Thursday, August 19, 2004

The Aldini Awards (Olympic ad category)

Yes, every Olympics we get a new set of TV ads, mostly from the large companies with sponsorship ties to the Canadian team. Some are good, some are bad, some are good but become nearly unbearable by repetition. Herewith, a summary:

Best In Class (tie): Bell Globemedia's "Pause Live TV" and "Instant Update" ads. The first shows boxers in the ring playing cards, a fencer reading a book, and a gymnast reading a book sitting on the high bar. When Joe Couch Potato gets to his TV, they all get up and start competing. I find the weightlifter, passing the time by flirting with a female judge, to be particularly funny.

The second shows a guy going through his normal day and encounter Olympic athletes in full competion gear at every turn (opens the shower door and finds two synchro swimmers, complete with hair in buns and nose plugs, holding their hands up in the air). The kicker is at the end, when he turns on his bedside lamp and finds a freaking kayaker on the bed, blank-faced. Both of these are still making me chuckle, one week in.

Okay, That's Enough: The Royal Bank's "First Olympic Sponsors" ad, a homage to the CRB Heritage Minutes, telling the story of their sponsorship of the 1948 Olympic hockey team. I liked it the first couple of times (there are 30- and 60-second versions), but I get it now. No mas, por favor. The only "highlight" of this ad is the RCAF officer on the phone with the Royal Bank exec: "So can the Royal Bank pay for the travel?"

The guy responds slyly, "I think we can help." I can't escape the feeling that they cut off the rest of the answer, "And someday, I may ask a favour of you guys." Also, we all know that Canadian productions are very careful to be culturally sensitive - even when it doesn't really suit the story, there needs to be persyns of colour, etc. Not a problem here! This bank exec put the white in bread. Balding, white hair, nice suit. In his big office, and from the tone of his voice, he looks like he should be surrounded by actual bags of money. The cigar was no doubt stricken from the scene for the good of the children.

Forgettable: Petro-Canada on their sponsorship of Canadian athletes since 1988. I mean it when I say forgettable - I have no recollection of the content of the ad. (Ads?)

Don't Insult My Intelligence: Air Canada's spots on "Embracing Change". Here we have a diver who belly-flops, then joins some synchronized swimmers in their routine. A second ad has a gymnast breakdancing through her floor exercise when her music gets all scratchy-like. I think there's more. Two problems here:

1) They are no doubt intended to be funny, but are not. (Is there a worse kind of ad that doesn't involve someone screaming their toll-free number six times in 20 seconds?)

2) I can only assume they are intended to imply that Air Canada is rolling with the punches, thinking outside the box, etc. etc.. The reasonable reaction to this, I believe, is YGBSM.

Regrettably (if only in regards to this post), I have only peasant-vision this summer, so I haven't seen any TSN, NBC, MSNBC, Bravo, USA, et al, each no doubt with their own bunch of ads, covering the same range of entertainment value. If I forgot any good Canadian ones, please let me know.

3 Comments:

At 2:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure they can be considered good, but the Milk commercials with the "Little Blue Cow" seem to be on all the time. At least they have more variants than Air Canada.

 
At 3:48 PM, Blogger Matt said...

Yes! The Little Blue Cow. Several versions, all of which are enjoyable. (Good use of actual footage - too many ads of this genre are obviously and poorly staged, a la Fresh Prince basketball where the court is no more than 32 feet long).

Man, that cow can really spike a volleyball.

 
At 4:16 PM, Blogger Shannon said...

Rebecca Eckler thinks the Air Canada ads are "clever". I don't think she's being facetious either.

(Link is subscriber-only, but non-subscribers can read the first paragraph, which includes the "clever" remark. If you can't read the rest of it, don't worry: you're not missing much. I will reluctantly admit that I usually enjoy reading Eckler's column, but today's was not up to her usual standards.)

 

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