The UK has a bit of a reputation for our drinking culture, so it makes sense that adverts for alcohol are amongst our favourites. From one of the nation’s favourite vodka advert to the best beer TV adverts and more, here are some of the top alcohol adverts UK viewers might remember…
Belvedere – Daniel Craig, 2022
2022’s Belvedere vodka advert became an instant classic thanks to its star – 007 himself, Daniel Craig. Long thought of as the brooding, straight-faced spy, the advert instead shows the James Bond star cutting loose. The ad is directed by Taika Waititi, who even appears on screen at one point to encourage Craig to “just be yourself”.
After opening in typical 007 style – with Craig gazing sullenly into the distance in black and white – the advert soon cuts to colour and shows the action star strutting his stuff with a spirited dance routine as his wardrobe changes from white suit to leather jacket to black tank top. Cheers to that!
Gordon’s Gin – The Garden Party, 2012
Cashing in on the success of TV show Ashes to Ashes, Gordon’s Gin cast British actor Philip Glenister in a series of ads alongside Silent Witness star Emilia Fox. Glenister plays on his straight-talking persona in the adverts, which see the pair sipping on Gordon’s gin and tonics in various social settings.
In perhaps the best-known of the Gordon’s Gin adverts on TV, Fox and Glenister are in attendance at a garden party. In the foreground, a fellow partygoer is colourfully describing his glass of wine. Glenister’s retort, “overbearing aromas of pretentious rubbish” is instantly quotable and pairs nicely with the laid-back vibe of a classic G and T.
Smirnoff – Sea, 2007
Smirnoff is one of those brand names that everyone recognises, but might not always be the first vodka brand that springs to mind when you imagine a quality drink. The 2002 advert ‘Sea’, by advertising agency JWT takes a somewhat unusual approach compared to other alcohol adverts on TV.
The advert plays on Smirnoff’s distillation process. During the advert, many items long thought lost to sea – from discarded rubbish to wrecked ships, ancient statues to dropped anchors – are ejected from the ocean’s depths and returned to earth. As well as offering a perspective on the environment and littering, the advert ends by showing a clear ocean with “extraordinary purification”. This is then compared to Smirnoff, which is “ten times filtered and triple distilled” for clarity.
Guinness – Welcome Back, 2021
Guinness has long been known for having truly exceptional and memorable adverts – from their memorable advert during the Covid pandemic to countless seasonal spots. Lots of famous Guinness print ads use imagery to play on the drink’s iconic dark body with a white head, and the Irish brand’s 2021 advert celebrating the return to pubs after the initial end of lockdown rules is no different.
The ad, announcing Guinness donations to help pubs back onto their feet after Coronavirus shutdowns, shows a series of images of pint-like scenes – from black bins with white bags to a flock of seagulls perched on top of a chimney. Finally, we see a man gratefully sipping his first pint back in a pub after lockdown, with the fitting slogan “good things come to those who wait”. Though it’s still a beer advert, this is ultimately a touching celebration of pub culture.
Dos Equis – The Most Interesting Man in the World (2006-2018)
You might not instantly recognise the name Jonathan Goldsmith, but chances are you’ll recognise his face from the popular Dos Equis adverts that became a viral meme sensation. The beer adverts created a character known as ‘The Most Interesting Man in the World’, who was constantly having superlative experiences – from his fortune cookies reading ‘Congratulations’, to slamming a revolving door.
Of course, this most incredible human specimen is shown to prefer the taste of Dos Equis when he drinks beer. The series of beer ads shows Goldsmith and younger versions of the character performing various daring feats, with a deadpan voiceover explaining his incredible exploits. The ads always end with the debonair Man sipping a Dos Equis flanked by two beautiful women, uttering the line “stay thirsty, my friends”.
Have we missed any iconic alcohol ads off our list? Let us know in the comments!