7 Most Engaging Commercials of 2018

The year isn’t over yet, but already we’ve seen some amazing short-form commercials come our way. Both television and the internet have become home to some of the most amazing advertising campaigns and we wanted to highlight a few of our favorites from 2017-2018.
(Want to see our updated list for 2020? Check it out here!)

In each, take note of what makes the commercial a good one — the story? The characters? The quality or style? Use these elements when you start planning your next video marketing campaign.

Ask these 24 questions before hiring your next production partner.

Without further ado, here are our picks for the best commercials of 2018.

  • HP — “Little Moments”
  • Mcdonald’s — “Behold, the Micro Mac”
  • Tide — “It’s a Tide Ad”
  • Qualcomm — “Ignore This”
  • Instagram — “Stories are Everywhere”
  • Intuit — “Giant Skip Ad”
  • Burger King — “Bullying Jr.”

7. Little Moments

Commercials that try too hard to tug at your heartstrings can often come off as cheesy or inauthentic. Not the case with this video by HP, a lovely commercial that shows a dad trying to connect with his adolescent daughter. It’s a tearjerker that uses a strong narrative and a character arc to showcase the product, a small photo printer that connects to your mobile phone. Though the product isn’t front and center, it is a major tool that helps move the story along. When you see the surprise ending, we dare your eyes not to water.

6. Behold, the Micro Mac

This commercial wasn’t our favorite — it’s odd and actually a little confusing. That was until we read the fine print: “This is the legal line, where we’re legally required to inform you: April fools. The Micro Mac is not and never will be real. But we totally made you want one didn’t we?” You got us, Mickey D’s. It’s intriguing and keeps branding strong throughout. They also did a great job incorporating this into a larger marketing campaign that included online advertising and other commercials, like this amazing tiny-kitchen edition of the making of the Micro Mac.

5. It’s a Tide Ad

This ad is great in part because of its self-awareness. Aired during the 2018 Super Bowl, it expertly makes fun of popular Super Bowl commercial tropes, like car ads and diamond jeweler ads, but turns the format on its head by breaking the fourth wall and telling the audience that they’re actually watching a Tide ad — you can tell because of the clean clothes. It’s humorous and the montage of scenes makes the commercial easily adaptable for any distribution channel or length.

4. Ignore This (Beatbox Version)

This is another amazingly self-aware commercial that banks on the fact that most people just don’t watch commercials anymore. Providing an interesting, albeit ignorable, background of sound, Qualcomm highlights that everything you do while ignoring a commercial, like watching video, ordering food, and more, is facilitated by them. This is a hilarious awareness campaign that doesn’t rely on storytelling or characters to impart their message; Instead, they use a funny scenario and, by challenging the viewer to ignore it, you can’t help but be drawn in even more.

3. Stories Are Everywhere

This commercial is funny, it’s memorable, and it shows off Instagram’s new Stories feature in a unique way. What more could you ask for? This, like the Tide ad, is also cut into a montage of scenes that not only makes the commercial easily editable, but shows just how multifunctional Stories can be. It’s creative and makes you want to create a Story of your own, and that to us marks the success of this video.

2. Giant Skip Ad

There are actually a few things that make this commercial great — it’s a short, simple commercial that doesn’t try to accomplish too much. The message is spot on: Just like Intuit software can save you time processing paperwork and financials, this commercial is saving you time by skipping ahead. More than that though, this commercial also serves as a teaser to Intuit’s longer 4-minute animated short, a beautiful video that uses narrative storytelling and characters to personify their products. It’s a fully integrated marketing campaign that they don’t actually force onto the viewer. They pique your interest and drive you to go online to learn more. It’s a fun commercial that does something amazingly well — drives viewers to be active participants in the advertising experience.

1. Bullying Jr.

Sorry, McDonald’s, this Burger King commercial is unlike any we’ve seen before. Though it’s longer than we’d typically recommend, it captures your attention from the very beginning and packs an incredibly sensitive scenario into a short amount of time. And the balance of humor, branding, and emotional appeal is unexpectedly perfect, an unusual feat for something that could easily feel more like an after-school PSA. It’s powerful, it’s well done, and it leaves you with a strong, positive brand association. Plus, it’s an excellent demonstration of the power of real-life testimonials.

Want to make your own commercial? We can help you develop your video marketing strategy. Talk to our creative experts, who are ready to help you craft the video you’ve always wanted. Schedule a free 15-minute creative call today.

Laura Cueva

Laura Cueva