By far the most notable advertising gnome was that used by Travelocity known as the roaming gnome in the advertising campaign ‘Where is my gnome?’ The idea was based on the gnome subplot of the film Amelie which, in turn, was based on genuine roaming gnome events. The ads appeared on TV and particularly social media (Facebook twitter YouTube, foursquare and even Chatroulette) and did a guest appearance on the American TV show ‘Comedy Bang! Bang!’ During the campaign the roaming gnome would appear all over the world, often doing something adventurous like bungee jumping or surfing. People were encouraged to send in ideas of where they wanted to travel next and a fortunate few where sent there by Travelocity (accompanied by the roaming gnome)
Other marketing gnomes include Poe the gnome, a mischievous little fellow that was always getting into trouble and was (may still be for all I know) the mascot of the US Marketing company Cowley Associates. Kern the Gnome was central to ‘the gnome experiment’, an advertising campaign by scientific equipment manufacturers Kern. The company make scales sensitive enough to detect the minute changes in gravity around the planet so Kern the gnome travelled the world being weighed at various scientific establishments. Surprisingly Kern the gnome was at his heaviest at the South Pole, possibly a place to avoid for those on a diet. The Kern campaign was a huge success having paid for itself over a thousand times over by week two.
Less successful was Ikia’s ‘Time For Change’ TV advertisement which showed gnomes at war with the family whose garden they inhabited. There was something of a backlash and the Advertising Standards Authority received fifty complaints claiming that the advert was “offensive, unsuitable for children, frightening, violent and encouraged emulation and anti-social behaviour” The advert ended with the implication that a gnome was going to attack a small child. You can still find it on YouTube. I do not imagine that the advert by German online retailer Media Markt went down much better starting as it does with a Siamese cat being sick on a gnome and ending with the gnomes getting their own back by shaving the cat.
On April the first (and the date is highly relevant) 2012 Phones 4u released a TV commercial advertising Gnomes 4U a signal boosting gnome that used his fishing rod as an aerial and his beard transmitted high speed broadband (or beardband as they liked to call it).
Bud Light made 2 gnome TV commercials (that I know of), a Real American Heroes one for Mr. Garden Gnome Maker and one where three gnomes steel the bud light from the garden. Gnomes have been used by several other companies including Play-Doh, Asda, The Association of Train Operating Companies and (a long time ago) Guinness.