(Image: mavitech.com)

(Image: mavitech.com)

The 12 Greatest Advertising Movies Ever Made

by Maria Barnes

Marketing and advertising is an integral part of a successful business. If you don’t have a decently staged marketing system, you shouldn’t expect your sales profit increase. Of course, there might be some positive shifts, but not to the extent to make your business successful.

In this article we share our top 12 engaging advertising movies that solve several problems simultaneously:

  1. They allow you to have a great time;

  2. They allow you to highlight useful ideas whose implementation will increase your sales;

  3. They allow you to find motivation and new business ideas.

So, what are the 12 greatest advertising movies ever made? 


Thank You For Smoking, 2005

The main character in the film is Nick Naylor, a lobbyist. He promotes smoking and tries to convince Americans that tobacco is not harmful. It’s not the most pleasant job in the world, but Nick has succeeded in his business.

It all changes when the protagonist starts to doubt himself. In an interview, Nick says he’s only campaigning because he gets paid well and needs to raise his son. The film shows the life of large corporations and tells how marketing actually works there.


The Joneses, 2010

The Jones family is moving to one of the small towns in the United States. Its members are always dressed in style, look good, and use only the latest technologies.

The Joneses are the favorites of the neighbors and then of the whole town. But in reality, they’re not a real family, they’re merely actors playing their roles. They were hired by a marketing company, which thus advertises the “perfect life” with new products. This movie will probably make you question your values along with consumerism tendencies. 

“Among the huge number of movies, the favorite is “The Joneses.” It reminds viewers that advertising is not only a sales engine but also a big responsibility. The seemingly ordinary comedy shows a lot of truth – internal corporate relations and intrigues, a team that can pull up and makes a leader even the weakest person, and the thin line between career and personal values”, shares Kathleen Knight, Head of Data Research and Content Marketing at Linksmanagement professional link building company.


POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, 2011 

This documentary elaborates on the intricacies of advertising in films. It is no secret that many Hollywood movies are sponsored by well-known brands – manufacturers of drinks, personal devices, cars, etc. The viewer sees that his favorite hero uses Apple, and wants to buy products from this company. If you want to know how the studios and companies collaborate and why there are almost no movies without product placement, watch this film.


99 francs, 2007

The film tells the story of a cynical and mercantile advertiser Oktava. He has built a successful career, he has many women, money, and drugs. And the people in Octave’s eyes are just potential buyers, walking wallets. But soon he starts to be tormented by doubts: did he choose the right path? The film will help you to understand how companies influence people’s minds to sell their products. This movie, despite being quite absurdist, is giving a very truthful perspective on the realities of the advertising business.

Syrop, 2011

The main character of the movie is an ambitious guy, Scat. He dreams of working for a big company but has not made much progress within the field. Things change when one day he comes up with the idea of promoting a new energy drink. A big advertising agency has agreed to work with Scat, but the guy is facing unforeseen challenges. With time he understands that the big business world does not work the way he thought it did. But now it is not possible to retreat.


Crazy People, 1990

The comedy is about Emory, a talented advertiser who is on the verge of a nervous breakdown: he’s published some controversial ads in the press without photo retouching and without his superiors’ approval. 

Colleagues have decided that Emory has finally lost his mind and that he needs to be examined. So he ends up in a mental institution. But over time, his, as considered earlier, weird ads bring success to the company.

The management is trying to get their best employee back, but he actually enjoys his time at the madhouse, exploiting the situation to his favor. You will definitely enjoy watching this comedy with unpredictable plot twists.


What Women Want, 2000

This is another comedy about advertising. The main character of the film is Nick – a talented employee, who is about to be promoted. But the company has a new employee Darcy, who is ready to destroy the plans of the protagonist.

At this time Nike signs a contract with an advertising agency to promote a new line of women’s clothing. Since Darcy is a woman, management decides she’s better suited to the task.

Nick, frustrated and agitated, gets into the venture of trying to understand women better and, accidentally, gets electrocuted. After an accident, our protagonist wakes up with an amazing ability – he can hear the thoughts of all women. Now he passes Darcy’s ideas off as his own and uses his newly acquired gift to get the job. This sparkling comedy proves how important it is to understand the audience you’re working with.


Český sen, 2004

This film is the graduation work of two Czech students. They created a fictional hypermarket, launched an advertising campaign, and constructed a store facade. As a result, 3,000 people came to the opening of the props store. “Český sen” – is a reminder of bizarre realities of the world we live in and the impact that advertising has on us. Just so you know, after this movie you will look at the advertising schemata differently. 


No Logo: Brands, Globalization and Resistance, 2003

This is another documentary about advertising. It tells about its dark side – the negative impact on human consciousness. The main message of the film is as follows: in the age of globalization, advertising is taking over more and more public space and depriving the buyer of the opportunity to make their own choices. The film explains why product quality is less important than the image of the brand in the consumer’s head.


Art & Copy, 2009

This movie tells about the world’s most famous advertisers. Yes, many of them are widely known only in narrow circles within the industry, but their work has influenced each of us. The film tells us how the world’s most renowned advertisers came up with world-famous logos “Just Do It”, “I Love NY”, “Think Different”. This movie is a great source of inspiration for any advertiser or marketer.


Viktor Vogel — Commercial Man, 2001

We have almost reached the end of our list, and want to mention one more flick about an advertising agency. Everything turned upside down in a large advertising agency when a substantial client – a car concern “Opel” appeared on the horizon. Everybody wants to get an order, but nobody has any fresh ideas for their product promotion. At this moment an artist Victor Vogel accidentally wanders into the office. He gets into a meeting with the client and causes a furor with absolute unconventionality of his behavior. So, the film is about a young and rather clumsy guy who was commissioned to develop an advertising campaign for a new model of “Opel”. From the film, you can learn about advertising budgets of large concerns, as well as look into the difference between advertising and art.


The Century of the Self, 2002

The last one on our list we will describe with words by Paul Mazur, a senior partner at Lehman Brothers, printed in the Harvard Business Review in 1927: “We must shift America from a needs, to a desires culture. People must be trained to desire, to want new things even before the old had been entirely consumed. We must shape a new mentality in America. Man’s desires must overshadow his needs.” 

The movie will tell you why there’s so much sex in advertising today. And why it always plays on our hidden desires.


It was hard to choose the greatest advertising movies, but we did it. As you can see, our article has both old and relatively new ones. Enjoy watching them!



Marie Barnes is a writer for gearyoda. She is an enthusiastic blogger interested in writing about technology, social media, work, travel, lifestyle, and current affairs. Follow her on Medium.