The Annual 2011: Top 10 celebrity ads

O2 'get up for England' by VCCP
O2 'get up for England' by VCCP

No celebrity list would be complete without at least one mention of David Beckham, but welcome appearances from Einstein, Van Damme and Madness brought some blessed variety this year.

1. 02 England rugby team

VCCP's O2 ad went beyond the usual rugby cliches to deliver a warm and humorous spot that stirred up a sense of passion that was unfortunately lacking on the pitch during England's Rugby World Cup campaign. A rare example of a sports team seemingly pleased to be involved in an ad.

2. Lucozade, Travis Barker, Katie Taylor and Tinie Tempah

Grey's first campaign for Lucozade exploded on to TV screens early in the year, thanks to energetic displays from three high-octane performers. The Blink-182 drummer Barker and the Irish boxer Taylor may not be the biggest names out there, but they joined the rap sensation Tinie Tempah to create a lively ad that brilliantly introduced the energy drink's new "yes" positioning.

3. Save the Children, David Beckham, Darcey Bussell, Albert Einstein and more

It may be archive footage of Beckham and co rather than them actually starring in this ad directly, but Adam & Eve's use of their talents at the heart of this TV spot was a clever and powerful way to highlight why everyone should have the opportunity to live through childhood and go on to fulfil their potential.

4. Coors Light, Jean-Claude Van Damme

"Yes, I am Van Damme." Five simple words that kicked off VCCP's campaign, which caused grown men everywhere to hail the return of one of the all-time greatest action-movie heroes. The Double Impact star experienced frozen pants, sweaty bears and talkative nipples in an entertaining series of ads that highlighted the ice-cold refreshment of a Coors Light.

5. Visa, Phillips Idowu and co

There is now just months to go until London 2012, and the majority of Olympic-themed ads so far have left a lot to be desired. But Visa bucked the trend earlier this year with an enjoyable spot, created by Saatchi & Saatchi, that highlighted the work ethic and commitment that Great Britain's athletes are putting in as they prepare for the Games.

6. Specsavers, Gordon Ramsay

Specsavers ads have always been ones to look out for and, this year, the optician managed to go so far as to even make Ramsay appear likeable. Staying unusually quiet for once, it's the horrified look on the chef's face when the naked man appears in his kitchen that really makes the spot.

7. Aviva, Paul Whitehouse

OK, so Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO's Aviva campaign starring Whitehouse has been a bit hit and miss, but one spot means Whitehouse has good reason to be included in this list. The ad sees The Fast Show actor tug at the heartstrings as he watches his family prepare for a holiday following his untimely death.

8. Kronenbourg 1664, Madness

The second in Bartle Bogle Hegarty's award-winning "slow the pace" campaign for Kronenbourg, the Madness spot mixed a healthy dose of British humour with a reworked version of Baggy Trousers that had its fans salivating.

9. Direct Line, Chris Addison and Alexander Armstrong

Already an adland favourite as the face of Pimm's, Armstrong joined the comedian Addison in M&C Saatchi's campaign that helped give Direct Line a human face after years of ads with the animated red phone.

10. Foster's, Holly Valance

You might think that Valance has Strictly Come Dancing to thank for helping her get back on UK television, but it was Foster's and Adam & Eve that got there first. The former Neighbours star puts in a cheeky performance to help launch the brand's Gold variant.

Start Your Free 30-Day Free Trial

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to, plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events.

Become a subscriber


Don’t miss your daily fix of breaking news, latest work, advice and commentary.

register free