I've been thinking about my fascination with tv adverts for some time now. I've also been thinking how I would blog about it too. It's not that I'm worried that you'll think I'm weird, because quite frankly, if you don't think I'm a little bit on the odd side, you need to get your head checked.

Most evenings I'm draped on my sofa, cat curled up next to me, channel surfing looking for something, anything that looks vaguely interesting. I have come to engage more with the ads than I do the actual tv programmes. I was slightly concerned about this. I figured since leaving education, my brain has shriveled to the size of a dessicated pea.

It was when I was in Trinidad, curled up on my brother's sofa with a vague sense of dissatisfaction that the reasons began to dawn on me. In Trinidad, most of the television is cable from the States. Readers from North America, my apologies if you are offended. But the advert fare is actually quite boring. Boring and worrying. Bearing in mind I was watching prime time tv, most of the ads (and this is not me over-exaggerating) were about processed foods, cheap restaurants, fast foods or prescription drugs (which are scary). Occasionally, I recognised the beauty product ads, L'Oreal etc.

But by in large, most of the ads are of a very straight-forward presentational format. This is our Product, how much it costs, where you can find it, why you should buy it.

Adverts in the UK generally don't adhere to this format, unless of course it's a JML product. I've had a long think about this and it occured to me that UK adverts pull heavily from conceptual art, especially installation art. There's a surreal element to them which makes them fun and engaging.

For example, I love this Aero ad. Skateboarding through balloons. How fun is that?

This Sainsbury's Homebase ad is straight out of the conceptual art textbooks. Love it for the genuine surprise on the commuters' faces.

And of course this T Mobile ad, which was obviously influenced by this Sound of Music in Antwerp Station.

Having said that, I did find this on the sofa in Trinidad. I really enjoy this ad from Snickers. It just tickled me.

None of these ads have changed my spending habits, but it makes my nightly mong in front of the tv, slightly more entertaining. I am pleased to see the links between art and every day life, even in the pursuit of dirty schekels. After all, it's no fun being a struggling artist.


  1. It's a tricky thing with tv ads. If they get too entertaining then the viewer tends to enjoy the bit and ignore whatever product is being advertised. Good for winning awards for the ad agency, but not for the client who paid for the ad.

    I personally don't like the faux flash mob ads. Too much like street mimes!

  2. xl ~ true. But if I have to sit through 5 mins of ads, I'd rather be entertained.

  3. Its funny you should say that about American ads, because my favourite ad of all time is an american one.

    In 2004, my ice hockey team made it to the Stanley Cup finals and I managed to download a few games from the interwebs. Because they were downloads, they had all the ad breaks still included and thats how I saw this little gem:


    Best. Tagline. Ever.



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