You know what they about television these days – that the adverts are better than the programmes.
“They” are talking crap, of course. But that’s not to say there haven’t been a few great TV ads over the years, which deserve to be remembered and celebrated just as much as the classic TV they helped to fund.
And so, just as your favourite shows are always interrupted half-way through, so will Wednesday be our mid-week ad break on the Choob.
First up, this gem from 1988.
The advert was made by the legendary Collett Dickenson Pearce agency and was clearly heavily inspired by the work of Dutch artist M.C.Escher, in particular his images of impossible constructions. In fact the title of the film is “Escher”. Other apparent inspirations include Nineteen Eighty-Four (oppressed workers) and Mad Max (post-apocalyptic).
At two minutes long, the above video is an extended cut of the 60-second version that was usually seen on TV. The uploader of the video to YouTube mentions that the longer version was probably the one shown in cinemas. He’s probably right but I seem to remember the longer version also appearing on TV outwith prime time, when airtime was cheaper (ITV started 24-hour broadcasting in the late 80s).
Accompanying the impressive visuals of the slaves inside the clock rolling huge boulders up the hill was a pretty catchy tune. The Choob liked it so much that he went out and bought the 12-inch single!
The song is called You’ve Got The Power by a Scottish band called Win. This was their only hit. Here is the full original version of the song:
In the 80s, brewers McEwans were responsible for some pretty innovative and memorable TV ads. While researching the above one (the best), I was also reminded of another couple of classics which are worth saluting for their combination of clever, memorable visuals with catchy tunes.
First up is this one, which is an homage/parody of an acclaimed animation by surrealist Czech filmmaker Jan Svankmajer:
The song, I believe, is Opposites Attract by a band called Head To Head (let me know if this is incorrect).
And here is Svankmajer’s original animation, titled Dimensions Of Dialogue Part 3.
Finally, this one. We’ve all seen the trick before but they make the most of the potential for silliness and fun.
The music in this one is Something So Real by a band called Love Decree.
ANORAK ALERT! The Chinheads ad was directed by Steve Barron, who directed some of the most memorable music videos of the 1980s, including a-ha’s Take On Me, Dire Straits’ Money For Nothing and Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean. His films include Electric Dreams, the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie and Mike Bassett: England Manager.
So there you have it. McEwan’s Lager – they made great adverts… pity their beer was so crap.