5 Most Iconic British Adverts of All Time

5 Most Iconic British Adverts of All Time

Research firm Katnar surveyed over 1000 consumers in the UK to find out what the nation deemed to be the most ‘iconic’ ad and the most ‘heartwarming’ ad of the past 60 years.

Hovis’ endearing ‘Boy on the Bike’ ad has beaten off competition from Cadbury, Levis and Smash to be crowned the most ‘iconic’ UK ad of all time.

‘The Bike Ride’, which tells the story of a little boy pushing a bike loaded with bread up a cobbled hill, was also found to be the most likely classic ad to pull on Brits’ heartstrings.

Hovis’ 45-year-old film, which is scored by the emotive sound of Antonín Dvorak’s New World, topped both categories. 22% said it was the most seminal ad and a further 15% said it was the commercial that made them most emotional.

Set in post-war Britain, directed by Sir Ridley Scott and created by Collett Dickenson Pearce (CDP) agency, the ad takes the viewer up Gold Hill as a bread boy struggles to get his bread-delivery bike up the steep slope on his round.

He then freewheels back down the hill to a voiceover: “like taking bread to top of the world – t’was a grand ride back though”.

When it came to the most iconic ads, 11% of Brits ranked Cadbury’s 2007 Gorilla ad, which featured an anthropomorphic gorilla drumming to Phil Collins ‘In the Air Tonight’, in second place.

It was closely followed by Coca Cola’s 1971 classic featuring young people singing I’d Like To Teach The World to Sing and Levi’s 1985 ‘Laundrette’ ad. The Smash Martians completed the top five.

1. Hovis ‘The Bike Ride’

2. Cadbury ‘Gorilla’

3. Coca Cola ‘Hilltop’

4. Levi’s ‘Launderette’

5. Smash ‘The Smash Martians’

In terms of the most heartwarming ads. Yellow Pages’ 1983 ‘JR Hartley’ advert, which tells the story of JR Hartley and his search for a copy his book, was ranked second with 19% of the vote.

John Lewis’s 2010 ‘Always A Woman’ clocked in at number three, while ‘Hilltop’ from Coca-Cola took fourth place. Cadbury came in at number five in the emotional stakes.