2016 will be remembered as a year of political uncertainty, celebrities being taken from us all too soon, and… funny adverts. Last year may now be a distant memory, but it’s one the advertising world could learn from. Here, we run down four of our favourite funny ads from 2016 that show how useful an effect comedy can be in advertising.
4: Apple Music – Taylor vs. Treadmill
This understated, minute-long, ad is a beautiful example of simplicity. The premise is straightforward: Apple Music is so good it will distract you from what you’re doing. An effortless performance from Taylor Swift and a perfectly timed payoff make this the type of ad that can amuse audiences while communicating a clear message.
3: Nike – Unlimited You
Another ad that is more likely to leave you with a wry smile than busting a gut, this offering from Nike uses Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Oscar Isaac to narrate the kind of sporting brilliance we’ve come to expect from the brand. What’s great about this ad is the way Nike is evolving its brand into a self-aware, positively focused, iteration of its classic tagline: Just Do It.
2: Volkswagen – Laughing Horses
Volkswagen’s dialogue-free ad for the Tiguan is as bizarre as it is funny. But the company manages to use that to good effect. While the messaging here is clear and direct, the thing that sets this ad apart is its otherworldliness: yes, it’s funny, and yes, it will almost certainly stick in your head. In a world where advertising comes at you thick and fast, that memorability cannot be underestimated.
1: Old Spice – Rocket Car
The number one spot on this list is reserved for what is probably the funniest ad of the year. Old Spice is well known for its comedy credentials, and rightly so. This ad reiterates them perfectly. The message is less-simple than the other ads on the list – broadly speaking, it is that Old Spice is a deodorant for ‘legendary’ men – but it is executed perfectly, with a crisply written monologue full of dry humour. The funniest line, for me, begins around the 28 second mark. This ad demonstrates that, if your branding is very strong, you can just put it on something brilliant and benefit from doing so.