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The question presupposes TV watchers and TV watchers who like commercials. One very compelling reason that I do not own a television is that I find commercials grew more and more intrusive and annoying over the decades. The beginning stages of this change can be seen in the commercials of The Dick Van Dyke Show, still available on DVD. In the early shows, Van Dyke delivered the commercials himself as the star's personal "endorsement" of the show's "sponsor's" product. In later episodes, the personal endorsements of sponsor's products were replaced by pre-filmed commercials showcasing the "advertiser's" product.
The funniest commercial I've seen on TV in a long time was the one that Justin Bieber did for Macy's. It was aired during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. On it, Justin was trying to find the Black Friday party at Macy's and asked his chauffeur and several Macy's employees about it. They all screamed like girls as soon as they realized it was him! I laughed and laughed!
Let me ask everyone--was it supposed to make fun of our young girls who swoon and pander over these young rock stars? Maybe so, but it made for good entertainment. It didn't make me like Justin Bieber any better, but all in all, the commercial made me want to shop at Macy's. Now wasn't that the advertiser's main purpose?
I must admit that I do secretly find guilty pleasure in TV ads, as they are often very clever and slickly made. It is really interesting to analyse such TV ads and consider how they use persuasive language and images to persuade us that they offer the best product and we should buy that particular product. At their heart, TV ads are made to exploit us, and it is important that we are aware of how this works.
Television ads are often among the most inventive and entertaining things on TV. I look forward to each new Geico commercial, for instance; they are often very clever. The one about the pig in the back seat of the car was especially good. There is a whole series of advertisements about the so-called "Trunk Monkey" auto device; they are hilarious and can easily be found on YouTube.
I can't say it is a "favorite" television ad, but I am always profoundly moved by the television ads done by singer Sarah Mclachlan for the ASPCA where there are super sad pictures of sad and abused animals passing on the screen as the song "Angel" can be heard in the faint background and Sarah Mclachlan herself is speaking over the music to tell some horrible statistics about the number of animals that are abused and abandoned in the United States. That ad is the perfect mix of ethos, pathos and logos -- it makes me sad every time I see it (but not enough to go out and adopt a shelter pet). We do donate to various local shelters when the opportunity is easily available.
I would have to say that the "Above the Influence" commercials are the most impacting. While some are very disturbing, which they should be, they are effective. My children always watch them and ask me if life is really like "that" for drug and alcohol users. My straight-forward answer is yes. As for commercials which make me want to buy something, I cannot think of any. I simply get things I need--nothing more.
I would say that one of the most effective ads of any company that I have ever seen comes from Apple. They are geniuses when it comes to any of their advertising campaigns. Let me offer a few examples.
In the 1995 they started an advertising campaign about being creative. It was their "Think Differently" campaign. This created a market among creative people and educators. What Apple did specifically was to focus on people in history that they believed thought about the world in a different way. In their one minute commercial, they had pictures of people like Martin Luther King Jr., John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Ted Turner, Albert Einstein, and many other people. In this way, Apple was able to take the influence of such people and grafted it onto their brand.
Another very successful campaign was the "Switch to Apple" advertisement. Their commercials were very simple. One actor played a PC computer and the other actor played an Apple computer. Needless to say that actor who represented Apple took jabs at the PC. It was all in good humor, but it did send out a message that Apple computers were better.
In terms of effectiveness, Apple is one of the richest companies of the world. This says it all.
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