Sales & Marketing

The 6 best ads of 2012

4 min read

08 January 2013

Vampire parties and horrible table manners were selling this year. Once again, Frances Brindle picks the best ads of the year.

This was a really tough gig. Is it just me or are advertising standards falling? Finding five good ads from 2012 was challenging to say the least, so I’ve also included a bonus ad from the US which I don’t think was aired here, but will, I hope, inspire some UK based ad agencies to try harder in 2013!

1. M&S – Summer to remember

Between May and September it was impossible to escape Olympic and Jubilee related advertising, very little of which stayed in my memory beyond the end of the commercial break. However M&S, bless them, created a delightful fantasy world in which Britain actually had a summer, a real one, with sun. In M&S land you could enjoy a Jubilee party without the benefit of thermal underwear, run an egg and spoon race minus wellies and take a rowing boat out without fear of being swept away by flood water. I plan on moving there as soon as the housing market picks up.

2. Oreo – The explanation to daddy

I’m not usually keen on ads starring children, but this little girl showing her dad how to eat an Oreo really is delightful, even if it does encourage appalling table manners. It also reminded me how much I like Oreos, although unfortunately I will have to eat them alone in the shed as it is clear they are not suitable for consuming in company.

3. Thinkbox – Harvey and Rabbit

Who you ask? Well, apparently Thinkbox is “the marketing body for commercial TV in the UK” so it would be embarrassing, not to mention counter-productive, if they were to produce a rubbish ad. Fortunately Harvey and Rabbit is almost as engaging as the Oreo girl, although it does help that there is no product to sell and Thinkbox can afford a full sixty seconds of airtime, something that most budget strapped marketing folk can only dream of.

4. EDF – Olympic 2012

My second summer pick goes to EDF. I’ve commented favourably on their advertising before and what I like about this one is its quirky Britishness. It’s not all slick and glossy like so many of the other corporate offerings and nor does it take itself too seriously. All of which is particularly surprising as the EDF parent company is French, a nation not known for its playful sense of humour.

5. Google+ – Hangouts

Finding a decent Christmas ad on TV was impossible, so I have opted for this rather charming viral from Google featuring Wallace and Gromit hooking up with their Claymation chums to open their presents on Christmas day. We all dream of producing a successful viral ad and this is one of the nicest examples I have seen, although it certainly can’t have been cheap to produce.

6. Audi – Vampire party

Advertisers pull all the stops out for the Super Bowl and this is no exception. A great spoof on the Twilight films, this even manages to communicate a unique selling point. What’s not to like?

Frances Brindle is director of strategic marketing and communications at the British Library.