Do you find yourself spending hours watching funny commercials on YouTube? How would you like to spend your evening watch commercials on the big screen? Then I have the perfect thing for you.
British Arrow Awards is not so much a movie but a collection of the very best of British commercials. You may be thinking, “Why should I go out of my way and pay $11 to see a bunch of commercials that I can probably find on YouTube?” First of all, you probably don’t know half of the products being advertised so you wouldn’t know what to search for. Second, when framed as a film series, you realize just how well-made commercials can be.
Seriously, some of these commercials can pass as short films. In fact, sometimes the products advertised aren’t even involved in the commercials’ stories in any way. While there are of course a great deal of silly commercials, most of them employ some beautiful storytelling and cinematography.
On the funnier side, we have one commercial where American actor Jason Sudeikis plays an American football coach trying to become an English football coach despite not knowing anything about how they play football in England. It’s a great piece of comedy, poking fun at both countries with the dryness you’ve come to expect from British programming. The commercials involving dancing chickens and moonwalking ponies are an obvious highlight as well. And the commercial involving astronauts and a certain brand of body spray employ a gloriously timed twist.
The more serious commercials, while not as numerous as the more lighthearted ones, are the most impactful for their visceral messages and delivery. One commercial, which was interactive on the web, involves a registered sex offender talking to the viewer as if they were his employer. If the viewer clicks the “skip ad” button, the ad doesn’t change. Instead, the sex offender gets more and more flustered with every click of the button, begging you to just hear him out, before eventually giving up. If you don’t click the button, he talks about all the volunteer work he’s done and gains more and more confidence. It’s an innovative and powerful way of conveying a message that’s not often conveyed.
Hundreds of different moods and themes are shown in an hour and 14 minutes. But the program as a whole is paced so that one mood never becomes overbearing, making elegant transitions from the funny to the serious and back again and making each mood complement the other.
Is every commercial brilliant? No. As with any program of this nature, there are quite a few commercials that are either not that funny, not that well-made, not that interesting or otherwise don’t hit the mark. But the commercials that do hit the mark, hit the bullseye.
Overall, British Arrow Awards is well worth your time and money. If you have any appreciation for commercials, then this will definitely be your cup of tea. Earl Grey tea, to be exact.
You can catch British Arrow Awards either on Monday, October 5th at 3:45 p.m. or on Wednesday, October 7th at 1 p.m. Both show times are at the Oriental Theatre.