04 Jun, 2009

Only TV ads can do this…

Posted by: admin In: Creative Review

We know it’s tongue in cheek but is the Thinkbox ad really the best way to make the case for TV commercials?

I guess you have to feel for Thinkbox: here’s an organisation set up to deny the seemingly inevitable. While all around, ad revenues plummet, Thinkbox’s mission is to convince us that network TV is still the most powerful medium, no matter what those smart Alec digital types try to tell us.

It’s chosen to do this with a commercial (natch) from agency Red Brick Road in which a man on a psychiatrist’s couch, when prompted to go to a “happy place”, blurts out a series of famous slogans from the annals of Great British Advertising. I guess it’s hoping for a warm feeling from the viewer and a lot of “Oooh, remember that one?” type comments. Call me a humourless old git (as many do) but all it makes me feel is uneasy.

Afflicted with some kind of Commercial Tourette’s, this poor man’s brain has evidently been turned to mush. All reason gone, he has been reduced to a gibbering wreck by the incessant mythering of a million salesmen all clamouring for his attention. I’d prescribe a course of Sky Plus or maybe a TiVo – that ought to sort out the trouble.

It reminds me of this similarly misguided campaign last year for the Magazine Publishers of America (agency: Toy New York).

OK, yes, it’s meant to be funny but this is supposed to be an aspiration? Reducing readers to mindlessly acquisitive zombies? They don’t look very happy about being “under the influence of magazines” do they? When I first saw it I presumed it was an Adbusters spoof. Swap the endframes on the Thinkbox ad and you might assume the same of it too.

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