We’ve all got our favorite movies right? But am I strange for having favorite TV commercials? In a parallel universe I could be one of those creative ad agency people, or as the late comedian, Bill Hicks, would say, I’d be one of “Satan’s little helpers.” But I wonder, do our favorite TV commercials say anything about the people we are, and if so I wonder what my list of ads say about me?

Easily my favorite TV ad of all time is this VW Cabrio ad from 2000 directed by Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris which introduced me, and many others, to the music of the late Nick Drake. I love this commercial because it reminds me of drives that I’ve had that are just like that.

Apple’s much awarded 1997 ‘Think different‘ ad by Jennifer Golub of Chiat Day is just great. Richard Dreyfuss does the voice over which starts “Here’s to the Crazy Ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently.” To this day I still have a ‘Think different’ poster on my office wall and the poem pinned to my cork board.

Points of view is an ad for The Guardian newspaper (UK) that ran back in 1986. I love the simplicity of this ad. A skinhead running toward a man in a suit holding a briefcase leads the viewer to make assumptions, and right there is where I connect with it; people making assumptions. Great ad. (took me ages to find it too!)

I wrote about this 2005 VW Golf GTI commercial before. The work of Jeremy Craigen and Steve Jones of DDB London, the ad shows the late Gene Kelly apparently breakdancing to a club-mix of Singin’ in the Rain. It took months of negotiations with the Gene Kelly’s wife to get the idea off the ground, but to my mind it works spectacularly. Why do I like this ad so much? Because it’s just sheer digital wizardry at its best if you ask me.

Another ad from 2005 was Sony’s ‘Color: Like no other’ commercial by Nicolai Fuglsig for the Fallon ad agency in London. The mixture of the beautiful music by José González and a quarter of a million bouncy balls rushing chaotically down the steep streets of San-Francisco in slow motion was simply a moment of pure televisual art. It’s also well worth watching a short feature on the making of the ad.

Ad agency, 180 Amsterdam, came up with the idea that ‘Impossible is nothing.’ British soccer star, David Beckham, tells history in this great ad. I think I liked the idea of achievement over adversity in this ad. “You will go through tough times,” Says Beckham. “It’s about coming through that.”

Advertising whisky seems like it might be a bit of a boring task, but Andy Fackrell and Richard Bullock of 180 Amsterdam created a truly engaging ad for Glenfiddich in which the message is that ‘Every year counts.’ I like that idea, that every year counts, that all those moments amount to something bigger.

And Finally, from this year, come Vodafone’s ‘Decisive Moments’ by BBH London. Featuring F1 race driver Lewis Hamilton the voice over tells us that life is full of chances with the end message being ‘Make the most of now.’ I couldn’t agree more.

So, when I look at these ads all put together like this I wonder if this reveals anything about me? I’ve only just noticed there are no funny ads in the list at all, and none were even considered. But then I’m not really one for comedy so perhaps that means nothing, I mean sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, right? But then if you’re in advertising that would probably depend on the brand of cigar I suppose.

Making of Apple’s ‘Think different’ ad
Making of Sony’s ‘Like no other’ ad
Making of Adidas’s ‘Impossible is nothing’ ads
A man called Adi Dassler
What do your movies say about you?
Great endings