Great TV Adverts

By Matt Weston


What makes a great television advert?

It’s tempting to think that all successful adverts follow the exact same formula – a rigid format that will always guarantee results.

When we look back at some incredibly successful adverts however, we can see that this isn’t necessarily the case – the Boddington’s advert with Mel Sykes in isn’t exactly comparable with the Guinness “horse and surfers” advert, for example.

Instead, great TV adverts make themselves memorable using a number of different techniques, such as…

  • A catchy jingle e.g.
  • Playing on human emotions e.g. any recent John Lewis Christmas advert
  • Utilises humour e.g. Tango’s amazing “You’ve Been Tangoed” campaign
  • Visually stimulating e.g. Honda’s incredible ‘The Cog’ advert
  • Launching recognisable characters e.g. The Go Compare singer
  • Creating a memorable tagline e.g. Mars’ “Work, Rest and Play” slogan
  • Being thought-provoking e.g. the Department of Transport’s “THINK! Road Safety” campaign

Here in the office we’ve put our heads together to think of some adverts we can recall and why they’re so effective. When we analyse the TV adverts we thought of, we can see how they differ and how they use some of the different techniques listed above:

Cadbury’s gorilla – a slightly surreal offering from Cadbury, as a “gorilla” pounds a drum kit in time to a Phil Collins record. The unusual nature of the advert proved a huge success – it was visually stimulating, instantly recognisable, and rapidly became a viral sensation.

Barclay’s Digital Eagles – a very recent advert promoting the new ‘Digital Eagles’ scheme from Barclays Bank, where their employees are on hand to share internet advice with any customer who needs it.

The advert shows how their scheme helps a miner from a small Welsh town who isn’t technology minded. It plays on our emotions and is relatable – we all know someone who would benefit from their initiative.

John Lewis – the department store John Lewis have managed to create a craze due to their always-impressive Christmas adverts. Their adverts are high quality productions which always seem to play on people’s emotions.

BT Infinity  – like them or loathe them, the series of adverts created by BT in recent years for their BT Infinity service have lodged their characters firmly in our memories thanks to the on-going “series” nature of the ads.

How does this compare with what we do? Well, we don’t make adverts for TV yet, but a lot of the techniques we’ve listed above are things we have in mind when we’re working hard to create a fantastic video for our clients.

We understand that people want a visually stimulating high quality production, effective music, and maybe a dash of humour, too. If we approach our videos in the same way as great adverts do, we can hopefully achieve similar results!

Click below to watch some of our projects...

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