“Don’t be a chump, buy me.” 99.99 per cent of the time this is what TV ads are telling us. This said, the other 0.01 per cent of the time they don’t need to tell us part with our change – we’re already on our way to the store with a banknote eroding in our wallets, such is our appreciation of their visual advertisement. So then, to wave goodbye to 2011 we’ve compiled the year’s finest commercials.
Humanising bears is commercial gold - who didn’t chuckle when John West employed a man in a bear suit to perform an array of martial art moves? Earlier this year, however, Canal+ took the niche a step further when they introduced us to a vehement French film auteur who happened to be a bear - and even more ingeniously, also a rug. Top that, West.
PlayStation 3 – Michael
Ordinarily, seeing Solid Snake, Kratos and Nathan Drake clinking glasses together would have you believe you’re in a dream - a dream that’s subconsciously telling you to play less PlayStation. When in actual fact, it’s a real video telling you to play
Old Spice – Vacation
With abs so impeccably defined they’d make The Rock envious, and a voice so mercilessly rich it’d make James Earl Jones feel emasculated, Isaiah Mustafa has made the role of Old Spice Guy his own. Still, he’s not done much other sorts of acting since. Well, film’s loss is commercial’s gain as he’s continued to impress in the Old Spice ads, with this being our pick of the year.
Doritos – Pug attack
First seen during this year’s Super Bowl (at half time, obviously), this Doritos ad saw an overzealous pug win the hearts of millions. The slow motion run of the canine - on the pursuit of tortilla chips, callously offered from behind a glass door - is endearing enough, but the moment the diminutive champ broke down the door, landed on the wannabe joker and stole his snacks in the process, saw its ROFL value rocket.
Snickers – Shark focus group
Unless it’s the metaphorical kind, sharks generally don’t flourish in boardroom environments. They just tend to flip around a lot. Unless of course you count the CGI stars of this Snickers commercial that gather for a bizarre focus group. And yes, one of them is voiced by Isiah Whitlock Jr, aka The Wire’s profanity-happy Mayor Clay Davis.
FedEx – Dominoes
A duck in Canada wants to send a hockey stick to a puppy in America – nothing out of the ordinary there. The real reason this ad sticks in the mind is due to its hundreds of cleverly placed FedEx packages, which topple like dominoes from one side of a room to the other, allowing for this entirely plausible transaction to take place.
Johnnie Walker – Keep walking
As you’ll know from shopping in duty free shops worldwide, Johnnie Walker gets around. Yet judging from this impressively grand ad - complete with haunting score and CGI on par with a J. J. Abrams blockbuster - the Scotch tipple-maker must clearly be a hit in Brazil. Or else desperately trying to be noticed.
Call of Duty – The vet and N00b
Fragile, unsure where to aim, engulfed by muffled criticism from online teammates - even the most seasoned Call of Duty veterans have, at some stage, been banded with the unfortunate tag of N00b, which made it twice as enjoyable to see Jonah Hill’s hapless urban marine being made to look slapdash by Sam Worthington for the game’s latest commercial.
Cravendale – Cats with thumbs
Unless you’re a middle-aged woman who lives alone and distrusts men, you’ll agree that cats are sinister by nature. So imagine the terror that befalls a world in which cats have thumbs. Thumbs! Throw a Tim Rice voiceover into the mix and this surprisingly sleekly crafted advert from Cravendale is one of the most bizarre ads you’ll see.
Volkswagen: The force
Anyone bored by the smarmy antics in this Christmas’s John Lewis ad will enjoy this gem which follows a young boy with a literal dark side. The child in question roams his house in full Darth Vader apparel, fruitlessly attempting to move inanimate objects with his mind. Until, that is, his dad arrives home and sneakily uses his car’s remote locking to let the wannabe space villain’s mind wander.