My Favourite Five Ads: Ali Hanan

To celebrate the IPA's centenary this year, we are asking adland's finest to pick their top five ads from the past century. What makes an ad <strong>great</strong>? Find out in this week's edition by Ali Hanan, founder of Creative Equals.

KFC, Hugo 'n' Holly

Great ads etch in your memory. And so do lyrics. When Dumb ways to Die, a 2012 Australian public service campaign, from McCann Australia reached the top 10 on the iTunes chart within 24 hours, it signalled a game changer. For me, the first ad to become a playground anthem was the ‘Finger Lickin’ Fun' Song - Kentucky Fried Chicken’s smash hit of the early 80s. In an age where not many children were obese, two super-sized children gleefully gorge on a box of chicken on a family outing. In my town (droll damp Dunedin on the outpost of New Zealand) when our first KFC shop arrived, we felt like Hugo ‘n’ Holly. 

Levi's, Launderette

Great ads are about lust. 'Launderette' for Levi's is legendary. As part of my Creative Equals’ journey, I had the pleasure of meeting with WPP’s legendary Global Chief Creative Officer, John O’Keeffe, in November last year. He told me the backstory of this advert and the idea originally came from copywriter Barbara Noakes, Sir John Hegarty’s copy partner. The story goes that while Barbara was waiting for her own washing, a sweaty, overweight man sauntered in, took off his jeans, then waited for them to wash in his big white pants. This advert was Barbara’s fantasy. She was also renowned for Dr White's san-pro that with headlines like ‘Have you ever wondered how men would carry on if they had periods?’ A legend. 

Fiat, ecoDrive

Great ads change behaviour. As a digital creative director, I’ve watched many trends, fads and media platforms come and go in a flash. Remember Poke’s ‘Spot the Bull’ game for Orange?, or the first geo-located Google Chrome experiment from Arcade Fire ‘The Wilderness Downtown'? In 2008, Fiat EcoDrive’s Grand Prix Fiat Campaign by AKQA was a landmark. The platform encouraged consumers around the world to combine their driving data to show how they could save money and the environment with better driving. At the time, this work was an earthquake.

Dove, Real Beauty

Great ads expose hard truths and incite a movement. Dove’s seminal Real Beauty Campaign, with its ‘Evolution’ advert exposed the reality of our distorted perception of beauty. The advert won a Cannes Lion Grand Prix, enjoyed financial and popular success, but more importantly sparked an entire movement. The later riffs on this, the award-winning ‘Sketches’ and ‘Camera Shy’, have kept this brand truth alive and lead to a entire genre of braver, bolder advertising where brands ‘out’ a cultural truth and take a stand. 

IKEA, There's No Bed Like Home

Great ads are poetry. IKEA’s ‘There no bed like home’, directed by Juan Cabral (who also directed the Cadbury Gorilla ad) for Mother in 2014 is just that. This ad has that ethereal, dream-like quality of fantasy, set to a reading from Act 4 of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, voiced by Prunella Scales. It’s shot through hazy, sunrise clouds as the sleeper tumbles from bed to bed. Beautiful. 

The IPA are celebrating their centenary this year - join in the conversation on Twitter using #AdFest100 and #IPA100. You can catch up on all the photos, videos and other content from the IPA's Festival of British advertising here, including Sir Martin Sorrell, Sir Alan Parker and a virtual tour of the Exhibition.

Last updated 21 January 2022