My Favourite Five Ads: Ben Quigley

In the lead-up to our Festival of British Advertising, we are asking adland's finest to pick their top five ads from the past 100 years. This week, Ben Quigley, IPA Chairman England & Wales and Group Chief Executive at Everything Different, takes us through his "reassuringly" effective selection...

Sugar Puffs, "Tell em about the honey mummy"

This is the advert that made me want a career in advertising; it's a classic from 1980. There was a loveable brand character as ambassador for the brand (and honey master was decent too). Genuinely funny scripts and comic performances. From the golden era of advertising creativity and a catchphrase that crossed over into mainstream culture. Cardboard chunks never tasted better.

Stella Artois, "Reassuringly expensive"

This was just brilliantly crafted short form storytelling, where an entire feature film is told in 60 seconds. Superb script yet minimal dialogue, unbelievable casting, amazing direction, total illusion of gallic authenticity (I even forgot that Stella is actually Belgian). It ran for 20 years and made Stella cool. The campaign fostered a desired and revered brand, contributed to direct sales growth with a profitable ROI. A consistent and creative approach, focusing on quality, maintained premium and aspirational brand credentials for an audience increasingly exposed to cut-price messages.
Additionally, advertising had a demonstrable multiplier effect on the effectiveness and value of promotions, allowing them to grow long-term penetration, a phenomenon not seen elsewhere in this category. I thought Jean de Florette was beautifully put together, but this was something else. 

Honda, "Cog"

The dictionary definition of disruption is "disturbance or problems which prevent something continuing as usual or as expected." This is not your everyday car ad. An entire car was dissembled in this commercial, which was made by Honda to showcase the Honda Accord. It is a two minute video that shows Honda Accord parts interacting with each other similar to a Rube Goldberg machine. A host of brilliantly disruptive ads followed to make us think differently about Honda. Isn’t it great when something just works…

The Economist, "I never read the Economist"


Unlike most media brands, The Economist decided, in 1988, to invest in brand advertising rather than in a tactical, content-led approach. It was a decision that paid dividends. Over the past 14 years, the award-winning 'White out of Red' campaign has helped The Economist to enjoy a circulation increase of 64%, against a market decline of 20%, subscriptions to the title have almost doubled and an advertising rate card growth seven times greater than its competitors. As John Hegarty said, "effectiveness is our goal, creativity the means."

NHS, "Gravestone"


What, you thought I wouldn’t include one of my own? A press ad we produced for the NHS that caused quite a rumpus in 2001.Proof - if you needed it - that great creativity has never been confined to the capital (Campaign’s words, not mine). Copywriting at its very best - the dying art of long copywriting at that. Top notch art direction and retouching to help save lives. Advertising for good as it resulted in a 62% uplift in smoking cessation services take-up. Kaboom!


Last updated 21 January 2022