Thursday, 13 December 2012

40,000 page views, and some famous adverts

Crikey, 40,000 page views. So soon! Thank you dear readers.

It seems like a good idea to celebrate this small but perfectly formed milestone with a post that has a more humorous tone than usual. So let’s look at a few of the most memorable television adverts of the last three decades. Put your nostalgia hats on …NOW.

One of the first adverts that BFTF can remember was for Fairy Liquid, which famously washed more dishes than other brands. It is worth mentioning that the large, cylindrical bottles that Fairy Liquid came in were, for children, highly prized in their own right. In particular, they made rather awesome water pistols, having a valuable combination of high water capacity, long range and robustness. And if they were the urban childrens M16 rifle, the squeezy Jif lemon was the urban childs Walther PPK, but that is another advert altogether. . .

It is perhaps worth reminding ourselves that regulations regarding advertising have changed significantly over the years, and whilst anything that reduces the level of smoking in society, the ban of cigar advertising (cigarette advertising had been banned long before BFTF was watching telly) did mean the loss of adverts such as those for Hamlet, whose commercials involved a series of individuals who found themselves in hopeless predicaments and lit up a Hamlet, “the mild cigar” and resigned themselves to their situation.

The late 70s and early 80s were a period of serious industrial strife, with news programmes featuring a display showing how many jobs had been lost that week (or, in one case, how much money British Steel was losing). During this period Austin Rover were developing what would become the miniMetro, a car that was hoped to save the British car industry (or, more realistically, slow its decline). To bring home to Austin Rover workers the scale of the challenge that faced them, some were taken to see the state of the art, highly automated, Fiat factory - which was immortalised in this famous, operatically soundtracked advert for the Fiat Strada.

Some adverts are memorable for being a technical tour-de-force and one example of this (to BFTF at least) was the Blackcurrent Tango advert in which a Ray Gardner, a spokesman for the company responds from the Tango offices to a letter from French exchange student “Sebastian”. The response is initially very reasonably but then becomes increasingly jingoinstic as Ray moves, seemingly seamlessly, from the offices to a boxing ring above the cliffs of Dover, the advert closing with three Harrier jump jets hovering into view (truly a touch of genius that). It’s quite long for an advert, but worth watching.

Moving right up the present day, the recent season of Direct Line adverts staring comedians Armstrong and Miller. BFTF could watch them all day. They are works of comedic art. I defy you not to have a smile on your face after watching this, the first ad in the series:

Factual Accuracy
BFTF usually takes a lot of care to check facts in blog posts, but has not bothered to do so at all in this one. It is all straight out of BFTF’s head. So, for the love of God, please don’t quote anything without checking the facts elsewhere.

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