Top Five Clever TV Ads of All Time

Madison Avenue is known for its clever and brilliant mind. Sometimes, things go horribly, horribly wrong (think Quiznos Sponge Monkeys — those roadkill rodents with the hideous occluded teeth — not something you generally associate with mealtime). But sometimes, they get it right, and magnificently so. Here are my top five picks for best commercial of all time. In reverse order (saving the best for last).

No. 5: Danier Leather

Danier Leather has a clever ad involving a case of mistaken identity or bait and switch. The double-take in the elevator as both men realize what has happened is priceless.



No. 4: Blake’s Auto Body

Blake’s Auto Body plays off another case of mistaken identity, this time with an innocent red Ford Mustang as the “victim.” But Blake’s “can fix anything.” Great marketing!


No. 3: Dancing Citroen

The music is very clever and catchy. The little Citroen C4 comes alive (“Alive With Technology,” according to the advert) and boogies down with the beat, then sedately morphs back into a sedan as the music abruptly ends.



No. 2: Harley-Davidson

Harley-Davidson plays on the biker “bad boy” image to juxtapose the roles in this commercial, keeping you off guard until the last second, as the camera pans to the wedding photo on the couple’s nightstand. Respect.


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No. 1: Aiwa Sound

This Aiwa ad cleverly builds momentum, with the throbbing beat of Queen and “Another One Bites The Dust,” right up to the last second, when the camera pans back to reveal it’s not just the generation gap that has the older man in the passenger seat scowling.


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