Nine of the best TV adverts from years gone by

The Smash martians were a popular sight on our TV screens in the 70s and 80s.

The Smash martians were a popular sight on our TV screens in the 70s and 80s.

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A new Milk Tray man was unveiled by Cadbury’s earlier this week and it’s got us thinking about old advertising campaigns that were really popular back in the day.

From memorable songs to catchy slogans, adverts stood out for a number of reasons.

Here’s nine of our favourites.

1. The PG Tips chimps - Everyone’s favourite primates were always getting themselves into scrapes and were on our screens from the late 1950s until 2002.

2. Shake n Vac - Who could forget the song? Once you heard this advert, you’d be humming the theme tune for hours, maybe even days! Watch it here.

3. Nescafe Gold Blend - The will they, won’t they romance between Tony and Sharon kept audiences gripped for six years. In fact, the advertising campaign was so popular, it even led to two music CDs being released. See it here

4. Bird’s Eye Potato Waffles - Another of those adverts that caught our attention with its music and slogan. After all, they are waffly versatile! Watch it here.

5. Oxo - For 16 years, a series of adverts based upon the lives of the fictional Oxo family, with Lynda Bellingham at the helm, captivated millions of us. We were eager to tune in and see the latest happenings but the adverts were scrapped in 1999 when they were deemed to no longer represent everyday life. Watch here.

6. Yellow Pages - One man’s search for a copy of Fly Fishing by J.R Hartley had us all gripped. Thankfully he managed to get hold of the book by the end of the ad, and it was all thanks to the Yellow Pages. Watch it here

7. Hovis - The classic advert showing the young lad delivering bread at the top of a steep hill and then cycling back down again is one we all remember. Watch it here.

8. BT - As well as Maureen Lipman, the BT adverts of the 1980s featured a host of famous faces including Richard Wilson and Caroline Quentin. Beatrice Bellman (Lipman) went on to star in more than 30 adverts for BT, proving hugely popular. See it here.

9. Smash - The Smash martians were on our screens in the 1970s and 80s, mocking humans for the way they prepared potatoes. The catchphrase ‘for mash, get smash’ is still perhaps one of the best known slogans in advertising. See it here.

Which of these was your favourite? Take our poll here.

Did you have a favourite advert that isn’t mentioned here? Let us know by emailing