Monday, July 16, 2012

British Cinema... Why these ads?

This passed weekend, while in Bristol, I attended the Cinema (that is what they call the movies here) to catch a viewing of the popular movie, Magic Mike.  Yes, this movie probably left me with less brain cells then I had before I watched it, but the advertising before the movie was what really caught my attention.  Previews played for about fifteen minutes before the movie started and during that time, some very strange commercials were played.  There were three ads that were cartoons.  This was surprising considering the movie we were seeing was the equivalent of America's R rating.  One particular cartoon was about a Jamaican sauce used for grilling.  There were hot dogs jumping around singing a song about the sauce.  I'm not sure who the target audience for the ad was, but I have never seen an ad like that one before an R rated movie in the United States.  I had the opinion that the advertiser did not really think about his or her audience when creating the commercial, or perhaps did not plan well where the ad was to be shown.  There was another commercial with a cartoon lion for some sort of Bank.  These ads were nothing like those that would be shown in the U.S. before an R rated movie.  They were kiddy-like and cheesy, and I don't know how they would appeal to adults even though they were advertising adult products.

Lastly, something I noticed about Bristol was how many aspects of it were American.  Not only were American stores all over the city, but they were also in Cabot Circus, which is a huge shopping destination there.  My friends and I did not want to shop in American Stores, because we can do that at home for cheaper.  This left us with almost nowhere to shop.  In addition, almost all of the movies playing in the theater were American, something I did not expect.  I guess most films are made in Hollywood, but I just thought a large city in England would have more originality and individuality than to have so many things American.


  1. I too went to see Magic Mike this weekend, yet I left with a very different view of the commercials, the ING lion commercial in particular. First, it was not animated. Instead it was more of a marionette show. However, I did remember this commercial because the graphics were so interesting and entertaining. Even though it was not live action, I still would not call it a childish commercial, especially because of the use of such interesting graphics. Many advertisements aimed at adults still use animation, such as some Charles Schwab commercials from a few years ago. This alone does not make them childish.

    The one commercial that did actually stand out to me in the previews was a commercial for the National Lottery which you can see at the following link.

    I do not know if that was shown before ever R rated movie at the theatre, but it seemed very smart to me that such an emotionally charged commercial directed primarily at females was shown before a movie whose audience was heavily female or in the case on my theatre, entirely female.

  2. That's interesting that Bristol was extremely Americanized. I guess I can see how the American influence of fashion is popular here - I noticed that people are obsessed with the "Hollister"/"Abercrombie" genre here. I'm going to assume that it's from the lack of sun.

    Besides that, I find it interesting that commercial advertisement is in the movie trailers segment. In America, we can all conclude that most advertising shown on screen is displayed before the trailers start, and most of the time it's big corporations that are showing commercials. I haven't had much of a chance to watch British TV yet, but I'm going to assume that commercial advertising on television isn't as strong as it is in America. My conclusion is that putting advertisements in the cinema is a marketing strategy for businesses to get their brand out to certain demographics. For example, putting the sauce commercial is a good strategy to put in a movie where 99% of its viewers are going to be women. Since it's kinda obvious that men like to grill, maybe by showing a different demographic a grilling sauce will increase product dispersion. That's my assumption.

  3. When I was traveling in Italy, prior to coming to England, I happened to meet two Swedish girls while I was on a hike. They were both just out of college and traveling Europe a bit before settling down and getting a job. When I asked them about Sweden, they told me how small the population was and how even though Swedish is their native language, everyone speaks English. I found this surprising at first, but they explained to me that speaking English and having a knowledge of American Culture has now become a survival instinct for many smaller countries and cities. Perhaps the situation is similar in Bristol. America dominates so much of the economic and cultural world that various cities and countries are forced to somewhat assimilate if they have any hope of attempting to keep up with us. Staying up-to-date on the latest products, movies, and news in the U.S. is mandatory. I don't think it's so much that these cities like Bristol are lacking their own culture, but rather I think we just are starting to notice the influence of our own, more and more.