The Drum Awards Festival - Extended Deadline

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By Sam Bradley, Journalist

June 14, 2022 | 2 min read

We asked our readers to vote for their favorite commercials of all time. Top creatives from the World Creative Rankings and The Drum’s Judges’ Club then ranked the ads. Now, we bring you the definitive 100 best TV and video ads of all time.

Despite the enthusiasm for poetry in brand advertising in recent years (Nationwide’s series of spots with Holly McNish must make her the best-known bard in Britain by this point), there’s not been much use of Irish poetry in ads over the years. Not enough, certainly.

Probably the finest entry in Specsavers’ ‘Should have gone to Specsavers’ series of ads, ‘Collywobble’ looks to restore that balance using the keening lament of Mo Ghile Mear, composed in the 17th century and sung here by Una Palliser, to soundtrack a film set in rural Ireland. The poem itself mourns the lost cause of Bonnie Prince Charlie, though the ad’s content – delivered in moody black and white – is rather less dramatic.

Filmed in the Faroe Islands in a freezing February, Specsavers’ in-house crew, led by director Chris Palmer, captured the wry ad with just three hours of daylight to work with. It was so cold on set, creative director Graham Daldry later recalled, that a nearby waterfall froze solid.

Like many of the public’s favorite ads, ‘Collywobble’ hits because it’s gently funny. A put-upon protagonist in the form of the farmer’s sheepdog, a deft punchline and that final shot of the bemused shepherd all help land this as one of the best ads for humor ever produced.

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