TV Advert Archives

Reviewing the world's best and worst TV advertisements

TV Advert Picture Quiz

Test your TV advert knowledge by viewing these snapshots from well-known TV adverts, then guess which brand they belong to! When you’re finished, view your score out of ten and scroll down to find out more about these iconic TV moments.

Smash Martians Adverts

Smash TV Advert Still

Shown frequently in the 1970s and 1980s, the Smash Martians were used to advertise the instant Mashed Potato product Smash, surprisingly owned by Cadburys. The premise behind these adverts was a family of Martians observing humans laboriously making mashed potato, and mocking them due to the fact this task could be simplified by the use of Smash. 

Despite it not making our top slogans list, the catchphrase “For Mash get Smash” has become an iconic advertising slogan in the UK. The adverts were designed by advertising agency Boase Massimi Pollitt, that has since 2004 been renamed as DDB London. This agency has also worked with big brands including John Lewis and partners, Starbucks and Volkswagen. 


Halifax Wizard of Oz Adverts

Halifax Wizard of Oz TV advert still

Another creation by the DDB London advertising agency is the Halifax Wizard of Oz advert. An enthusiastic Halifax representative is brought into the Emerald City through the use of special effects and helps Dorothy, Toto, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion find the home of their dreams. 

The Halifax actor, David Rees Talbot, filmed his scenes in a London studio, which was then merged with the original scenes from the 1939 film. David Rees Talbot has also been in popular shows including The Crown and Casualty. 

Kevin the Carrot Adverts – Aldi 

Kevin the Carrot TV Advert picture still

Brought to the world by McCann UK , Kevin the Carrot first appeared on our screens in 2016, excited to see Santa but horrified by witnessing his vegetable friends cooked on the dinner table. The narration of the advert by Jim Broadbent, the traditional Christmas scenes, and humorous undertones has made Kevin the Carrot a much-loved advert character. 

Kevin the Carrot has become so popular, Aldi has chosen to use Glastonbury style queuing systems on their website to buy the Kevin the Carrot soft toy amongst the other characters that feature on the ads.

With Kevin the Carrot being such a popular character for the Aldi christmas adverts, it’s likely that he will be returning for our 2021 Christmas advertising. You can find out whether Kevin will return by visiting Aldi’s dedicated Kevin the Carrot page which also features their favourite Kevin adventures. 


Money Supermarket #epicstrut advert

epic strut advert still

Featuring Dave played by Michael Van Schoick, this 2015 advert tries to encompass the feeling of saving money by using the price comparison website Money Supermarket. With The Pussycat Dolls playing “dont cha” in the background, Dave exits his taxi where it soon becomes apparent he’s matched his blazer and shirt with denim hot pants and high heels. Dave struts down the street with the occasional twerk and dance move much to the surprise of passers-by. The advert also featured Sharron Osbourne, complimenting Dave as he walks past her. 

From the response it received, it seemed that the advert was ahead of its time. There were a total of 1,513 complaints for this advert, which claimed that the advert was “offensive” and “overtly sexual”. The ASA reviewed these complaints and ruled that it did not breach any codes. In our opinion, if the advert were to launch for the first time today, the number of complaints would be much fewer. 

Despite the complaints, this advert won 2015 Campaign of the Year, has been viewed millions of times online and has resulted in a high number of parodies. 


Three – Sing it Kitty! Advert

Sing it kitty advert still

The Three advert features Jolie Forrest, a 5-year-old child model from Manchester, and Bronte the cat from Rugby in Warwickshire. Jolie rides around her neighbourhood in her pink bike whilst Bronte enjoys the ride from the bike basket at the front, both singing along to “We Built This City” by Starship. 

After the success of the moonwalking pony advert, Three knew that a great way to capture the audience was with a fun, silly and cute approach. The 2014 advert was created by Wieden & Kennedy and captured around 2.5 million views in the first few days of launch. 


Wonga Puppet Adverts

wonga puppets advert still

An advert with an unhappy end, this Wonga advert features three elderly puppets discussing the benefits of using Wonga for short term loans. The approach of this advert appears to be comforting the audience about the prospect of short term loans, with characters depicting those with years of wisdom, telling us that Wonga is a great option if you’re a little low on funds.

In this detailed article from the guardian, Patrick Collinson describes how Wonga’s rise was partly due to the fact that it not only supplied the money to those who needed it, but also influenced the demand for short-term cash. The simplicity of borrowing money online instead of pleading with banks caused the user to borrow much more money than they needed, resulting in higher fees to pay. 

Whilst perhaps the outcome of Wonga itself is a sad one, the character creation and thought behind these Wonga advertisements from Albion London have provided a recognisable campaign to be remembered for many years to come. 

Specsavers Vet Advert

Specsavers Phoebe Advert still

Specsavers have certainly produced from witty and comedic advertisements over the years, with the “should’ve gone to Specsavers” slogan well-known with most TV-loving Brits. In 2013, Specsavers’ own in-house creative team, Specsavers Creative, produced yet another classic advertisement featuring a Vet in a panicky situation. 

The vet checks on a cat and soon discovers that he can’t detect a pulse, he immediately calls for Karen’s aid, who approaches the “cat” and puts it on, where it becomes apparent that the cat is actually Karen’s winter hat. 

Britain is full of pet lovers, who often frequent the vets for pet vaccinations and checkups, so what better way to advertise than in a setting they’re familiar with. 

Scottish Widows Adverts

Scottish widows advert still

Scottish Widows have been shown on television advertising slots as early as 1986, always featuring a woman in a black coat, and more recently with a red lining in the hood. There have been four Scottish Widow icons within this time;


Deborah Moore: 1986 – 1993

Amanda Lamb: 1994 – 2004

Hayley Hunt: 2005 – 2013

Amber Martinez: 2014 – Present


The feature character for Scottish Widows has always been to provide a contemporary feel to the financial services of life assurance, pensions, investments and savings. The iconic character is created to portray someone who’s watching over their customers at key moments in their lives. See the Scottish Widows website for full documentation of their TV adverts over the years.  

Anchor Elephant Toy Advert

Anchor Advert Still

Created by advertising agency Creature, this Anchor christmas advert created a humorous and relatable scene for anyone that’s often around children. The child receives a noisy elephant toy for Christmas, and absolutely loves squeezing the toy to make the sound repeatedly, much to his mother’s annoyance. 

The cartoon family involved, known as the “Hugler’s” featured often throughout Anchor advertisements between 2015-2018. The creation of the Hugler’s was by artist Dan Lambert, who was also involved with the creation of the Compare the Market Meerkats. 

Despite being targeted at the most competitive target market, mothers, the Anchor advert is still fondly remembered today. 


EDF Energy 

EDF Energy advert still

Finally, who can possibly forget this little orange guy? The EDF Energy adverts featured “Zingy” the dancing keepon robot dancing to “Together in Electric Dreams” by Phil Oakley. 

Unfortunately Zingy in its robot form was never commercially available for sale, however, EDF customers were able to get their hands on a Zingy plush toy if they signed up for particular offers. 

The combination of this character within a series of adverts featuring well known catchy songs is what made this campaign by AMV BBDO so loved.

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