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My Favourite Family Matters Commercials

This is one of my favourite advertising themes of all time. It involves insightful stories about the human truths of parent and child relationships that can often be highly entertaining or poignantly moving.

It is a great communications topic for creating brand kinships with memorable stories of family related anecdotes that resonate with warm empathy or understanding pathos in recognition of the emotional and testing times parents have in coping with their children, and children have in coping with their parents.

1. McDonald’s, Drive Thru

Advertising Agency: TBWA Chait Day, USA

This charming story, directed by Fredrik Bond, is a multi-award winning commercial that has become an advertising classic of note.

2. ‘Mum, Dad, I Have Something to Tell You’

Advertising Agency: Muhtayzik Hoffer, San Francisco, USA

Directed by John Matejcyk, this commercial is a great watch, and in case you have not seen the story before, I won’t reveal what the product or brand is because it will give away what that ‘something’ is.

3. Samsung Galaxy, The Way You Are

Advertising Agency: Leo Burnett, France

Didier Borgel Hansen directed this commercial that won an Epica Gold award for ‘Personal Electronics Devices’. It involves a social experiment to discover how teenagers would react to their parents having ten minutes of unrestricted access to their cellphone in return for a free trip to their desired holiday destination.

The trepidation and anxiety this caused for the teenagers is an insightful revelation about how much of our personal information is stored on our cellphones and what it can reveal about our lives, social morality and innermost thoughts.

4. Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, Swear Like a Mum

Advertising Agency: Crispin Porter + Bogusky (CP+B), Boulder, Colorado, USA

Directed by Hank Perlman this commercial amusingly is a break from the stereotypical depiction of the perfect role model Mum. It bravely highlights an insightful human truth that even the best Mums are sometimes imperfect Mums.

‘Swear Like a Mother’ motivated over 4 and a half million views in just nine days, and the campaign in total generated a staggering 387 million plus impressions worldwide.


5. HelloFlo and Always, First Moon Party

Written and directed by Jamie McClelland and Pete Marquis

This commercial is a lighthearted, insightful and bravely candid story about how one Mum coped with the emotionally delicate phase of her daughter’s biological development and peer group pressure.

6. V/Line, Guilt Trips

Advertising Agency: McCann Melbourne, Australia

Directed by Damien Toogood, the insightful concept of the advertising campaign for V/Line, the Regional Transport Company in Victoria, Australia, is about the guilt one invariably experiences by not spending as much time with one’s parents as they would probably like.

Many parents living in rural Australia find that once their children have moved to distant city hubs, they don’t visit often enough. This commercial is the story about how one mum amusingly found a solution, guilt.

7. V/Line, Guilt Trip Case Study

The commercial was part of a carefully planned and crafted integrated, multi-media campaign that won a Cannes Lion Grand Prix for Creative Effectiveness.

8. BGH Air Conditioners, Dads in Briefs

Advertising Agency: Del Campo Saatchi & Saatchi, Buenos Aires

I love this Cannes Gold Lion campaign winner about the unwelcome effect heat has on Dads. Rewardedly crafted by Argentinian directing duo Nico & Martin, the commercial resonated with great amusement for many viewers.

9. Hyundai Genesis, First Date

Advertising Agency: Innocean Worldwide, U.S.A.

Over-protective dads are always winning themes for parodies and this commercial is no exception. Peter Berg directed this humorous commercial about a particularly over-protective Dad brilliantly portrayed by actor Kevin Hart.

10. Audi A6, My Dad’s An Alien

Advertising Agency: Venables Bell & Partners, San Francisco, USA

I have always found this commercial, directed by Stacy Wall, highly amusing. A young girl comes to the conclusion affter observing her fathers strange behaviour and choice of a technologically advanced car, that from her keen pespective, he must be an alien.

11. Google Chrome, Jess Time

Advertising Agency: BBH, New York

What I love about this commercial is that it feels so heartwarmingly real. Directed by Nanette Burnstein, It is loaded with understated sentiment that is very effective.

For me it is also a reminder of how for granted we take Google’s milestone achievement today of enabling us to connect face to face, in real-time, with those we love even though they are in distant places.

12. Bell’s Whisky, The Reader

Advertising Agency: King James, Cape Town, South Africa

My list would be incomplete without the inclusion of this story about a very special Dad.

This much lauded, excellently crafted commercial was directed by Greg Gray and struck an emotive chord with many viewers.

The selling line “Give that man a Bell’s” became a metaphor for a well deserved token of honourable achievement and a popular South African catchphrase.