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Lunch Bar Advert

This year marks the 30th commemoration of South Africa’s democratic dispensation. The 27th of April holds a greater significance this year as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of our nation’s first democratic election.

The Evolution of Television Advertising

Since 1994 a lot of things have changed. We didn’t have ad blockers or streaming services like we do today. Instead, television was king, and we eagerly tuned in to watch our favorite shows, interrupted every 10-15 minutes by a string of advertisements. However, those commercials weren’t just interruptions; they were part of the experience. We’d sing along, mimic the characters, and sometimes even look forward to them more than the shows themselves – something the kids of today would never understand.

Fast forward to today, and while TV has undergone significant changes with the rise of platforms like Showmax, Netflix, and HBO, one thing remains constant in South African television – adverts. If anything, they’ve become better and more creative over the years.

Going back to where it all started in 1941, when Bulova watches launched the first ever television commercial, marking the beginning of a new era of advertising. Those early moments laid the groundwork for the imaginative ads we see today, captivating audiences and leaving a lasting impression.

Top 30 TV Commercials: Iconic Ads That Defined an Era

As we celebrate 30 years of democracy, it’s the perfect time to take a trip down memory lane and revisit some of South Africa’s most beloved TV commercials. Below, are our top 30 TV commercials that hold a special place in the hearts of millennials and would now would bring smiles to faces across the nation.

Starting off with a powerful television commercial that delves into the imagination of a child and features his toy car. The ad has been named the most-loved SA television commercial ever.

  1. Sasol: Amaglug-glug

Sasol’s famous “Glug Glug” commercial is a timeless favourite that still holds the title as South Africa’s most cherished TV commercial, even decades after its debut.

2. Cremora: It’s not inside, it’s on top!

Who could forget the classic Cremora ad? With humour and charm, it follows a husband’s futile search for the coffee creamer, only to be enlightened by his wife’s simple yet unforgettable phrase, “it’s not inside, it’s on top!”

3. Cadbury’s Lunchbar: What kind of a Mac are you?

This gem of an ad brings together comedy and cultural diversity as it pits a skinny Zulu man against a burly Scotsman in a series of challenges. The punchline, “What kind of a Mac are you?” became  ingrained in South African pop culture, making it a standout commercial of its time.

In the ad, Makhathini from Maritzborough, the skinny Zulu man in a kilt that beat a hefty Scotsman in everything from tossing the caber to tug o’ war after a bite of Lunch Bar, “the much-more-munch bar”.

“I am a MacIntyre from Glasgow,” said the beaten Scotsman towering over him. “What kind of a Mac are you?” he asks. “I’m a Makhathini,” the skinny man replies.

“Makhathini? Ah, from Edinburgh I suppose?” the Scotsman asks. “No,” laughs Makhatini. “From Maritzborough.”

4. Doom – Funny Dancing Ad 

5. MTN – Umoya 

6. Castle Milk Stout – The Suitor

7. Chicken Licken – Home

8. Ingram’s Camphor Cream

9. Post Bank – Lobola

10. Med-Lemon 

11. SABC 1 – Yamampela

12. Coca Cola – Brrrr

13. Kiwi

14. Joko Tea

15. Telkom – Molo Mhlobo wam

16. Eskom- Izinyoka

17. Oros – Flavour Drums

18. Oreo Cookies

19. Nando’s – Idla Nathi

20. Cell C – Talk for free on weekends

21. KFC – Napkin

22. BMW – Beat the Bends

23. Simba – Simba Chippie

24. Mellow Wood – Kuze Kuse

25. Allan Gray 

26. Vodacom – Errol

27. Sta-Soft 

28. DSTV – Nathi Sinayo

29. Hansa Pilsener – Vuyo

30. Halls

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