Geneva Anderson digs into art

The Art of the Ad…2010 British Television Advertising Awards screen at Yerba Buena Center this week

Is one of the main reasons you have TiVo to fast forward through the mindless and annoying television ads?  Here are some British TV ads that you won’t mind watching.  They are actually more like short-films, so artfully done in fact that they are being presented on big screens all across America.  The British Television Advertising Awards 2010, screening at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, this Thursday through Sunday, presents a collection of the past year’s most thought-provoking British ads, chosen annually by top advertising executives and producers across the globe.

While this annual program has been available in major cities across the country for some time now, this is the second year that the Yerba Buena Center brings these British commercials and PSA’s to the Bay Area.  There are literally dozens of winners spread across several categories with winners ranging from big names like Volkswagen, McDonald’s and Cadbury, to lesser known names like the (British) Department for Transport .  The winner of the best ad of the year “Life’s for Sharing,” by Saatchi and Saatchi for T-Mobile, features an energetic and spontaneous mass dance-off at the Liverpool Street Station last year.  The clip is part of the “Life’s for Sharing” campaign and cleverly shows just how quickly joy spreads through a crowd, encouraging the viewing audience to share their joy with others – by using their T-Mobile phones.

My personal favorite is a humorous ad for Birdseye Salmon Fish Fingers by Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO.  A femme fatale salmon fish stick slinks towards two other fish sticks and introduces herself as the new salmon fish finger.  One of the fish fingers asks the other if that means she is all pink underneath and she confirms by unzipping her breadcrumb coating which causes the other sticks to fall flat on their backs in excitement.  Another wonderful one minute Cadbury Dairy Milk (milk chocolate) ad, “Eyebrows,” by Fallon has a young boy and girl seated side by side moving their eyebrows outrageously in sync with music, a simple idea with a creative twist. 

Changing Lives,” a direct response child care ad for Barnardo’s, the UK’s leading children’s charity, by BBH, is the world’s first interactive donation poster.  The poster’s power lies in its subtlety.  It features a seemingly living breathing young girl staring sadly into space with tears running down her face.  Only after money is inserted in the attached collection box, does she look up and slightly smile, showing that our spare change really can change children’s lives.

With their innovative cinematography, slightly to highly familiar subject matter, sometimes explicit and shocking content, humor, and added British twist, these ads are fascinating.  When’s the last time, Superbowl aside, you thought that about American television ads?  The program runs 80 minutes. 

Details:  Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission Street, San Francisco. Screens Thursday, January 27- Sunday, January 30, 2011:  2 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m., 8 p.m.  (No 8 p.m. screening on Sunday.)  Tickets: $8 regular; $6 students, seniors, teachers and YBCA members.  For more information visit, or call (415) 978-2787.

January 25, 2011 Posted by | Film | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment