I know I spend most of my time proselytising about how brands need to be moving away from the interrupt advertising model that pushes products or services on customers, but I do still think there is a place for TV commercials, at least for a couple more years.
But have we lost the “art of funny” in TV commercials? Most creatives I meet have a really good sense of humour – mostly black and cynical humour it has to be said. Isn’t our humour one of Britain’s key cultural identifiers? But there are only a few TV commercials from the last couple of years that seem to be capitalising on this; most TV commercials just blend into to background or annoy. Notable exceptions are The “Why Try Harder?” Pot Noodle ad currently airing which, silly as it is, makes me chuckle. The Virgin Atlantic homage to the Bond films is another favourite of mine. It has particular appeal to me and my filmmaking fraternity because of the impressive craft that has gone into making it, but particular credit is due to the copywriter who came up with the punch line at the end. And, of course, everyone still talks about the Dairy Milk Gorilla ads that ran a few years back. But I am struggling to think of any more that have really stood out as funny or clever in recent years, ads that I enjoy watching more than once and that are as good as, or even better than, the programming around which they are airing.
Is this because brands are just playing it too safe these days? I know it isn’t lack of creative talent in the industry.