Little Moons ad Saoirse Monica Jackson

Source: Little Moons

When you think of ice cream, mochi may not be the first thing that comes to mind. But following two years of stellar success – including becoming a TikTok sensation and winning two Grocer Gold Awards – Little Moons is embarking firmly on its mission to make the product a household name. This will no doubt be helped by its recent ad partnership with Channel 4, which leans into the brand’s quirky, colourful nature with the help of Derry Girls star Saoirse Monica Jackson. By putting its product front and centre amid the channel’s “hottest summer programming”, Little Moons will be hoping to secure its little balls of rice-wrapped ice cream a permanent place in Britain’s hearts – and freezers. 

Of course, it wouldn’t be the first ice cream brand to win shoppers over with a touch of memorable marketing. To mark our annual dairy supplement, The Dairymen, here are 10 unforgettable ice cream ads:


1. Just One Cornetto, Wall’s 

Simply reading the words ‘just one Cornetto’ is sure to get Brits singing the theme from this famous campaign, which is a version of the classic Neopolitan tune O Sole Mio. It’s a theme the ice cream brand has been using since the 1980s, when it first ran a series of ads set in Venice and Rome. These saw characters such as a priests, policeman and gondola passengers pinching the ‘delicious ice cream of Italy’ from passers-by. And it’s still going today: a new ad, in which a family goes to extreme lengths to get their hands on what they believe is the last Cornetto, hit screens in recent weeks.

2. The Parlour, Kelly’s of Cornwall

From coastline to cows and of course ice cream, this 2016 ad from Kelly’s is a proud showcase of all things Cornish – especially the language. The TV ad was the first ever to be spoken in Kernewek, and sees a cheerful ice cream man – surrounded by a dairy herd in a lush coastal field – displaying the brand’s range of products. He cleverly intersperses his mother tongue with snippets of information in English, so that non-Cornish speakers know the names of the “six new Parlour flavours” and the fact they can be found at the “local supermarket”. His infectious pride in the county and the tempting way he scoops the ice cream – along with the brilliant blue backdrop of sky and sea – make you want to drop everything and head to Cornwall. Or at least to the frozen aisle.

 3. One Slice is Never Enough, Vienetta

It may no longer be the most decadent option on the market in 2022, but is there an ice cream product out there that conjures more excitement than a Vienetta? This 1980s ad, which sees a butler slice the nostalgic pud and serve it in crystal glasses, is like a metaphorical embodiment of how it feels to enjoy the Wall’s dessert. And for anyone that remembers sharing one between a few too many family members, the sentiment certianly rings true: one slice is never enough.

4. Eat The Ice Cream, Halo Top 

“Everyone you love is gone. There is only ice cream.” If Charlie Brooker made dairy adverts, they’d no doubt look something like this. Because this creepy campaign from Halo Top, in which a woman wakes alone in a dystopian future and is force fed ice cream by a robot, has a distinctly Black Mirror feel to it. For a brand that has so much to shout about – from its bold flavours and plant-based options to its low-calorie credentials – it’s an unconventional ad. But viewers certainly won’t forget it.

5. The New Spring Collection, Gino Ginelli

Viewers may recognise impressionist extraordinaire Alistair McGowan in this 1990s ad for Gino Ginelli, a Wall’s brand of Italian-style ice cream. The actor plays an exciteable employee presenting the latest ‘spring collection’ to a trio of buyers. But it’s not fashion he’s selling, but ice cream, in flavours such as Tutti Frutti and, as he comically pronounces it, ‘Toffee Foogee’. However authentic it may really have been, the product is put cleverly on a par with Italian couture, which everyone knows is “the ice of fashion”.

6. Thunderbirds, Lyons Maid

It’s the 1960s, and the memo on gendered marketing clearly hasn’t touched down on Tracy Island. In a string (pun intended) of animated ads, Lyons Maid recruited the Thunderbirds puppets to advertise its latest lollies, including the Super Sea Jet and ‘supersonic’ Zoom rocket lollies. While these were shown blasting through the sky like Thunderbirds themselves, Lady Penelope modeled Fab, “the first ice lolly specially for girls”, while cruising in her pink Rolls.

7. Funny Feet, Wall’s

Any readers with an aversion to feet should look away now. Because Wall’s ad for its podiatric product is less than subtle, featuring incessant images of dancing feet, wiggling toes and children chomping on the pastel pink lollies. The addition of clownish music, maniacal laughter and instructions to “put a foot in your mouth” only add to the, ahem, toe-curling effect. 

8. Milkybar

In this 1990s ad for Milkybar ice creams, a young yet moustachioed saloon owner is tasked with rooting out the real Milky Bar Kid from a lineup of imposters. Grown men, horses, even a cactus in cowboy garb try their luck at getting hold of the shopkeeper’s treats, which are said to be free to the real Milky Bar Kid. The blond, bespectacled version eventually appears to deliver his famous catchphrase: “the Milky Bar ice creams are on me!”.

9. Ben & Jerry’s

Just like a comforting tub of Cookie Dough, there is something soothing and particularly palatable about Ben & Jerry’s style of advertising. With their colourful and kitsch animations – what’s not to love about a downpour of cookies? – lilting voiceover and jolly banjo backing track, the campaigns are instantly recognisable. Plus, they’re a chilled and cheerful way to communicate the brand’s values, such as Fairtrade and family farm sourcing.

10. Me & My Magnum

With all their allusions to pleasure and luxuriance, Magnum campaigns have always been a sensual affair. This series of 1990s ads, called Me & My Magnum, is no exception. In this example, we see a collection of Magnum-mad women stealing a moment with their favourite ice cream, whether this is on the sofa, in a bubble bath or curled up by a rain-soaked window. Cue lip-licking close-ups, eyes closing in bliss and invariable chuckling when all the chocolate falls off. Naughty! 


Want more memorable dairy adverts? We now have a full collection, featuring yoghurt, milk, butter and cheese. Click the category names to view.