Sunday, January 29, 2012

British Arrows Awards 2011

Walkers Shortbread, 01.26.2012 Walkers Shortbread samples for audience at British Arrows Awards screening at YBCA.This week I saw this compilation of 50 award-winning Web and TV adverts from Britain. It's so dense with strong, well-executed ideas that it's like watching an action movie where there's an explosion every minute. In one breathlessly exuberant commercial, referencing Leni Riefenstahl's Olympia, a soccer fan runs across the globe. in another, a man takes an exhilarating roller coaster ride to work. Only a couple of the ads use sex to sell, but humor features in a majority of the selections. It was fun to see one of the Sony Ericsson Web videos of the hilariously condescending focus groups at the Product Testing Institute. The audience also laughed a lot for a Doritos Web video delivering inept advice on how to create great ads.

I was often impressed by how much information could be conveyed in a short time. In an ad that does not even mention a product, the panoply of a woman's life, from infancy to old age, passes before us in less than 90 seconds. It made me anxious. I was totally disturbed by a surreal promo populated with cartoon parodies of advertising imagery. It even had a fish on a bicycle.

Three McDonald's ads made it into the show, & it was weird to see a customer step up to the counter & order tea. Aardman created a marvel with their stop-motion animation of a figure less than 1 cm high, shot with a Nokia cellphone and a microscope. Like last year, the Best TV Commercial award went to T-Mobile, for an Impov Everywhere-type stunt in which singers and beatboxers greet passengers arriving at Heathrow. It's happy but not very original. As an added bonus, those of us at the afternoon screening received free samples of Walkers shortbread.

§ British Arrows Awards 2011
(Formerly British Television Advertising Awards)
Thu-Sun, Jan 26-29, 2012  •  2, 4, 6 & 8 pm


sfmike said...

My multimedia guru, Barbara Mehlman, was telling us twenty-five years ago that sixty-second commercials were ten times more interesting than sixty-minute TV shows and she was right. Still doesn't mean that I want to watch them, though I admire your fortitude.

Axel Feldheim said...

Second for second, there's probably more money and creativity put into commercials than the shows they sponsor. No fortitude required on my part; I really am interested in seeing these, especially since I don't have a TV. I wish there was a Clio Awards compilation to see.