Morpheus on… Seventies American TV Ads

I am nothing if not topical! But if you are over 55, read on…

The Seventies was a CRAP decade if you were British, but at least you could rely on America’s TV ads to lighten your mood.

They were unintentionally HILARIOUS! And the leader in the field was undoubtedly Playtex.

While Brits enjoyed modern, sensual ads from companies like Berlie, American bra ads were still grounded in the FIFTIES.

And the clueless clods on Madison Avenue thought if they ran their ads dubbed from American into English, no-one would notice. Well, dummies – we all DID!

One suspects the RADA-trained British voiceover artists must have CRINGED as they delivered their dialogue. However, from the anonymity of the booth, they could just dream about what they would do with the MONEY.

Of course, while Playtex ruled ridiculous American ads, they were not alone. In fact, every now and again, Britain’s TV companies would run a compilation of the more absurd examples – and the TV audiences would HOWL with laughter.

One imagines that when they obtained clearances, they failed to describe the context in which the ads would be shown!

Footnote: this writer has watched FEW ads since the halcyon days of British Sixties TV. (American) “Mad” magazine ran a piece showing how you could “render totally impotent, insulting ads that cost millions to produce and air, with a device costing less than a buck.”

It was a box with a toggle switch and lead – which simply open-circuited the TV’s speaker. And while the piece may have been a joke – I BUILT one. I put a label on the side that read “idiot box” and used it for about ten years, until remote controls with a “mute” button came onto the scene.

Then VCRs became affordable (followed by HDDs) and I have not watched anything LIVE since – thus for the last 35 years, I have always SKIPPED ads completely.

Does ANYONE still sit there and watch those things?


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