13 best video ads that get our approval (and 3 that don’t)

There is something so irresistible and almost artistic about great ads. In just a few seconds, or minutes, they have the power to make you laugh, cry, or get inspired while forming a memorable image of the brand.

Looking at some of the golden (and not so golden) ideas from the past year, we created our list of the best and worst TV, Facebook, and Instagram ads. 

So let’s look at who takes the gold, silver, and bronze in all the categories!

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Best ads on TV

There’s no better way to start this ceremony than by looking at some of the most brilliant ads from the mother of all advertising channels – the TV.

Here are the three best TV ads from the past year.

1. John Lewis & Partners – The Beginner

A UK-based high-end department store chain, John Lewis & Partners, recently launched their latest show-stopping Christmas ad. This endearing TV commercial was produced by adam&eveDDB, and raises awareness about holidays for kids in the care system. 

Quirky yet powerful, this TV ad is golden content for around the Holidays (and honestly, the whole year round).

2. Airbnb – Strangers

As a part of their hosting campaign, Airbnb released one of the best TV commercials with a simple message, reminding viewers that “strangers aren’t strange” after all. As viewers see the idyllic holiday of three rather strange creatures, they get a glimpse into what the holiday looks like for their potential apartment visitors.

This lovely and original ad produced by Trim Editing, Cosmo Street Editorial, Airbnb Productions LLC, Somesuch was good enough to take the silver medal!

Look out for more Airbnb gems in our animated ad roundup.

3. Dove – Detoxify Your Feed

Dove has always been known for their moving beauty campaigns targeting issues surrounding women and their bodies. And this time, they focused on the next generation and their body image being influenced by various social media content. 

Not to keep it all just in the ad, Dove started a platform that helps young girls by removing content that promotes toxic body image. This makes the ad one of the best TV ads of the last year and puts it in third place!

Best video ads online

Finding the three absolute winners for the best video ads category hasn’t been easy in the sea of great content flowing on YouTube.

And here are the medalists for best video advertising.

1. Apple Watch – 911 

Apple was keeping it real with the Apple Watch 911 campaign and blew everyone’s minds in their 1-minute ad. The creators display three people in life-threatening situations, having their lives saved thanks to the Apple Watch. 

Still not convinced? 

2. Gatorade – Love Means Everything

Once again, the world of commercials proved that emotional appeal is a recipe for a great ad. Gatorade’s Love means everything is an ode to Serena Williams – the person who has shown us the power of love for yourself and everything you do. 

As a cherry on top, the ad is narrated by another powerful icon, Beyonce, whose voice reinforces the message of the importance of self-belief that the brand is sending to the viewers.

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3. Belvedere Vodka – Daniel Craig

Who wouldn’t want to see Daniel Craig fashionably dancing through the streets of Paris? 

That’s exactly what the famous director, Taika Waititi,  had in mind when making the latest Belvedere vodka commercial. It’s cool, it’s funny, and it’s posh – everything that Belvedere vodka is known for. 

4. Geico – Unspeakable Family

Here’s one of the few ads on the internet that doesn’t make you wait impatiently for the first few seconds to go by so that you can skip the rest.

As a response to YouTube’s functionality where users can skip ads after a few seconds, The Martin Agency created one of the most creative and engaging ads for Geico Insurance company.

The ad was a part of the Cannes Lions selection for 2015, and an excellent example of how to keep your viewers locked to the screen with great humor and straightforward messaging. 

For more amazing ads from Geico, make sure to check out the 10 best Geico commercials article.

Best Facebook video ads

Being bombarded with Facebook ads is nobody’s idea of fun. Luckily, some brands are fighting the ordinary and doing an excellent job with their Facebook ads.

Here are the three best video Facebook ads we would love to come across while scrolling through our feed. 

1. Kleenex – Ultra Soft

Making a great 6-second long video ad is far from easy. But Kleenex managed to make an adorable, emotionally appealing video with such a simple message in this time frame. Who would’ve thought that an ad for a tissue could be all that? 

Link to the video: Kleenex Ultra soft ad

2. Turkish Airlines – Pangea 

When it comes to narrating all the wonders of mother nature, there’s no one more famous in the world than Morgan Freeman. And Turkish Airlines knew exactly how to tell the story about bringing the world together with Morgan Freeman and his narration about Pangea. 

Being serious yet comforting is everything we want to see from an airline, making this a great job by Turkish Airlines! 

Link to the video: Turkish Airlines Pangea

3. Nike – 50th-Anniversary Ad

Nike is definitely one of the few brands whose marketing has become a subject of many books and courses. So it’s no surprise that their 50th-anniversary campaign made this list. Always focusing on the future while respecting the history of sports is what the brand is all about. 

In this clever Facebook ad, viewers walk down memory lane of sports and daydream about the future.

Link to the video: Nike’s 50th anniversary campaign

3 best Instagram video ads

Instagram is a place where advertisers have to act fast if they want to capture viewers’ attention. Ads are in a short form and compete with endless other pieces of content, so it takes great imagination to make the most of this platform.

Here are the three absolute winners in the best Instagram video ads category. And if you’re looking for more inspiration, check out our favorite brands on Instagram.

1. Reese’s – Reese Peanut Butter Cups 

Famous American brand, Reese Peanut Butter Cup, attempted to increase brand awareness across the UK and bring the concept of eating a chocolate cup filled with peanut butter closer to this market. And we love it! 

Having comedian Henry Paker seductively talk about pouring peanut butter into a chocolate high heel is a fantastic mix of creativity and intelligent humor – just what the Brits want.

Link to the video: Reese Peanut Butter Cups

2. Tushy – A Simphony For Your Butt

When you’re selling toilets and trying to be different from the rest of the competitors, it will lead you to some pretty hilarious ad campaign content. This is exactly what Tushy is doing in all their campaigns, and we can’t get enough of it. 

The concept behind this ad is parodying the Las Vegas water fountain attraction by showcasing the Tushy water streams. 

Link to the video: Tushy

3. Calm – The Most Relaxing App In The World

Mental health app, Calm, is one of the best examples of excellent advertising on Instagram. Their short clip takes the viewers on the journey of what it would be like to use their product while explaining why a certain video or sound helps them decrease anxiety. 

This soothing, eye-catching ad immediately makes viewers install the app and showcases everything the brand stands for.

Link to the video: Calm

Request changes: Three worst video ads

Instagram can be a great place where genuinely unique ideas and concepts come to life. And then it can also be a place for spamming users with unoriginal and plain content. 

Here are three ads we believe could be edited before they were published. 

1. Zara – Influencer Haul

The key to a great video ad is originality. So it’s no surprise that Zara’s done-to-death shopping hauls top our list of the worst video ads. The concept is known among all fashion brands, and they could do better than pay influencers to showcase the clothes they’ve been given. 

It’s time to go back to the drawing board, as these ads are just getting old, lacking creativity, and not bringing enough value to the users.

Link to the video: Zara haul

2. Lamborghini – Huracán Sterrato: Beyond The Concrete

Large brands with enormous advertising budgets can easily fall into a trap of spending lots of money without having a clear goal for their commercials. This is what happened with the latest Lamborghini ad for Huracán Sterrato.

Having a fast car racing through the desert with a confusing voiceover will just not cut it for us. The ad lacks originality and feels like Lamborghini was parodying themself with the overly-serious tone of voice of the narrator. 

3. Rocket Mortgage – Super Bowl Ad

Super Bowl is one of the biggest yearly events for advertisers to showcase their latest campaigns. And while some create ads that everyone keeps talking about until the next Super Bowl, others can get lost in their big ideas and enormous budgets. 

Rocket Mortgage ad from last year, featuring Anna Kendrick playing with little girls and their Barbie dolls while explaining the benefits of taking on a mortgage, sends the wrong message – selling mortgages to little kids. 

How to speed up feedback process on your videos ads

All content creators have at least once found themselves in a situation where they had to collide various (often contradictory) feedback from different platforms. This takes time and costs videographers their nerves, trying to figure out how to interpret all the feedback.

A video review and collaboration tool like Filestage can help you avoid this scenario by inviting all your reviewers in one platform to leave their feedback. Your whole team can then add comments, create annotations on your videos, and approve all their files, all in one place and without stress.

Final thoughts

For every creative out there, seeing a great ad is like seeing a great piece of art these days. 

As we sum up the best and the worst examples of the past year, we look forward to the future of advertising and all the great ideas coming our way.