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Anorak | You’ve Been Ad

You’ve Been Ad

by | 14th, December 2005

‘SHOULD we feel a bit sorry for the BBC? Unlike the other broadcasters, it’s forbidden from taking the advertisers’ schilling.

The Top 100 Roly Moments tonight on BBC1

Not for the BBC the chance to enliven its turgid output with car ads, to my mind the best produced bits of film on the magic box. (Would you rather watch that dancing Citroen or EastEnders? No contest.)

In between repeats of Only Fools And Horses, the Beeb isn’t allowed to take us on nostalgic trips through TV history with repeats of adverts from some perceived golden age of advertising. This is why Angus Deayton now appears on ITV.

At the outset, this lack of advertising would have been a noble thing. No ad breaks meant more time to broadcast quality programming.

But then the BBC ran out of ideas (see, or rather don’t see, Holby City). Something was needed to pad things out. With four BBC channels, and the plodding News 24, the BBC needed cheap content.

It could do one of three things. 1) Broadcast repeats. And when the plebs and Incandescent of Cheltenham complain to Points of View, tell them it’s Classic TV. If Shakespeare can be rerun for a few hundred years, then we can have an EastEnders omnibus.

2) Commission lots of new talent to write, produce, act and edit films to a small, fixed budget. Like those cinema B movies, these programmes would be hit and miss; but always short and sweet.

c) Start advertising. But it can’t do that. Well it can. The BBC can advertise the BBC.

But adverts are not easy. Ads for BBC2’s Top Gear can be well done. They involve cars. And cars make for good ads.

Other shows need the subtle touch, what a marketing-type would term the viral approach. For “Don’t Tell Sid”, read EastEnders’ “Everyone’s talking about it”. (And we were talking about it. We were saying things like “Is Shane Richie acting or playing himself”, “Things aren’t the same since Roly died” and “What this show needs is a dancing car”.

There are the feel-good ads, the ones where people are dancing.

And there are the clever ads, the ones that are supposed to make you sit up and think. Like that ad for BBC digital television, the one where the giant computer-animated head made up of a composite blend of hundreds of smaller faces bounces across the countryside before morphing into the faces of some BBC talent, like John Simpson, and Roly.

In time, of course, these links and trails will form part of a show – The 100 Best BBC Ads, presented by Noel Edmonds dressed as one of the corporation’s No. 2s.

Available, as ever, free of charge to BBC viewers overseas, who don’t have to pay the licence fee…’



Posted: 14th, December 2005 | In: Celebrities Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink