The Magazine's Review of Advertising
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.
One of the most well-known sayings about advertising is that 50% of it is wasted. The problem, as 19th Century US department store owner John Wanamaker observed, is that he didn't know which half.
Much has changed in 100 years, but each new technology has given advertising a new version of the same challenge - finding out how to spend clients' money most effectively. Not least is the rise of the internet and intelligently targeted adverts - something which is easier if, like Google Mail and others, you have permission to read millions of e-mails before you decide which adverts to show the authors.
While these matters much concern those who pay for adverts, those who make them, and those whose TV networks, radio stations and websites depend on them, Ad Breakdown makes the most of its liberty to do something different. Instead, what advertising is wasted time from a viewer's point of view? Which of those 30-second slots that punctuate so much of our lives nowadays would you count as having been a waste of time, and which can be celebrated? That is the spirit, then in which to present Ad Breakdown's Pick of 2006.
They're not flashy or hi-tech, but the series for BT Broadband featuring Kris Marshall (of My Family and Love Actually) and Esther Hall (Spooks and Waking the Dead) have a simple charm about them.
BT's new nuclear family
The conceit is that Marshall plays the new boyfriend of a woman who has two children. While Marshall's character makes the right noises about being comfortable with his new role of step-father-in-waiting, Hall's character impishly lets him squirm, knowing he's actually not comfortable at all. Thus she proposes using internet banking for their "new joint account" in an early advert in the series. But his character grows in later instalments, and by the end of this year is cool when the children's father comes round, and doesn't freak out when a spotty teenage estate agent suggests a room would make a nice nursery.
Part of the strength here is that we know Marshall as a goofy overgrown kid. Warming to his new responsibilities is the natural extension of the character we've already seen in various guises. And this is certainly no nuclear Oxo family, all sitting round for roast beef like something from central casting. This is a very current picture of modern Britain, and it's a comfortable one. The real star of the piece, though, is Esther Hall's delicious mischief.
One question though: why, in common with dozens of other adverts shown this year, are the colours all washed out? Why do the pictures look like they've come from a magazine which has been left in the sun too long? It might simply be fashion, but is there some other message being sent too? Are these ads trying to make a statement that they are not bathed in the kind of autumnal orange light that so many adverts once enjoyed (think grandad in his chair giving out Werthers Originals)?
Most controversial advert of the year might, once all the year's complaints are in and verified, turn out to be Burger King's defiant anti-PC message.
The schtick is that men, who have been hollowed out into husks by society insisting they eat salads, rise up, singing "I'm way too hungry to settle for chick food", and demanding to eat meat. Marching as one, all classes, trades and professions finding a sense of meaty brotherhood, they go to Burger King and buy a Double Whopper. Singing their "manthem", they blockade a flyover, liberate a fellow man from a people carrier and push the vehicle off the bridge, with the refrain: "I am hungry! I am incorrigible! I am MAN!"
Want one of these bad boys?
So why was it controversial? It was quickly pointed out by the media that this burger contained more than 900 calories. So while the advert is fun, and will appeal to a certain constituency which refuses to be cowed by warnings about fitness, good diet and the dangers of obesity, is it a sustainable position for Burger King? Probably not - as was reflected in the chain's subsequent decision to withdraw from advertising in children's programmes (announced just two days before media regulator Ofcom said it was banning it all anyway).
One advert which turned the whole obesity debate on its head was Nimble bread. The scene: a building site. The cast: a bunch of builders in trademark un-belted jeans. The twist: their jeans keep falling down, making them drop bags of cement, and trip with their trousers round their ankles.
So good you'll watch it twice
It's only when one of the builders is shown inspecting this new loaf of bread his wife has bought that it dawns on him what's happened: his traditional builder's sarnies are LOW CALORIE! Look how much is left unsaid in this advert: no pictures of stereotypical builders' bums, no hectoring about losing weight. But you still get the message, and for that it receives this year's Ad Breakdown gold award for being an advert you are glad to sit through.
Other contenders for this accolade have included Virgin Trains, whose Apaches on horseback try to chase a Pendolino train. It garnered 83 official complaints from people saying it played on racist stereotypes - one reader of Ad Breakdown asked "What's next? Will Virgin Trains help deliver the smallpox-infected blankets to the Iroquois?" - but the ad escaped a ban after it was ruled to be tongue-in-cheek.
Train travel the Virgin way
Also on the shortlist would have been Sony's explosion in a paint factory, in which a Glasgow housing estate was covered in a rainbow of paint, judged by another reader like "putting Mr Bean in charge of urban renewal". For all the effort and cost involved, however, it wasn't quite the match of the Sony advert it followed - the "bouncy balls in San Francisco".
Also notable: Honda's assembly of a choir which by voice alone tries to replicate the sounds of a car.
On the downside, however, there was a tiresome glut of football-related adverts during the World Cup, most of which had some variation on people kicking things around outlandishly. In one awful case they were kicking an empty tube of crisps. And noticeable (but also pretty awful) was that Nike poster of Wayne Rooney, arms outstretched like Jesus, with a St George's Cross painted on his torso.
But least likely to make it to the top was the advert from the AA in which its roadside teams sing You've Got a Friend. The right song can often make an advert, but this one grated on every listening, because each line in the song comes in a half-beat before it should, presumably to cut the total length of the advert. It ruins the song and the advert as a result.
A friend indeed
All these likes and dislikes are, naturally, subjective. It's possible there's someone somewhere who has been persuaded to buy a sofa because that nice one from EastEnders who used to be in that band was endorsing the brand. Therefore, your suggestions for best and worst adverts of the year are welcome below.
Ad Breakdown is compiled by Giles Wilson
Send your nominations using the form below.
We went to buy a sofa from DFS because we liked the adverts with "the nice one from East Enders who used to be in that band". The 50% of advertising that didn't work in his case was the 50% that tells you he's advertising SFS not DFS.
John Gray, Glasgow
The best has to be the Childline adverts, I can't remember when an advert has actually made me cry and sit up and take notice.
Aaron Cook, Derby
I think the Persil adverts (I want to be a penguin when I grow up) are the best this year - they are charming and almost natural in the childlike simplicity of the message. I usually do not remember any adverts but this one struck a chord!
Joan Weston, Leicester
Not a specific advert per se, but I'd have to award the "worst" title to the whole sub-genre of tacky Sofa Superstore commercials, in which the entire budget has been blown on a Z-list "celebrity", who squirms painfully in front of the camera with even less desire to be there than we have for watching them. Insincere smiles, directors who have obviously repeated the mantra "more emotion!" once too often, tacky sets and dire music... Cheapo furniture ads, we salute you!
Simon Spurrier, London
The ad for Oxfam/Mastercard with the llama must be one of the best, and when you go to the Sony adverts' website, and watch the making of, it really makes you appreciate them much more.
The cold and flu remedy that refuses to be discreet and refers to 'snot' has to be the worst ever. No problem with these products being advertised but the direct reference to that particular symptom of a cold put me off my dinner one night. I won't buy it on principal now. You can get the message across with a little more subtlety. Give the audience some credit.
The best advert by far has to be MasterCard UK, capturing the genuine emotion of real people, not actors, reuniting with their loved ones at the arrivals gate of Heathrow and Gatwick airports. The advert demonstrates that while Christmas is special for many reasons, spending Christmas together with loved ones is truly priceless.
Liz Winfrow, Fuengirola, Spain
The new irn bru ad with the snowman take off is simply hilarious, as was the cuckoo in the irn bru 32 ad - best ads of 2006.
Kate Magunnigal, Lanarkshire
Mums go to Iceland. I wish that one would permanently. How she gets time to shop in Iceland in between writing sob stories for OK and Heat, I've no idea
Ant Gee, Stockport
The one advert I hated this Christmas was the Argos one, where to make his son the "happiest boy in the world", the guy buys him a big present from Argos. How utterly shallow. I also agree about the Virgin Advert. I am a Native American, though born in England, and I found it very offensive.
One of the best adverts in 2006 was the Citroen C4 transformer. Great
Norma Scott, Whitehill
Any of those ads that employ fat, ugly failed actors to scream and shout monosyllabic pleas for us to buy half-price windows have to be the very worst at any time in human history, never mind 2006.
Kim Forster, Solihull
The worst must be the Orange ad with the clockwork figures arm in arm. Everything about the ad is cheap. It is to the advertising world what the Turner Prize has become to art.
Adam Baldwin, London
I love those ads! So simple, so heart-warming.
The worst has to be the truly dreadful one for M&S. Every word given heavy emphasis so that the whole thing drowned. It was not just a sickening advert - it was M&S sickening advert.
Janet Ames, Coventry
Waitrose has had a wonderful series of ads showing the food producers is inspired - if it's selling lamb, show a flock of sheep, a sheepdog and a shepherd. The only question is, though, do Waitrose customers watch anything other than BBC4, if indeed, they watch television at all?
Lewis Graham, Hitchin, UK
The worst ads makes u remember the ad so the product. A kind of advertising.
Living in a very commercial society I make a pointed effort to avoid them. TiVO makes life a lot easier and the mute button on the remote has always been useful. I haven't paid attention to ads for years!
Jan, Maryland USA
Best: A late contender has to be the Honda ad with the walking robot - absolutely stunning technology. Also, I love the Guinness ad where they guys regress to newty creatures at the beginning of evolution. Brilliant!
Worst: Safestyle windows. Every single shouty ad, all cringeworthy and horrendous. Kerry Katona and her Iceland ads. They typify everything that is wrong with young, lazy, "can't be bothered to cook" obese Britain!
I nominate any ad that has fake chemical names in it. "Boswellox" made me laugh out loud, but Jane Fonda promoting "age re-perfect pro-tensium" or some such bo****** has to qualify for the pits!
John Clegg, Nailsea, Bristol
I can't stand the perfume advert with poppies falling. It's a very potent symbol of casualties of war and is incredibly disrespectful to use it to flog some over priced smelly stuff.
Cathy Williams, Wantage, UK
Worst ads have to the be Phones4U rubbish, expensively made to look incredibly cheap. Utter garbage and I avoid the shop on general principle.
The best ad of late is probably the latest Honda one with Asimo. The scene with the space suit is almost touching, especially to this product of the Sci-Fi generation.
Adam McQueen, London, UK
The worst around at the moment is that irritating USWITCH.COM advert, where some unfortunate fellow opens his door to a shreeking buffoon, backed by a faux gospel choir. Almost as annoying as the constant calls I get from power companies trying to get me to switch.
Please remove confused.com, esure and sheilla's wheels and TV will be bearable again...
ramon calvados, London
Im feel that you are perhaps a little hard on the Sony Bravia Paint advert. The Bouncy Ball advert was amazing and so different from any other advert at the time and so clearly demontrated the atribute of the product it was designed to. I think that the paint advert also demonstrated the atribute extreamely well and in an equaly different and intesting way its just that it wasn't ground breaking like the bouncy balls one. The other problem may be that we kind of knew what to expect since fottage of it being filmed was on the news and then tunred into fan videos in sites like youtube. In a way it was impossible to follow the bouncy balls advert in a way that would have had the same impact as it had.
Ebony Hill, Aberdeen UK
I like the new Nissan 4x4s advert featuring the Mecha-Godzilla type creatures that the cars turn into when they encounter a geographical obtstacle. Almost made me think these gas-guzzling leviathans were cool!
Riz Khan, London
Agree with Meira about the Argos ads - symptomatic of a sad society, where a child's love can be bought for 50 quid at Argos. As for the influence of the 'obesity epidemic', with every food product now having to emphasise its healthy credentials, I cringe everytime the new Kit-Kat 'only 107 calories' commercial is screened. Even Santa has to be on the national post-Xmas diet and neurotically counting the pounds - how thoroughly depressing.
Richard Edwards, Leeds, UK
The Orange ad with the goldfish stuck in the bowl in an ocean I find stunning, if only for the music. It rains, sinking the goldfish bowl and setting the fish free. Quite a deep message behind an ad for a mobile network. I also love their ad of the bike touring around empty streets at night with no-one on it, very surreal but certainly makes and impression. However, my phone network remains o2 - they might have good ads, but they're not the cheapest network!
Has anyone noticed the increasing number of ads which either use foreign locations or are foreign ads, dubbed. Think of the disgusting ad for an antiperspirant spray. On a South American beach. Also a naked bloke travels to a night club. Then there's Gaviscon, filmed in Austrailia? Cockney taxi driver? Cars with left hand drive. Wherever there's a large crowd needed, usually dancing in the street, they're all foreigners. They must be better dancers or cheaper.
I just switch off from all these insults to my intelligence.
Could we have legislation banning the seemingly continuous transmission of ads for the Lateral Thigh Trainer and Power Juicer?
Bob Weir, Middlewich
i agree the worst advert has to be the oange one and the phones for you yeah yeah yeah how annoying and that one about getting interest on a cheque how dull. i thought adverts are spose to grab our interest not bore us to tears
ceri walker, canterbury
I think I win with my suggestion of Worst Ad's 2006. It's the advert we all hate - "Hi my name is barry and I want you to buy CILLIT BANG!" why does he insist on shouting as loud as he can. (something that is repeated in all cleaning product ad's i.e Vanish "BLAM AND THE STAIN IS GONE" simply put. Shut up. Cleaning products are nothing to shout about - also I agree with Kim about the 1/2 price windows and doors. Makes my blood boil p.s Crazy Frog was still in 2006 too..... maybe it wasn't such a great year after all
Jon Bernet, london
The worst ad for me is Iceland - Kerry Katona is annoying but worse than that, the ads are incredibly sexist - why can't DADS go to Iceland instead?
I really liked the new Debenhams campaign with that woman from "The Hustle" I especially liked the Chrismas one with the very stylish (and good-looking) Santa.
Donna, Swindon, UK
In contrast to Meira in Exeter, my favourite is the Argos ad. It shows the dedication that any parent goes to to get the right present for Christmas, and I'm sure that many parent would agree that the main aim at Christmas is to make your child the happiest child at Christmas time. The music, the metaphors, the perfect Christmas tree all fit together to make the best advert I've seen in months.
It was back again this winter - but I adore that advert for some cold remedy or other where it's a mum and toddler in a supermarket and the toddler looks like he's on the verge of a tantrum when told to put back some crisps or whatever and the mum throws one instead yelling and screaming and rolling on the floor - to the complete shock of the little boy and amusement of the baby. This advert is absolutely priceless! Every parent with a toddler I know says Oh yeah! I want to do that!
The worst advert has to be the Lynx one with the guys sweat gushing out from his armpits, truely vile, it makes me feel sick!
Eve Wallder, Norwich
Those incredibly naff and grating adverts from yell.com with the alien! It actually made me stop using yell.com
Terrible ads this year:
1. The one where Nicole Kidman does a runner a la Stephen Fry for Chanel, and emits the toe-curling line "I'm a dancer, I love to dance"
2. "It's what's on the outside that counts" from Remington
3. Sony's feeble attempts to gloss its laptops with James Bond
4. The restaurant patrons snogging the staff to sell a Ford Fiesta
5. The cringing scientists in that toothbrush advert.
I quite the Burger King one, but at first I was concerned that the man's wife and children were still in the MPV as it was chucked off the bridge...
Jonathan Jardine, Warwickshire, UK
Oh no, it's going to be another year of 're-finacing' adverts. I think that it's annoying enough to have these adverts all over the ad breaks but to have them on dedicated childrens channels is wrong. Does my pre-school child need to 're-finace'? I really don't think so. There is no safe haven from these most annoying ads.
Phones 4 U - Scary Mary, need I say more! Brilliant.
Sam Cullum, Milton Keynes, UK
I'm not sure if it was an intended typing error, but the BBC's blurb on the BT broadband advertisement states "The conceit is that Marshall plays the new boyfriend of a woman who has two children". The word 'concept' might have been intended but conceit might be about right!
Richard Wood, London
Personally I think the exploding paint advert is one of the most astonishing ones I've ever seen - whoever would have thought that watching paint dry would be so exciting? As for the worst ads, the various talentless Halifax employees making bad records sound even worse would take some beating - preferably round the heads.
Pete Hazell, London, UK
Lynx Effect anyone?
Andy Cruxton, Lancaster
Speaking from a mans point of view. I believe to make a man sit up and take notice, you need to make him laugh, most men are wise enough to realise that wearing this or that will not get get the girl of their dreams. Nor will the latest phones achieve them kate moss on their arm (should they want her). Most men relate to the stupid bank manager of "brand new customers only" style, albeit a 2005 advert? the ad's have spawned a catchphrase or two. the simple answer for selling men's products, make 'em laugh!!
My fave of the year - has to be the Boots Gorgeous Christmas ad campaign. When I first saw the long version, I sat trying to figure out who'd make it - and was surprised it was for Boots! Peeling brussel sprouts while papering yourself in a bath, putting on lippy in a store when there is chaos around you and plugging in the lights seductively - every scene rasied a smile.
Mike Geraghty, London, England
Joe Colley, Bexleyheath UK
For me, the worst advert has to be the one for the air freshener where the small boy is sitting on the loo complaining how bad the smell is of whatever he has just done! Add to that some poor quality dubbing and you have a corker of a bad ad!
Ben Rodway, Leatherhead, Surrey
the worst add that maeks you cringe is the orange ad. i hate it so much. a waste os space and the background music, is terrible
I can't remember if its from 2006, the singing KFC adverts were great especially the one where the guy asks the girl for a bite of her burger and she sings back to him Nooooo. Hilarious!!
I loved the Persil penguin advert and hated the kenco "gap year student" adverts. as to the 50% of the adverts that are waisted, it has to be that one I can't quite remeber for that thing I will never buy!!
I must admit that I also adored the Oxfam/Mastercard Alpaca packs advert. It was simply brilliant putting together the tune of "You're Gorgeous" to a rolling soft-focus montage of what is arguably not one of God's more handsome creations! I loved the ad so much, I looked for it on YouTube to watch again and again! More important was the actual message behind the ad. Who would have thought a charitable message could be humourous? Well done to the makers.
Larelle Read, Luton, Beds
It has to be Marks and Spencer- the delicious, mouth-watering descriptions and visuals of their food combined with the glamourous presentation of their clothing range is explosive. The timing of their most recent ad was spot on- i honestly thought i was watching a trailer for Casino Royale!
Beverley Harding, Lancaster
The adverts are the best part of TV nowadays. Shame people take offence at some of them. What happened at the unique British ability of being able to laugh at ourselves?
Nick Hampson, Aylesbury, UK
The Lockets throat sweet advert gets on my nerves with the screaming alongside the music.It sounds like Ann from Little Britain.I miss the PG Tips chimps, they could bring out a computer animated version of them in an ad.
caroline harry, swansea, wales
Nice one, Janet Ames! You made me laugh...
You're all wrong. The very worst adverts ever are those shown during the day advertising financial products and loans. Super low budget, super cheap graphics, super tacky, and the message at the end of the day, if you are up to your neck in final demands on bills, cant pay the mortgage and cant pay your credit card bills, stop worrying, get a £10,000 loan, AND GO ON HOLIDAY!! Magic.
I love the ads! It's an opportunity to make a cup of tea, or flip the channels to see what else is on. I try to make a point of not buying anything that is advertised on television; if it was any good, it would sell itself.
John flemming, Scunthorpe, UK
The Christmas Coke ad this year, with the little girl growing up to be a granny (surprisingly thin for the amount of Coke she's drinking) to another little girl. I never thought I'd find something with more syrup than the actual product.
Dan , Manchester
The ad I dislike the most is the one that maintains there are more germs on your food preparation surface than your toilet seat, then shows a pile of food perched on the toilet. What is it about toilets that is so facinating to advertisers? A bit more decorum and sensitivity pleeeze! Talk about the lowest common denominator, this does nothing for our image and civilisation.
Alan, Tripoli, Libya
I actually like the AA advert, if only for the fact that it shows they need over a hundred people to fix one car.
Hingy Lee, Northampton
I love the Famous Grouse adverts. That grouse is cool & they don't show them too often, so it's a sort of treat when they do appear. Ironically it's an advert that fails in my case as I don't like whisky!
Kathleen Walsh, Bolton
The best (but annoying) advert has to be "Sheilas Wheels". Blatantly sexist (but perfectly OK even under the sex discrimination act). This commercial has one thing that most ads have lost over the years....A VERY CATCHY JINGLE. I can not get the song out of my head and the sight of the three girls driving BACKWARDS for most of the ad is hlarious. More jingles in advertising please!!
Mums go to Iceland has to be the worst on three accounts. 1) Its patronising to families where there either isn't a mum, or the dad does equal share of the shopping (i.e. my family) 2)The z-list celeb 3)The size of her chest.....can you even see anything else?!
Lisa, Kent, UK
I hate all the adverts for getting loans - mainly because I think they are all totally immoral - but the one I hate most is the advert for Picture Loans which features the cosy mum and dad figures and makes it seem so NICE and easy and natural to obtain additional finance. Which it shouldn't be but a case of last resort. People do need help with finances I realise but this is just sick-making.
Lyn, Worcester, UK
The latest christmas ad from the national lottery. A cheap and half-a***d attempt to copy a short piece of video that did the rounds on the internet last christmas of an american man's home's christmas lights set to music:(if you've seen it, then you'll be aware of what I'm on about here). Shoddily set up, cheaply made and when you can't even be bothered to go to the expense of paying for the copyright, but get some one to re-arrange the music so it sounds slightly different.I'm sorry. NO.
jonathan bailey, gosport
THE ADVERT FOR BURGER KING WHICH HAS AN ENTIRE CAST OF GINGER HAIRED PEOPLE,MY HAIR COLUR IS GINGER I FIND THIS OFFENSIVE WE GET ENOUGH STICK WITHOUT ADVERTS LIKE THIS
PHIL BURSLEM, HEALD GREEN
Two nominations for worst ad : Vauxhall cars with their 'adult' children, and Cillit Bang's "I'm Barry Scott". Apart from a man who clearly likes the sound of his own voice, who on earth is he anyway? Both of these have me reaching for the mute button.
Mike McQuaid, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, UK
The worst ads must certainly be the ones for finance companies who offer extortionate rate loans to people to can least afford them. The higher the interest rate the bigger the celebraty to plug them!! Thank goodness for the mute button on the remote control.
Lesley Clarke, Queenborough, Kent, England
The best Ad this year has to be the ones for Sony Bravia, the ad with the balls in san francisco was great but the paint display at the glasgow flats was incredible.
Dean Robinson, Peterborough, England
Honda - sheer class
david thomas, ealing
M & S Adverts.....fantastic.....excellent production and music.....
Phil Allison, Fordingbridge,England
I can't beleive no-one has yet metioned the "It's gonna be great...." Frosties ad yet with the most annoying boy in the world. Not just the worst of the year, perhaps ever?!
Jake, Brighton, UK
I found the Orange clockwork toy adverts truely annoying. They looked like egg timers and really couldnt sing.
In my day, when the adverts can on it was time for a cuppa or a wee break. Now you can go and cook a three course meal. I won't buy anything thats has to advertise. Take the cost of making an advert off the product price. And the debt adverts.........don't get me started!!!!
Sue Jack, Owston Ferry, Nth Lincs
The worst advert last year had to be the Sainsburys one with the flexible card singing "Little Bill". A car full of people serenading a credit card walking into the sunset did nothing but annoy me!
shaun coxall, wolverhampton
The worst advert on TV has to be the Picture Loans one, it is terrible on so many levels.
Chris Slack, Hastings
It's rare that an advert induces me to buy a product but, I can think of quite a few that have ensured I will never buy the featured product. The 'Cilit Bang' advert is incredibly bad and I just want to see a news item stating the agency behind the ad has gone bust and/or the product has been removed from the shelves.
Ivan, Sutton Coldfield, UK
The worst by far was the supremely irritating vauxhall advert with it's idiotic "COME ON!" incantation.
No. People will refuse to purchase that car lest people mock them openly in the street.
Anndra Dubhacan, Argyll, Scotland
the best ads have to be the sony bouncing balls and exploding paint very original the worst anything todo with xmas or football actualy no then worst have to be the ones offering loans
dave turner, weston super mare england
The funniest advert for me with no doubt is the "An epidemic is upon us, people are going to extreme levels to get home for a bowl of crunchy nut". then that women slides above houses on some wire or a man rides a dog galloping throught the streets... hahahaha. I don't think it's a convincing advert, just ludicriously funny!
sherif, braintree england
Having been in Australia for 7 months I would just like to say that the UK adverts are so much better than any on here. Here they are tacky and repetitive with no expense used. I dont like adverts at all but I'd take any from the UK over any from here - indeed, I wont shop in any place here who does advertise out of a point of principal! ps - the Irn Bru 32, Cuckoo advert was the best I saw before coming here! Cuckoo!
Charles Q Blair, Sydney, Australia
I like the ads for dogs' charities where your new best friend promises to write to you... if a dog can be taught writing skills for £2 a week that knocks 'learning direct' into a cocked hat!!
Robjohn, Cardiff, Wales
Being out of the UK for so long you miss British commercials. The humour, the cheekyness, nowhere else in the world does it quite the same as us brits!
RIck Hustwit, Sai Kung, Hong Kong
How could you forget the nightmare that was the Frosties "They're Gonna Taste Great" fiasco? That gobby South African lad has scarred the lives of millions. Think of the children!
Dillan Gandhi, Oxford, UK
They¿re gonna taste great!
They¿re gonna taste great!
I can hear the sound of Frosties hitting me plate,
They¿re gonna taste great,
With Tony our mate,
Well everybody knows Frosties taste great!
Even ladies who wait, Or a pirate,
And a hungry teenage brother who¿s out on a date!
If you live in Oz, mate,
Or the Empire State,
Even ladies with personalised number plates,
Or a bloke in a crate, Well he knows they taste great!
They¿re gonna taste great, [Infamous rap motion here]
They¿re gonna taste great, They¿re gonna taste great,
They¿re gonna taste great! They are gonna taste GREAT!
Michael O'Connell, Croydon, UK
I love the Orange adverts with the little wind up figures arm in arm - what I want to know is if Orange are going to sell them - I want one!
Angela Peebles, Dartford, Kent
I like the one for Vicks First Defence where the woman is having a tantrum in the supermarket - all to stop her child doing the same thing. Genius and finally an ad that I don't mind seeing again.
The problem is that adverts are very subjective. However I agree with most of the comments of other correspondents with the exception of M&S, which I thought was very classy, the Virgin train one with the clips from films which was very clever and the Sony paint one which I thought was particularly impressive. My personal vote for the worst ads though are the Sofa ads. Absolutley nothing would induce me to buy one of their sofas and I am compelled to change channels when they come on.
I loved the Citroen Transformer adverts! Particularly the one where the car is dancing! I thought that was so clever. Despite what others may have thought, I thought the M&S ads where the food was described so seductively were brilliant! Especially the warm chocolate sponge cake, where as the fork cut it open, the steamy chocolate sauce oozed out! Very clever! And the way they described salmon! They made it sound amazing! And I don't even like salmon!
Nicole Harris, Somerset UK
Who watches adverts these days? We use Sky+, start watching everything 10 minutes late and skip through the entire ads. Got to be the best product ever invented. Only question is how will we ever find out about the next great product without adverts???
Brian Brown, Bicester, England
Of the BT internet ad, you say: "Part of the strength here is that we know Marshall as a goofy overgrown kid." Oh, No we don't!!!!!!! Why do you presume that we have all seen these actors in other roles? I have seen the adverts but had never seen either of the two main actors before. I thought the advert very good and bang on the times we are living in. So, please do not assume that we all watch as much TV as you do because, your sweeping statements make me not want to read what you write.
Simon Allen, Hertfordshire
The Knorr parodies of Christmas appeals are my favourite-talking about abandoned mushrooms finding a new lease of life with Knorr stock-love it!
Graeme Bigg, Radlett, UK
What about the poster campaigns by the "no-one-in-the-UK-had-ever-heard-of-it" Magner's Cider in 2006..? Chuck a few ice cubes in the glass with a good old pint of cider just as the summer arrives, and everyone's drinking it by the pint full. Likewise at Christmas, a frosty image of a pint glass, again with ice, and we're all still drinking away. Whoever came up with that simple-yet-effective campaign must have increased sales incredibly, and probably deserves a lot of credit!
Andrew Morrison, Portsmouth
I recently saw a Nissan advert where the 4x4 car transforms into a spider, alligator etc... in High Definition and it was great!
All 'get out of debt by getting one big loan' are pathetic, as are most financial efforts.
Colin Watts, Poole UK
Any chance we could do away with the dull time wasting TV ads altogether and replace the wasted broadcast time with interesting nature programs?
i really liked the Safira advert with the kids acting like adults. That really got me laughing. I also really liked the ad for Waitrose showing the staff having a snowball fight. I hate the ads for Iceland and insurence adverts because they are so boring and they are on all the time and stuff from Iceland doesn't taste nice.
Ella Rees, Whilts, England
"I am a Native American, though born in England" says Meira - thus proving she(?) is, in fact, English... I have to agree about the Argos ad though - bleuch. I also disagree with Ad Breakdown's assessment of the BT adverts - I find them very uncomfortable to watch. The poor man looks like he's really suffering...
Ade Vickers, Wallasey, Merseyside
The advert for Nimble, whilst novel, conveys the message that switching to their bread will magically result in huge weight loss - which I'm sure numerous gullible people will fall for. I'm thoroughly sick of the mobile ad with "Let me cal you sweetheart" bellowing out along with a tuba - enough is enough!
Dan Vanniasingham, Enfield, Middlesex
That Frosties Advert got everybody talking. It was very annoying though!
'They're gunna taste great.....'
David, Surbiton, UK
I'd say the new Waitrose ones for Christmas were pretty bad. Any advert that ends with employees throwing snowballs at each other with glee in an infuriatingly snowless Britain has to be high up on the list.
The Coca Cola Advert for Christmas this year was terrible. Where's the usual "holidays are coming" jingle and the trucks the make christmas trees light up? That advert has been on for as long as I can remember and always made me feel Christmassy. Not any more. Coke killed Christmas!
Daniel Griffin, Cardiff
I like the Mint card adverts- the clever/dumb balance. The one where the guy does a pull up and hits his head,or the one where the woman falls face first out of a window had me giggling every time!
John Anderson, Houghton le Spring
The best ad of the year must be the Boots' summer product advert. The mad dash to the sun had my family in stiches. And the worst - anything advertising anti aging or anti wrinkle cream, especially the new Olay (didn't they used to spell it Ulay) advert. As an old wrinkly myself I find them both highly ageist and grossly offensive. I don't want to be told every 15 minutes that I should be ashamed to be middle aged.
John Matthews, Reading, UK
the lyons tea ad with the builders talking eloquently during their break is brilliant, a change from the sun reading, wolf whistling stereotype. simple but funny
jen donohoe, ballymena, northern ireland
The M&S adverts will become one of the most memorable adds ever, it has allready spawned imitation adverts from other supermarkets and comedy sketches on tv and radio. Imitation being the sincerest form of flatery.
Peter Coleman, Barkway, UK
Best is any Irn-Bru ad. That Nimble one is totally annoying!! It's irritatingly stupid as the guy would just get a belt after the first time! Or tighter trousers!!!
Craig, Paisley, UK
Re: John Gray's comment, isn't it 'SCS' that Martin Kemp advertises (as opposed to 'SFS')? Although I wish I didn't know that. Unfortunately this company seems to have enough cash (or else ITV has a low enough advertising revenue) to keep its name on the tv between every programme going - night or day. Anyway, I disagree with Mr Wilson. I find those BT adverts awful - they are bizarre and uncomfortable. What this very personal situation has to do with selling phones, I don't know. I can't stand all the pregnant pauses and little smirks.
Off the top of my head, I like the latest Kellogg's ad with the bees. Simple, charming and visually effective.
Jennifer O'Hagan, Sheffield, UK
The worst adverts for me are the PC World adverts. They are so badly written. The woman states exactly what she wants in the laptop, and as if by magic the sales assistant points out the laptop has exactly what she needs.
Kieran H, Coventry
I think we've forgotten about the late night adverts of freeview, all those gorgeous women just waiting by the phone for my call, or on the treadmill with their handsfree at the ready. Does society really require such ads?
Tim Butler, London
The worst "prime time" (i.e. high budget) advert? WKD - sexist purile nonsense, targeted squarely at an audience who wouldn't be seen dead drinking the things.
Russ Tarbox, Windsor, UK
the advert that truly annoys me has to be the Iceland one "because mums go to iceland" but what about dads? And the calpol one "because when you have have children you know" how patronising! like nobody else shops for children except mothers and people who haven't got children would have no idea what to do when looking after a poorly child? Please! give us some credit!
lucy Meechan, basingstoke
I agree wholeheartedly with Janet Ames. The M&S food adverts were utterly obscene. They seemed more like over-produced pornography for food fetishists than an attempt to get us to buy expensive ready-meals. I just couldn't bear them.
Robert, Edinburgh, Scotland
i think the best advert so far of 2006 was that coffee maker advert! with "sex machine" by the late james brown playing to it!
the coffee machine actually looks like the little robot (bob) from red dwarf! it looks like its going to get me a curry...not a coffee,and..the song stuck in my head for days :D
If you're born in England, you're Native English.
Andrew Markwick-Kemper, Middlesbrough, UK
Best for me has to be BBC's ad for Radio 2 with Elvis introducing his band. Stunningly well put together.
John Picton, Newcastle upon Tyne
I agree that the virgin trains advert is racially offensive. Speaking as a Native Briton I would like to point out that we dont all wear shirt and ties.
Gary P, Reading
I can't believe this article and comments, does everyone not switch channel or turn the sound down and do something else when the adverts come on? I get enough involuntary images during my life days anyway, I don't need to self-inflict them on myself. Also, this is the BBC, as someone quite rightly said, some of us pick the BBC for that very reason!
Louise Shaw, Manchester, UK
The worst ads of any year have to be those not for products, but services. How many times must we have that awful jingle for shelias wheels, and how condescending is the advert for diamond car insurance? Truly awful are also those adds for debt consolidation/management/loans/mortgages; let's get rid of them please!
But my all time hated ad of 2006 is for Knorr Stock cubes, which clearly has taken its 'inspriation' from the child charity ads, urging us to 'save a lonely brussel', it cheapens the message of the real ad, and should no way be allowed to be shown.
Emma S, Basingstoke
Did anyone else notice how the tomtom advert has been redubbed? The line "Scott Scott" has been softened and slowed. I was amased that "Scott" didn't just jump out of the moving car in the original. Also, thank god someone else noticed that AA advert, "you've got a friend", had messed up timing. I thought i had gone mad!
Pampers! Offering a free inoculation to third world children for buying a pack of nappies, why wasn't this done 20-30 years ago, makes you think if adverts had morals what could be accomplished!
Nathan Short, Bognor Regis West Sussex
Debenhams' Christmas advert with the santa baby soundtrack made me want to cut off my ears and throw them at the tv - DJ santa on the wheels of steel!
Mike, Manchester Uk
What about the oats advert featuring Windy Miller's naturist uncle?
Robert Kemp, Hong Kong
Amongst the best have to be the above-mentioned Honda choir, the Sony paint explosions and the wonderful sight of thousands of Starlings swarming to Hard-Fi's 'Living for the Weekend' (Carling). I disagree with Adam; I find the Orange clockwork figure with the Laurel and Hardy song to be charming. One species of advert that never fails to make me irate is the brand of pseudo-scientific nonsense used by L'Oreal and Laboratoire Garnier to con us into thinking that their products are designed on any scientific basis. How the hell are hydroxyceramides and pentapeptides supposed to do anyone any good and what is the SI unit of lash lift?! That said, Andie MacDowell's self-satisfied drawl is a very effective emetic.
Neil Creamer, Kettering
Has to be the Oxfam/Mastercard Alpaca advert - absolute genius! And nice to watch an advert that is trying to make a difference rather than trying to sell us razors with more yet more blades or a 'half-price' sofa.
I would actually ban all advertising for 2007 in the UK and let people find the products they need for themselves and see how much resources this saved!
John Middleton, York UK
Honda are consistently putting out memorable, original and fun adverts every year. You never quite know what they're going to come up with next.
Advertisements need to be effective because of the limited time given for them. The M&S advert feautring Shirley Bassey is by far the best. When I first seen it, I thought it was a movie trailer! Very effective.
Jonathon, Ripon, UK
The Frosties advert ("They're gonna taste great") was one of my favourite ads of the year. I can see why so many people found it irritating but the tune was really catchy!
David Rimell, Brentwood, Essex
An advert for face cream (Oil of Olé?) is notable because it means to persuade that twenty quid is a reasonable price to pay for a bottle of goo (with poly-pepto-pectoral-peptides)as a celebrity might expect to pay more. Bargain!
Dave Salt, Dousland, Devon, UK
Lost our aerial 6 weeks ago, so no telly over Christmas! Strange but not seeing all the usual Argos,DFS,M&S,Coke etc. Adverts has been genuine relief.. Perhaps I won't fix the aerial....
Paul Spink, Brighton Eastt Sussex
Egg Credit Card. With the talking guinea pig family! "I suppose" - Brilliant! Made me want to buy a guinea pig but sadly not a credit card which would have been the whole point.
Barry Fitzpatrick, Glasgow, Scotland
There seems to be a bit of a trend towards voice-overs whispering their message, which I find highly annoying,not because I am hard of hearing, it just grates on me. And that woman on M+S ads,I really want to thump her!
John Luty, Harrogate,UK
i think the sony ad where the block of flats explodes in paint is really groovy!the one that had my daughter and i in stitches tho was the singing cat on the readers digest ad, fantastically funny we hadn't laughed that much for a long time!
stephanie, penzance cornwall
Diamond car insurance is my worse advert of 2006. The song, her voice, her face no no no... whenever i hear the words "Who does your car insurance?" i quickly grab the remote and change the channel. However my best are honda and guiness...
This year's M&S adverts have been my favourite, each word dripping with climactic taste. Gastro-porn at it's best. The worst adverts are the "Mums go to Iceland" series. She is utterly foul and completely off-putting.
Ollie, Lewes, Sussex
Worst one was the bleach ad with the talking germ threatening to make people sick. Made me feel sick every time. It also seemed to be shown whenever I was having a meal, no matter what time I ate.
Nicole Kidman and the latest Chanel No 5 advertisement(the full length version)is just superb - Stylish, beautifully staged and slightly mysterious - The advert is a mini movie in itself and leaves you mentally filling in the gaps in the storyline - The handsome gentleman dancing with her on the rooftops helps somewhat too!!!! Think I'll pop out and buy a bottle......
Lynette Brown, Wickham Bishops, UK
If I hear those Asda kids one more time I'm going to boycott the chain and hurt myself with a blunt knife. They make me so angry I see red.
Graham Jordan, Nottm
My favourite advert is also one of the worst. The main character looks a little like a cross between a medieval wizard and a mad man, and he's advertising double glazing. his grating catchphrase "Buy one, get one free - I said buy one, get one free" whilst knocking frames over domino-style, is pure genius. Sadly I have sash windows that won't be uPVC replaced. Timeless!
Rob , Northampton
I think the most irritating advert of recent months is the one for T-mobile that shows the buildings collapsing - mainly because it's on _all the time_ and the backing song is so annoying. It's also got the washed-out colouring that's mentioned in the article, and the CGI is far too artificial and unspectacular to be entertaining.
Jim Allen, Dunfermline, Scotland
Surely one of the worst must be GM's awful FUNK (Fat Ugly Northern Kids)ad. The Virgin Trains ad was also pretty dire but I am bemused by a previous contributor claiming to be a "Native American" born in the UK. Aboriginal, Indigenous but surely not "Native".
Chris, Derby UK
The worst ads ever - the sheilas wheels ones, theyre so annoying.
Shaun Anthony, Maidstone
Does anyone else purposely boycott products with bad adverts? I certainly did for Frosties "It's goon be great" ad.
Shan Mirza, London
I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the John West advert with a guy fighting a bear for a salmon. Plus theres the excellent 'power of dreams' advert from honda.
Anybody remember the 'monkey' adverts with Jonny Vegas?
Alex Almond, Blacko
This year we had one good ad in New York. The cheeky cockney Geiko Lizard advertising car insurance. Thank you for whoever brought it here, it is a breath of fresh air to have funny ads in the US. Please send us some!!
Mark Jones, New York USA
I completely agree about the Virgin train adverts being offensive. The first time I saw it I was gobsmacked. I'm from the states and I cannot imagine any channel broadcasting that over there. Not that I can't see the humour in it, but the archaic stereotypes were really a shock. My nomination for worst adverts are the "Come On!" car ads with the little knit people running around shouting "Come On!" every second and acting like gangsters. Can't remember if it's Vauxhall or who, I've tried to forget. Who is the target audience exactly? A badly behaved 6 year old?
Avery, Oxford, UK
As a consumer, I find the best adverts are those that linger enjoyably in the memory and you haven't a clue who the company was, or what they were selling.
Ian Blackmur, Sudbury, Suffolk UK
Best advert for me was the Honda advert with the guy driving the classic Hondas whilst singing that 'Impossible Dream' song.
One of the few ads where I didn't hit the mute button.
That ghastly Kellogg's Optivita ad. "Don't look at me, I 'ain't gonna tell ya what to do". It's an insult to the intelligence of a hamster!
Ruth, Godalming UK
All advertising is a waste of time as most T.V adverts are either ignored by channel surfing or Ignored by people walking ouit of the room to make a cup of tea. Advertising via the telephone is also a watse of time as most people now appear on prefered callers lists and billboards are becoming sparser. The only adverts that work are in special interst magasines such as specific sports or fashon magasines not t.v or radio.
"It's only a car" from BMW has to be among the best of the year, along with the Sony Bravia ad shot in San Fran. Prada Parfums is also elegantly made. Those DFS ads are dire, and I concur with the comment made re Argos; very superficial.
David L-Jones, London
The Guinness Extra Cold advert series is an excellent take on the standard Guinness "evolution" advert. It took me by surprise the first time I saw it, and the fact there's variety in the endings makes them even better. The worst has to be the Lynx ad with all the women trying to get to the guy on the beach, sadly for the people who believe that ad, quantity of Lynx applied is, more or less, inversely proportional to the number of women attracted.
Ciaran O'Connor, Leamington, UK
I think the one of a mother shopping with her son in the supermarket when she tells him to put the products back, and he throws a tantrum. When his mother threws it back at him, his face was so surprised that I wonder whether that was rehearsed or not. Surely that expression on his face would not be so natural if it was staged
Bryan Graham, Northampton, UK
The advert that shows vegetables as being neglected and makes mention of how 2 pence a week would help them. This was obviously lifted from the adverts for abused children and other charities and is in very bad tasteas it appears to make fun of a serious subjecdt
Harry Wilson, Milngavie, Glasgow
Best advert this year was probably the ones for Lemsip max strength capsules. I wish i had one of those little packets with arms!
It Has to be the Iceland ads. A collective groan goes up from my household whenever they come on. Kerry Katona gurning at the camera looking more like Les Dawson each time time and flapping her bingo wings about. Truly soul crushing.
Paul Dobbs, London
One terrible advert this year was the one for Coke - I can't be the only person who felt nausiated at the sight of cherub-faces full of rosy-cheeked victorian idealism. Close runners for most annoying would also be M&S's (for their unashamedly stereotypical middle class attitudes) and Argos (same reasons as Meira, Exeter). However, favorite advert had to be Sony's bouncy balls, just because it was so nice to watch. It felt artistic - in a good way.
Yeah, the childline advert made me cry aswell. Gripping stuff.
Daniel Baker, Tolworth, England
if only 1 million people saw the virgin trains advert and only 83 people complained then that is 0.0083%. why did anyone even consider banning it for this tiny minority?
Honestly, moaning about the virgin advert being racist. For the love of all that is holy lighten up, it's obvious that it wasn't made to offend people. Let's just ban everything on TV that has the slight chance of offending somebody in the world, yeah, cracking idea. Mint credit card adverts tend to be rather good.
Ad of the year has to be the Skoda ad with the singing assembly line. One of very few ads that I watched all the way through when I first saw it and still raises a smile.
Peter Hastings, Edinburgh, Scotland
Thank God someone else has noticed the horrendously arranged song in the AA advert - I tried to convince a group of my friends that it wasn't right but they were having none of it. Whilst the Honda advert may have been innovative it seemed to go on forever and really wasn't that interesting to watch.
Fred Watkinson, London
"Pentapeptides....the hottest thing around". Nadine, we if you are going to get all scientific with us, what has temperature got to do with it?
Also the bank ads trying to repeat "The Office" style workplace gags. Not so funny second time around.
Marco Di Franco, Enfield
Each Christmas for friends & family just for fun I compile a home-made DVD Quiz showing 30 or so common tv adverts edited so the product name and maker is hidden until the answers are requested. At least 50% of the contestants do not recognise the products and their makers until the full advert is replayed.
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