When I was growing up, I looked forward to seeing some of the fun TV adverts almost as much as watching the programmes. The 70s yielded a host of great classics – remember the little metal aliens laughing, “then they smash them all to bits (Cadbury Smash) or the Cresta bear declaring, “It’s frothy man”. Even the middle-aged man in his pyjamas crooning, “R Whites lemonade” became something to look forward to.
As the years progressed, we waited with baited breath to see the next instalment of the Gold Blend Saga, or looked forward to the latest escapade of dodgy spy (Rowan Atkinson, prototype Johnny English) equipped with Barclaycard. Celebrity appearances in adverts were not as common as today, but when they did appear it tended to be in more of an acting capacity. Remember Joan Collins and Leonard Rossiter in the Cinzano ads?
However, I feel that TV ads have become more dreary over the years, with ‘celebrity’ faces and voices the norm, extolling the virtues of products that they probably would never dream of using themselves. Some of the worst of these adverts have been aimed at vulnerable people, struggling financially for example, who may believe the product/service they are seeing must be fine as it is apparently endorsed by a famous face. Do top earning celebs really take out ‘payday loans’ or exchange their ‘gold for cash’?
Apart from anything else, a famous person reading from a script is painfully dull and TV adverts no longer capture my imagination. I miss the old catchy jingles and slogans that inspired us to join in. Remember ‘Lipsmackin'thirstquenchin'acetastin' etc Pepsi or “Murray Mints, Murray Mints, the too good to hurry mints’?
What I’m currently finding particularly irritating is the trend to repeat the same ad two or three times during the course of one commercial break. Does this make me more interested in a product? No. Does it make me want to buy the product? No. In fact, it makes me fed-up of it and I switch off mentally – classic put-the-kettle-on-time.
So come on all you producers of television commercials. If you seriously want to sell a product, put the money into making ads that are fun and interesting, rather than paying a ‘celeb’ to read from a script. Current TV ads on the whole just aren’t working for me. In fact, you may notice I have not mentioned any specific recent ads. Why? I can’t remember them!
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