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Breaking the boundaries: Four of the best live adverts

Following the Co-op's Christmas ad, four other times that brands went bold

The Co-op has become the latest brand to choose the advertising equivalent of the high-wire act - the live ad.

The Manchester-based retailer's first ever live advert aired during Friday's Coronation Street, with Dermot O’Leary and TV chef and rapper Big Zuu fronting a one-minute piece directly from a community centre in Feltham.

The aim was simple - to highlight the Co-op's support for community fridges, which are increasingly a source of fresh food and a means of reducing wastage.

But by pursuing such a high-risk creative strategy, the Co-op - supported by its agency, Lucky Generals - will have hoped to have achieved standout in what is a crowded Christmas campaign market.

The Co-op's first-ever live advert

Did they succeed? Certainly, a West London community centre is as far removed from the sparkle and escapism you usually associate with a big-name brand at Christmas, but then this is the kind of thing the Co-op specialises in.

The success or otherwise will be appraised when this Christmas period is complete.

But for now, let's look at four other bold live ads.

Virgin Holidays' Seize The Holiday live ad

Brand: Virgin Holidays
Agency: AMV BBDO
Campaign: Seize The Holiday

The biggest brand refresh in Virgin Holidays' 31-year history, this live ad called on 90 production crew to show people around the world on holiday - live. It launched during the high-profile The X Factor ad spot and was, said VP of Customer and Marketing Claire Cronin, the "single biggest and most ambitious brand exercise we have ever undertaken".

First Choice live advert - Life's Too Short To Say No

Brand: First Choice
Agency: In-house
Campaign: Life’s too short to say no

"Life's too short to say no" was certainly tested to its limits in this brilliantly executed live marriage proprosal, part of a live ad by First Choice back in 2016. Broadcast during an episode of Coronation Street, the 60-second ad went out live on Leap Day February 29th - the day when, traditionally, the expectation that men propose to women is flipped.

Fronted by Laura Whitmore, the ad was introduced by a 10-second "proud to present" bumper from ITV.

Honda's Difficult Is Worth Doing

Brand: Honda
Agency: Created by Channel 4's in-house creative team 4creative, with support from Wieden & Kennedy
Campaign: Difficult Is Worth Doing

This extraordinary ad, one of the first of its kind, was a huge technical achievement. Featuring no fewer than 45 skydivers throwing shapes reflecting the new Honda Accord over the Mojave desert, it was rightly described by Channel 4 as an ad that "broke the boundaries of the perceived confines of TV advertising".

A total of three minutes and 20 seconds in length, the ad drew an average of 2.2million viewers and grew its audience by 8% during the length of its transmission.

Cancer Research advert Live from the Inside

Brand: Cancer Research
Agency: Anomaly
Campaign: Live from the Inside

A live colonoscopy is no-one's idea of tea-time viewing but this 90-second live ad, Live from the Inside, required months of planning. Filmed at Cardiff and Vale University hospital and led by Dr Sunil Dolwani, the ad was a world first that succintly, and mesmerisingly, communicated the importance of treating a pre-cancerous polyp.