30 Best Commercial Ads of All Time (Updated!)


3 January, 2023  


commercial ads

When we think of commercial ads, our minds often go to those short videos that “interrupt” whatever we’re watching to try to sell us a product. It’s no secret that the marketplace seems to be flooded with advertising lately, so companies are in a constant struggle to create memorable ads.

But let’s face it — most of them get ignored and are quickly forgotten. Once in a while, there comes a commercial that’s just so good it transcends its industry and becomes part of pop culture. Can you think of any? No? Let me refresh your memory with this list of 30 of the best commercial ads of all time.

Lay back, relax, and enjoy watching! 

 

Animated Commercial Ads

Animation is one of the best ways of making a memorable ad because the style is flexible, timeless, and appealing to a wide audience. With that being said, let’s watch some good commercials!

 

1. Dumb Ways to Die

Starting off with a bang, we have this 10-year-old ad with over 250 million views on YouTube! This ad’s brilliance lies in the stark contrast between the catchy music, the cute, colorful characters,  and the horrific deaths they experience. 

This is definitely not something you’d expect from a public service announcement about train safety! Being daring and thinking outside the box is exactly what made this piece so memorable and enjoyable. 

 

2. Red Bull Barber Shop

 

The animated style of Red Bull’s commercials is unmistakable. If one of these ads pops up on our screens, we immediately recognize it as theirs, and this is exactly what makes it one of the best ads of all time.

Other than its uniqueness, this piece’s clever humor makes for a memorable and lasting experience.

 

3. Toys R Us: Christmas

This particular commercial ad was first shared with the audience in 1989, and it was so well received that the company decided to remaster it for its 25th anniversary in the UK. I believe that this is another good commercial that owes much of its success to the catchy soundtrack.

 

4. You’re just a sip away

This a good commercial that’s more recent than most on this list. Released back in 2017, this 30-second ad takes us on a summer vacation enjoying a refreshing iced coffee almost effortlessly.

Not only is the animation stunning, but the cheery music and sound effects are so on-point that professional voiceocer isn’t even necessary for the piece to achieve its goal. I mean, doesn’t the sound of clinking ice make you wish you were lying under the sun with a refreshing beverage? 🤩

 

5. Amazon Appstore

(Created by Yum Yum Videos)

I know what you’re thinking now, “what a way to toot our own horn…” But trust me, I wouldn’t have included it had I not truly believed it deserved a place among these commercials.

Good commercials are those that can successfully leverage animation to add dynamism to a brand’s message and make complex service descriptions much more engaging. Don’t you think that this piece meets that criteria? Moreover, the colorful animations and smooth transitions keep the viewer’s eyes glued to the screen long enough to effectively deliver the company’s message.

 

6. Cadbury Aliens

With 123 million views, this commercial ad proves that even your wildest ideas can become something popular among your audience. The playful ad showcases the product’s texture and flavor, letting the viewer see it’s just so good that it makes aliens dance. The overall result is a captivating piece with just enough weirdness to linger in our minds long after watching.

 

Live-Action

Featuring real people in your commercials can make them more relatable and help your audience connect with your message. Let’s see some great examples of that in action:

 

7. Dove Real Beauty Sketches 

With 70 million views, this is one of Dove’s best commercials, and you know why? Because it tugs at the heartstrings. The company is no stranger to emotionally compelling pieces that tackle real issues, but the vulnerability and authenticity of the video make it look like it isn’t a commercial at all. This way, they can form a deeper connection with the brand by seeing themselves reflected in the message.

 

8. Google Home Alone

Who doesn’t love a trip down memory lane? I know I do, and so do most people. Google leveraged ’90s nostalgia to make a good commercial that people would enjoy.

Not only does it feature actor Macaulay Culkin reprising his role from the film Home Alone, but it also shows us just how wonderful the movie could’ve been if Kevin could’ve used Google Assistant to deploy his traps and defense strategies!

 

9. Nightmare

Transforming a commercial into a horror movie trailer is something most marketers probably never even considered, but one look at this video and you’ll realize just how creative and memorable that idea can be!

This is one of the best commercial ads I’ve ever seen because it’s not something you’d expect from a company trying to sell you something. By leveraging many of the typical elements of horror movies, such as suspense music and an eerie voiceover, they keep you watching until the very end just to find out what it’s all about.

 

10. The Force

Here we have an adorable ad with a touch of humor and a Star Wars reference that just makes it perfect. But that’s not what made it one of the best commercials. This piece was a VW’s Super Bowl spot that had to fight tooth and nail for attention with other large automakers with bigger budgets.

So, they decided to take a risk and release their ad online first, hoping it’d go viral. And do you know what happened? The ad got 17 million views before the Super Bowl even started! 

 

11. Red Lamp

Here, we have a 2×1 offer. In the first half of the video, you’ll see the original commercial ad that IKEA released in 2002 and then the follow-up ad of 2018. When a company sees itself needing to refer back to an older ad, it’s either because it did something wrong, or something completely right —this is an example of the latter.

The 2002 piece made such an impact on the audience back then that the company felt they needed to give the lamp a happy ending. And guess what? People loved that commercial too! In my opinion, the humorous twist at the end of both ads is pure genius.

 

Live-Action with Animation

If you want to best of both worlds, you can combine live-action and animation to produce fantastic results. Now, why don’t we check how different companies have been nailing this technique?

 

12. They Do Exist!

I’m sure you’ve seen this ad before. After all, it’s an iconic piece that’s been aired annually for more than 25 years! Crazy, right? Not many commercials have that kind of staying power, and that’s exactly why this is one of the best commercial ads of all time. 

What’s even more impressive is that this piece is only 15 seconds long, so there’s not much time to say anything. However, the M&M’s red and yellow mascots accidentally stumbling on Santa and all of them being shocked to see that the other exists is more than enough to delight all kinds of audiences.

 

13. Hare Jordan

While this might look like a Space Jam ad, it’s actually even older than the movie! (How it hurts to say that!) 

When it was released, it was something fun and different that both parents and children would find appealing. The parents would be hooked with the famous Michael Jordan, and the kids would love seeing the Looney Tunes interacting with real-life props and scenarios.

 

14. Recognize

(Created by Yum Yum Videos)

This is a perfect example of how animated elements can enhance a live-action piece by giving it dynamism and making it easier to convey highly technical or complex topics in a way anyone can understand.

No one wants to watch a person going on and on about a product or service, but they’d certainly be more willing to watch a demonstration in the form of animated objects while listening to the engaging voiceover.

 

3D Commercial Ads

Not many commercial ads feature 3D animation, but that’s mostly because this style can be a bit expensive and take longer to produce. However, there’s no denying that the results are more than worth it. Just see it for yourself:

 

15. Happiness Factory

The Coca-Cola Company has produced some of the most memorable and easily-recognizable videos in the history of advertising, and this journey through the inside of a Coca-Cola vending machine is no exception.

The choice of the 3D style is spot on because it adds a magical effect that’s just so pleasing and entertaining to watch!

 

16. Rock, Paper, Scissors 

The best commercial ads are those that showcase thinking outside the box, and this piece is no exception. Android opted out of making a smartphone-related ad and decided to go for animated characters that unite against bullying.

This is an excellent example of a commercial that doesn’t seek to try and sell a product but rather make a connection with the audience and share the company’s values.

 

17. The Last Game

I wouldn’t be surprised if you think that this stunning 3D animated commercial looks more like a short film. A crew of more than 300 professionals worked hard for over three months to produce one of the best commercial ads of all time.

This piece has it all: beautiful animations, famous characters, and action-packed storytelling that makes us completely forget about the ad’s length. 

 

Funniest

Without a doubt, the best commercial ads of all time are those that tickle our funny bones. If something makes us laugh, it’s going to stay in our minds, and we’re going to share it with our friends and family. Here are some good commercials that are just like that.

 

18. Evil Is Back for Good

Everyone’s favorite movie villain came back to our TV screens with this commercial ad. The ingenuity of this piece lies in how the narrative spotlights the company’s line of electric cars and eco-conscious focus without being overtly promotional. The best part is that it’s just delightful and truly entertaining to watch for all kinds of audiences.

 

19. You’re Not Yourself When You’re Hungry

Anything that features the great Mr. Bean is bound to be hilarious, so his presence and his facial expression are more than enough to turn any video into something funny. Here, he plays the role of a Kung Fu master who can’t remember his training until he’s had a Snickers. Having such an iconic and internationally recognizable character gave the ad great global potential.

 

20. Wassup

 

The premise of this iconic commercial ad is quite simple: there’s just a group of friends watching a match over chilled beers while yelling “Whassup?” back and forth. However, it became so popular that Budweiser’s sales grew exponentially the year after the ad was first broadcasted on TV. So, what was the secret to such success? Universal appeal and excellent targetting.

 

21. Alexa Loses Her Voice

This is probably my favorite ad of them all. Alexa loses her voice, and is replaced by a star-studded cast made of Gordon Ramsay, Rebel Wilson, Cardi B, and Sir Anthony Hopkins. However, they all fail in the most spectacular and hilarious ways!

In this commercial ad, the product’s functionality becomes secondary, but you still find yourself watching until the end with a smile. After all, we all love a classic Gordon Ramsay roast.

 

22. Love freebies? Get them legally

This company took actual footage from their security feed and superimposed animated heads to hide the identities of shoplifters in their stores. All of this to promote their (back then) new rewards program. Not only is this approach quite clever and funny, but also incredibly low-cost with a high return on investment.

 

23. Our Blades are F***ing Great

Here, we have one of the best commercials that put virtually unknown start up on the map and made them the talk of the online world. The unpredictable dialogue and the strange props got Dollar Shave Club about 30 million views and 4 million subscribers. Later on, it even garnered a $1 billion acquisition later! It’s nothing short of impressive how just one good commercial ad was able to achieve such amazing results.

 

24. German Coastguard

The punchline makes this short video one of the best commercials of all time in terms of humor. The language learning company conveys its message in a unique and hilarious way that highlights the importance of improving one’s English. This is exactly the kind of commercial ad that people would want to share with their friends!

 

Weirdest

Sometimes, in an attempt to be funny, things end up looking a bit weird. But hey, there’s nothing wrong with that if it successfully gets the point across. Let’s end this list with some of the weirdest commercials out there.

 

25. Girls Don’t Poop

From the moment you read the product’s name, Poo Pourri, you know you’re going to come across something weird. This company owned up its weirdness and used it to make this viral ad.

The popularity of the bizarre contrast between the elegant and well-spoken lady and the topic she’s discussing made such an impact that the brand has created a series of videos following the same style.

 

26. Treadmill

With a character sweating Skittles and another one collecting and eating them, this has to be Skittles’ weirdest venture. But it doesn’t matter what we think about it because it certainly meets the goal of catching attention and getting people to talk about Skittles.

 

27. Doctors

This is probably one of the most bizarre scripts I’ve ever come across. Opening with a battered patient in an emergency room, the ad goes on with doctors trying to save him, only for him to start randomly start singing. 

While this might sound too weird to accomplish anything, it actually leverages techniques to appeal to younger audiences, such as an unexpected plot that includes humor and retro music.

 

28. Puppy Monkey Baby

When I first saw this commercial, I was speechless. And you can imagine my face when I found out it was one of the best commercials of all time (you probably have the same look on your face right now).

After doing some research, I understood. The company wanted to stand out, and they came up with this weird (if slightly creepy) idea of merging a puppy, a monkey, and a baby because these were usually the main characters in commercials at the time. It doesn’t even matter how people feel about the ad because it definitely succeeds in its goal of getting the audience to talk about it! 

 

29. Unskippable Elevator

There’s not much to say about this ad because it just showcases two guys staring at each other in an elevator. While weird, their strategy is remarkable in how it presents all the important information upfront, before viewers can skip the video. The rest of the piece has nothing to do with the company, but it’s so strange and unexpected that it keeps us watching.

 

30. This Is a Special Time

To finish off this list, we have a commercial ad that borders the line between weird and disturbing. The premise of the ad is simple: we have an ice cream… creature that’s eating its own head with a spoon. I’m sorry to have shared this haunting piece with you, but I felt it deserved a spot among the best commercials exactly for how weird it is.

 

Wrapping Up

Effective commercial ads are not only designed to capture viewers’ attention long enough to get the message across and encourage prospects to act. However, they also have to be compelling, memorable, likable, and even shareable to be successful. But how can someone achieve that? 

Sounds pretty impossible, but there are several pieces that have stood the test of time by being funny, emotional, and even weird. Hopefully, the 30 best commercial ads of all time can help spark some inspiration and encourage you to think outside the box. Who knows, maybe we’ll be seeing your commercial on one of these lists in the future!

Ready to Start your Video? Get a custom Quote


Keep up with the latest in
video marketing

Sign up for our newsletter, biweekly
digest from our video experts.