9 of the most iconic TV ads Brits will never forget

9 of the most iconic TV ads Brits will never forget
One of the most iconic Budweiser adverts

TV adverts feel like a thing of the past since on-demand streaming success swooped in and disrupted the traditional TV industry.

Take Netflix, for instance, with their 167 million paying subscribers worldwide – and that's not counting those who swindle the fee by jumping on friends' accounts.

While TV ads were generally the time people got up to make a brew – or fast-forward if you were smart enough to pause – there were some memorable gems that will forever be engrained in our memory. Not sure whether that's a good or a bad thing.

From dancing eyebrows and babies to a British bulldog declared a national treasure, here are nine iconic adverts that deserve digging up – not like they ever left your brain in the first place:

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Go Compare - Tenor (2009-)

Real-life tenor Wynne Evans began playing the Go Compare Tenor back in 2009.

The adverts, although many would call annoying, have become a huge staple of British TV and turned Evans into a celebrity in his own right - regardless of his very obvious singing talents.

Go Compare 'Tenor' Coffee Shop

Cadbury's - Drumming Gorilla (2007)

Without context, a gorilla in a studio playing the drums to Phil Collins's 1981 hit In the Air Tonight sounds like a dystopian nightmare. But it somehow worked for Cadbury's and soon went on to become the nation's favourite ad, boosting sales by 9 per cent.

Once Argentinian director Juan Cabral got the team on board with his vision, the next step was to source a gorilla outfit.

He recalled a very promising gorilla costume knocking around that had appeared in the 1995 film Congo. While it was female, they beefed up the chest and added intricate details such as the gold tooth.

The next task was who was going to go inside it?

They hired actor Garon Michael, who had experience in costume work and worked alongside the likes of Anthony Hopkins and Mark Wahlberg.

Surprisingly, filming only took a day, editing another two. It was then premiered during the finale of the eighth series of Big Brother in 2007.

Cadbury's Gorilla Advert Aug 31st

Cadbury's - Eyebrow dance (2009)

The chocolate company once again raised eyebrows – pun intended.

Following the success of the gorilla ad two years prior, Cadbury's used the same company to create their new campaign.

Before long, the entire nation was having a go at replicating the ad, and mostly failed.

Cadbury "Eyebrows"

Jaffa Cakes - Total Eclipse (1999)

The Spice Girls, Rugrats, Furbies – the 90s certainly left their mark on pop culture.

But let's not forget about that famous advert that offered a lesson or two on the "full moon, half moon," and "total eclipse" – and left us in dire need of a Jaffa Cake.

Jaffa Cakes Half Moon Full Moon Total Eclipse

Evian - Dancing Babies (2013)

Soundtracked by 1990s Ini Kamoze hit Here Comes the Hotstepper, Evian certainly made their advertising mark with the dancing babies.

They even secured a spot in the Guinness Book of Records for being the most viewed advertising video. A further 50,000 people got involved with their own photos for Evian's interactive Baby Inside ad in 2011.

Dancing Babys - Evian Commercial | 2013 |The New Funny Evian

Safestyle UK - BOGOF (1999 –)

Bradford firm Safestyle UK was famed for its Northern catchphrase engrained into the brains of Brits: "You buy one, you get one free."

However, the face of the ad, Jeff Brown, was later ordered to pay £53,000 or face jail in 2016 after failing to file tax returns.

This week, the company has returned to screens with their first ad since 2018. Former England goalkeeper David Seaman has partnered with the window and door provider for their new ad.

You'd be happy to hear that the slogan has been ditched.

Safestyle UK Buy one get one free TV

Hastings Direct - 1066 - (2005 –)

You can hear him before you even click play.

The jingle for the insurance services may have served its purpose in the pub quiz, but other than that, the catchy tune refuses to be erased from our brains... Forever.

Hastings Direct classic TV Advert 2005 | Hastings

Churchill - Oh Yes (1996 –)

Who would've thought a nodding British bulldog would have won the hearts of the nation?

Oh yes. The Churchill Car Insurance dog endeared UK audiences over the course of two decades. It was first introduced into the ads in 1996 and originally featured the voice of comedian Bob Mortimer.

Though in 2019, the mascot had a controversial 3D makeover, and people were less than pleased about it.

The company suggested their recent ads were targeted towards a "modern, busy audience" and "evokes the feeling that being covered by Churchill offers".

churchill oh

Budweiser - Whassup (1999)

The iconic Budweiser ad aired between 1999 and 2002, adding to the wave of viral ads.

It sought inspiration from a short film titled True by Charles Stone III, in which a group of men phone each other while watching the match. The dialogue being – you guessed it – "whassup."

Due to its overwhelming success, the brand later revived the ad with a quarantine-themed remake in 2020.

“In times like these, something as simple as a hello, or in this case ‘whassup,’ means a lot," Budweiser’s vice-president of marketing, Monica Rustgi, shared at the time.

"Following the unbelievable success of the original ad campaign, we found this to be a meaningful opportunity to revisit the original spot’s simplicity and focus on human connection in a time when people may be feeling hopeless, uncertain, and alone.”


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