Moving, provocative and inspiring – we pick the 10 best ads of 2014 that make you watch from beginning to end.

The best advertisements don’t tell you what you already know – they make you want to know more. They intrigue and inspire, stir emotions that you wouldn’t have associated with the product or service being advertised. Some make you think about what you’re really looking at and can even change your point of view. But, best of all, they make you watch right until the end – because when they’re this good, they’re more than just ads.

Unsung Hero

Published on YouTube on April 3, 2014
Views: 23,113,888 (Dec 10, 2014)
Advertiser: Thai Life Insurance
Agency: Ogilvy & Mather, Bangkok
Production: Phenomena
Director: Thanonchai “Tor” Sornsriwichai

Thai Life Insurance has mastered the art of making viewers bawl over their beautifully produced heart-warming ads about do-gooders making a difference. But Unsung Hero trumps them all. And yet it all begins so unassumingly: we see a young man who does random acts of kindness for strangers that he meets – even a potted plant gets a helping hand. Yet he expects nothing in return. While others view him with suspicion or dismiss him as stupid, his good deeds get vindicated in the end. And that’s when just makes you want to go out there and save the world – after you’ve sopped up all your tears, that is.

Most Shocking Second a Day

Published on YouTube on March 5, 2014
Views: 43,203,466 (Dec 10, 2014)
Advertiser: Save The Children
Agency: Don’t Panic, London
Production: Unit 9
Director: Martin Stirling

It’s not an easy thing to get people to care about a war that’s happening in another part of the world. But what if the situation was reversed and it’s you and your loved ones who are dodging bombs and fleeing for your lives? This provocative ad, targeted at British viewers, starts innocently enough, as a girl – played by Lily-Rose Aslandogdu – blows out candles on her birthday cake. But the one-second clips of her normal life gradually turn into a nightmare as Britain is plunged into a civil war. By the end of the ad, the girl – robbed of everything – looks straight into the camera with haunted eyes. The message is clear: she could be any one of us.