Is this a golden age of TV ads?

Bank of Ireland's delightfully playful ad.

A singing lava­to­ry seat. Delightful.

Say what you like about the Carls­berg wrong num­ber ad here, or Guin­ness’ peren­ni­al Christ­mas ad here, but there are a pletho­ra of TV ads cur­rent­ly doing the rounds that could give any­thing from the proud his­to­ry of adver­tis­ing a run for its mon­ey. And most of them have been made for our banks.

Where to begin. Well, for starters there’s that trio of stel­lar ads from AIB. In the first, we see a cos­mopoli­tan hued moth­er with her child, as she gets giv­en her new car by her, let’s call him part­ner – obvi­ous­ly they’re not mar­ried, they’re far too mod­ern for that — although it was still up to him to orga­nize the finance. But here’s the genius of the ad; they use actu­al footage.

Look at that, cosmopolitan or what!

Look at that, cos­mopoli­tan or what.

Nor­mal­ly with an ad like that, you’d have to get a cam­era crew, a direc­tor and hire a cou­ple of actors and the whole thing would look hor­ri­bly staged. But this actu­al­ly hap­pened! The camerawork’s all over the place and it’s all hor­ren­dous­ly shaky. Clear­ly, he took the footage him­self, man­ag­ing to cap­ture her reac­tion almost by acci­dent! It’s price­less. And here’s the amaz­ing thing; it’s not the only footage that AIB got their hands on either.

There’s that sec­ond ad, with this mum – a nor­mal one this time, you know, Irish – who gives her three kids the tree-house they’ve always dreamt of. And she man­ages to cap­ture their reac­tions as well, on cam­era! It’s heart-warm­ing, genuinely.

Fair play to you, Mick And Kate.

Fair play to you, Mick And Kate.

But the piece de resis­tance is their ad with that elder­ly cou­ple explain­ing how they’ve final­ly man­aged to pay off their mort­gage. The whole thing could have come across as unspeak­ably smug and been lit­er­al­ly painful to watch, were it not for the fact that tech­ni­cal­ly, it’s both bril­liant and dar­ing­ly innovative.

First, part of it is shot in glo­ri­ous slo-mo. Which gives the ad that touch of class — and frankly, I’m very sur­prised that more ads don’t make use of this. And sec­ond, part if it uses actu­al home videos which were nev­er meant for pub­lic view­ing, but which the cou­ple obvi­ous­ly gave AIB access to. You sim­ply can’t fake that sort of footage, and it gives the ad an emo­tion­al depth that’s gen­uine­ly moving.

Look, a hipster! Well spotted KBC!

Look, a hip­ster! Well spot­ted KBC.

Not to be out­done, KBC have pro­duced their own lit­tle gem. There’s this girl and her hip­ster boyfriend – you can tell he’s a hip­ster because he’s got a beard, and by the bye, I pre­dict beards are going to come back in fash­ion – don’t’ laugh – any day now. And flares, and maybe even dis­co. Also, any­thing vin­tage. Mark my words, you heard it here first.

They’re danc­ing up and down in their liv­ing room, mind­less­ly cel­e­brat­ing the deal they’ve just been offered by their bank. Which, need­less to say, would all be unimag­in­ably tedious and frankly unwatch­able, were if not for the bril­liant, not to say dar­ing inno­va­tion at the heart of the ad; it’s shot in glo­ri­ous slo-mo.

A still worthy of the ads themselves.

A still wor­thy of the ads themselves.

And there’s more. What about Bank Of Ire­land’s hilar­i­ous singing lava­to­ry seat. Which is both bril­liant­ly fun­ny and clever. Because the music that they use is actu­al­ly a sub­tle com­men­tary on the ad’s mes­sage. “Don’t stop believ­ing” they sing, which actu­al­ly has a dou­ble mean­ing, when you think about it – and dit­to cheesy, retro music loud­ly placed in a know­ing po-mo man­ner in ads and TV series, that’s anoth­er one you can add to my list of pre­dic­tions above.

The ghost of Christmas past.

The ghost of Christ­mas past.

Best of all though are those hilar­i­ous set of ads with those D4 lads, who sit chat­ting on that couch in those charm­ing AIG ads. Imag­ine how proud those All Black play­ers must have been to have had the chance to star in a TV spot with that pair of jokers.

And nor do we have a monop­oly on those kinds of heart-warm­ing if tech­ni­cal­ly dar­ing ads here in Ire­land. Have you seen that won­der­ful­ly emo­tion­al set of ads all those renowned poets have done for Nation­wide over in Britain? As we all know, finan­cial insti­tu­tions were prob­a­bly the peo­ple most seri­ous­ly affect­ed by the down­turn in 2008, so it’s real­ly great to see so many estab­lished poets in Britain doing their bit to try and help them get back into prof­it again.

A suitably lofty use of his poetic gifts. Well done sir!

A suit­ably lofty use of his poet­ic gifts. Well done sir.

You can read my exten­sive analy­sis of each of those, and indeed all of the above, in my 734 page epam­phlet which you can down­load (for free) here.

What an age to be alive.

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