ramsey, executive creative director, JWT

For my favourite ad of all time I could have gone for various Nike epics or small Volkswagon or Skoda stories but in the end it’s Levis "Creek". The best in a remarkable series that ran for around twenty years. A small human story shot in an epic location.

Every frame is a beautiful photograph. The music starts with a gentle choral piece, then rips open with a grunge guitar. It still makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

Read more: JWT's Russell Ramsey on films made with love and care

Nils Leonard, chairman and chief creative officer, Grey London

Guinness Surfer is my favourite ad of all time.
Yes, good things come is a cunning play on the products point of difference but it’s not the bit that fiddles with you, it’s permission.

The bit that fiddles with you is the crest of white horses to a distorted baseline while a man yells over the noise of a pub cheering while an ugly guy surfs. The good bit is the bit that makes little sense. It’s the peak, the summit, and before your brain can deconstruct what’s happening you just feel it. And they’ve got you.

This ad didn’t just get my attention, or make Guinness cool or make me want a drink. It was a message from a brand that reminded me to live. It inspired.

Read more: Grey London's Nils Leonard on ads made to move you

Nina Bibby, marketing & consumer director, O2

At the risk of sounding unoriginal, I’d have to say the original iconic Diet Coke ad from 1996. If I ever ask the time and hear that "it’s 11.30", I’m immediately transported to that office as the women rush to the window, with Etta James’ inimitable vocals in the background.

The blend of taking the ad beyond the core product, turning it into something aspirational, and effectively unifying Diet Coke’s key target audience by creating a genuinely emotional response – as well as being just plain memorable – has meant it’s got a place in my personal Ad Hall of Fame.

Read more: O2 marketing director Nina Bibby on TV ads' personalised and programmatic future

Martin Moll, GM, European marketing communications, Nissan

For me, the all time most memorable advert - and the one that blew me away the first time I saw it - was British Airways 'Globe'. They had a brand truth: 'the world’s biggest airline', and celebrated it in such an epic, iconic way.

It was done with real elegance, sophistication, and class to symbolise what you could expect from them as a service proposition. To have all these people moving in sync, representing what turned out to be parts of a face, but on massively varied global terrains was stunning.

The music composition was a masterpiece. Again, they hugely tapped into the storytelling moment, by using the line, "bringing 24m people together each year," and showing reunions of people from every corner of the world. Such warmth and charm, and then to top it off, they had the 'face' smile and wink. Utterly absorbing, utterly amazing. And nailed it in terms of why they were the world’s leading airline.

Read more: 'The best ads are like the most impressive people you've ever met,' Nissan's Martin Moll