These stellar ads from across the ages have a lot to teach creatives today. That’s why over the last few months we’ve been pulling together guides to the finest commercials of previous decades, from the 1930s to the 2020s. 

From whimsical illustrations to blockbuster TV ads to groundbreaking social media campaigns, these adverts have not only captivated audiences but also shaped the very fabric of our society. Now, in this article, we’re reaching into our repository of the best adverts by decade to bring you a carefully curated selection of the best ads overall.

“This ad wasn’t just a beacon of hope in the midst of a pandemic,” says Shelley Adamson, creative director at UNIT9. “It was also a work of visual mastery, at a time before Gen AI was widely available to help. A message of togetherness is reinforced by the seamless joining of contextually different frames, while perseverance is embodied in the knowledge someone probably spent hundreds of hours scouring through footage to find just the right moments.”