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November 23, 2009 2:38 PM   Subscribe

The 27 Best (Non-Super Bowl) Commercials of the 2000s: Balls [Bravia] - Birthday [Got Milk?] - Bubble Boy [Volkswagen] - Bus Station [Starburst] - Carousel [Phillips] - Cog [Honda] - Dangerously Low [Levi's] - Diorama [Halo 3] - Evolution [Dove] - Freestyle [Nike] - Gorilla [Cadbury] - Grrr [Honda] - Hello Tomorrow [Adidas] - Lamp [IKEA] - Like [Volkswagen] - Mountain [Playstation] - Noitulove [Guinness] - Odyssey [Levi's] - Rabbit [Comcast] - Sheet Metal [Saturn] - Stork [Monster] - Swear Jar [Bud Light] - Tag [Nike] - Tea Partay [Smirnoff] - Touch [Skittles] - Wedding Toast [Budweiser] - Yes We Can [Dipdive]. Part of Adweek's "Best of the 2000s" competition, which also includes rundowns of the 22 Best Super Bowl Spots and the 15 Best Print Campaigns of the last decade, among many other voting categories.
posted by Rhaomi (72 comments total) 62 users marked this as a favorite

 
You forgot the Greatest Ad That's Never Aired (although I think it may have been targeted for the super bowl)
posted by spiderskull at 2:51 PM on November 23, 2009 [9 favorites]


Hooray for buying stuff we don't need and watching overpaid men repeatedly inflict traumatic brain injury on one another!
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 3:09 PM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


aaargh. I've been working on my lists for months. Screw having a dayjob and trying to keep up with adweek staff.

also, spiderskull, "I feel great" was a spec ad, never intended for anything other than show off.
posted by dabitch at 3:15 PM on November 23, 2009


Hey, I'm an Obama guy, but that 'Yes We Can' thing was one of the most patronizing and annoying things of the year.
posted by xmutex at 3:19 PM on November 23, 2009


repeatedly inflict traumatic brain injury on one another

not overpaid.
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 3:22 PM on November 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Glad to see the bud 9/11 tribute ad doing well... without doubt, one of the best ever made...
posted by HuronBob at 3:32 PM on November 23, 2009


I remember seeing the Gorilla Cadbury commercial as part of a BAFTA awards reel from 2008, and never quite understood the kudos that it gets. I mean, yeah, the detail and technical quality is neat, but there are a ton more commercials that are more creative and still pertinent to the product. The Gorilla could have been pitching auto brakes for all I know.

For recent Levi's ads, I've been partial to Strange Love
posted by bl1nk at 3:36 PM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I had never seen that Bravia ad before. Gorgeous.

The song is José González performing the Knife's "Heartbeats." The video for the original song also prominently features gravity and an incline.
posted by ekroh at 3:42 PM on November 23, 2009


ekroh: Find the Bravia ad in decent definition if you have a chance. Hard to see on YouTube just how awesome it it. Best part: (mostly) not CGI. Now that takes balls.
posted by The Bellman at 3:44 PM on November 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Hard to see on YouTube just how awesome it it.

It isn't exactly compression friendly, but this 720p version looks better (make sure you click through, instead of viewing it in MeFi:s resolution-ignorant popup viewer).
posted by effbot at 3:50 PM on November 23, 2009


Thanksgiving's always a special time for me, because Turkey Day 2003 is when I put my last TV set out on the curb.
posted by telstar at 3:52 PM on November 23, 2009


Nike Basketball’s 10 Best TV Commercials
posted by netbros at 3:52 PM on November 23, 2009


Pass the potatoes, please.

Which one is the 9/11 tribute? Am I missing something?
posted by lysdexic at 4:01 PM on November 23, 2009


Commercials, amirite?

I really liked some of these, actually. I'm tainted. I also like Phil Collins and Reddit. Pile it on!
posted by Bageena at 4:04 PM on November 23, 2009


Thanksgiving's always a special time for me, because Turkey Day 2003 is when I put my last TV set out on the curb.

You should totally do that with your computer this year.
posted by eyeballkid at 4:04 PM on November 23, 2009 [14 favorites]


Lamp is probably my favorite commercial ever, if such a thing is possible.

That is because you crazy!
posted by silby at 4:05 PM on November 23, 2009 [6 favorites]


That Stork ad is genius.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 4:18 PM on November 23, 2009


OK, I had never seen the Stork one before, and it just floored me.

Fuck this job. Fuck this fucking job. I'm going to go home and play with my kids.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:21 PM on November 23, 2009 [18 favorites]


As soon as I saw the post, I thought, "They're not going to put that stupid 'Berries and Cream' ad on here, are they?" And they did. All of which I guess means that it's a pretty good ad.
posted by HeroZero at 4:22 PM on November 23, 2009


These seem to lack heart, have no feelings - I felt the link spiderskull posted was much better.
OK OK! The lamp is great.
posted by niccolo at 4:23 PM on November 23, 2009


xbox 360 ad
posted by Wanderlust88 at 4:31 PM on November 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


This time of the year is very special to me, and so are all of these wonderful, emotional and thought-provoking vignettes, because six years ago I came into possession of my very first TV. For the last six years I have watched, some say worshiped, this magic box and it has rewarded me with laughter, tears and helpful consumer advice. My constant companion, the light of my living room, I'm glad I found you on that curb in 2003.
posted by stavrogin at 4:32 PM on November 23, 2009 [20 favorites]


I love seeing Toronto in ads. That Nike ad was flashing a lot of downtown landmarks.
posted by GuyZero at 4:35 PM on November 23, 2009


Baaaaaaaaaabieeeeees!
posted by ooga_booga at 4:37 PM on November 23, 2009


The Tide ad with the talking stain is one of my all time faves. I've been known to appropriate the stain sound during particularly dull meetings/conference calls/etc.
posted by jquinby at 4:47 PM on November 23, 2009


Thanksgiving's always a special time for me, because Turkey Day 2003 is when I put my last TV set out on the curb.

And replaced it with a lamp from IKEA, which you lovingly caressed while your sad, lonely TV set waited in the cold rain until the rest of us were chastised by a Swedish man?
posted by katillathehun at 4:59 PM on November 23, 2009


I'm partial to the Absolut pillow fight commercial.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:00 PM on November 23, 2009


For some reason, one year on, that "Yes We Can" video kind of feels like Good Ol' Shoe. (Good Ol' Shoe Part 2) SPOILER WARNING! Don't watch if you haven't seen Wag the Dog yet. And if you haven't, do. And Network.
posted by cleancut at 5:02 PM on November 23, 2009


The swear jar Bud ad made me snort with laughter. Can't stand the beer, but they make great commercials.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:10 PM on November 23, 2009


Oh, and the Nike Freestyle campaign, the story about it, and the kid who was the focal point of the ad is part of a This American Life episode, worth seeking out.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:20 PM on November 23, 2009


Good to see that Phil Collins has started growing hair again.
posted by mannequito at 6:32 PM on November 23, 2009


The NYC-agency ads are not so great.

Here is the better Cadbury ad.
posted by Zambrano at 6:36 PM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Which ones increased sales? Those are the great ones.
posted by davebush at 6:49 PM on November 23, 2009


This commercial for United is one of my all-time favorites. The artwork is incredible. Make sure to watch it in HQ.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 6:55 PM on November 23, 2009


This Levis ad by Michel Gondry is very Gondry-esque.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 6:59 PM on November 23, 2009


Interesting that there are two Levi's commercials on the list, but neither is one I would have put there: the one where the guy's at the all-night diner ordering cup after cup of joe until finally he works up the nerve to sheepishly ask the waitress, "Hey, you want to get some...um, coffee?" and the one where the girl in the laundromat feeds a bunch of dollars into the change machine until it runs out of quarters so when the cute boy walks in he has to ask her to break a dollar.
(Those are Levi's commercials, right? I can't Google for shit.)

Glad to see the bud 9/11 tribute ad doing well... without doubt, one of the best ever made...

Wait, the one with the kneeling Clydesdales? Odd: I imagined the consensus around that when it came out was that it was blatantly pandering and--in its own way--rather exploitative.
posted by kittyprecious at 7:08 PM on November 23, 2009


I have to disagree with the "Got Milk" selection. If you're going to pick one of their ads, it has to be Aaron Burr.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 7:30 PM on November 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Hmmm. I missed the 2000 cut-off date. Still.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 7:32 PM on November 23, 2009


For a pretty good read, in reaction to the world's saddest basketball commercial (featuring Kevin Garnett, back when he was the beloved also ran, rather than the bullying winner he's become as a Celtic), Free Darko posted a list of their reactions to the commercial, which are themselves pretty depressing. Worth a read.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:34 PM on November 23, 2009


How is that Dove commercial not on this list? That makes me very frowny.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:36 PM on November 23, 2009


Could someone explain to me what's going on in "Carousel" -- the hospital-robbing clowns? I mean, that's all I got from it -- clowns robbing a hospital. I could tell they were trying to tell me something at the end that would put the whole scene in a new light, but I remain in the dark.
posted by palliser at 7:43 PM on November 23, 2009


dirtynumangelboy - it is indeed on the list ("Evolution").
posted by jquinby at 7:43 PM on November 23, 2009


...that'll teach me to rtfa. Fuck me.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:48 PM on November 23, 2009


Could someone explain to me what's going on in "Carousel" -- the hospital-robbing clowns? I mean, that's all I got from it -- clowns robbing a hospital. I could tell they were trying to tell me something at the end that would put the whole scene in a new light, but I remain in the dark.

The 'cop' at the end is the same cop as in the beginning, only now it should be obvious that he's really a clown who's changed uniforms (notice the empty clown suit by the window out which a trail of blood/money leads, down to the 'cop' on the roof of a car with bag of money and a clown mask in one hand). The title refers to the circular nature of the shot (it ends where it begins).
posted by axiom at 7:50 PM on November 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Ooooooohhhhhh. Thanks, axiom.
posted by palliser at 7:59 PM on November 23, 2009


"Touch" is one of a great line of surreal Skittles ads. The best one, I think, was this one.
posted by PhatLobley at 8:12 PM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


> Wait, the one with the kneeling Clydesdales? Odd: I imagined the consensus around that when it came out was that it was blatantly pandering and--in its own way--rather exploitative.

I don't know what the consensus was, but when I saw that ad I couldn't believe that Budweiser expected anyone to be moved (to do anything other than vomit) by it.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:15 PM on November 23, 2009


On the other hand, the post-9/11 USPS "Let the River Run" ad made me tear up and also want to cheer. I hope y'all remember it, because Youtube is letting me down.
posted by Flannery Culp at 8:57 PM on November 23, 2009


Frankly I'm a little stunned that Nike's "Fate" doesn't appear to have made these lists someplace. According to The Inspiration Room it's a multiple award winner.
posted by ob1quixote at 9:03 PM on November 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


The Errol Morris ads for Miller beer.
posted by neuron at 9:19 PM on November 23, 2009


This list is totally incomplete without this awesome psa.
posted by pmv at 9:56 PM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ugh. I don't recognize any of the print ads.
posted by stchang at 10:00 PM on November 23, 2009


Video quality on many of this is absolutely atrocious. Lots of these are before YouTube was using H.264. In the bouncy balls one the balls are often just a blur with no motion.
posted by floam at 10:29 PM on November 23, 2009


Careful about clicking pmv's link. I showed that series of PSAs to a friend, and it took weeks for them to talk to me again. Awesome ads, but not for the squeamish, and hence, the point.
posted by Ghidorah at 11:14 PM on November 23, 2009


Nike's No Excuses.
posted by phaedon at 11:43 PM on November 23, 2009


Oh, and two classic Embassy spots: Nike Evolution and Citroen C4.
posted by phaedon at 11:45 PM on November 23, 2009


I came in here to post the Aaron Burr ad, my fave of all time. (high five, CheeseDigestsAll)

That stork ad is something else though, goddamn!
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:02 AM on November 24, 2009


Who are you calling a cootie queen, you lint-licker!

It never gets old.

NEVER
posted by infinitewindow at 2:28 AM on November 24, 2009


For some reason the silly VW unpimp your auto commercials gave me joy all out of proportion to their cleverness.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:41 AM on November 24, 2009


I want to love the Cadbury gorilla one, but decades of performing that drum fill on my dashboard have honed my air drum talents to a razor's edge.
And having it come at _totally_ the wrong part of the song just, well, it does a mockery to all lite rock stations everywhere.
posted by madajb at 3:24 AM on November 24, 2009


Sorry, but the greatest non-superbowl ad of all time is the Nike Soccer Robot Ninja ad.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:34 AM on November 24, 2009


I really enjoyed the Honda squirt-gun ad, tho that's not on the list. And while "Touch" is on the list, the entire run of Starburst/Skittles/Snickers ads that aired on Adult Swim are, as a whole, demented, wrong and awesome. (The great feasters of history, together for the first time! In a '92 Taurus. Brilliant.)

The first series of Burger King "King" commercials also are absolutely genius, in gleefully crossing the boundary between "mind wrenching horror" and "mm, hamburger" to turn horror into comedy. The "Messing With Sasquatch" commercials are a lot of fun in the same vein, starting out with "oh, boy, ironic interpretation of sophmoric humor - kind of dull and played out" and winding up with a horror-movie moment and grievous bodily harm done to a hipster.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:48 AM on November 24, 2009


A bit early for the cutoff, but the Nike Y2K ad still cracks me up.
(Was that really what we thought would happen!? Really? Geez. The 20th Century, Amirite?)
posted by 1f2frfbf at 6:46 AM on November 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Omg. The look of disappointment on the stork's face brought tears to my eyes.

I'm gonna go do something creative right now...
posted by duvatney at 7:31 AM on November 24, 2009


Also SportsCenter's Y2K Test.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:46 AM on November 24, 2009


Yay! I LOVE watching ads!
posted by Legomancer at 8:57 AM on November 24, 2009


Sorry, but the greatest non-superbowl ad of all time is the Nike Soccer Robot Ninja ad.

Wow. That ad makes over the top look like yesterday's leftovers.

I still love this old Nike Horror ad. Makes me smile every time.
posted by GuyZero at 9:53 AM on November 24, 2009


Well, my afternoon is booked. A good ad is a wonderful thing.
posted by Premeditated Symmetry Breaking at 11:25 AM on November 24, 2009


I always thought that Halo commercial was amazing. The first time I saw it was a pretty good "Oh Shit" moment when you first see the brute holding Master Chief.

I really like the current ODST commercial also. I wish that version of the song were available somewhere, but haven't found it. Anyone?

(and I never even played past 2...)
posted by jermsplan at 2:14 PM on November 24, 2009


I am deeply torn about this list. three of the commercials on this list were the creation of dear friends of me and each and every one has been asking for my vote at every turn and all I can think of is that I am not on this list. (one of my babies is mentioned in this thread but that doesn't count, does it?) so whom do I vote for? is voting for all of them fair? who knows.

I do agree the 2000 cutoff date is cruel. it forces us to exclude not only 1984 and think different but also such great films as the Guinness Surfer (1999!), which may just be one of the greatest commercials ever made, or Playstation Double Life.
posted by krautland at 2:40 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


The magic of giving (from Peru)
posted by paulinsanjuan at 1:22 AM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Man, that "magic of giving" one got me all choked up. Watched it twice and cried a little.
posted by Captain Cardanthian! at 12:17 AM on November 28, 2009


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