Friday, October 12, 2018

Commercials with Strings Attached

I drove to Slough and back this afternoon.  It was hell.  Nor so much Slough, of which I saw very little as I was actually headed to Burnham, just outside Slough (I was going to look at a second hand car), but the M4,  Especially on the way back home, when all three lanes ground to a halt for a while.  Consequently, I am utterly knackered.  So, rather than a proper post, we're going to that old fall back, a collection of commercials from my childhood.  This time, though, they are a little different, as these were cinema commercials and all feature various Gerry Anderson characters hawking either ice lollies or breakfast cereals.  Of late, I've seen a lot whining about how modern TV commercials often 'debase' cherished childhood characters in order to sell stuff.  Most particularly, the ongoing series of Halifax ads which have featured the likes of Top Cat, the Flinstones and Scooby Doo opening bank accounts at the Halifax, (currently, they feature characters from the 1939 Wizard of Oz and Ghostbusters), have attracted a lot of negative comment from smart arsed journalists in this respect.  But, as these commercials confirm, there really is nothing new in co-opting popular children's TV characters to sell products.  In this case, products aimed squarely at children.

Some things seem odd to modern eyes: why on earth would you have an ice lolly specifically for girls?  Why would anyone think that sprinkling it with hundreds and thousands would make it appeal uniquely to them?  (Actually, I've always maintained that hundreds and thousands are so attractive that you could cover anything with them and people would want to eat it.  I've long wanted to put this theory to the test by sprinkling a dog turd with them, putting it on a plate and placing it in the desserts section at a canteen.  I can guarantee that people will be drawn to it and eagerly consume it.)  It is also slightly worrying that so many of those ice lollies get used as offensive weapons, blowing stuff up. I'm not sure that I would be encouraged to buy an ice lolly I thought might explode.  The cards they were giving away are interesting - you'd have to eat a lot of ice lollies for a complete set, though.  I recall that when i was a kid  PG Tips did a series of similar campaigns of collectible cards - it was easier, not to mention healthier to complete the sets.  I had several of them, all mounted in the special albums you could buy.  As for the cereal - Sugar Smacks had form for using popular TV characters in its advertising: by the early seventies its packets featured Mr Spock from Star Trek.  Those badges they wee giving away take me back to the days when breakfast cereal promotions actually involved having something in the pack, rather than having to collect tokens and send off for them.  I remember collecting all sorts of stuff from them, mainly plastic figures, but also plastic kits of racing cars and a series of plastic kits which built up into circus related figures, like elephants and acrobats.  Bloody brilliant.

Oh yes, that car I went to see - I ended up agreeing to buy it.  I think I got a reasonable deal on it - it isn't perfect, but for its age and mileage, it is in good condition.  Certainly better than most of the other Saab 9-3s of similar age I've seen.  It is being delivered next week. 

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home