The British are better then us Americans at a lot of things. They have better healthcare, schools and slang (bugger and bollocks? Awesome). After viewing the winners of the 2007 British Advertising Awards, it’s clear the British have one more reason to feel superior–they make damn good commercials.
The British are better than us Americans at a lot of things. They have better healthcare, schools and slang (bugger and bollocks? Awesome). After viewing the winners of the 2007 British Advertising Awards, it’s clear the British have one more reason to feel superior–they make damn good commercials.
The British Advertising Awards will screen at the NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium, Dec. 1, Dec. 2 and Dec. 13. It’s a yearly event and a subdued one. There’s no fanfare at the screening or production value in introducing the commercials–each grouping is presented with a black and white title screen. Extravagancy is not needed because the commercials speak for themselves. Organized in categories from bronze to gold, the ads range from absurdly hilarious to deadly serious.
The fact that these British commercials are so good is upsetting. The one thing Americans should get right is commercials. Relentless consumerism is our game and American companies dump so much money into advertising you’d think we would be getting 30-second Citizen Kane’s during the breaks of our favorite trashy reality shows.
The best we can come up with are those idiotic Macintosh commercials where Justin Long and John Hodgman argue about computers (“I’m a Mac.” “I’m a PC.” No, you are both unfunny idiots).
What makes these commercials better then the average advertisement, British or otherwise, is their uncensored and no-holds-barred spirit. They aren’t scared of showing nudity, violence, or in one of the most disturbing and thought provoking commercials here, the affects of anorexia on a young girl’s body.
The best commercials in the lot, however, are the ones that use classic British humor, the kind of uncomfortable comedy where long periods of silence stretch to painful lengths and it’s to schlock their merchandise. One of the best commercials in this group is for a British tea company, where two friends, a monkey puppet and a man, meet up after a period of separation and re-bond. It’s unlike anything you would see on American television. It’s lengthy, bizarre and weirdly heartwarming.
Another great commercial in this show is a retelling of the animated 1970’s British holiday film, The Snowman, where a young boy is taken on a flying adventure by his snowman friend. In this version, the boy cruelly doesn’t share his soft drink with the snowman and is dropped from the sky for his insolence. It’s all presented in that classy 1970’s animated style and sweetly sung by a choirboy. Example lyrics: “My chilly snowman mate said that he would like some too. I tell him, get your own. He looks like he is going to cry.” Chilly indeed.
Not all of the commercials are winners. Some are just as predictable and ordinary as the swill on American television, but the beauty of advertisements is even if you are watching a horrible one, in just 30 seconds it will be over.
You might be wary of watching 85 minutes of straight commercials, but after the screenings you’ll be so entertained that you won’t notice that you just went to the theater to watch what most people use TiVo to skip.
The 2007 British Advertising Awards will screen Saturday, Dec. 1 and Sunday, Dec. 2 at 5 p.m. and Thursday, Dec. 13 at 7 p.m. in the Whitsell Auditorium at the Portland Art Museum, 1219 S.W. Park Ave.
Tickets are $7 general admission or free with a PSU ID.
Can’t make it to the screenings? Watch many of the award-winning advertisements at www.thinkbox.tv/server/show/nav.28/chapterId/25