Monday, 3 January 2011

Wider Reading | The Advert Critic -

Two attractive young things meet in a music shop. The young man starts to sing, and the girl picks up the tune. She sings a line, he repeats it, and vice versa. Finally, having ascertained that they’re very much alike, they turn and make eye contact.

It’s not a bad set-up at all, actually, considering that the majority of dating site adverts fill themselves with ordinary-looking actors smiling and strolling arm-in-arm through grey parks with their voice-overs telling us how they were afraid that they’d be alone forever until they set up a profile on X. It’s the reality of matchmaking versus the idealism of romance, and based on these terms, can only win, because like most classic modern adverts, it plays fast and loose with its association. The music-shop meet-cute has nothing to do with dating sites; it’s actually the sort of spontaneous meeting that’s the precise opposite of dating sites. But the advert gets away with it. Two Hugh Grant movie stars falling in love with each other before our eyes is an infinitely more appealing sight to romantic hopefuls than two middle-aged losers gurning for the camera and describing how happy they are in their settled married bliss.

What it gets away with rather less is the song itself, which appears on television in a highly edited version. The chap claims that he likes old movies “like The Godfather 3”. Nothing wrong with that. I also enjoy the masterworks of early cinema, such as Die Hard With a Vengeance. Then the girl states that she also enjoys The Godfather 3, admitting that it’s usually considered the worst part of the trilogy, but “that’s just me”. (Call me hyperbolic if you will, but I do feel that anyone who thinks that The Godfather 3 was a good film deserves the same treatment as someone who stands up and says, “I’m a multiple OAP-murderer, but that’s just me. I’m crazy like that, innit? All quirky and individualistic, like.”) And this small preference is enough to create a bond of mutual attraction between them. It just feels off.

I like B.B. King too, Fredo. We were made for each other.

The longer, minute-long version does rather better; the duet rises to a crescendo, and you even get a nice little exchange when the girl sings,

“I don’t wear make-up on weekends,”

and the young fellow who can’t pronounce his ‘th’s does a lightning-fast double-take and improvises,

“I…don’t wake up on weekends”. Now there’s a bit of character to the advert. A real shame it was cut.

Much like that old film, Alien 3, the advert’s clearly smart, but it’s been mangled at some stage in production. I’m going to have to go with a final score of:



This week, our thoughts go out to everyone trying to watch a film on TV who’s had to sit through those tedious 118 118 Chuckle Brothers ruining the Ghostbusters theme tune for everyone. Which PR company keeps deciding that moustachioed twerps singing irritating jingles over and over again in a variety of situations is the wiliest way to sell a product?

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