Monday, 30 January 2006

BT Step-Family Ad

Many TV adverts bug me with their negative attitudes of people wanting to out-do others or being mean and selfish by not sharing "the product" because it is so wonderful. So it is always refreshing when there is a nice ad out.

The latest is becoming a series from the same advertising house that gave us the Yellow Pages ads (cutting niece's hair); the charming Dulux paint ads (we'll match your colours to some plasticine model); and the Guiness wild horses ad but I don't like that one so much.

I remember back to the 1990s when they first started to include black and Asian people in ads in a non-sensational and obvious "we are including the token black" way. Although non-white people appeared in ads before then, that was about the first time in the UK that non-white people were presented in ads because they were people and not because it was aimed at enticing a black audience or trying to show how cool the company were for having non-white people in their ad. (I could be wrong about the dates but this is what I felt.)

Families have been portrayed differently over the years. The OXO family ads come to mind. They were good to a point and then they seemed to be making a point about different family structures as we moved away from the stereotypical 2.4 family structure and now those ads have been done away with altogether.

So the latest ad to wow me is the reformed family in the BT series of ads .... the guy who has met a girl, well a woman actually, who has two kids of her own. It shows his growing relationships with all three of them obviously assisted by the internet (provided by BT) to help with homework or finding love tunes. It is charming and gentle and doesn't present as obviously trying to make an issue of being a re-formed or step family. It just seems to be a mini-movie about a budding relationship.

There isn't conflict within the family, although the adults are finding it difficult at times to have moments together, and it isn't over the top wonderful happy families. The guy is handsome and amenable. He isn't shown as a bumbling fool.

There are at least two ads and this is the first one. I feel this series of ads deserves awards and to be noted. Of course I am biased having been a mother with two children and meeting the man of my dreams who has taken the time and care to develop relationships with us all.

Original Comments:

Writer Mom said...
Very sweet! And it's Colin Frissell from Love Actually (one of my favorite films).
*Gonna tell my ad man brother about this. He'll appreciate the feedback, I'm sure.
Particularly, reducing the bumbling male stereotype.
Monday, January 30, 2006 4:25:00 PM
Cheryl said...
Lovely. I agree, I really like this one - the Nescafe couple of its times.
They could really have fun with the kind of challenges that come up.
Been there too, Doris.
Monday, January 30, 2006 7:50:00 PM
Milt Bogs said...
My current favourite is a crummy Egg bank advert. The one with a family of guinea pigs. The part I really like is where the baby of the family rolls on his back on the floor. I can't stand the rest of the advert, just that bit. Sad really.
Tuesday, January 31, 2006 10:31:00 AM
Pookie65 said...
What a great ad! Doris, you always manage to teach me something new every time I visit your blog -- which is just about daily, my dear.

OK -- not to get off track but I have to ask WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? when a whole series of ads for femine hygen products came out featureing the mother/daughter routine.

The mother & daughter are either sitting in a cafe, walking hand in hand on a beach, gardening, cooking, or simply standing in line in a store. THEN....the daughter looks at mom and asks her "what do you do on those not so fresh days?"

The mother ALWAYS smiles sweetly and replies with something like, "Well, I use (product X)and (insert product endorsement)"

Doris, does this really, truly ever happen? I mean come on! I've always wanted to know the logic behind these commericals. It's either a faux bonding thing that the AD execs think the consumer is too stupid to believe or you females really do have such conversations.

Most teenage girls won't even talk to their mothers PERIOD. Much less about the "freshenss" (or lack of) they feel during their monthly cycle. Please help me out here.

I know that you of all people won't sugar coat the truth from me.

Hugs & fresh feelings from the other side of the sea!

Tuesday, January 31, 2006 1:31:00 PM
She Weevil said...
What a lovely thing to say about your husband/partner.

I like the advert too: they certainly capture something of the quiet love that getting it right eventually brings.
Tuesday, January 31, 2006 2:16:00 PM
doris said...
Writer Mom I guess that's how ideas travel - by word of mouth :-)

Cheryl Yes, the Nescafe couple... they were great too.

Milt I only saw the baby guinea pig last night as I had never watched it from the beginning and I can see what you mean... you are a bit of a softy :-)

Pookie LOL If my daughter asked me "what do you do on those not so fresh days?" I'd probably quip that I'd ask her to put her socks in the wash, or ask her what on earth she was talking about.

Sadly, I'm lucky to get within inches of my teenage daughter let alone hold her hand.

Sadly she refuses to let me chat, even superficially, about the Mooncup I gave her. I've tried to let her know how fresh I feel (!!!!) because it is that good but she does not want to know/hear.

My mother would not talk about such things with me and I wouldn't with her.

At least in my world, this sort of thing does not happen. It is a glossy ideal from the ad companies and I am not aware of a similar ad here. Such an ad would end up making me feel somewhat wanting in the mother/daughter relationship department.

She Weevil :-)

And moving on... something big has happened concerning my daughter and reflects, I suppose, on the good relationship we actually have. A blog post coming.
Tuesday, January 31, 2006 5:26:00 PM
doris said...
Ella M LOL You are one of a kind and I'd agree it would be truly marvellous and amazing to have you represented in a positive and honest light!
Tuesday, January 31, 2006 5:29:00 PM
ella m. said...
I don't think your biased, it is always good to see someone like yourself given light in the advertising that is becoming an ever pervasive part of Western culture.

I'd be doing backflips if I ever saw people anything like me in an ad for anything other than annoying angsty bands.
Tuesday, January 31, 2006 5:32:00 PM
doris said...
That is amazing..... I seem to have responded to you Ella BEFORE you posted your message!!!!
Tuesday, January 31, 2006 5:32:00 PM
Jo said...
Hey wow, yes you did Doris! Was reading your reply to Ella thinking 'Hmmm, have missed something...'

Great to see non white ethnic minorities portrayed in ads just as, well...entirely unremarkable, regular characters! BT does have a pedigree of doing this from time to time.

There's also a Pizza (Hut?) ad out at the moment which features a black family eating a pizza (some gag about maths). Fairly lousy ad, but good to see the casting (and if you look closely I think there's this old Chinese guy sitting behind them too!)

Despite the progress, getting companies to cast their commercials in this way can still be tough (you'd think it would be no issue these days, but sadly it still is). Casting people and directors in ad agencies don't 'overtly' discriminate, it's more 'institutional' than that still - with non white actors just being invited to audition less often, and predominantly white people being presented in casting reels. This avoids the potential 'difficulty' of a client choosing to turn down a black actor, for example, and 'worrying' that he/she will be seen to be racist in doing so.

But it is changing. I gather some European countries are way behind, and naked racism is far more obvious in this area - you'll be heard pushed to find any non white people in any ads at all in some countries. I once heard of a campaign that was being made in the UK to run around Europe, featuring black actors (for a very particular reason, the brand was using an oblique message about racial discrimination.) All was fine, till the French company saw the script and said they just couldn't use it 'because they would be firebombed'.

This was a few years back now. But not that long ago...
Wednesday, February 01, 2006 11:40:00 AM
Z said...
I think they'll find that in most families - it is time spent on the internet which prevents time being spent as a family.

Not always the case but you can bet your last penny that it is statistically speaking MORE the case. And this is the point of the whole advert - i.e. to show that the internet does not HAVE to drive a family apart.

But, yeah, it paints a nice picture.
Friday, February 03, 2006 1:48:00 PM
doris said...
Thanks Jo and Z. I'm sorry I have not come back to your comments and that is one of my faults.... once other stuff crops up then I seem to have moved on and am not in that head space at the mo.
Friday, February 03, 2006 4:32:00 PM
Astryngia said...
I already always think of you when I see that ad!!! :-)
Tuesday, February 07, 2006 12:33:00 AM

No comments: