Blasts from the past: our favourite commercials

Straw poll time again at Babble Towers! Working closely as we do with ad agencies and production companies, we’re often lucky enough to see commercials in their very earliest form, frequently right at the storyboard and pitch stage. We can never tell, at that point, which commercials might become iconic, the ones we’re still talking about years later, and with the relaunch of the classic Hovis ‘Boy on the Bike’ ad (directed by Ridley Scott and frequently voted Britain’s Most Iconic TV Advert), chat in the office turned to our favourite commercials of all time…

Cadbury ‘Gorilla’, 2007

A 90 second tracking shot of a man in a gorilla suit playing the drums along to a Phil Collins track, in order to sell chocolate? Genius. The follow up, ‘Eyebrows’, was the tiniest bit freaky: it proper put us off our Fruit and Nut.

Renault Clio ‘Va Va Voom’, 2002

The Renault Clio has an outstanding back catalogue of classic commercials – from the Papa/Nicole saga of the 1990s to the late Noughties ‘France vs Britain’ – but our favourite is Thierry Henry theorising on what gives something its Va Va Voom – is it joie de vivre, or is it je ne sais quoi? We’re still not sure, but we do know that it’s really, really cool.

AA ‘I Know A Man Who Can/ In The Sand’, 198…?

Full disclosure, this is only included on the list because my best friend and I still recite it out loud at any opportunity, much to the amusement embarrassment of her children.

Guinness ‘Surfer’, 1999/ ‘Anticipation’, 1994

Ah Guinness, with your excellent commercials you are spoiling us (no, we haven’t included the Ferrero Rocher ambassador on our list). For pure silliness and a Guaglione earworm we have Anticipation, and for more effortless cool we have Surfer. Some of us spent our final year at college making poorly-made homages to this ad, you know.

Aldi ‘Tea’, 2011

A glorious punchline. Bravo, Aldi.

Del Monte ‘The Man From…’, 1980s

We couldn’t leave this off our list – not only a classic series of commercials, but also featuring the babblicious Brian Jackson!

Budweiser ‘Puppy Love’, 2013/’Lost Dog’, 2014

I’m generally not a fan of ‘sadvertising’ and will change channel at the first hint of an accoustic weepie come Christmas time, but if you want a true representation of #SquadGoals, check out these two ads from the US and then tell me you didn’t have something in your eye.

Sainsbury’s ‘The Big Night’, 2018

Five words: Child dressed as a plug.

Apple ‘1984’, 1984

This is our favourite Ridley Scott commercial – and not only because if you look closely you’ll see that Big Brother is played by none other than the babblificent David Graham!

Sony Bravia ‘Bouncy Balls’, 2005

Absolutely stunning. The ‘making of’ story is awesome too: 250,000 balls bought on arrival in the US, no CGI whatsoever, and all the bouncy balls were later collected and given to local children.

Did we miss your favourite? Leave us a comment and let us know!


About Babble

We love voices and we love what we do. Since we opened our doors in 2007, bringing fresh talent to an ever-expanding industry, we’ve supplied voiceover artists to clients across the world, on commercials, animation, video games… you name it, one of our VOs has done it. Why should you choose us? With over 30 years experience across the commercial and production industry, we’d like to think we know our stuff, and will use that knowledge to make your life easier. We listen to your casting, production and budgetary needs and supply you with the best voice for the job. Babble – top talent, sounding great.

Maggie Kruger