Arty-Farty Adverts that Ruin Art

Adverts from Art

Filed under: Advertising Idiots,I don't understand,Pretentious? Moi — Carl Hepburn @ 2:34 am May 25, 2011

Art can be a wonderful thing. It is genuinely one of the fast diminishing list of things that separate us from the animals. It can make you think or it can just be a joy. So when advertisers see something that was particularly clever or just plain cool what do they do? That’s right, they exploit the hell out of it and in doing so they ruin it forever, turning it into a big turd to hawk their wares. No longer can you just appreciate the original work on its own terms because it is tainted with the base cynicism of flogging some piece of old crap or shit service that you didn’t want to hear about in the first place.

The most common way of doing this is to take a song that you really love and associate it with a product. Almost every well known piece of classical music has its advert counterpart but it doesn’t stop there. Popular music is also fair game. Confused with their epic “Can any body help me?” advert with its increasingly annoying lot of cartoon figures. As an aside, notice how, the original confused character was really badly drawn, probably designed by child from nursery school and so it looks like someone having an epileptic fit. It now looks completely out of place with the more polished rendered cartoon figures in the crowd.

The art world is not safe either. There have been various Rube Goldburg Heath Robinson machines in which a simple task is eventually triggered by a chain of unfeasible mechanical, thermodynamic, kinetic and magnetic processes. I remember that Honda did this in an advert using parts of the car. To be fair, the advert was mesmeric and intriguing but such good adverts are few and far between. The Ford advert where an orchestra had instruments made from parts of the car is closer to the norm.

There is an art film, although I cannot remember who it is by, in which the action seemingly repeats and each time some new repeating event or action is added and it gradually builds up into a scene in which their is an impossible amount of stuff happening. That was cool. Matalan are using a similar sort of idea in their latest spinning panoramic adverts. One is set in a park. People are enjoying themselves in their spiffy Matalan clothes. The scene is turning around with people coming in and out of shot; having a picnic, throwing Frisbees, cycling near the camera, dogs walking, etc. If I was the cameraman, you would see a panoramic shot of my projectile vomit because all that spinning around just makes me feel dizzy when I watch it.

Some adverts try to make out that they are art. This is usually where advert isn’t connected with the product in any way that you would ever figure out unless you were a contestant on the never-popular game show 3,2,1. It is supposed to be a little island of pleasure in the sea of stress and torment, a break, something to watch with a warm fuzzy feeling in your heart but most likely it left you thinking WTF was that about? I am of course referring to the Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate adverts. So far we have had a Gorilla drumming to Phil Collins, children with body-popping eyebrows, airport trucks racing and now the dancing charity shop clothes. The ad department at Cadbury’s are obviously eating too much cheese before bedtime. I just hope they don’t start messing about with Oskar Fischinger’s work.

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  • Being British, it seemed odd to hear of a “Rube Goldburg” machine rather than a “Heath Robinson” one. Odd and strangely sad.
    Incidentally, there’s an advert I’ve only seen (every 5 minutes!) on ITV4 while watching the cricket. It’s for a car (can’t remember which one) and features the most annoying version of ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” I’ve ever heard. Just thought I’d share my pain.

    Comment by Onion3000 — May 28, 2011 @ 1:00 pm

  • Thanks for the comment. You’re absolutely right. Heath Robinson it is.

    Comment by Terry Vision — May 28, 2011 @ 2:45 pm

  • The voice overs for Wickes and British Gas is driving me mad. I’m told it is Timothy Spall. Should change his name to Timothy Drawl!

    Comment by Nicky Lee — October 16, 2011 @ 4:32 pm

  • I think the art film you mention might be “Tango” by Zbigniew Rybczyn╠üski

    Comment by tirolski — April 11, 2012 @ 5:09 pm

  • Thanks, tirolski. This is exactly what I was thinking of.

    Comment by Terry Vision — April 14, 2012 @ 3:21 pm

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