• Charlotte Alford

End of a Decade

Updated: Jul 23

Campaign, Business Insider, Ad Week and many more have had their say over the best ads of the decade. All made compelling arguments about things like pencil winners, reach, impressions, views and all that good stuff.


But what about the public? Let us not forget them. That’s what it’s really about, right? The innocents who have no idea what an Art Director or D&AD are.

And that’s where Big Rab comes into play.



Whenever I’m asked about why I wanted to get into advertising, I always give an answer about how I love problem solving and thinking out the box. Don’t get me wrong, all true. However, the real - and much more soppy reason - is my Grandad. Growing up, each night my Grandma and Grandad would watch Emmerdale, followed by Coronation Street (of course). My grandad, official volume controller, between the latest dramas of Gail Platt, would watch the adverts.


So, no offence to all those who have already had their say on all the ads of the decade, but I have been observing the viewers in their natural habitat, and I think I have developed the following foolproof judging system:


Topic of conversation - Did it beat discussing the weather?

TV Volume - Was it on mute, or did it cause permanent damage to my hearing?

Lecture Worthy - Was my Grandad told by my Grandma to stop watching and told to socialise?

Shushing - Did I get shushed mid sentence so my Grandad could fully focus on the advert?


So here we go...



In 5th place we have:

KFC - FCK


One of the few ads that might see my Grandad and Campaign agreeing on.



Topic of conversation - Technically none. Big Rab wouldn’t tell what he was laughing at because, at 25 years old, I’ve still not discovered what a swear word is.

TV Volume - Already causing issues with my seemingly foolproof system.

Lecture worthy - Print comes with the added bonus of no lecture.

Shushing - Although once again poking holes in my system, print comes with the added-added bonus of no shushing



In 4th place we have

Karcher Pressure Washer


He lost me with this one...



Topic of conversation - "You haven't cleaned that wall outside Robert"

TV Volume - Quiet for my Grandad, probably as he didn't want my Grandma reminded about uncompleted tasks.

Lecture worthy - "You still haven't cleaned that wall outside Robert?

Shushing - Was too busy asking me to clean the wall outside to shush me.



In 3rd place we have

Volkswagen’s “The Force”


Okay, maybe he has good taste in ads after all...



Topic of conversation - "You used to be that cute, before you got cheeky" ... "Thanks Grandad."

TV Volume - Ridiculous.

Lecture worthy - "We could have watched an entire Star Wars film in the time it took you to turn that down"

Shushing - Minimum, however instincts tell me this is due to the lack of commentary throughout the ad.



In 2nd place we have

John Lewis' "Buster the Dog"


Even my Grandad is a sucker for John Lewis at Christmas



Topic of conversation - He was too busy laughing at the ad to talk.

TV Volume - He was too busy laughing at the ad to care.

Lecture worthy - He was too busy laughing at the ad to notice.

Shushing - He was too busy laughing at the ad to shush.


And in 1st place we have… drum roll please…

Three's "The Pony"


Was it as poinent as Kaepernicks’ Nike ad? Did it make us cry as much as Sainsbury's Christmas ad? Was it empowering girls to reach their full potential? No. But it had a choreographed animal on a hilltop. No matter how many times my grandad watched it, he laughed every time. I couldn't tell you how well this ad did on a professional level; no clue if it won awards or increased sales. However an ad for a phone network was able to connect with a man who had to have a weeks training (with monthly refreshers) so he could learn how to work the TV controller. That sounds like some pretty great advertising to me.



Topic of conversation - a backwards dance was developed

TV Volume - My ears have never recovered

Lecture worthy - "Will you stop walking backwards before you hit your head off those stairs"

Shushing - I got shushed so many times that my Grandad still doesn't know that the "ink smudge" on my wrist is actually a tattoo of the permanent variety.


So there you have it folks, my Grandads best ads of the decade. I would do a second post about Big Rabs worst ads of the decade, but unfortunately if they weren't seen as good, they just came under the category of "what a load of rubbish". It makes for less of a read and more of a long list.