ITV’s Ad of the Year 2011

ITV’s Ad of the Year really is a quite remarkable conceit – a programme on a channel funded by advertising telling you how great advertising is. Interspersed with adverts.

It’s fiendishly clever, in a way that the people responsible can only be baddies and must be machine-gunned to death by a ‘double O’ agent to make things right. That’s probably unlikely to happen, so you’ll have to settle for my efforts.

Ben Shepherd sells it like he’s narrating a royal wedding; Lorraine Kelly does her level best to look like the stupidest person who ever existed; a parade of ad bods prove to be various shades of annoying.

The most interesting thing about all this is wondering how ITV comes up with these ads. Going through them I realised I’ve literally never seen about one in five of them.

I don’t watch vast amounts of television, but you’d think if there were going to be adverts featured in a ‘best adverts of the year’ TV show, someone who blogs on adverts might have seen them.

Anyway, until we see ITV’s working I think it’s best if we all assume that there’s some sort of financial bribery involved.

These are the top 20 best ads for 2011, according to a panel of ITV viewers. I’m with Sid Vicious when it comes to the man on the street.

The Sun – Football brought to life

Rotoscoping was invented by The Sun, apparently. Terry Venables dribbles a load of cliched footy waffle out.

“It was like an explosion but with the beauty of a dance,” says Vegetables. What a load of shit.

It looks nice, but it’s for vile hate-mongering filth-sheet The Sun, so it must be absolutely horrible. Go away.

Walls sausages dog thing

The dog who sounds like The Streets who apologises for useless men. Hated this from the outset.

‘Behind the scenes’ stuff in the ad included all sort of hideously banal details that would make you want to go out and nut a heron.

Dior – J’adore

Charlize Theron meets Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe etc. I have literally never seen this on television, so how did ITV viewers decide it was the 18th best ad of the year?

Bafflingly, the ad creators refuse to divulge how they shot the ad. Something involving time travel, presumably. I literally cannot think of any other way.


Like the concept; hate the execution. Horrible whiny-voiced band.

Kronenbourg 1664

Love these ads; don’t care what anyone says. Music is great, ambiance wonderful; oddness intact, everyone love Suggs.


Kid dances with teddies. Another ad I’ve literally never seen before. What gives? Arlene Philips talks about the dancing teddies on the programme. Jesus.


Corgis search for television. Literally never seen this. Lorraine Kelly think this ad ‘very very good’. We get to listen to the owners of the dogs. For crying out loud.


Clothes dance. Literally never seen it. Arlene Philips lends vital – and I do mean vital – insight into what it’s like to dance while dressed as a pair of trousers. The hair transplant man from a talent show was ‘bowled over’.

Old Spice

This is a genuine classic. Razor-sharp lines that are totally on the button. Brilliant. Wonderfully pulled off. Mel Sykes basically reveals that she gets wet when this ad comes on.


The JR Hartley ad updated. Don’t think this works. Not especially charming, though well done.

Heineken – the entrance

Despise this music, so can’t like this advert. Yes, yes, well done.

People on the programme express amazement over the choreography. Pathetic.

Lynx – Sexy boy

Angels fall to Earth, remove halos in search of man who smells of gas. It’s kinda the sort of thing that Lynx does. Whether you think that makes it brilliant probably depends on whether you read Nuts, or work in advertising. Smell is important, says Mel Sykes.

Hovis – Farmer’s Race

Literally never seen this. Farmers run. Quite nice. ‘Real farmers’ were actually involved. Fuck me.

John Lewis – Through the ages

I genuinely don’t get John Lewis adverts. They seem to work, but why? All they do is borrow good stuff from other people. Certainly there’s a skill involved in picking music, but it’s all such a shamelessly obvious tactic.

We’re supposed to believe that everyone cries when they see these ads. Let’s not overstate the case here – these are well-made ads but there’s nothing novel about them.

“Brilliantly uses music,” says Arlene Phillips. For the love of Christ.

Also, the ad ends with The Kooks, who are obviously fucking shit.

British Airways – The Aviators

Fuck right off. This is an absolute fucking disgrace. It’s insulting. It’s disingenuous. It’s totally shameless. Despicable, awful, hideous. Dreadful. I’m not kidding. (Read my original post on this – the biggest wank ever wanked ).

Cancer Research UK

A powerful advert, no doubt. I like ads like this for charities that show you real lives – and show you the upside to charitable works.

Aldi Xmas adverts

Like these. Real people. In and out fast. Not too twee. Well done.

VW Darth Vader ads

Brilliant fun, really well done though I still struggle to connect the product with the ad. See if you can name the car. Bet you can’t.

T-Mobile – Parking Ticket

Fake traffic wardens befriend motorists. The sort of thing that might raise a flicker of interest for four seconds during your lunch break. No doubt people in advertising will tell us how astonishingly clever this is.

I do like the actors in it though.

Cravendale – Cats with thumbs

Walking cats. Meh.

Last year I described this as drowning in warm bovril while Lorraine Kelly and Ben Shepherd coo in your ear. This year, more like a load of boardroom suits patting your fevered brow while relieving you of your wallet.