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Even more adverts - Many a mickle maks a muckle

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August 31st, 2002


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02:40 am - Even more adverts
There's a very silly advert for the "The Italian Job" DVD on TV at the moment - you know, the classic gold heist film, Michael Caine, "You were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off" and all that. (IMDB suggests that they're remaking it next year... mmmmurrh.) The gag is that, in the voiceover at the end of the advert, they say "Buy it or nick it now!" - with a big graphic on the screen saying "DON'T NICK IT". A silly gag, but it amused me.

Why is there a depressingly accurate generalisation that the better an advert is, the less frequently it will be broadcast?

For instance, there was a fantastic advert for Wagon Wheels in which a cowboy asked for eggs for breakfast and was offered a very silly, very fast, very dextrously spoken list of ways in which an egg might be served. Naturally, this list got sillier and siller, also further and further away from real egg serving techniques. (It culminated by mentioning bizarrely-named footballer Ugo Ehiogu.) You had to be there, but it was tremendously silly. Naturally, I only ever saw it once. By contrast, sodding blue telephones asking you if you're looking for a low-cost loan have been cropping up twice a day for the last eighteen months.

Attempting to answer the question, I guess it could well be true that the less frequently you see an advert, the less it irritates and the more rose-tinted an image you have of it, rightly or wrongly. Indeed, when you only ever see an advert once, you carry a highly idealised memory of its good parts in your mind and seldom remember its silly parts. That's a boring explanation, though. I'd still pay good money for a tape with the first generation of Tango adverts, the ones with Ray "Butch" Wilkins giving a voiceover, albethey an inspiration for copycat violence or otherwise.

Steve Le Fevre, host of passable interactive "Bob's Full House IV" show "The Biggest Game In Town", has parlayed his experience fronting a live national game show into a role as the spokesman for an online loans company with a digit 4 in its name. Not a step forward in my book - indeed, the sort of probable artistic suicide from which it is all but impossible to recover.

Sadly, Derek Griffiths, a minor deity of children's TV for those of us born in 1970s Britain (indeed, possibly one of the very first black children's TV hosts in this country along with Floella Benjamin?) has no better web page about him than this. Gap in the market, methinks. He appears at #42 in this affectionate list of minor TV presenters, which gets the spirit of Griffiths' achievements correct. Anyhow, I heard a very familiar voice on an advert for Portland Direct (cheap holiday company) today. As the Griffiths face doesn't appear on-screen, it's forgivable - but, Derek, surely there have to be better ways to make a buck. For instance, wouldn't Derek make a fantastic minor celebrity for a stunt on Banzai?

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[User Picture]
From:lambertman
Date:August 30th, 2002 08:30 pm (UTC)
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I shall now reveal my most favortiest advert to only receive one airing (to my knowledge).

The Carl's Jr. (west coast) and Hardee's (east coast) burger chains share a blissfully happy star logo. For a period of time in the late '90s, a series of ads featured the star as a walking foam star with no moving facial features, voiced by Norm MacDonald (ex-Saturday Night Live and ex-star of a self-titled sitcom) in a totally bored, non-ironic fashion.

One of the spots opened with the star discussing how dangerous commercial-making can be, then introduced "Chucky, the Stunt Star" - identical, except that his never-changing face was eyes-closed and sneering. Chucky replaced the Norm Star and got into a big ol' brawl with a grown man who proceeded to break a chair over his head.

I was on the floor, and waited with a tape in the VCR for its next airing. I gave up after a year....
[User Picture]
From:brakusjs
Date:August 30th, 2002 09:26 pm (UTC)
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When I lived in Illinois as a child, I remember distinctly the Hardee's commercials. They were always the ones with the race car driver (Bobby Allison) always getting something to eat there. I didn't realize he was a NASCAR driver until I moved to Virginia in 1987, but by that time the commercials with the race car drivers had long driven off into the sunset.
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:August 31st, 2002 05:09 am (UTC)
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I have very strong memories of two, no, three adverts which I only ever saw once.

1) I believe the first advert really was only ever broadcast once. Picture the scene: a Saturday morning in the very early '80s. A household electrical goods manufacturer announced all the winners from a prize draw of theirs in a TV advert. They did it with a very beaty, accelerating soundtrack and rather sci-fi stylings (or, rather, what seemed to be rather sci-fi stylings to a confused little 4-8 year old.) A tad scary.

2) I'm sure I saw a series of five or so one-second-or-so blipverts on British television once, each separated by a regular commercial, probably in the late '80s. I suspect it was for a fashion brand, because I didn't recognise them. Nobody else ever seems to remember them and I can't find the USENET posting I made about them on Groopsgle, so maybe it was a figment of my imagination. (Or maybe it wasn't what it seemed and I misparsed it?)

3) "Two Way TV" had a fairly big-scale interactive TV trial in the Midlands in 1996. (I was in Oxford at the time, which was part of the trial area.) I saw one TV advert for them which was overtly aimed at the game show fan market - it was done in a really over-the-top fashion, with a salesman quizzing a family, replete with bells and buzzers. Later adverts for the service were far more... chilled. Their interactive service didn't really take off, but Two Way remain purveyors of interactive TV services for (mostly) cable and satellite broadcasters.
[User Picture]
From:bateleur
Date:August 31st, 2002 01:28 am (UTC)

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I have to agree about frequency of repetition of bad adverts. The number of times I've seen the immensely irritating...

 "I'm the guy, yeah, who teaches the kids about nature..."

Aargh ! No ! Make it STOP !
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:August 31st, 2002 04:12 am (UTC)
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You might find this hard to believe but I don't actually recognise the advert you're on about. (Maybe with an extra line or two, I might.) With you being a Southern bloke and me being a Northern bloke, is it possible that it was a regional advert only?
[User Picture]
From:bateleur
Date:September 1st, 2002 03:12 am (UTC)

Wow

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Well, it's a "Sky" advert. The basic idea is that there's this bloke who drives around in an old VW van and has lots of animal puppets and puts on shows for kids. And what happens is that the kids turn out to know lots more about the subject matter (Natural History etc.) than he does. The reason being, they have all these wonderful satellite TV channels, see ?

This advert gets played on Sky 1 in conjunction with virtually every type of program I watch. It's been on for at least 2 months, probably more like 4. At its peak, about every 6th advert was this one.
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:September 1st, 2002 04:36 pm (UTC)

Re: Wow

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Ah. We have ITV Digital, né OnDigital, currently BBC extra channels plus Shop, hopefully to become Freeview.

'nuff said.
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:September 2nd, 2002 07:35 am (UTC)

Re: Wow

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Come to think of it, wasn't that almost exactly the premise for Pipkins, which you may well remember from your youth?

The TV Ark children's section is a fantastic site for old kids' shows' theme tunes, chronicling Pipkins from a scary puppetmaker in a shop (now why does that kid look so unhappy?) through the above-mentioned out-and-about Pipkins puppet van era to the Hartley Hare laugh-in, which eventually also gets out and about. Now what will your kids have as their cultural heritage, eh? :-)

Whee, there goes your afternoon!
From:(Anonymous)
Date:September 1st, 2002 04:57 am (UTC)

My name is Michael Caine

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You want Michael Caine, you want Goldmember. A superb performance as Austin Powers' dad AND a Union Jack-painted Mini. It's what the world's been waiting for.

~worrals

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