British TV Advertising Awards
Now Showing at: Cincinnati World Cinema, October 16, 18 and 19
Review by: Larry Thomas
As the journalist H.L. Mencken once said: “No one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public.” These days, that’s especially noticeable in the field of television commercials. Even if you only watch minimal amounts of the tube, it’s still an endless barrage of the droning of the drug dispensers, punctuated by the laundry list of side effects that sound more frightening than what you may be taking the drug to cure. Add in the constant car pitches, and the products that try to use cute kids or animals to peddle their wares, and it’s all pretty much a nightmare of hype and hyperbole.
The Brits, on the other hand, seem to have a sense of humor about the advertising game and tailor many of their ads with creativity and intelligence. Once again, Cincinnati World Cinema is bringing the 2011 winners, and some of the other entries, from the British Arrow Awards. These encompass visual ads from television, the Internet, and cinemas.
Why, you may be asking, should you go out for an evening to watch an array of commercials? First and foremost, because some of these are so good they eclipse the entertainment value of a lot of television programs and movies these days. Granted, not all of the hit the bull’s eye, and there are others that are so regional that us Yanks may not “get it.” But the ones that really are great will have you in awe of these little mini-movies. A group from London does a rap about a product, but instead of being something urban and gritty, it’s shot in farm country and is about the products from an organic dairy.
There a promo for a group that educates children about where their food comes from. Not only is it one of the funniest things on film in ages, but also you’ll no doubt be amazed when you discover the origins of broccoli. Last year, one of my complaints was how the public service commercials about drugs, driving, and other social ills were rather ham-handed. This year’s entries in this category are better, and pack more of a punch. There’s one involving a bank robbery in which you never see the ending coming…quite literally.
The winner of the best commercial of the year is a wonder to behold. It’s a tuneful, toe-tapping musical extravaganza that’s longer than the usual 60 seconds. It was filmed at Heathrow Airport, using no instruments, is completely exhilarating, and, as with many ads in Britain, you’ll never guess what the product is. And maybe that’s the point. Maybe the sponsor may be more memorable to consumers if the ad is fun, intelligent and creative.
Once again, this program is a fun time at the movies, but wait…there’s more. This year, AdClub Cincinnati is joining in to present an exhibit of award-winning locally made commercials as an adjunct to the program. This will give you an opportunity to find out that local quality means high quality in advertising.
And if that isn’t enough, there will be a social hour and cash bar before the screenings, so come early. It’s quite an event.
Cincinnati World Cinema is presenting the British Arrow Award Winners at Covington’s Carnegie Arts Center. There are four screenings: Sunday, October 16 (two showings), Tuesday, October 18 and Wednesday October 19.