7 May 2020 | Written by Lydia Twohill

Top 7 Iconic Kiwi Ads Part II

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Top 7 Iconic Kiwi Ads Part II

There’s nothing quite like a super catchy TV ad to bring the country together! No matter which generation you’re from or how much attention you’ve paid to ads – you’ll surely have some favourite commercials that come to mind. New Zealand has been blessed with many great (or not so great depending on how you look at them!) adverts over the years, many of which have the power to make us laugh, cry and buy! Little works of art if you will. Without the exuberant budgets of large overseas ad campaigns, New Zealand directors and writers have had to be relentlessly resourceful and use a healthy dose of true Kiwi initiative. There’s a clever idea at the heart of each of them, which has firmly grounded them in Kiwi Pop culture.

Settle in and prepare for a walk down memory lane, with 7 local favourites with everything from the milky bar kid, a good dose of rural vs city humour, ghost chips and a runaway pooch called Spot…

1. Spot – Telecom – 1991

This beloved Jack Russell Terrier starred in over 40 ads for Telecom between 1991 and 1998 – a very impawtent pooch indeed.The adverts are cast on an epic scale, each featuring Spot’s raw talent. From plunging into a pool to skateboarding – Spot could do it!

2. Make it click – McDonalds – 1990’s

A catchy jingle that every Kiwi could without a doubt recite! The fast food conglomerate McDonald’s was one of the first to create a driver safety ad that wasn’t full of screaming and gorey graphics in the 90’s. Instead, they opted for a bright and fun ad, accompanied by a VERY catchy jingle. Complete with police singing along, the whole family is encouraged to “Make it click!” by fastening their seat belts – “whether they were going near or far”.

3. Good Things Take Time – Mainland – 1991

A nostalgic tug on the heart strings with some good old fashioned Kiwi humour thrown in. This ad likens the time it takes to form a quality friendship, to the time it takes to age a good Mainland cheese. The ad spans across changing seasons, showing a friendship developing and the main characters aging. The voiceover is an old man providing commentary on his friendship with the other man. Definitely a feel-good/warm cosies type ad!

4. Crumpy and Scotty (1982)

Undoubtedly one of New Zealand’s favourite ad campaigns. The first of the Crumpy and Scotty commercials, this ad showcases two cliches – Barry Crump, the typical rough around the edges no nonsense country guy and Scotty – the ‘wimp’ from the city. Barry Crump takes Scotty on a wild off-road adventure through the New Zealand bush in the latest model of a Toyota Hilux at the time. These ads continued for 12 years!

5. Milky Bar Kid – 1992

“The Milky bars are on me!”. Sound familiar? The famous line announced by the blond-haired, blue-eyed young boy wearing glasses – aptly named the Milkybar Kid. Numerous child actors have now played the famous character, with the ad having been around since the 90’s!

6. Dear John – BASF Cassette Tapes – 1981

This seriously old school ad was made on an absolute shoestring budget, with milk bottle silver caps acting as the soldiers dog tags and a Wellington quarry standing in as a Korean war-zone setting. We reckon it still holds it’s humor to this day!

7. Legend (Ghost Chips) – Road Safety – 2011

Much newer to the scene and certainly an ad now firmly ingrained in Kiwi pop culture is this 2011 anti-drink driving ad campaign. Countless memes, parodies,  over a million YouTube views and new Kiwi slang resulted from this iconic ad.

You’ve likely found yourself using lines from the ad over the years such as “you know I can’t garb your ghost chips”, “Monique says you’re dumb”, “puzzle time!” and the legendary “I’ve been internalizing a really complicated situation in my head”. 

Have you got some iconic Kiwi ad favorites? Let us know in the comments below! 

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