Urge To Kill Rising: ...and Fading at the Cinema

This weekend I went to see "Curse of the Were-Rabbit" with Mrs. Kludge, my mother, and my sister's family. I thought it was pretty good, although what's with the current trend of Helena Bonham-Carter only appearing in voice form?

Inevitably, there were adverts. There are now five sets of adverts you'll see at any cinema if you turn up early enough.

First, you'll see the static adverts that the cinema displays while people are coming in and sitting down - you know, the "5 minutes from this theatre" style of advert - although these ads seem to be more for technical colleges than Indian restaurants nowadays.

Next we have the advert for the cinema itself. In some way, these adverts are the most enraging - I don't know about you, but I don't need an advert to get to come to a cinema I'm already sitting in. Nothing that I want to do that can be achieved by simply sitting on my arse needs advertising. I don't see adverts for air, for instance, and no girl needs lipstick when you are actually in the process of kissing her. In fact, lipstick on someone you've decided to kiss is often a hindrance. In-cinema adverts are like that - they entice you into doing something you're already doing and, at the same time, hinder you from doing it.

Next: Adverts! Proper adverts! You used to get adverts in cinemas that you'd never see anywhere else. Now they're largely TV adverts.

Next: Trailers! The less said, the better.

Finally: These trailers sponsored by Orange. Before Orange, Barclays Bank was one of the companies responsible for sponsoring the trailers - in fact, the first I can remember doing so. Now, is it just me, or does it seem strange to anyone else that they need to sponsor trailers - which are adverts.

You don't seem to get this anywhere else. You don't watch through a car ad on telly, and at the end it says "This Peugeot propaganda brought to you by Andrex". If the trailers aren't paying their own way, why the hell are they being shown at all?

The fact that adverts have to be sponsored themselves pretty much sums up everything that is wrong with the cinema theatre industry. We're paying more to watch a film than ever before, we're paying ridiculous prices for a box of popcorn, and still films have to be slathered in five layers of adverts before the cinema is happy with the profit. I've got to think that there's something wrong with this.

...Aaaany-how - among the proper adverts, there was a car advert that I'd like to recommend to people advertising cars - although I'd recommend that they copy only one half of the advert. It starts with a black and white film of the car driving through what is probably Scottish countryside, complete with a pro - the usual pretentious car advert. Then, with the visual equivalent of a record scratch, coloured blobs come up on screen, telling us to "come off it". The ad changes to colour, and a funky piece of music plays while a cutaway shows us the seats flipping up and down into the various configurations.

Do you know what? I'm kind of sold. I mean, I wouldn't buy a people-carrier, but the second half of this advert was good. It was eye-catching, it wasn't annoying, and it demonstrated the point they were selling the car on very well. It certainly did look like a pretty versatile little vehicle. It's just a shame that the beginning of the advert was so bad. I can get behind parodies ("A Bit of Fry and Laurie" parodied this kind of pretentiousness excellent in some of their opening sequences), but a parody must have some element of humour in it - it must, in fact, actually be a parody. It's not simply enough to do something that someone else did and then say "come off it!" at the end, as if that made you clever. Some copywriters can do funny, and some can't. That's OK. But those that can't do funny really need to know about it*. The person who designed this advert couldn't do funny - but that's not important, because it looks as though they could do good.

(*Of course, this isn't just a problem for advertisers - on which, more in my next article).


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