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The best B2B ads of all time

B2B advertising has a reputation for being boring, dry, and unworthy of attention from the ad world. Not only is that untrue, but that narrative does a disservice to all of us in B2B marketing. We can and do make phenomenal work that’s worthy of recognition.

We’ve collected some of our favorite B2B ads of all time below. Did I miss your favorite? Let me know.

HP - The Wolf

B2B is not known for wide use of celebrity spokespeople. HP looked at what everyone else was doing, and said, “But what if we brought in Christian Slater to talk about the security of your office’s printers?”

Heck yes. The main spot features Christian Slater as The Wolf, talking directly to camera and walking viewers through how easy it can be to bypass your network’s security through something as simple as an unsecured printer. Slater is perfectly cast and keeps viewers watching a 6-minute (!!) spot about printer security.

The original Wolf campaign ran in 2017. In early 2021, HP rebooted the campaign to focus on network security for employees working from home.

Just like the original campaign, Slater walks viewers through how easy it is for hackers to make their way onto unsecure devices. This time, the rogue click comes from a teenager using his mom’s work laptop. It’s scary because it’s true.

SAP - Let's Do This

Not many B2B companies take advantage of the instant star power and memorability you get with a celebrity. Clive Owen is perfectly suited for this well-written spot for SAP. It's funny without trying too hard, engaging, and well-paced.

Adobe - Click, Baby, Click

Metrics are everywhere in 21st century businesses, but are you making the right decisions based on them? This brilliant spot by Adobe features a CEO making big moves based on an increase in clicks… that might not mean anything.

This spot works because it’s entertaining, but with a real business pain point underpinning the whole thing. Taking a simple scenario to a humorous extreme to prove a point is a well-worn tactic in B2C advertising, but seen less often in B2B.

Marketing executives can see themselves as both the CEO making the wrong call AND as the lower level employees presenting bad information to the boss. The spot shows that even risk averse folks need to implement new analysis tools.

Slack - So Yeah, We Tried Slack

This spot has a simple premise: What if the agency you hired to make a commercial about your product tried it first? And then make a spot about their positive experience with it?

This spot is so effective because it centers the happy client (Sandwich Video), and not Slack the product. The product and its features are infused throughout, but they’re never presented in a boring list. Instead, the viewer is ostensibly following Sandwich’s journey through implementation.

Oh, and it’s funny. People like funny.

Dissolve - This is a Generic Brand Video

It takes a lot of guts to promote your product by making fun of people who use (or misuse) your product.

With this spot, Dissolve promotes their video stock footage library by taking a satire script for a B2B brand video, originally written for the humor site McSweeny’s, and creating the real video version. In doing so, they make fun of B2B marketers everywhere who have created these generic stock footage videos for their companies. And yet, the whole thing is showing how beautiful their product can be.

This spot was released way back in 2014 and has over 2.7 million views. It still gets shared regularly on social media, and look at me still writing about it. The value that this spot has brought to Dissolve for years is incalculable.

Zendesk - “I like it when he gives me the business”

Do I love this spot because it’s a reference to one of my favorite movies? Perhaps. It’s also funny and honest about how the relationship between a business and its customer can be a lot like a romantic relationship. Without quality customer service, you risk her badmouthing you to her friends, her sister, and her 41,000 Twitter followers.

Zendesk, a customer service platform, needs to convince businesses to invest in their customer service. They continued this theme a few years later with the short and sweet “Relationships are complicated” campaign.

Neither campaign feels the need to hit the viewer over the head with product features. It’s all about the end benefit: investing in that customer service relationship.

What we can learn from the best B2B ads

Make your customer the hero.
While your product might have solved the problem, it’s the client who really saved the day. Your product is the guide and the tool. The customer is the hero.

Don’t be afraid of humor.
Funny and light-hearted spots are memorable and easy to watch. Too many B2B brands think humor is somehow alienating.

Put your features and benefits in the backseat. Center your customer’s problems.
Save your features and benefits for the sales sheet. Your ad should center your prospect’s problems and pain points.

A good spot has legs.
A high-quality ad is not only memorable, but it keeps working for you. Investing in creative supports your brand for years.

Want more great B2B ads? Check out our list of the best B2B ads of 2021 and the best B2B ads of 2022.





Picture of Guy bauer, founder of umault

Guy has been making commercial videos for over 20 years and is the author of “Death to the Corporate Video: A Modern Approach that Works.” He started the agency in 2010 after a decade of working in TV, film and radio. He’s been losing hair and gaining weight ever since.

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