It's not just what the ad is, but rather the way it forces you to reconsider what a good ad is and whether it is all about "wow" cinematography, tear-jerking story lines or simply a message that people can recall. It reminds me a little of the way Apple went back to just showing their product with someone dancing around the screen. Everything was about the product -- no story line or storytelling, just cool producing and a funky dance.
So if you were asked the best ad of the year, you'd probably start comparing Christmas ads and wondering if Guinness had another stunning visual piece of cinematography this year. The answer is a little more mundane.
Drumroll please. And the winner is -- two twins sitting at a table taking different remedies for heartburn. It's the classic stuff of afternoon tv where quiz and game shows that people of working age don't quite understand are interrupted by messages from the providers of walk-in baths and funeral insurance.
However, I kid you not. The snazzily title of "Tim and Tom at Dinner Table" is the best ad of the year, according to Nielsen's annual study, which ranks a campaign by its "net impact potential" score. This doesn't look at whether it is well shot or spins a great yarn, but simply whether people remember the ad and can attribute it to the correct brand. Gaviscon's "Tim and Dom" ad tops the chart for 2017 with the ad where M&Ms are being eaten in bed and KFC chicken pieces fall into a basket were a joint second.
It's worth cautioning that this is impact potential. It doesn't measure impact on any, say, net promoter scores, awareness or favourability. It simply asks people to recall an ad and remember where it came from. It's also worth pointing out that this is possibly the best way to judge the success of an ad. I don't know about you, but there are plenty of ads I think are shot beautifully and elicit an emotional response, but I don't always remember which brand they are promoting.
I have to be honest -- as I look down the top ten ads in the Nielsen league table, I can't say I particularly like a single one. For example, that Trebor ad where a son tells his dad he prefers soft mints and the comedian talking about the latest leg of his P&O cruise are a joint fourth.
However, I have to be honest and admit that although I don't particularly like the ads, when you see their name and the brand they promote, you instantly recall the ad -- so something is working, even if the creative department hasn't gone into overdrive.