Best of the Decade #3 – #1

And now we’re at the end of the line.

I want to say, these choices are highly subjective.  These are my favorite spots, in making the list I tried to balance out affect with effect — essentially form  (how it was shot, written, put together) with function (how well it delivered a message, feeling, story).  I think that’s one point I’ve made over and over again here, that it’s not enough to have one over the other.  An ad has to to have a message it’s delivering, but to just deliver message these days is not enough, you need something else, whether that’s story, emotion, or personality (kind of a combination of those two elements), something that’s authentic to your brand.

“Herding Cats” or the Cadbury “Gorilla” deliever personality in droves, but they ultimately don’t connect to what they’re trying to sell.

By the way, I tried to come up with a list of my favorite political ads of the decade, but there are so many ads, and not many places that compile such things, in addition to the fact that many of them are no longer on youtube.  Maybe I’ll try to post a couple if I can find them.

Now, our #3:

The one that started it all for iPod (less the original ad that I profiled in an earlier post).  I love the simple expression of information: “iPod,” “Mac or PC,” Apple logo.  Did you need more to want to go out and buy one?  Did you need someone to tell you, digital music player? How about holds over 1000 songs? (For a contrast check out this funny video by Microsoft Marketing folks, what if Microsoft made the ipod.)

You don’t need more to know this is the hippest, stylish,  most fun device around.  A good reminder ads don’t need to be jammed full of information to make their point.


My dark horse choice, but this is the only ad on the list that made me want to go out and actually buy the product, that’s pretty impressive these days.  Again, it’s a genre buster, a video game ad that doesn’t show the video game.  In a way, it gets to the point of why we play video games cause we want to believe they’re real.  It’s the reality of the fantasy.

This ad brings a fantasy world to life (reminds me of how I felt as an eight year old when I first saw the Star Wars trailer), in a very real way. In fact it’s grounded in reality, the acting is very good, the style feels like the interviews from “Band of Brothers.” It feels like a documentary, which makes the unbelievable aspects of it more acceptable, you suspend disbelief because it’s so grounded in reality.

And, again, there’s no talk of how much it costs or how many levels, no shots of the game or all the features.  I didn’t know anything about “Halo,” this commercial just throws you into the world no explanation necessary, and you’re drawn into it.  It’s compelling and real.

There’s a whole series of these ads, I’d recommend you check them out on youtube.


No surprise to anyone who knows me, I mentioned this one back in June as an ad that inspires me.  It has all the elements I’ve mentioned before, all in a package that is executed perfectly.  It’s unexpected — we don’t know what it’s selling until the very end, and then we barely see the car. It’s experience, I know this guy, I have friends like him, I’ve been him.  It’s compelling, it shows and doesn’t tell.  It’s stylish and visually interesting.  The music is great and informs without distracting.

This ad is a near perfect mix of form and function, each one working together to inform and support the other, and that’s how it should be.

Happy new year to everyone.  2010 offers a year of political ads and a whole new slate of issue ads.

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