Thursday, September 21, 2017

Familiar Faces

After Tuesday's brief excursion into politics we're back to pop culture trivia here at Sleaze Diary.  Increasingly, I feel much more comfortable discussing the trivia.  There's only so much you can rant about politics before it becomes repetitive - it's not is if it achieves anything, either.  Well, apart from allowing me to vent my frustrations in a safe environment, I suppose.  But enough preamble, let's get on with today's real business.  Have you ever noticed how the same actors appear in multiple TV ads for different products?  You'd think, with all of the aspiring (and out of work) actors out there, they'd be able to have entirely different casts for every series of adverts in a campaign.  But no, casting directors seem to fixate on certain actors, casting them over and over again.  Which, when you think about it, is potentially confusing for viewers: if you start to associate a particular face with a particular product, then seeing them in an advert for something else can be very disconcerting.  I find that I end up getting confused as to what the new advert is actually trying to sell me, because one part of my mind recognises the actor and assumes that the ad is for the brand I already associate them with.

Obviously, I'm not talking about those 'name' actors who appear in adverts, (and there do seem to be increasing numbers of big name actors doing TV commercials).  Generally speaking, their level of fame is sufficient to transcend whichever brand they are selling.  You don't think of Harvey Keitel, for instance, as simply that guy who sells Direct Line insurance.  No, I'm thinking of those anonymous 'stars; of commercials - the bit players and drama school graduates looking for their big break.  And, as I've noted, some of them do seem to becomes 'stars' of a sort, within the confines of the world of commercials - fame in thirty second bursts.  There's that guy who plays Charlie in those ads for the credit rating checking service, you know, the ones where he has Moose, the talking dog.  Anyway, he can now also be seen selling the Lenovo Idea Pad 320S for Currys-PC World, sometimes doing both in the same commercial break.  Then there's the bald bloke with the red beard who started off advertising Heinz baked beans, then did a series of ads for, I think Sainsburys, over the Summer.  Of late he's been doing an ad for breakfast cereal.

But this kind of fame can be short lived.  Casting directors for commercials seem to go through phases: they see someone they like in one campaign, then start putting them in everything.  Until their next favorite commercials star turns up.  Then the previous person just vanishes.  Just look at that short guy with the beard - you know, the one who played the short sighted vet in a Specsavers ad.  Well, after that, he was in everything: ads for Tesco Mobile, Microsoft Lumia, the bloody lot. Then: nothing.  I can't remember the last time I saw him (apart from the odd time when the Specsavers ad turns up in a commercial break).  Then there was that other beardy bloke - he was in a Plus Net which still runs, playing a call centre operative.  Off the back of that he started turning up all over the commercial breaks, before vanishing.  Will we ever see him again?  Longevity in this world seems to depend on a willingness to stick to a single brand: the main guy in the Plus Net ads, for instance.  He's been doing that for years and is effectively now the face of Plus Net.  But there is hope for all those actors toiling away in commercials - a handful of them do make it big.  Let's not forget that David Tennant was a regular in a series of commercials for Boots pre Doctor Who, as was Amanda Mealing before  she was Connie Beaucham in Holby City and Casualty, while James Nesbitt was the king of commercials before Cold Feet.  So, fingers crossed for the beardy guy from Specsavers - a starring role in Game of Thrones could be around the corner.



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