The Drum Awards Festival - Extended Deadline

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By John McCarthy, Opinion editor

June 14, 2022 | 3 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.

Amazon wanted more people to use its range of smart devices, and came to the conclusion that there is no better way to showcase Alexa’s capabilities than remove them – absence does make the heart fonder. Carly Simon’s Bond theme Nobody Does It Better sets the scene for ‘Alexa Loses Her Voice’.

In 2018, this 90-second Super Bowl spot showed the power of Alexa by muzzling her. A cavalcade of famous faces such as Cardi B, Gordon Ramsay, Rebel Wilson and Anthony Hopkins all tried their darndest to replicate the helpfulness of Alexa (largely unsuccessfully).

Many viewers will have heard their virtual assistant coughing and ‘losing her voice’ in the days up to the big game, and at the time we were so impressed we crowned it Ad of the Day.

As the first-ever Super Bowl ad from Lucky Generals, it kicked off an agency relationship that’s still operating to this day. D1, Amazon’s in-house creative unit, also takes a credit on the work.

The ad is packed with an array of Easter treats, including Hopkins nodding to his Hannibal Lector character in the company of a majestic peacock (for some reason).

Meanwhile, Ramsay berates a man asking Alexa how to make a grilled cheese, Cardi B wonders why anyone would want to go to Mars after a teen asks how far it is to the planet, and Wilson, in a sudsy tub, talks dirty to a man who has asked Alexa to set the mood at his dinner party.

The spot aired in the fourth quarter across the US and included a cameo from Amazon chief executive officer Jeff Bezos, who has since stepped away from leading the business.

The very best ads are events unto themselves and advertisers must go above and beyond to stand out during the try-hard Super Bowl. Director Wayne McClammy, who’s created many of Amazon’s most cinematic ads amid a scrum of high-budget video game and Transformers spots, helps remind us how important Alexa’s voice is. He was aided by production company Hungry Man. Media was bought by Initiative, while The Mill delivered SFX including the peacock.

Michael Boychuk, Amazon executive creative director, said: “We’re always trying to innovate on behalf of our customers and even though I think we’ve proved conclusively that nobody could ever replace Alexa, we hope that viewers have as much fun watching this as we had making it.”

Danny Brooke-Taylor, executive creative director and founder of Lucky Generals, commented: “The Super Bowl is advertising’s noisiest day of the year, so it takes a brave client to lose its most iconic voice. Massive props to the entire team at Amazon for their unwavering desire to create something brilliant.”

The campaign extended with supporting 30-second spots featuring Leslie Jones, JB Smoove and Rebel Wilson. It was the most-viewed Super Bowl ad in 2018 on YouTube (albeit likely with a huge paid budget).

This came a mere two years after Amazon’s Super Bowl debut with Alec Baldwin in Baldwin Bowl.

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