I used to get told off for watching adverts when I was a kid. Seriously! My dad would get so annoyed when he’d come back from work and find me in front of the TV. I thought he’d be more understanding, considering he worked for an independent television channel who’s bread and butter came from the very same ads.
Not a chance. But I couldn’t help it, 80s adverts in the UK were so entertaining. They were even sometimes better than the programmes in-between them.
Times have indeed changed and so has the way advertising is done. There are still a few gems to be found on TV, if you sit in front of it long enough, but advertising has so many forms these days, some of which are more immersive and experiential, using technology in ways that couldn’t have been imagined back then. I’ll share with you a bit of both.
Two Ads I Like
Dumb Ways to Die
Most of us would have got the tail-end of this campaign when it came out, in game-form, as it originally was intended for the Australia market – a rail safety public service announcement. But when it spread beyond her shores, I can’t forget the impression it had on kids and adults alike.
For some of us were hearing our kids hum the song whilst playing the game on their mobile, for others it was a contagious game in the office. What stands out the most is the subject matter it needed to talk about – DEATH!
And not only just a terminal subject, they made it engaging to kids so that they’d learn to avoid some serious hazards in life. It was truly done in a very tasteful way, creating characters that experience some pretty dumb misfortunes. So dumb, you could only laugh at them.
What really made it take off was the game itself. A multilayered game that only got faster and faster as you progressed. The icing on the cake for sure was the theme tune. It’s contagious and funny as hell. A great example of an experience that spread like wildfire and spoke across generations and cultures.
Not for Astronauts – Heinz Baked Beans
Pardon the pun, but here’s a blast from the past. There’s nothing like the unexpected, and when it comes, make sure it’s funny. Heinz baked beans achieved this when they came out with this shocker advert of astronauts on the moon, getting destroyed by a very realistic local resident.
It may be cheap toilet humor, but it is true to the product, baked beans do have that effect, literally.
One I Dislike
Sealy – ‘Drenched Shopper’
I’m not one to knock, but its great when an ad feels less fake and the acting is believable. Sadly this one wasn’t the case, or maybe I’m not the target audience. Say no more.