ITV’s Best Adverts Of The Decade

As has become more apparent of late, I do like some adverts. As it’s the end of the decade it’s the season for ‘best of’ lists looking back over the last ten years. Inevitably, rather than do something more interesting like putting an angry Charlie Brooker in a room with some ad execs, there’s a perfunctory ‘best 20 ads of the decade’-type programme tonight titled ITV’s Best Adverts Of The Decade.

ITV's Best Adverts Of The Decade

All of the choices are pretty obvious, which is not to say they’re not good, by and large. Frankly the programme doesn’t do them justice, nor do the awful talking heads who contribute absolutely fuck all to our appreciation or understanding of the ads.

Some people called Mark Charnock, Andrew Castle, Sharon Marshall, Jonny Vegas (actually I like Jonny Vegas), Stephen Mulhern, Anthony Worrall-Thompson, Claire Beale, Paul Ross, Kym Marsh, Duncan Bannatyne and some dancing kid compete to be the biggest twunt on display.

Astonishingly it’s not Paul Ross, but Andrew Castle – a man with all the charm and searing insight of a pile of dog shit. Anyway, I’ve collected them all below, along with my own pithy opinions of the ads in question.

ITV’s Best Adverts Of The Decade

Halifax – Howard

No, no, no, no, no. Fuck no.

Budweiser – Wassup!


Cadbury’s eyebrows


John Smiths Peter Kay adverts

Funny, probably Peter Kaye’s best work.

Carlsberg – Old Lions

Brilliant, lovely to see everyone’s favourite old footie players in action one more time.

Waterslide – Barclays

Event ads jump the shark. Patronising, twee and fairly disingenuous drivel.

Volkswagen Golf GTi – Singin in the Rain

An undisputed classic.

Sure For Men – Stunt City

Quite amusing.

Sony Bravia – Balls

A nice ad that looks phenomenal.

Citroen C4 – Transformer

Fun, funky, French. Stone-cold classic.

PG Tips – Monkey and Al

Quite funny.

Sony Bravia – Paint

Quite pleasant.

John West – Bear

Quite amusing.

T-Mobile Dance

This first example of flash mob advertising is quite good.

Guinness – Tipping Point

I’ve long since tired of Guinness’ smug, ethnic vibe. And it’s a rip-of of the far-superior Cog.

Cadbury’s – Gorilla

Quite funny.

Skoda Fabia – Cake


Honda – Cog

It had to be. It’s not my personal favourite but it’s a slice of fried gold.

Compare the Meerkat

Funny and gains points for subverting an awful genre, but rapidly becoming tiresome.


Well observed, but hardly the best ad of the last ten years.

Troubling Halifax five-pound note give away

The Halifax, in case you hadn’t noticed, is part of HBOS. That’s right, you know, the thoroughly buggered up financial institution that revealed losses of £10 billion earlier this week. At this sort of level, the numbers become unimaginable and thus kind of irrelevant. And the word “losses” is used in a literal sense. As in: We have no fucking idea where it’s gone.

I’m not sure about you but I can barely think of a better way to convey this frightening image of utter financial frivolousness within a bank than an advert that shows the staff of that bank randomly handing out five-pound notes to members of the public.

Thankfully for the purposes of this blog, the latest Halifax advert goes precisely down this route, which reminded me a bit of this early 1990s video of pop/art pranksters the KLF burning a million quid.

The advert retains the well-known and long-established Halifax motif of lots of people coming together into a wacky shape. But whereas it used to be an excited gathering of expensive extras with no discernible purpose or relevance, the people are all now coded as benevolent Halifax staff.

The point, to reiterate, seems to be that the bank’s staff will climb over and on top of each other in order to give away money. Luckily there’s a glaringly obvious nu-folk soundtrack to soften these troublesome images. But ultimately it doesn’t work. Basically, it’s another shit advert.