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Ad Breakdown's review of 2005

AD BREAKDOWN
The Magazine's Review of Advertising in 2005

Ads
Advertising has again this year shown its power to inspire and infuriate. And while some are predicting the end of adverts as we know them, this is an artform still alive and well.

Advertising firms and their clients have their own reasons for pumping millions of pounds each year into getting their message across.

But for the consumers who are their target, many of whom object to the length of commercial breaks on TV or even to the whole ethos of advertising, the goal is a bit different. They don't want to conned, bored or insulted.

So coming across an ad - particularly on TV - which as a viewer you are pleased to watch again and again, rather than skipping over with your hi-tech set-top box, is something to be treasured all round.

And this year there have definitely been such examples - just as there have been those which no-one will ever mind if they never see again. This is Ad Breakdown's selection of both - naturally subjective, so please add your comments at the end.

M&S advert
Twiggy and friends
Kicking off with Marks & Spencer, a company which has been trying for years to capture its old cachet. But there was something about its autumn range advert, starring Twiggy and some equally glamorous friends, which made it a true feel-good effort. Perhaps it was the joy of the girls having fun dressing up, perhaps it was the clothes themselves, perhaps it was hearing ELO's evergreen song Mr Blue Sky.

Whatever it was, it worked. A Guardian editorial praised Twiggy as "the understated centrepiece of the current turnaround in Marks & Spencer's fortune". Sales stabilised, and fashion writers wrote about how the company was regaining its edge.

Muller advert
Muller: He's got life
If only the same could have been said about the company's interminable food ads, which more than overstayed their welcome and seemed to be nearing the edge of parody. In fact a trailer for the Christmas edition of Radio 4's I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue did exactly that ("This is not just Humphrey Lyttleton, this is premium matured, quality assured, Eton and Grenadier Guards-grown, jazz-givin', fast-livin', cool-fizzin' Humphrey Lyttleton...")

The Twiggy advert showed once again that the right song can go a long way. Muller's use of Nina Simone's Ain't Got No/II Got Life, along with a bit of funky dancing, seemed almost life-affirming - and all in the cause of some yoghurt and yoghurt-based products.

VW Golf
Sitting in the rain
What some achieve with music and a bit of style, others can achieve with music and a lorry-load of computer graphics. Witness: the VW Golf.

With the permission of the Gene Kelly estate, the Singing in the Rain routine was reconstructed and twisted and remixed, giving the impression of a body-popping Kelly, who was then taken aback by a (frankly unremarkable-looking) Golf. What bears repeated viewing, though, is trying to work out how exactly the advert has been made. The answer (as covered in this Ad Breakdown, is satisfyingly complicated.)

Guinness advert
Back in time
The Guinness commercial in which three pals walk backwards through evolution does not inspire quite the same fascination, being obviously largely a work of computer graphics. But the attention to detail is what makes it so compelling (even though, as one Magazine reader pointed out, it will please neither those who subscribe to a Biblical view of creation nor to evolutionary biologists, to whom "the ad is as daft as a version of history where Germany wins both World Wars and the 1966 World Cup".)

It's not all about expensive computer graphics, though. Sometimes loving care can be demonstrated in other ways. How about the elderly couple in a house who, through a series of artful ballet moves seem to magically anticipate each others' steps? He knows that she is going to slide across the table and lean down backwards to pick up the newspaper, and is sitting in place to support her, just in time. They wash up their breakfast dishes, tidy the house and go outside for a walk - the payoff line being that some relationships get better with age.

Orange advert
Orange: Mobile dancing
It's for Orange, who have retained a creative edge without going as bizarre as its rival 3 (Japanese women with forbidden orgasmatrons). The Orange ad actually feels more like a love story than something whose purpose is more about tariffs and contract renewals.

Sony also took the unusual step of having a bold idea and actually creating it in real life, not merely on a computer screen. To advertise its plasma screens, it released hundreds of thousands of coloured bouncy balls in San Francisco, a city whose geography could have been invented for the effective display of just such items.

Sony advert
Life as a bouncy ball
And the single greatest thing about the advert was that, yes, they actually just did it. An entire block of the city was cordoned off, and 250,000 balls were shot into the air with compressed-air cannons. Others were poured down the street from dumper trucks. And since the balls could actually do quite a bit of damage, all the cars on the streets were actually props.

Some mention should be made of the current Honda advert, in which a David Bedford lookalike graduates from a mini-bike to a car, racing car, motorboat and eventually hot air balloon, all the time singing about his "impossible dream". It does make the viewer wonder, as the motorboat plunges 007-style over a waterfall, what the whole thing is supposed to be about, but it concludes by sending a strong (if indefinable) branding message.

It's also good to see the company not trying to top its memorable "Cogs" advert (which has been re-shown over Christmas) in which a line-up of car components take part in a chain reaction as if they were dominoes.

Virgin trains
Virgin: Love train
One commercial which would certainly repay greater showing (and in fact has also been shown again over Christmas) was Virgin Trains' epic journey which seamlessly puts the stars of great rail-related films into the frame with one of the company's new Pendolino trains.

So we see the Railway Children, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, Sir John Mills, Albert Finney and then , in a mid-carriage clinch with Eva Marie Saint, Cary Grant saying: "Beats flying, doesn't it?"

It's romantic, clever, beautifully achieved, imaginative and, a bit like ELO, the score has an effect on your emotions. The goal of the advert was to restore the passion and romance to the railway, to scrub out memories of Hatfield, delays and commuting and replace them with a taste of Brief Encounter. On these counts the advert works, and for all these reasons it's easily Ad Breakdown's favourite commercial of the year.

But a few words now about adverts one hopes will not be seen again.

  • Nibble Nobby's Nuts - in which three blokes lunge for Noddy Holder's crotch, for him to protest that it's Nobby's nuts they should nibble.
  • Mazda - in which shop mannequins are carried in a new Mazda, only to emerge with erect nipples.
  • The Conservative Party - posters saying "Are you thinking what we're thinking?".
  • The Labour Party - posters with Jewish Conservatives depicted as flying pigs.

But top of the list, of course, is Crazy Frog, whose plague on commercial breaks in the early part of the year had almost biblical proportions.

Crazy Frog
Truth in captions
It irritated, annoyed, bored, insulted. And yet it's doubtless a phenomenon of some sort, if only because the advert was only advertising itself - it was trying to sell people the right to show the advert on their own mobile phones, which in turn would advertise itself whenever the phone rang. It then stayed at Number One of the Singles chart for a month. That must be a genius of sorts.

And anyone who really hated it should ponder this: a spokesman for Jamster told the Magazine that its advertising was completely targeted. The moment people stopped buying the ringtone, it could change its adverts to plug other products. And yet the Frog kept selling.


Ad Breakdown is compiled by Giles Wilson.

Below is a selection of your comments.

I think the best advert on TV at the moment is the pea-car advert. It's a very clever visual portrayal of what happens to peas if they aren't frozen.....and a brilliant car too! However, I must add that because of in the incessant adverts over Christmas like the M&S "fewd" ad, the endless Curry's/Comet ads, the intolerable sofa sale ads and such I have found that the TV in our house has been switched off for most of the time and it's been bliss!
Pam, Manchester, UK

For me, what's more infuriating than any individual advert is the seemingly new phenomenon of synchronized ad breaks across all channels - so when you see the Crazy Frog and immediately grapple with the remote to switch over, there's a high likelihood of him being on the next channel as well.
Iain, Edinburgh

Who is the woman in the DFS adverts
colin, stalybridge cheshire

The advert I really disliked was the HP sauce one which had people pledging to spend one dinner time a week with their families - as if it's a good thing that this is only done once a week and at the sacrifice of some other past time.
Susan, Scotland

The Orange advert with the ballet dancers remains my favourite of the year. Admittedly it doesn't promote the brand well but by God it's a beautiful thing to watch and it's so nice not to be screamed at like every other advert on telly. Worst adverts: those shampoo ones. Yes, ha ha, "organic" sounds like "orgasmic". We get it. Move on!
John R, London

The motorola v3 razor ad...where everything turns into a sinply and sophisticated mobile.
Jay, Cardiff

The most amusing thing about the Crazy Frog is the effect it has on other people. Always makes me laugh for that factor alone. As for the Virgin Trains advert, although it may look good and cause people to reflect fondly on great Hollywood films, as I've experienced the falling apart, cramped and and frequently delayed Pendalino trains I can't watch the ad with anything but contempt. My favourite ad of the year is the full length version of the 3 advert - the Hong Kong women with their bizarre musical contraband.
Robert, London

Bring bck crzy frg!!! it's wkd!!!...
Anon, London

The M&S food ad must surely rank as one of the most annoying of the year. Quite frankly it put me off visiting their food halls for fear of that fake temptresses voice being evoked in my mind at every chill cabinet. Don't the ad agency subject several victims to repeatedly watch their ad's? If they did I'm sure they would have them clawing at the door after the 5th viewing. Makes crazy frog seem mild.
Jan Esseveld, lee on the solent, UK

You've got to love the Honda "Hate something/Change something" ad. It's colourful and bouncy!
Louise, Cardiff

I really don't see why people find Crazy Frog so annoying. I personally find it quite amusing! The fact that so many people are complaining so extensively about it, in my opinion, says more about them than it does about the Frog.
Rachel, Abingdon, Oxon

I loved the Briish Gas ad with the two animated Geordie flames. I have had hours of fun endlessly repeating the words "Ur ner, yav tooorned greeen !!". Brilliant. Genius.
Justin Cleator, Luxembourg

The Sony ad with the bouncing balls certainly made me spend my money. No, I didn't buy a TV but I did look up who did the music and bought the album. Thank you Mr Sony.
Jock, Millport, Scotland

Don't complain about your ads. Here they have shrieking women touting products with impossible claimes at twice the volumes of standard programming. Put that basic on top of two or three repititions sequentially. Not to mention, Ping, Bongs and chimes to emphasize prices and double deals and special points they attempt to make. These ads are impossibly repulsive, childish, overdone, loud and pointless. Particularly offensive are the ads for health machines - so elimental, so easily manipulated that it would be impossible for a worm to develop muscle, much less the well developed male and female models they use to demonstrate the end result of these simple minded toys.
Jung, Jun-Suk, Kimpo City, Koea

The Sony bouncing balls ad is lovely, it leaves a large smile on my face.
Wendy, Wales

I have no objection to any of the adverts mentioned; the advertisers pay for the broadcast which in turn pays for the programming. If they happen to entertain me at the same time, Great! What I do object to though, is when the broadcaster purposely turns down the broadcast volume of the program AND TURNS UP THE VOLUME OF THE ADVERTS! There is no better way of making me ignore the adverts, I just hit the mute for three minutes.....
MarkG, Maidenhead, UK

Most inspiring advert of the year, (assuming ads are meant to inspire), must be the dancing couple. The choreography is just fantastic. The Guinness advert, going back through time, is another of the brilliant beer ads. Mind you it's not quite as good as the John Smith ad where the guy 'bombs' off the diving board, and having soaked the judges, emerges with a builders bum shot. Truly funny! Some ads are better viewing than the programmes they interrupt.
Carter, Exeter

These aren't just baked beans...these are marks and spencer's finest, exquisitly picked, beefsteak tomato flavoured, calfornian orange coloured, hand carved, high priced, highly overrated, delicious, disgusting, hilarous, atrocious, sweet, juicy baked beans...AWFUL SERIES OF ADVERTS, HORRID VOICE, DRIVES ME INSANE!!!
Big Dave, Kent

The Ford Ka's evil twin adverts are the best I've seen. I'm not sure if they were broadcast but have seen them on comedy pages on t'internet. Extremely funny.
Peter, England

Television Advertising in this country is the best in the world. The fact that we have the quality of adverts such as Honda's Cog, Sony Balls, Guinness Surfer and Levis Twist in between the real programs has to be admired and appreciated. People remember and talk about them, the good and the bad. But surely the real mark of good advertising is: 'Does it sell more products? Does it make you want to drink Guinness or buy a pair of Levis? Well of course it doesn't directly. You are missing the point. The best adverts present a brand and create an image around it. On first glance you think 'Yes very clever, but it doesn't make me want to buy one'. It sits there in your subconscious. You might mention it to a friend and although you might forget what it was selling your impression of that brand has been altered. That is all that the advertiser needs to do because it is all about brand perception. The next time you need to choose between one similar brand and another it only takes! a slight difference in your perception to persuade you which one to buy.
Ritch, London

God,remember January?DFS AND THAT HORRIBLE SONG "CRAZY" Repeated every two minutes. Advert water torture!br />simon curtis, middlesbrough

If you think UK TV adverts are bad, you should see what we have to put up with on our mix of Star and Broadband TV! Thank God for the mute button!!
Alison, Hong Kong

The agency that came up with Crazy Frog and anyone from Jamster, Mblox and anyone else associated with it should be put in a sound proof room with that ad playing at full power until their brains melt. The public should never be subjected to this absolute rubbish ever again. Anyone who got conned by purchasing this ringtone should be forced to pay three times as much again and do community service.
Andy Gaucher, Bullbridge, UK

CRAZY FROG IS GREAT! We have this here in the USA and for most it may be annoying. However you must figure that the 80's techno music we listened to was almost the same! We owned the entire CD of Crazy Frog before it was released in the USA thanks to a Bloody Britt friend!
Bratz, Oregon, USA

Worst ad beyond the crazy frog? Anything selling probiotic drinks.The ones which annoy me the most are the ones with the 'embarrassing parents' and people doing daft out of character things just because they decided to buy *insert brand here*.Then theres the probiotic yoghurts-'i'm so bloated!' *pats perfectly flat stomach* 'here, try this!' Shut UP.
Sarah, UK

The best and funniest advert by far is the one for rum or something or other with the melon stall in Jamaica, the guy at the end sitting on a donkey makes me burst out laughing everytime.
chris webster, Edinburgh

Has anyone else noticed how loud the adverts have been compared to the programmes this Christmas? I've had to keep turning the volume down and up at the beginning and end of ad breaks. I marvel at the advertisers latest ideas and enjoy good graphics/editing/music as much as the next person, but I do feel that it detracts slightly from the aesthetics when my ears are bleeding!
Luke, Nottingham

All adverts are rubbish, most audiences certainly dont want them on their television. the most annoying advert definitely goes to the crazy frog followed by sweetie the chick and nessie the dragon. all terrible all a complete waste of time and money, i dont know a single person who bought it, everyone could just download it, besides what the tune was on originaly was better.
Kate, Luton

I LOVE Crazy Frog - he is soooooooo daring!
Helen Ferrieux, perpignan france

This article made me miss British TV SO MUCH! I left in October so have seen most of these ads, but Jules Green's right - Australian ads (and TV in generals, in fact) are AWFUL. You don't know how lucky you are. But I have to agree with Richard Wilson... "Hate something, change something..... da da da da da da da da..." should have been on there. Just thinking about it makes me smile. When do Honda release the single?
Amy Taylor, Perth, Australia

This year has been a good one for ads. My favourite being the you+hp "Out of the Picture" one created and starring director Fancois Vogel. It's quite simply a piece of genius! Other favourites include the Sony 'bouncy ball', M&S Food (makes my mouth start watering everytime!), Virgin Trains, VW 'Singin In The Rain', and M&S 'Mr Blue Sky' though its the ELO track which I docus on most. Worst ads of the year have got to be Crazy Frog, infact all the Jamster ads are horrid! Lynx, who's ads flaunt hetrosexuality, and finally the ever increasing number of ads for loans, mortgages, and compensation companies, some of which are technically flaud and promote ignorance of health and safety.
Mike, Hull, UK

Crazy Frog is an icon, all the letters above love or hate it, there is no blahh in any of the comments. Not at all sure what it is about but if one frog can cause so much 'feeling' maybe it should be sold, or given away....
Jean, Florida USA

The Guinness 'Rythm of Life' ad is one of the best adverts in years and yet agian proving that Guinness do some of the best advertisers. P.S: I like the Crazy Frog. Over a grill.
Jack, London

Loved all the Honda ads this year, the latest one is by far the best with the guy going around in all the different types of vehicles.
David Hurst, Leeds, UK

Well most of the adverts this year were utterly pointless and I'm still puzzled as to how dancing has any relation to a mobile telecom. Worst ad this year has to be the barrage of Microsoft Windows adverts, most of it was a lie, they told me that things "run" on Windows but I'm yet to experience this.
david, rushden, northants, UK

Bizarrely, the most irritating advert I've seen all year is the HP advert set to the tune of The Cure's 'Pictures of You'. It seems strangely ironic that an advert trying to advertise photographic technology should have a soundtrack which laments the fact that when a relationship dies all that is left are soulless pictures. I may be alone but I don't find the message; 'use our technology to remember the worst moments of your life' to be particularly compelling...
Oliver Longden, Cambridge

The M&S Food Adverts always remind me of the financial predicament M&S were in not that long ago and the burden they must have placed on their shareholders. It always struck me that "Albatross" was a particularly fitting tune. The adverts most missed here are the ones which communicated the real benefits of a product. These days, all a car advert is selling you is a lifestyle. I don't define my lifestyle by the car I drive or aspire to a lifestyle which a car maker thinks they can sell me, but I do drive a car which suits my lifestyle. It was never sold in the UK ;)
Richard, Hawick, Scotland

The ads mentioned are all very credible. But the one thats had me in stitches recently is the tennents voodoo ad. Shear brilliance!
Andy, Londonderry

If one more advertisement attempts to link the word ORGANIC with someone encountering a pseudo-ORGASMIC experience, I shall put my boot through my TV screen.
Steve, Nottingham, UK

to all the people who have said adverts annoy them; i would rather watch them and not pay TV license. The honda diesel advert and the british gas adverts are the best adverts of the year for me. and of course crazy frog the worst
Jenny Thompson, Sheffield

The best ad on telly now has got to be the ad for Vicks, where the mother is shopping with her 2 kids and the young boy starts crying because he can't get what he wants - and the mother's reaction is absolutely brilliant - she rolls on the floor screaming and crying herself!! Tempted to try it myself sometime!! Even better is the toddlers reaction sat on the trolley - pure class. On a serious note though, I agree with everyone who say that you won't necessarily buy the product just because a commercial is funny/good - I for one won't buy Vicks if I had a cold - I'd just buy whatever was most effective/cheapest!
Pradipta, London,UK

Lewis Holmes and anyone else wondering - the music from that fabulous Sony ad is Heartbeats, a song originally written and performed by a Swedish electro-pop outfit called The Knife but in this case covered by Jose Gonzalez, born in Sweden to Argentinian parents. I bought the album on the strength of that ad (wasn't dissapointed) and it is easily the best ad for a very long time. Mind you, the VW ad was also brilliant (Mint Royale created the remix specifically for the ad, and yes, I bought that too - on vinyl for DJing): beautifully put together, well thought out and original. Shame the car is dull. Oh well, you can't have everything I suppose. Oh, and the Crazy Frog made me want to nail my hand to the wall in the hope that it would distract me sufficently to get rid of that godawful noise from my head. Even if you hear a nanosecond of it and turn over, it still haunts you for days. Oh no, now I remember it again. Thanks a bunch...
Steve, Bristol

What, no Citroen 'Happy Days'? That was a stroke of genius. And I love the dancing advert for Orange, it's quite simply a work of art. But of course, hats off to Honda for yet another stellar year of ads.
Richard, Lancashire

So wa sI the only person to find three burly blokes going for Noddy Holders crotch quite hysterically bizzarre? It was a wonderful bit of comic absurdity, if nothing else. Shame about the nuts, though.
Sam Taylor, Durham

For me, the best advert on TV was for the Nationwide Building Society - Brand New Customers Only!
Paul Sinker, Kirkby, Liverpool, UK

Be ding ding ding da ding ding meh ding ding. Wheeeeeeeee!!!!
Bill Bennett, Coventry, UK

The Virgin Trains ad is pure genius. But no mention of 'Take Your Pants To Paradise?' It was my feel-good ad of the year.
Ian Jasper, Ipswich

Personally I thought that the remake of the guinness surfing advert was amongst the best I saw this last year, with the twist being that it is "extra cold". Also, the Stella Artois advert, with Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody. However... the advert of the year for me was Kronenbourg, a good year for beer, a bad year for music. The power of the unfinished (and barely started) symphony was very funny.
Tom Hayward, worcs, UK

Wow I don't know about any of this stuff!! But that's probably because I don't spend my one and only lifetime (just a few moments in the eons of eternity) watching television.
Agog, Untied Knigdom

honda ads sheer brilliance!I used to turn over when any adverts came on tv,now i find myself looking for any honda ads-its just a shame i drive a toyota!
andy, devon

I think the car manufacturers have the greatest ads sown up, this year for instance we saw the Citroen C4 transforming into a robot and dancing to a tune, Citroen where inundated with calls not about their car but asking what the name of the tune was. Keeping with Citroen they brought back "The Fonz" advertising their C3. Peugeot had the add of their 107 with the catchy tune "here it comes" . There is one add that sticks out in my mind that i thought was pure genious, This was advertising Herbal Essence, the one that ended with the phrase "and what do we get Bananas" laughing just thinking about it. Adverts can be good fun, but remember! adverts you think dont sell the product are doing exactly that in a subliminal way, these are the clever but dangerous ones. Be Warned !
sean carriere , Edinburgh

Anyone who complains about the 'Knorr' "charity" advert should lighten up. I found it witty and amusing, and it hints at the fact that we are bombarded with charity adverts all the time. Do those adverts actually encourage people to give to worthwhile causes that wouldn't give already? Or are they just guilt trips? On the subject of the 'Crazy Frog', life imprisonment for all Jamster employees would be too light a punishment.
James Kendall, Swindon, Wiltshire

Why don't you British have the Beatles from "A Hard Day' Night" on your train ad? Lots a US movies, but no HDN, which would have been a "no brainer," wouldn't it?
Tom, Chilliwack BC Canada

Believe it or not, you folks in Britain are very lucky in your TV commercials. On some channels here we can watch 8 minutes of a movie and then are subjected to 8 minutes of some inane, pathetic, excruciating and embarrassingly amateur commercials. Some companies, however, are seeing the value of humour in their commercials but they are few and far between. One of the best I've ever seen (and this was on my computer, not TV) was the John West commercial involving the fight between some "bears" over a salmon. I stored this on my computer for viewing occasionally. It is a classic and kudos to the agency that created it.
Al Cormack, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

I think the best ad on tv is the Malibu one where they are talking on mobile phones and comparing them
Tinashe Ncube, Preston, Lancashire. UK

Crazy frog has got to be up there as the most irritating Ad advert, but also, Sheilas Wheels, Confused.com and picture the loan. Boy are these irratating. in fact over a couple of hours today, one of these ads was on every ad break. The best this year have got to be Honda and Guinness, truly inspiring. Having said that we noticed the naff ads, supposed we have succumbed to the ad people anyway by remembering.
Iain, Stockport

I have to agree with Richard the honda diesel advert has kinda stuck with me!
Phil, Lichfield, Staffs, UK

I do not have a telly simply because of the wackiness and annoyance of everything that surrounds or interrupts each programme on any channel. It is high time that ALL advertising in regard to its repetition, volume and coverage of just about every flat surface in the country was seen as pollution
Josephine Bennington,

What of the loan adverts which torture us during dytime TV Channel 4 and on 5
Lawrece, Farnborough

Who the hell is David Bedford?
Peter Newnham, Havant, UK

Let's not forget the Hovis adverts with the ducks. "I'll get the bread and you get the fish!" What on earth was all that about? Is there some big in-joke that I'm missing there?
Jack, London

Although we are only 6 years old, we love the ad where all the animals help to tidy the house up especially the hedgehogs that pick up all the Cheerio's but we can't remember what it's about. Our dad helped us to type this, thanks.
Callum & Francesca Clarke, Sandbach England

The Sony bouncing balls ad is beautiful and I never tire of watching it. Just how long did it take to pick them all up though?
Andrew Clarke, Sandbach England

The Crazy Frog is quite endearing as a character for an advert,though not as a recording artist!! I like him better than any ads that sell their products by being seriously stupid or seriously nasty - like those ads where people would rather someone died than they reveal a sweaty armpit.Most of the expensive Perfume adverts have been tedious almost as grim as KFC and other fast food ads.Hooray for the remote's mute button the only way to deal with bad ads.
jan, suffolk

All car adverts are dreadful, but the one I hate most is the one where the car pretends to be a doggy and wags its back wiper like a doggy tail, whilst a soppy looking family look on with stupid faces. Excruitiating.
liz, Kingston

Living in North America I have grown to appreciate the humour and creativity in UK ads. I miss them! The ads here, especially on the US based channels are awful. Watching a film is excuciating as they have to cut so much to fit in all the ads breaks. I recently turned off Top Gun when to my disgust I discovered they had cut the entire volleyball scene. No Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer shirtless - that's the best bit of the whole film! I'm off to subscribe to BBC Canada!
Andrea, Whistler, Canada

Did anyone see the BBC digital service advert and feel the way I felt? I mean the one in which many little heads come together to form one head of talking heads? Or does that not rate as one of the most disgusting adverts of the year? Everytime it came on, I actually felt like I was coming out of my body. To think I pay tv licence for the BBC to come up with such a gruesome show.
Joyce, London

I think a lot of people commenting here have missed what is fast becoming the points of adverts. They are not nesceserly to sell something but to have the brand or item engraved into our brains. Yes crazy frog was annoying but everyone knows about it, job done. Virgin trains advert, it's a great advert and people go into work and say "hey have you seen that train advert" again job done. Now take the dancing car advert, it tells you nothing about the car apart from it turns into a robot and dances, which it doesn't and infact is quite a dull car, but you remember it, job done. To end I am going to site the M & S adverts which I don't find annoying so much as wanting to set fire to christmas puddings and listen to Dervla Kerwins low tones but they are instantly recognisable, and have coined a phrase which people now parody, job done. So all adverts have an objective and most successfully carry them off, some are just brilliant and make you go out of your way to stop talking du! ring the add break and watch them, and some are just so terrible, but engraved in our minds we switch off or over, like crazy frog. Before I go I would like to thank ad-breakdown for providing me with some answers to the questions that trouble me about adverts, it's like a bite size "how did they do that?" show.
Paul, Worksop

We loved the ladies having tea discussing what they wished they had done more of when they were young. One mentioned 'lying on the grass' to which her grinning friend replied in a lovely Danish accent 'You hussy', followed by gales of laughter all round.
marilyn house, Stevenage

The New Renault Clio ads with the french woman and englishman where they play trumps with aspects of their respective cultures is a delight to watch. The way they've ended it with the woman saying "The most romantic city in the world" and the guy saying "Let's see" can only set up a new Clio saga to rival the old "Nicole/Papa" one. Please make some more, Renault!
Alan, Sheerness, UK

The only ads worth mentioning this year are the new Egg "tested on guinea pigs" adverts, which press all the right buttons in viewers - cute, clever, original idea and you don't mind seeing them over and over again because you always notice new details.
Tanja, Cambridgeshire, UK

Intresting viewing this article, according to the above there were only 5 or so good ads this year on tele. Myself and my partner don't own a tele and watch TV shows on DVD to avoid all ad breaks and after the Crazy Frog this year I wonder how many other people will stop watching the "Idiot tube". Viva la Internet!
Max Black, St Albans

I detested the advert for a brand of mens aftershave which was, predictably, targetted at women in the pre-christmas run up, showing an athletic chaps bare backside in arty-farty black and white. Strangely I could have done with some of the product to rinse the sight out of my eyes.
Phil, Liverpool

Never mind the product, but Stella have been producing excellent ads for years, and the recent one where the priests on the frozen lake lose their crate of beer is an absolute delight: like a mini silent movie, full of wonderful faces and tiny cameos, and making superb use of the music (part of Liszt's 'Hungarian Rhapsody', if memory serves me correctly).
Amanda Kendal, London

What, no mention of Vauxhalls Zafira `Overtired ` ad. Brilliant. Big debate over whether it was `overtired` or `oh the`re tired`.
John Thomas, Cardiff

I think a handful of adverts are the only thing worth watching on tv these days. I didn't watch tv for 6 months, saw around an hour the other night and had to give it up as a bad job. When you think about the amount of money that goes into tv and the trash that is churned out. Man that is bad news.
alison, mk, uk

Sorry Virgin Trains, but the whole Hollywood-legends-cut-n-pasted-into-the-present-day thing has been done before in a Diet Coke advert with Elton John. About 15 years ago I think...
Andy, Guildford, UK

A vote for the 'Beef Tonight' advert with the panda. 'That's it pick on the endangered one' has become a household catchphrase.
Chris, Swindon, UK

two adverts that catch my eye were for Jamieson whiskey, one with the elderly gentleman playing drums, and then the rocker who gets behind and plays his harp. Two very clever adverts.
alex grundy, horwich, UK

Magnet kitchens ad: where the chirpy woman brandishes a pizza cutter declaring her kitchen was built around it - surely means she just needs a phone rather than a kitchen methinks?
trina, UK

I like the Waitrose adverts, M&S copied them! and the originals are far better. My fav adverts of this year are the Renault one (shaking your ass), the Orange (dancing in perfect familiarity) and lastly the Knorr vegetables ones - because I hate the charity adverts that make you feel guilty, its good to see someone hitting back at it. If we all took care of each other, we wouldn?t need them in the first place.
Lou, London, UK

I don't get to watch TV often. I record the programmes I want to see using my media centre and then, Oh bliss, I skip the ads. This means I can watch Lost in 45 mins. Heaven. And I can also skip any scary adverts for BBC3. That head made of faces was nasty.
Caroline Creasey, Silverstone

I think many of you may be forgetting the Lula ads, very irritating!! I cant recall what it is she was trying to sell, but I know it managed to lower her colestoral, and she managed to look (almost) suitably annoyed.
Cara, Walsall

The Virgin Trains ad certainly evokes magical memories of happy train travel in me. Best of all with TiVo I can replay it again and again each time it is shown.
Peter Welsh, Paisley

Honda. The BEST company for adverts i have came across. when the diesel engine ad was out i remember hearing someone in the vicinity whistling the tune. Back a year ( or 2) and there was the Gears ad. I saw the full ad on the honda website, and its a stroke of pure genius. Thumbs up for honda!
stu, Glasgow, UK

Not sure if its been mentioned, but what about the Intel Digital Camera adverts? A woman is taking video footage of a man using a camera in an art gallery and says 'action'. To which the man replies 'should that not have been cheese'. Clever.
Emma, Bedford

TV Advertising polarises people because there is not one Ad that is aimed for every single person watching TV at a given time - it's often a case about being in the right place, at the right time. A breakdancing Gene Kelly may not do it for you but it will have someone else rushing down to their VW dealer before the Ad has even finished. Ultimately, if brands are going to invade our homes every day, then we (as consumers) have the right to be entertained. Evidently, sometimes brands get it right and sometimes they get it horribly wrong.
Pat, London

I quite like the Crazy Frog - doesn't irritate me at all - my wife gets a little annoyed though when I "bring-bring" along with it. The best ad of all time though has to be the old Castrol ad from 20 years ago. Just oil running down the can into a spanner. Now that WAS pure genuis!
Mark, London, UK

A great ad is one that wants to make you buy the product, a good ad is one that makes you aware of the product in a positive way, a bad ad is one that makes you aware of the product in a negative way, a terrible ad is one that you ignore completely. I have seen no great ads, some good, a few bad and many terrible. With regards some of the ads menbtioned so far:- When I see the M&S ads, I immediately remember the Dead Ringers take "This is not food, this is porn". Crazy Frog and all other mobile content ads are only of interest if you want to regularly change your mobile's capabilities.
Neil Walton, Bicester, UK

I agree with an above view that the latest Knorr adverts are absolutely in bad taste. Protecting those who cannot protect themselves should not be used as a template for food advertising!
Adrian Shedden,

Ah the beauty of Sky Plus. If it isn't recorded (instant replay!) I now deliberately postpone watching shows by at least a quarter of an hour so I can zip through the adverts. Though I have been known to rewind to watch a promising one.
Ti, London

Crazy frog is an example of Direct Response advertising - as is any ad with a phone number or web address. These ads survive on people responding. If no-one responds you won't see the ads anymore.
Anon, London

My favourite advert of the year has to be the one for Sure deodorant where everyone is going about their everyday lives whilst doing ridiculously over-the-top things such as diving onto the back of a taxi, falling through glass ceilings and driving their cars on two wheels. It makes me laugh every time I see it!
Michael Andrews, Sandhurst, Berkshire

One of my absolute favourites this year was the South African Airways advert with the blind passenger talking about the sunrise. Incredibly well done, very touching. A shame we didn't get to see it more.
Greg Matthews, Woking, UK

I thought that the '3' ad with the Japanese women was without doubt the best of the year so there's perception for you. Oh, and the dictionary definition of 'snob' is: 'a word used to describe people with taste by those who have none'. Cheers.
Phil White, Cambridge - UK

What about the advert for WKD that features two blokes on their sofa who fight over the last bottle of WKD in the fridge - enraging! What self respecting men would fight over a bottle of sugary, coloured alcohol?!
Adam Barnett, Bristol

With the exception of the excellent Honda ads and the dreadful National lottery series, I have to say that TV ads are either so trite or impenetrable that I can't remember any of them, even less what they are allegedly promoting. I suppose the Honda ads have worked in that I don't waste money on the lottery in the hope of saving enough to be able to afford a Honda.
David, Tamworth, Staffs. UK

The GREATEST of this year undoubtly i think is the HONDA DIESEL advert ' hate something ...change something' because 1: music very catchy, 2: the scenery just makes anyone happy. Can't belive it hasn't been mentioned.
Grace, london

I'm very surprised the HP adverts weren't mentioned in the list. They are brilliantly inventive!
Ali Gledhill, London, UK

If all adverts were as beautiful as the Sony bouncy balls advert then who would need programmes in between? Even better to know that it was real rather than computer generated!
sue baughan, Hampshire

Having read the above drivel, I am pleased I have not watched TV for eight and a half years. I must add though I have heard crazy frog on the radio. I was not impressed. Still the licenence payers pay for my radio - Thank you.
malcolm, England (land of the Hope & Free (Yeah! right!)

We got shot of our television ten years back. Sweet bliss and joy - no advertising, meaningless soap operas or interminable reality TV shows.
Paul Everest, Horsham

Morrisons and O2 - the only ads that count. I very nearly did change my supermarket and mobile phone. Because Sean Bean told me to and I would do just about anything that voice said. He could read the phone book backwards and I'd be a quivering wreck.
Sallly, London

i have to agree that the honda adverts this year have been amazing, a real joy to watch. although the idea of advertising is not something i am too comfortable with, the honda ads are more like short films. lets hope more companies follow their lead and maybe the idea of an advert is to force a product upon us may change. p.s the sony ad is wicked too!!
euzah b, whitley bay, tyneside

What about those Intel adverts with Seal and Michael Owen etc sitting on people's laps? I thought they were quite memorable too. I know they made me stop in what I was doing and watch the ad at the time, which must be what an ad is set out to do. The "Hate something, Change something" Honda ads are second in my personal top five list. I don't mention the cog ad because it's a copy of a full 30 minute video done by someone else years ago.
Anke, Reading

"Quote me happy" - awful.
Nick, Bristol

I can only assume that the correspondent who wrote in praise of the latest Honda advert was in some way involved in the creation of this interminable, mind-numbing, droning drivel. An Oscar? He was jesting surely. A single note of the monotonous sound track, or a glimpse of the dreary cinematography and I lose the will to live. One of the worst ads ever. I shall NEVER buy a Honda!
Helen Harris, Dorchester,UK

Agree with much of above and we especially disliked the Frog ! However the plethora of furniture "Shed" ads makes me wonder if the advertisers ever sell anything at a "normal" price.
David Bene, Camors, France

I have got so adept at zapping ad breaks now that I don't even know what some of these posts are referring to - but the BBC is guilty of foisting just as much annoyingly expensive promotion on the viewers. What I hate most are 'one-joke' ads, that must have cracked up the boardroom, but do not stand up to repeated, repeated, repeated viewing. The Guinness ads consistently do, but the Sony balls one does not. Seen it once, not amazed. And it's not art. (And was Michael Winner last year or this?)
Robin Kelly, London UK

Sorry, Knox, but several of these ads WERE shown on American TV--to include the annoying frog. I have no idea what Nobby's nuts are, though.
Jonathan, Washington DC

You guys are so lucky to have adverts that are good/bad enough to argue over. Here in North America the ads are totally unmemorable and there are so many of them. Remember that it doesn't matter if you consider the ad to be good or bad, just so long as you remember the product it is successful.That they are good/bad enough that you want to talk about them is a bonus.
Don, Maple Ridge, Canada

Ads on British TV are invariably far more sophisticated than the inane drivel on networks here. The comedy and presentation are light years ahead of the dull and unexciting nonsense seen in the US. The Guinness ad is amusing here as it mocks football fans and the garb they wear in support of their team. Two cartoon Irish guys wearing lumps of cheese on their heads thus mimicking one particular team Green Bay Packers. The Irish guys wear Limburger blocks on their heads, Limburger is very odorous. The fans of course wear plastic lookalikes and not the real thing.
John Pickles, Madera CA ( ex-pat)

I curse the day that mobile phone technology became so advanced that it could lead to advertisments for crazy frog and sweety the chick. How did that ever start being advertised on terrestrial television.
Uncle Paul, Reading

Something is missing from this... Ah, I know, the herbal essences `It's in the draw, next to your loin cloth` advert.... Truly stomach churning dubbing...
James, London, UK

To be fair, although the Labour Party posters with the flying pigs on were pretty uninspired, and petty, they weren't actually pictures of 'Jewish Conservatives depicted as flying pigs'. They were pictures of Conservatives depicted as flying pigs - the Jewish aspect was an unfortunate oversight, rather than deliberately racist abuse.
Richard Cowen, Lancaster, UK

Sorry to all those who make and fund adverts but we always turn over in our house. This is not because of any objection to the majority of adverts but down to our disgust at the number of 'nanny state' type infomercials. The tone be it smoking or drink driving or fireworks is universally sanctimonious and insulting and after work is the last thing anyone needs over dinner. If I were commissioning an advert I would want a discount were it to be featured next to one of the variety of anti smoking ads currently about. Until this nonsense stops advertisers may as well not bother as Im sure I am not alone in simply turning over every time a break comes on.
Geoff, Stockport

Just two words, the most annoying,headache causing, grating,impossibly dreadful, stress causing ,should be made illegal advert that is the"CRAZY FROG ", otherwise there have been some intelligently marketed products through the media of TV I feel.
Darren Tobin, Nottingham

I can't beleive anyone finds the Crazy Frog anything but horribly aggravating. It makes me want to lose the will to live, yet there are people out there who find it incredibly amusing. How can anyone out there listen to it and not want to smash the CD player it's playing on? It's terrible, and I hope I never have to be inflicted to it again.
James Hadfield, Mansfield, UK

I know this article was light-hearted but I'd like to ask exactly what an advert like the "Annoying Thing / Crazy Frog" listed above has to do before it's considered a form of mental torture. Surely legislation should be introduced to limit companies to one ad slot per commercial break, unless each ad they're planning to transmit is significantly different. Hearing the Crazy Frog's mind-melting warbling three or four times over in the space of as many minutes wasn't amusing in the slightest and contributed in no small way to me giving up on television almost entirely in 2005. Am I alone in this view?
Laurence Donaghy, Belfast, N Ireland

I think the current adverts for Knorr stock cube imitating other adverts trying to stop abuse of children absolutely disgusting. This is not a subject to be made fun of and they should be stopped now.
KW, Taunton

Your comment about the Marks & Spencers 'interminable food ads' is just wrong. The ads are instantly recognisable even before the first words are spoken, and just make me want to be in the M&S Foodhall immediately; in fact, after 10-15 years away from M&S, they've captured a not-inconsiderable chunk from my wallet since those ads started. As for Humph parodying the tagline, I prefer to think of that as imitation being the sincerest form of flattery. Surely that's the mark of a successful campaign. On a separate note, thanks for the name of the Muller/Nina Simone track!
Martin Little, Edinburgh, Scotland

I have just thought of a reason why Crazy Frog sold so well. It was probably bought by people who enjoy winding-up their friends and relatives and complete strangers. All the time they heard others complaining about it they let their phones ring or played the CD more and more, to annoy those within earsot.
Mrs Deirdre Montgomery, Leicester

The crazy frog is an amazing advert, the best I've ever seen! How very dare you say it is annoying! I have bought all the merchandise and all my friends and family have too!Only you snobs at the bbc think it is annoying and that is because you don't advertise anything because you are scared of complaints.
Arnold Wilson, manchester, UK

The Orange advert of people dancing is one of the most excuciating things I've ever seen - I hate it, and the message its trying to convey is inaccurate Orange do not appreciate people who have been with them a long time. I also don't like the virgin trains advert - it says trains are back... but they've never been away! Only I hate going by train; cramped, unpunctual, and you always end up by someone with loud earphones; car or plane any day.
Kevin Gordon, Basildon

What? No mention of the Country life butter advert with the little animals clearing up for Otherwise Potentially Harrassed Mum? The sneezing squirrel & the hedgehogs picking up cereal hoops on their spikes by rolling over them are so cute. Got the bouncy tune in my head now. The Guiness advert is great but seems to have been cut, I'm sure there used to be a lizard with wacky eyes walking backwards through a hollow log. Who cares if its inaccurate, its an advert not an intelligence report on WMD. Anyway - maybe it shows reincarnation rather than evolution. Eh. Eh. Put that in your noodle & smoke it.
Stella, Teesside of Wintry Fogginess

My, my! The adverts you praise make me wish to view them for myself. Those you disdain make me feel fortunate not to dwell in Britain. All in all, your 2005 adverts beat the band when compared to the folderol foisted upon U.S. viewers. Then again, we can be thankful to have been spared exposure to the Crazy Frog.
Knox, Atlanta, GA, USA

I actually think one of the most clever adverts I have seen in a long time has been missed here.... The HP printer advert where the real life becomes a photo framed snap shot and the actor is placing card squares around his neck is immense and extremelty clever, both for originality and use of technology.
Neil English, Derby, England

Undoubtably some of the finest advertising work of our time, and one would like to think entirely of British origin also. Being famous for invention as a culture we have once again excelled in many ways and I am sure some of the above with make the impending annual "Best ads on TV compilation show" accolade. Yet the Crazy Frog is for me and never will be a great advetising campaign. It is difficult to argue this due to its incredible and unbelievable success. Yet I am still filled with dread and loathing to hear the ringtone eminating from someones pocket as their phone disgraces them and anyone within 30 feet of them. I often ask myself what kind of lonely individual might find this unamusing frog entertaining in any way. I pity them. Anyway, overall it has been a good year for advertising, but specifically for cars which are usually incoherent incomprehensible drivel and nothing to do with cars and not interesting in the slightest. "Singing in the rain" was a stroke of pure art and genius and I would still be happy to watch it once a day, and I would still not buy a VW Golf, but hey at least they made a good ad.
Alex, Guildford

Thankyou for clearing the debate whether the "boucy ball" advert was computer generated or actually real. It may have been one of the most beautiful advert I have seen, now I know that it was real it makes it an even better piece of "art". The music was perfect too!
Lewis Holmes, Bristol

My favourite advert of the year was by far the Beefy and Lamby inpromptu performance of "Soul Limbo" with pots and pans in the kitchen.
Pete, Hertford, United Kingdom

Adverts are here to stay whether we like it or not. Having lived in both Australia and America we do get off lightly. There are constant ad breaks in all the programmes. Neighbours for example in Oz has 3 ad breaks during it - even one immediatly before the end credits. The ads themselves are so tacky they make Cillit Bang ads look like a Hollywood masterpiece. Thank god for the BBC! (P.S. I am not being paid for this - though any donation would be gratefully received.)
Jules Green, London, England

I loved the Crazy Frog, and bought the single to annoy everyone else.
Neil Small, Scotland

My personal favorite for a long time was the dancing car, but then I didn't like it when they did the "warm up" version, it's just not the same!!
Alison, Southend, Essex

The Honda "cogs" advert must rate as one of the best. Very little if any camera trickery seems to have been employed, just some very clever and inventive use of car parts. As an engineer myself, I would have just loved to have been involved in the probably large amount of time and effort that went into correctly setting up and running the whole thing from beginning to end.
Andy Lane, Brussels

I personally love the Irn-Bru commercials shown in Scotland. They also come up with brilliant poster ads. My pet hate is the Marks and Spencer ads. It has put me right off the food sold there.
Carol Jappy, Grangemouth, Scotland

Well... Whilst I find a good commercial (such as the Guinness one mentioned) highly compelling, I've now gone so far beyond the end of my tether with the bad ones that I now actively boycott companies whose advertising is irritating, infuriating or omnipresent. Points in case being Marks and Spencer's food (as detailed) - I've stopped buying it - and McDonalds (I AM NOT 'loving it' and I'll eat ANYONE'S sandwiches EXCEPT theirs.)
Jon Grandin, Cambridge

All very clever, but does anyone really remember what all these ads are trying to sell us? At the end of the day, they're a showcase for the ad-writer's talents (or lack of!)and do little to promote the product they are advertising. Remember the Creature Comforts ads? - now, were they selling gas or electric heating? But look where Nick Park is today!
Ian, Doncaster

The worst ad by a country mile has been M & S's food ad. 'This is not just ... etc'. It had me reaching for the remote control every time it came on. The combination of the most inane comments and the most irritating vocal delivery you could imagine made me determined to avoid M& S food from now on! That's the power of advertising!
david, rainham, kent

Surely the most succesful advert campaign this year has to come from Magners Cider. Their 'seasonal' adverts had most people trying the drink for the first time, and instructions to have the glass full of ice was also refreshing.
Tracey, Edinburgh

I think the Knorr "save a vegetable" series of adverts is a stroke of genius. They remind us of this year's horrible events but make us laugh at the same time.
Francisco, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Worst ad of the year? National Lottery by a mile. And I thought Graham Norton was funny...
Rod, Fulham, London

The best ad beyond any shadow of a doubt is the new Honda ad. All the others pale in comparison. It should receive an Oscar! Wonderful!
Alistair Gibson, Edinburgh

What about the Citroen Advert with the dancing, 'transformer like' car. Amazing seemless visuals and a great tune.
Mark Thompson, Gloucester England

I absolutely LOVE the Guiness advert.. the creature at the end just makes me laugh out loud when he goes 'PLEH'... but my fiance insists that the Birdseye 'pea car' is the best of the year... the tune drives me potty though!!! Adverts are definitely getting better this year!
A Miller, Walderslade, Kent

If I never saw an advert again in my life it would not bother me. I would rather see a film which was not a repeat for once. After all if you surveyed 100 people at 10.00am in the morning and asked them which ads they had seen the night before - they probably would not remember!
Elizabeth R., Harpenden

i thought all of this years adverts were very well produeccd and all of a high standard but i have to add i that i absloutly hated that crazy frog. i dont know about any one else but it drove more crazier each time i saw it.
gurdeep patel, Ilford

I have to agree with Giles about the Virgin Trains advert. It is a masterpiece of editing and yet so understated. As a frequent traveller to London on Virgin it is just a shame that the real experience does not always live up to the image portrayed by the ad, but I guess you can't have everything.
Alan Godfree, Warrington, UK

The Jamie Oliver shaker-thing and the barman. Pure, excellent sleaze when Jamie hands the shaker to the barman for a good old cocktail-shake.
Christopher Tsangari, Wood Green

I think the Sony advert is such a simple and fantastic advert. The music is great too. There is an advert which had no mention. I can't remember what it advertises (which probably means it isn't doing its job), but in it a grown woman acts like a toddler in a park, and does it so well. It is very good - I haven't seen it for a while.
Dave, Carmarthen, Wales

You forgot to mention the other superb Honda advert for their diesel engines. Hate something, change something. Hate something, change something, make something betterrrrr. De do de de do de de de daaa Oh wouldn't life be bliss, if a diesel goes like thissss... etc :) Excellent, on a par with the governments Hedgehog road saftey adverts!
Richard Wilson, Chalfont St Peter, UK

Unfortunately one of the young engineers brought a Crazy Frog dance "hits" CD into the gym one morning some months ago. The boys from finance in the group mercifully pulled the plug on it halfway through the workout. Seemed I was the only one other than him that knew of its existence though...
Candace, New Jersey, US

The guy in the Honda ad looks more like Morgan Spurlock than David Bedford!
Nina, London

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