As Seen on the Telly

For the past 21 years, the British Television Advertising Award Winners series has appeared at Minnesota’s Walker Art Center, and multiple screenings always sell out. Why? Is it because of something bad about Minnesota nightlife? No: It’s simply because many in the English ad biz do not treat creatives as warm paste to be extruded into the holes of a business arrangement, as we do at home. (Sure, you can point to the ads of Apple and CheetosChester Cheetah, but what about those of household cleaning products and toothpastes, all of them?) Think of these winning commercials as short films with insanely persuasive commercial backers, who insist the film be entirely about the company financing it. But with winners like Hovis, so what? The bread company’s short, a 122-second period piece that features a boy running through 122 years of English history with a loaf of tasty Hovis, might make you burst out tears (the WWII scene is particularly affecting). The program also features PSAs, these long, gruesome efforts at keeping kids from killing everybody in their cars and snorting upholstery cleaner, as well as overseas work by Snoop Dogg, Rob Lowe, and Anjelica Huston, all traitors to Madison Avenue. Also, there are nudists, because these commercials are from Europe.
March 20-21, 2 & 4 p.m.; Sun., March 21, 6 & 8 p.m., 2010

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