Remember old ads

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What makes a good ad?

First of all, what is the definition of a good ad? It depends on whether you are the receiver of the ad or the seller. If I were to deconstruct what an advertisement is and what it’s for, then a good ad is one that resonates with the person it’s speaking to, and maybe even stays on in the mind of the individual for a long time, sometimes even for a lifetime, often with a positive reflection on the ad.

For me, the humour needs to be quite impactful. But, is this just me? Perhaps people remember different ads for different reasons. Whatever it might be, it seems to evoke something that gets us talking about what we’ve just seen, heard and experienced. This then receives banter between friends, work colleagues and becomes pub chat between drinking buddies. Quite often, a catchy, but very simple tune accompanies a memorable ad.

My top 10 ads that are still in my head

It must be said that once I started to think about the ads I remember, I came up with far more than 10. So this list is based on the ones that I have a good recollection of and quite liked.

10. Milkybar – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4ZFkU5GQAE

Obviously, the Milkybar kid has to be here. I can still hear the theme tune (I probably know all the words still too!).

9. Cadbury Fudge – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9W4rhhEq_U

Cadburys finger of fudge is a classic, and I still hear it ringing in my ears. I can also still recollect the two boys playing conkers while the girl is having one of the treats which proves too tempting, and he runs over just as the other boy takes a swing with his conker on the string.

8. UM BUNGO – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYj5o4kQsXs
umbungoThere were a few ads that I remembered due to a catchy tune. I think it may have been the rhythm as well as the fact that it was a catchy rhyme the reason why it stuck with me. Anyone know the words? I’m impressed if you do.

7. Holsten Pills – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAQcguJzSGo

holstenThe Holsten Pills ad with Marilyn Monroe and Griff Rhys Jones and the glasses was a funny ad and stuck with me. Perhaps, maybe because of the comedy aspect. I still love the final scene of this ad.

6. Kiora – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNd_42u1YoU

kioraAnother ad with a very catchy tune, this is one I can still recollect from my childhood. And, yes, I remember all the words.

5. KP Nuts – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eD_tEP3XIbw

kpI can still remember laughing with my schoolmates 30 odd years ago about how ‘you never know when the nibbles will strike’. – KP nuts

4. Hamlet Cigars – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rlYMID5qCdE

hamletThey had a theme whereby, when things weren’t going your way, you would have a smoke of the cigar. Another of these ads I remember was a guy that was on a dinner date and his wig came off. Quite simple ads, but very effective, even though, due to the product, they may be deemed as controversial these days.

3. Wotsits – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBnkjK9LbjA

wotsitA teacher taking the register on a school bus with two boys Wot and Wottle. ‘What is Wot whickering about Wottle?’

2. R Whites Lemonade – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hro4AdTYiTA

rwhitesR Whites had a very simple tune. Nearly 40 years on, I can still recite the lyrics, and I’m probably not the only one! It must have been a huge success to Britvic, as they released an updated version (with the same characters) 40 years later.

1. John Smiths – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8iIgQ7tGow

john-smithsJohn Smiths with Peter Kay. Incredibly funny and still great to watch, but does it make me want a pint of ale? Not really, but I guess it may provoke a conversation in a pub and maybe that might draw someone to buy a pint of John Smiths? Very funny group of ads, and very memorable.

They stimulated multiple senses with their digital delivery, and burned into our minds in a way that even 40 years of life can’t undo. Repetition plays a part in this but at the end of the day, that often isn’t enough. The fact of the matter is that all the memorable ads here had one big thing in common: they were the early video ads of our days. They weren’t from a magazine, or from the radio, they were all digital media and delivered to our homes via the medium of TV.

It goes without saying that having a great video has a greater impact than any other medium out there, but the impact of a good digital media campaign is even greater felt when the audience meets the target desired demographic profile. What video ads being played now will we remember in 40 years time? (If any?)

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