By Mark Nobes and Hannah Johnson

On this page, you can watch an ever-growing, nostalgic collection of British TV ads from the 1980s. One or more of these are sure to jog your memory, and here are some more details about each of the ads in our hand-picked playlist, which I hope you may remember from back in the day...

KIA ORA "I'll Be Your Dog" TV ADVERT (1987)

The Kia Ora advert is one of the more memorable old ads from the eighties. It's a clever animation, and particularly so when the sun grabs the cloud underneath and rinses it out, pouring Kia Ora into the glass of the black character in the sun hat. He tells the crow who is following him "It's too orangey for crows. It's just for me and my dog". "I'll be your dog", replies the crow. We then see several crows who start barking in time to the music, and that tune has stuck in my head evers ince! You can still buy Kia-Ora fruit squash drinks in 2023.

Kia Ora advert from 1987 with cartoon crow


Who remembers having a bath with Matey when they were young? No, I'm not talking about Rolf Harris. Matey is a bubble bath that is still being sold today, although the design of the bottle is very different these days. This advert from the eighties featuring the voice of Kenny Everett. When I was a child I was crazy about bubbles, and I used to really work up a lather when the taps were running so that I could hide underneath the bubbles - happy days!

1970s Matey Bubble Bath
A 1970s bottle of Matey

Colgate "Baggy Trousers"80s TV Advert

Colgate toothpaste has always been one of the most recognised brands, and was the no.1 choice for many back in the 80s, just as it is today. Do you remember this fun TV advert from yesteryear? It featured kids advertising Colgate 'Blue Minty Gel' to the tune of Madness 'Baggy Trousers'. I particularly like the lyrics to this one.

FOSTERS LAGER Advert with Paul Hogan

There were many UK ads featuring the famous Australian actor, Paul Hogan and they always ended on a humorous note. In this one, Paul is in a traditional British pub, with a man playing old time Cockney tunes on a piano behind him. He asks the pianist "Know any Rolf Harris, mate?". "No, sorry Guv" comes the reply. "Looks like we're in for a good evening then", replies Paul. 

Paul Hogan and Linda Kozlowski in Crocodile Dundee 2

Fly Fishing by J. R. Hartley (Yellow Pages Ad)

This is one of the best known ads from the 1980s, and it's very touching. It features the fictional writer J. R. Hartley (played by Norman Lumsden) searching for a supplier of his old book Fly Fishing. It was first shown in 1983, and was used to advertise British Telecom's Yellow Pages directory, which lists the landline phone numbers of local businesses. 

Fly Fishing by J. R. Hartley - 80s Advert for Yellow Pages

Yellow Pages Racing Bike Advert

I have another classic here which features a young lad who desperately wants a racing bike. I could really relate to this advert, as I also wanted a racing bike just a few years earlier. The boy's Dad pretends to be not keen on the idea and gives the lad a lecture on how bikes were better when he was a lad "I remember when bikes were bikes..." However, the lads' parents use the Yellow Pages to order a bike for him, and at the end of the ad we see the boy riding on his new racing bike. The slogan at this time was "Good old Yellow Pages".

Kinder Humpty Dumpty Advert

This advert had many kids hiding under the sofa when it aired in the early 80s. It features a creepy Humpty Dumpty who speaks in a bizarre "chocadooby" language.  However, for those of us who didn't need a life time of therapy after watching it, it was actually hilarious, and I remember being in pain with laughter after watching it for the first time with a friend. See Disturbing Ads from the 80s
Eric Bristow Dart Game £7.99 advert by Woolworth

Woolworth's Christmas Advert 1983

Christmas just hasn't been the same since the demise of Woolworths, and I actually used to look forward to watching their TV adverts at Christmas. Joe Brown (Father of singer Sam Brown) is the ringmaster, who introduces us to the "Spectacular Woolworth's Christmas Show". There are memories galore, including EMI CX2 Super Chrome blank cassettes, Pickwick Tell-a-Tale, Sony CHF90 Tapes (Pack of 5), Braun GC2 hair styler, Fisher Price Activity Centre, Speak and Spell Learning Aid, a Vectrex console, ladies knitwear, an Eric Bristow Dart Game, Homepac Video Unit, a Remington Pop Corn Maker, Alba 14" colour TV with remote control, Quality Street in a jar, a Commodore Vic-20 home computer, and a Brut 33 Gift Set (and Daley Thompson, although he's not for sale, obviously!).
Maureen Lipman in British Telecom Ology Advert

British Telecom Ology Advert

This classic Ology BT advert features Maureen Lipman as Beattie, who is on the landline phone to congratulate her grandson Anthony for his exam results, whilst finishing off a celebration cake . Unfortunately, he failed almost all of them, apart from pottery "people always need plates" and sociology. Beattie is delighted, and tells Anthony "An ology. He gets an ology and he says he's failed. You get an ology, you're a scientist!". 

I hope you have enjoyed our hand-picked selection of some of the best ads from the 80s.