The top 10 greatest Australian television commercials ever - Anthill Online

The top 10 greatest Australian television commercials ever

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The top 10 greatest Australian television commercials ever

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The Anthill Massive (ok, four of us) were heavily engaged in a ‘strategy session’ at a local watering house a few Fridays back when Lachy, our marketing man, made the following remark: “Is it just me or is the new VB ad totally underwhelming?”

All agreed. It is.

In fact, have you come across anyone (outside of the thousands of blokes who were actually in it) who thinks that it lives up to its hype? Then again, it was always going to be a tough gig stacked up against CUB’s powerhouse predecessor: The Big Ad. (Now that was a good advertisement.)

Before the round of beers was over (or maybe it was two rounds?), I’d pulled out my notepad and we were brainstorming the Top 10 Greatest Australian Television Commercials Ever.

Here they are (according to us):

THE ORIGINAL VB AD

From the days when men were ‘real’ men: They worked hard on the land and in industry, joined the army and spent countless hours watching sport. This original VB ad from the mid ’70s may appear basic to us now, but at least they kept the message simple. They knew their market, they concentrated on the brand and they even managed to make the narrative rhyme.

BIG AD

The aforementioned Big Ad for Carlton Draft, created by George Patterson and Partners (Melbourne), first aired in August 2005. It was massive in scale, executed with precision and elegance and, most importantly, it was humorous.

Favourite part: when the beer hits the stomach and begins to riot.

SLIP SLOP SLAP

One of the most successful of all Australian health campaigns, this early ’80s ad by the Anti-Cancer Council of Victoria (now Cancer Council Victoria), featuring the ever memorable mascot ‘Sid the Seagull’, recruited high-level talent – Philip Adams (broadcaster), Peter Best (composer) and Alex Stitt (designer/animator) – to produce the campaign. It was an immediate hit and its message has very much become a part of the Australian psyche.

I LIKE AEROPLANE JELLY

You might be picturing the girl on the swing singing “I like Aeroplane Jelly”, but this iconic Aussie advertising jingle began before television, screening in the cinemas in the 1940s. Sure, it’s not the most logical plot line – a small aeroplane flies into a storm, gets scared, but finds floating plates of… Aeoroplane Jelly (which he likes, by the way). But when you think of jelly, which brand comes to mind first? Case closed.

AIDS

Inspiring fear is not always an effective educational tool, but this 1987 AIDS awareness campaign, featuring the Grim Reaper bowling over families like ten pins, did more than anything else to educate Australians that AIDS was not a disease confined to sub-cultures – that it could strike down anyone who wasn’t careful.

LOUIE THE FLY

Louie the Fly, the unlikely spokesinsect of Australian household insecticide brand Mortein, buzzed straight from the rubbish tip to you in 1957. His TV career spanned 50 years, providing daily reminders for Australians (no strangers to flies) that they and their families could get sick unless they kept a can of Mortein on hand at all times.

VEGEMITE

Another iconic jingle promoting another iconic Australian product, Vegemite (when it was still an Australian-owned brand) focused on aligning its brand with happy, healthy Aussie kids (and circus acts, in this particular example).

LIFE. BE IN IT

The ‘Life. Be in it.’ organisation has been encouraging Australians to get out of the house and exercise for 30 years. For those of us who stare at a computer all day, it’s hard to watch this pre-Norm ad even now and not feel a pang of guilt about not doing more outdoorsy stuff.

ANTZ PANTZ

Holeproof, one of Australia’s leading clothing companies, shocked a few people with this mischievous ad for Ant Pantz underwear. The creative brief was to make a conservative product sexy. Enter Rex, the Echidna.

GOGGO MOBILE

Who could forget this Yellow Pages ad from 1992, featuring a burly Scotsman trying to find someone to fix his G-O-G-G-O mobile (not the Dart)? It was a big hit for Telstra’s Yellow Pages, but an even bigger hit for the Scotsman, who went on to land an advertising gig with Shannon’s Insurance (which led to a legal stoush).

I spotted this Scotsman crossing the road while I was waiting at lights in St Kilda a couple of years ago. I pointed him out to my friend sitting beside me, which the Scotsman saw and gave a big wave, which we returned. Just like the ad.

Notable Aussie ads that just missed out:

Yellow Pages – Not happy, Jan
Tooheys Extra Dry – Satisfaction
Qantas – Still call Australia home
Commonwealth Bank – Which Bank?
TAC – The pub

Reader suggestions:

First National – “Boardings” (Cindy)
The Drug Offensve – The treehouse (Julie)
Decore Shampoo – The shower song (Ed Pitts)
Nobby’s Nuts – Nibble Nobby’s Nuts (Diane Falzon)
Toyota – “Bugger” (Carolyn Deigan)
Tourism Australia – “The Wonders Down Under” – Paul Hogan (Will Turbet)
TAC – “Pictures of you” (Will Turbet)
Tourism Victoria – “Daylesford. Lead a Double Life” (Scott Seymour)
Colgate Fluorigard – Mrs Marsh’s chalk (Paul Ryan)

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99 comments
frouste
frouste

Back in the early 70s or late 60s, there was a great Ad for Shell petrol, with a beautiful song. They used a fully restored MG TC I believe, and the opening words were: "Sunday morning and boy what a day ahead, Shell petrol and places to go...." The photography was excellent, and the Ad very romantic. Later on I bought a 1950 MG TD!

frouste
frouste

Back in the early 70s or late 60s, there was a great Ad for Shell petrol, with a beautiful song. They used a fully restored MG TC I believe, and the opening words were: "Sunday morning and boy what a day ahead, Shell petrol and places to go...." The photography was excellent, and the Ad very romantic. Later on I bought a 1950 MG TD!

Marion Gordon
Marion Gordon

There are a few ads that have stuck in my mind since (I think) the 1970s: 1. Couple in a car, she starts the convo "I'm your wife. Somebody will tell you if I don't." He says "I use a deodorant." Then sarcastically "Sorry if I offend." She says "you need more - you need Palmolive Gold." Cut scene to him in shower, then they're back in the car. She says "are we friends?" and he replies "lovers". Nothing spectacular about it, but I can still hear their voices. 2. KFC animated ad set to music. The only bit I can remember is "then Hugo said you go, and then we were back ..." or something like that, but it was really catchy. 3. Red Robin mighty tuff sox (don't blame me, that's how the words were spelled in the ad, as far as I remember). It was almost like a precursor to rap, "red robin, red robin, mighty tuff sox ... fire [something], fire engine, fire crackers bang". Again, very catchy. And although some other ads have fallen by the wayside, their phrases go on. As mentioned in an earlier post, a Clayton is still heard quite a bit. Also "life is full of Vesta situations". And "just passing, thought I'd drop in".

Zack
Zack

I am searching for the old Centrepoint Tower (Sydney) ad. It had a jingle with something about Centrepoint Tower being "the tower of feeling". There are a few Centrepoint ads on YouTube, but not this one. Any help in finding this particular ad is also appreciated. Thanks.

Zack
Zack

For many, many years I have been trying to find an ad. At night, a cat is sleeping next to a heater, but then jumps out the window. A few seconds later, the doorbell rings. A person (I don't think we actually see their face) goes to answer the door. The cat is there and speaks the line "who closed the window hmm?" I think this ad aired around 1990 or 1991. I think it was for a gas or energy company (maybe Integral?) and know that it aired in NSW. I was a very young kid when I last saw this ad, but it has stayed with me for almost my entire life. If anyone sees this ad please let me know!

Dani
Dani

I think these are okay. My favourite is the laughing women advertising, no dialogue. TENA incontenience diapers. Hilarious. Clever.

Bluesunday
Bluesunday

ive been trying to find the one with the spider with sexy voice that just wont die after being hit with a shoe - any ideas?

aussie dragonfly
aussie dragonfly

Does anyone remember the Australian ad in the 70's &/or early 80's where there are cartoon characters singing the song "I wanna come on Aussie, I wanna have a go...." Unfortunately thats all I can remember

Sandra
Sandra

What about the ad where the guy is at some sort of tribal feast and is eating something but doesn't know what it is.  Then the tribes woman starts to draw a picture of a sheep and the guy says "oh laaamb" before she finishes the picture, and she continues to draw a arrow to the sheeps testicles whilst nodding and repeating after the guy "laaamb".  I've been trying to find this ad for ages and i don't even remember what it was advertising... maybe an antacid or something.  If someone knows what it was and has a link to it on you tube then please let me know. Everytime i eat lamb i think of this ad...

Timothy Anderson
Timothy Anderson

Hi ...I'm trying to find one of the ampol ads from the early 90's My partener had 3 seconds of fame on one of them ...trying to find ....

Skip
Skip

Does anyone know where I can view the Claytons 'the drink I have when I'm not having a drink' commercial?

Anne-Maree Daniels
Anne-Maree Daniels

what was the add, it was a song, parts of it were, lets go climb a mountain cause thats what mountains are for. have a go, we can do it.... have a go... well come through it. thats how the nation was started ......... n .......... n............ hearted?

Anne-Maree Daniels
Anne-Maree Daniels

i remember eveyone quoting the mercantile credit add with the rabbit family driving, "where did ya get it? mercantile credit"

Gregory1958
Gregory1958

Someone out there know where you can view the WWF (world wild life fund) commercial using the song  'I'll Stand by You ' I've looked at their web site but cannot seem to locate it. Really moving saga about the mistreatment of animals. 

Richard W
Richard W

Surely Jack Thompson in the Claytons ad (The drink you have when you are not having a drink) has to be in there. Claytons is such a part of the vernacular now, though not sure if it did much for the product. 

Jonny
Jonny

The RSPCA ad is a bewdy!

Greg Gordon
Greg Gordon

Hey, Am I the only person to remember possibly one of the titilating (for men) commercials from the 1970's. Also a great song to go along with this commercial.What is it you ask,its the 4711 Ice Cologne Ad. featuring Daryl Brathwaite singing the song. Find that one if you can I've being trying for 13 years. Remember the girl. Say no more.

Dickhead
Dickhead

BIG ad CUB is, an epic shite. Not funny. If you think it's funny you are a, non-funny person who thinks he's funny. PTOOIE.

Irish Lyka Donato
Irish Lyka Donato

Um... I would like to ask what's the add that sings like "Summer days are driffting away shoo baba" and "oooooh oooooh all star is there anybody out there?"

Ronnie1981
Ronnie1981

Does anyone remeber the Underwater World Commercial where they did the voice over of the fish. Key one Being "Faster Sharky Faster"? I love this advert but noone remembers it.

Katie
Katie

Barbara from Bank World

Yanny_65
Yanny_65

I'm trying to find a bread ad from the late 80's, there are grains singing I like bread and butter, I like toast and jam. If anyone can remember the ad and has a clip of it, I would love a copy. Thanks.

ShawnB
ShawnB

2010 The ING Direct ad with the monkey - This is pure genius. All that ING has to do is to keep making more & more ads with the monkey for at least two or three years & ING will be in the memory of every Aussie.

Uncle_jim44
Uncle_jim44

Does anyone remember the "3 cappacionos thanks" ad? It was from the spastic society. Probably considered highly politically incorrect nowadays but just showed people's attitudes towards the mentally challenged back in the 80's. If anyone knows where I can get a copy of it, let me know or post a link on here. Thanks.

Sydney PK
Sydney PK

What about "Rabbits in China"?

Lisapenguin
Lisapenguin

I was always a big fan of the Mutual Community/ HBA ad- " Bit me into parts..pieces, and my legs went that way, and my head went that way!" Surely that would have to be up there?

Andy  Wilmot
Andy Wilmot

Shouting with repeatitive throbing music ad's are made to be sound muted , fast fowarded and ......... forgoten . Let's bring back imagination and creativity to advirtising .

ruaidrhi
ruaidrhi

TAC – “Pictures of you” is my new top emotive ad.

JazzB
JazzB

Have A Go Australia, a community service announcement created by Mojo.

Everything4eyes
Everything4eyes

I believe it was for Humane Society International, however unable to find the older advert. They may have stopped playing it because it showed a turtle being cut open. But it was a touching advert, made you feel the pain the animals go through

Markwinkle2003
Markwinkle2003

That was actually a PETA ad which you can find on You Tube   -"I'll Stand By You"

Ricker848
Ricker848

Yes Greg,I remember that one,it was around in 1972.

Gaynor
Gaynor

Who played the role of the monkey? I knoe that I knoe those eyes and they are someone famous. Can you help me?

Tardo
Tardo

PLEASE FIND THIS AD!!!

Wanterman
Wanterman

DUUUUDE.. I have been looking for this ad for years.. This is my "White Whale". If you can find it pleaase youtube it for me!!!

Gregory1958
Gregory1958

Good to see that I'm not the only one to remember those two ! (say no more). If you ever have any leads on how to find that commercial please leave some onfo here.

Yanny_65
Yanny_65

It was an ad for sunbeam bread, it is rated 78 in the top 100 ads in Australia, but I can't find a video clip of it anywhere :(

Grame
Grame

This ad was for the Spastic Society to bring awareness to the Spastics. There were 3 of them walk into a cafe and they ask for 3 Cuppacinos and a Sasuage roll with sauce. The person in the shop says "We don't serve your kind". The guy then goes "I've got the right money". It's so vivid but I haven't seen this since the 80's.. Can somebody please find it and youtube it.

NEED_80s_SPASTIC_AD
NEED_80s_SPASTIC_AD

Has anybody been able to find this Spastic Society ad on tape? I've scoured many long strings of "best of 80's aussie ads" and haven't come accross it.. If I could see it once more I would be a happy man..

Gregory1958
Gregory1958

Hi, Yes the Ad really did air but only for a brief time.If I remember correctly some of the participants in the commercial suffered from Down syndrome. I believe it was the girl  who asked for service.A really poignant Ad.

Andrewho73
Andrewho73

Also need to find this ad after searching high & low. From memory it was... '4 cappuccinos pleeeeese?'... 'sorry the machine's on the blink'... '...and a pie with sauuuce?'... ' look we don't serve retards in here'... 'here some money?' Its all pretty vague 26 years later but I seem to remember as the 4 sad down syndromers exit shop the milk bar owner is smirking behind the glass.- cut to equal opportunities message. probably won't be as funny now but it created a lot of humour in my high school class & coffee shops back in 1985.

Evilvenom77
Evilvenom77

I too have been looking for this ad everywhere!!!!!!!! it has to be somewhere!!!!!! I was even starting to think I imagined seeing it as everyone I know cant remember it!!!!!I am so glad I was not.....

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Top Ten Aussie Ads of All Time 22 05 2010 The top 10 greatest Australian television commercials ever August 26, 2009 | By Paul Ryan 35 Comments and 30 Reactions [...]

  2. [...] In the meantime, here is a link to another blog post that sums up the top 10 greatest Aussie commercials… Some are hilarious! (Airplane Jelly – shoutout to Brendan ) Although some don’t work they are still funny! http://anthillonline.com/the-top-10-greatest-australian-television-commercials-ever/ [...]