My favorite commercials

Here is the best commercial of the year:

Email me when you watch this and cry


I love studying advertising. When it’s great, it’s magical.

Sometimes it’s the music, like this ad from the early 90s. (WAIT! Before you click that link, close your eyes and keep them closed. OK, click it — how many seconds until you recognize the ad?)

Sometimes it’s the words they use, like this simple page I wrote that’s generated millions of dollars.

earn1k screenshot

This simple page has generated millions of dollars.

Notice the striking difference among all three. One is visually beautiful, one uses music, and one uses words. All have a deep understanding of human psychology.

That’s also what makes advertising controversial.

It’s interesting that we like to think we’re in complete control of our behavior — this is why you hear people saying “LOL! Ads don’t work on me” (as they’re typing on a Macbook Air).

The truth is, we’re profoundly influenced by what we see and hear, including ads. This isn’t a bad thing. It doesn’t make us weak. It makes us human.

So, let’s do this together.

Over the next couple weeks, I’ll share some of the insights I’ve learned about psychology, communication, and human behavior. Some of it has generated millions of dollars. Some of it is just plain fun.

And if you’ve ever had to persuade someone to do something — to hire you, to buy your product, even to come to your birthday party — I think you’ll find this especially interesting.

To start, I want to know what your favorite advertisements are — commercials, print ads, whatever.

Here are some of my favorite ads.

What are yours?

Share your favorites in the comments below.

Talk soon.

P.S. I believe in ethical advertisements. My simple ethical rule of thumb is this: “If someone were rational and had all the information and motivation in the world, would they want this product?” If the answer is no, we shouldn’t try to persuade them. If the answer is yes, and we know our product can help, it’s actually our obligation to try to persuade them. (This is why I don’t allow anyone with CC debt to join our flagship courses, a decision that costs us over $2 million/year.)

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I’d like to second the Publix commercials. If you don’t live in the south, you don’t know what you’re missing (both from Publix and from their commercials).

Dollar Shave Club videos are my favorite. Entertaining and informative. Got me to try their brand as an alternative to Mach3.

My favorite commercial is for a French online bank called B for Bank :

I always watch and listen when it’s on TV.

It targets high revenue independant women.
The music is subtle and elegant
It’s black and white and carries all the signs of rich life: a boat and simple clothes that look expensive.
The tone of voice is awesome, carries very strong and calm self confidence of a woman who told many people to go and get f*cked.
She says “It annoys my ex-husband and my ex-banker”.

This is by far the most appealing bank advert for women like me EVER.
It doesn’t even promote a product or a free card!
It shows the spirit of the people they are targeting: self confidence, high-revenue, very educated, independant women.

I often tell my husband, I could join this bank, just because of this exact ad. If they serve this target as well as they defined it, they may have a great service.

My current favorite is Jake from State Farm. I don’t know why other than it’s just funny. I also love the M&M’s commercial when they run into Santa and Santa and the M&M faint

Frances in Tennessee

I second your nominations, Janet
That State Farms always crack me up. And now there’s one with the Cone Heads doing it – priceless !

My favourite type of commercial is something that combined both video, audio and written things on the same level. Sort of like taking a normal thing and showing us how it can be used to create something magical.
I saw an add of bubble gum of Facebook that showed how the guy saved all the wrappers of the gum and in the end proposed the girl by drawing the various scenes at which they had eating the gum, in the whole ad they didn’t talk about the gum at all rather they talked about the memories and experiences made by it. That was a real good ad.

I love the new Buick commercial with the dogs. It’s hysterical. And the old Wendy’s commercial or was it Burger King…Where’s the beef.

Lacoste “The Big Leap”

A recent favorite commercial of mine that has been popping up a lot online lately for me. The music, visual flair, and imagery all tie together to make for a really compelling story/commercial. That said, while the commercial is memorable, I may not necessarily remember the brand just based on the commercial…

Don’t know if Donald Trump counts as an advertisement but if so that’s my favorite in recent memory.

There’s a health insurance company in Brazil that is the leader in the industry: Unimed. Their slogan used to be: The best health plan is life; the second best is Unimed.

That was one of the best slogans I’ve ever seen, but two years ago or so they decided to change it. To me, if something’s working, leave it alone!

I appreciate your insight onto psychology & ethics of advertising and resonates after reading your paragraph-(My simple ethical rule of thumb is this: “If someone were rational and had all the information and motivation in the world, would they want this product?”)
I believe most people do not have all information (knowledge). Without information rational decision might not be possible even when motivation is in abundance.
“That is exactly an end result of most successful advertizing. Selling to emotionally driven crowds.” Current state of affairs! From sodas, to movies, to drugs and more.

Airline advertising fascinates me. The literal product is not very exciting (even the worlds most luxurious first class – the Etihad Residence) is pretty boring to advertise in a functional way. But what people buy – the getaway to somewhere new is priceless. That’s why Pan Am is still recognised, 25 years after its demise – the advertising they did played that up.

This is my favourite ad, for undoubtably one of my favourite brands (not often said about airlines!!)

Julia Leszko

Blubbering here. Amazing commercial.

Regarding your email ads, Ramit, I felt that you were overdoing it with the explanation/wordiness. I was thinking, ‘My God, when is this over? Would like to sign up already!’

James McKernan

I always liked the anti drug PSAs from the 80s and early 90s. There was a good one voiced over by Martin Sheen telling the story of Sally who was bright but never made it because of drugs. However the most powerful was the “this is your brain on drugs” (two eggs frying on a pan).

I I love your bio/ the awesome sports you do and was so excited to click on the link you posted (and no I havent clicked on any link previous). And that is EXACTLY my favourite ad! I watched this ad every day for about 2 months before a major competition I had. And I still listen to the audio regularly, along with a bunch of others, on route to training. Anyways- big respect to you for the ultra marathons you do.

Vickie Flaugher

One of my favorites is the Men’s Wearhouse one for grooms (could not find online). “When everyone else is looking at her, she’ll be looking at you.” Really drives the point home. Great consistent brand tag.

Love Flo and all her commercials, using humor really well.

That newest gum commercial you mentioned is awesome. Great marketing! Personalizes a low cost commodity, making it meaningful. Brilliant.

This commercial from the early 1990s appeals to the rebllious side in us. “Do ur thing, excel at it, dont care what others tell u.” And the way to achieve that, to have this rebellious feeling, follow Barkley’s example and use Nike equipment. In that sense it is totally self-contradicting. Still, u just wanna get that Nike gear.

Matthew Arnall

Some of my favorite ads are the radio commercials for Blue Bell ice cream because they sell purely on emotion and nostalgia, they never mention their ingredients or flavors.

Not really an advert but the Steve jobs presentation on the iPhone 4. Just listen to the words he uses, he doesn’t just sell you on its features, he makes you emotionally connect with it. I could go on but I am typing on a phone. Here is the link

Troy Weatherspoon

Hey Ramit,

I loved the old SouthWest Airline commercials with the tagline: “Want to get away?” Those were awesome! It’d show seemingly real-life characters committing a bonehead mistake placing them in the most awkward lifelike situation before the airline service presents its value by offering US flights for affordable rates. Classic stuff!

OMG! the video from argentina about the man and the dog for organ transplants on Ramit’s list of videos. I was crying at work. They nailed it.

Claudia Monterroso

My favorite is the commercial from State Farm, with Jake from the kakkhis.

Dear Ramiit,
Thanks to your email advertisements, I plan to sign up for your program as soon as I have my book finished, and ready to publish, and have Web sites ready to begin advertising the book.
My favorite commercials were the Burma Shave road signs—I do not remember their various clever words, but I will always remember the Burma Shave sign at the end of the row of signs. I watched Mister Whipple’s Charmin toilet paper advertisements saying, “Please don’t squeeze the Charmin. ” I have always bought Charmin toilet paper, because of Mister Whipple’s Ads, which included the bears using Charmin.
I went in business, and stayed in business, because my father owned many businesses, and sold me on getting a business from before I can remember.
At sixteen, my first boss, Eli Mahfood, advised me to take a good public speaking course to succeed in business, and I did, without which I would have failed in business.
In a few minutes, in 1961, a college professor sold me on getting out of America’s ‘lower’, and into the ‘upper’, social class, as quickly as I could; his advice helped me earn my first million dollars in 1978.
Other business owners gave me much good advice that helped me succeed in business, and I expect your advice to help me, as well as their advice did.
In 1966, by his words, and example, another supermarket manager, Wayne Buck, taught me how to manage my business, and personal lives.
I remember, best, the word-of-mouth-advice commercials that helped me get, and keep, my businesses for thirty years; I have written those commercials in my book for anyone who wants to live the kind of life that you, Ramit, described in your email commercials.
I plan to publish my book in 2016.
Thank you for your help, and for the help I expect to get from your course.
Very truly yours,
P. Raymond Snodgrass

Dear Ramit
I can’t see ads right now as I am in office. But I read your text. And I loved it. :)
Looking forward to learn more from you. :)

Anything sentimental, like the Kodak commercials, or Coca Cola ads. Something that generates a swell of emotion, either happy or sad.

Honda’s advert with all the car parts lined up to move in a sequence, with the tag line “isn’t it great when everything just works?”

Compelling to watch, and clearly makes you think of Honda as a reliable brand.

Pranav Badhwar

Your no credit card principle is a stellar example of the trader principle! The former CEO and current chairman of the 11th largest US bank mentioned it in a speech when saying that his bank declined to go along with liar loans and needed no bailout as a result.

See with whom you are associated. Do you hate yourself now? :)

I watch practically no TV and few youtube videos, so most of my advertising comes from sidebars. That said, I love the ads for and Fun, imaginative, always brightly colored, and usually full of injokes to make me laugh.

Last TV ad I can think of that made me laugh was a Superbowl beer ad “The Magic Fridge” (although I can’t remember what beer it’s for.) (Aha!
Similarly there was a car commercial (can’t remember the car) where 3 separate serial killer stereotypes come upon a couple in a car in the woods. Each jumps in the car, acting scared of the one that comes next. The last one starts screaming at the driver to Go-go-go! and the camera pans back to show about 30 little girls in sparkly princess/fairy costumes chasing the car. I nearly choked laughing.

rosario burruel

One of my favorite commercial ‘s is the Dos XX’s. I like these commercial ‘s mainly because of the beautiful women that are around him.

Heya i am for the first time here. I came across this board and I find It truly useful & it helped me out a lot. I hope to give something back and aid others like you helped me.

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