BACKBITE

There’s a curious discrepancy between celebrities and the ads they appear in. Magnus Magnusson, for 25 years the grand inquisitor of Mastermind, has chosen a gas spot in which to show his softer side. And Jerry Seinfeld, the creator and star of the sitcom that revolves around the lives, loves and hang-ups of four neurotic New Yorkers, has appeared on UK screens as a wiseguy in a couple of brilliant Amex ads.

There’s a curious discrepancy between celebrities and the ads they

appear in. Magnus Magnusson, for 25 years the grand inquisitor of

Mastermind, has chosen a gas spot in which to show his softer side. And

Jerry Seinfeld, the creator and star of the sitcom that revolves around

the lives, loves and hang-ups of four neurotic New Yorkers, has appeared

on UK screens as a wiseguy in a couple of brilliant Amex ads.



First, cardie-clad Magnus makes himself a cup of coffee while singing

the praises of the Amerada gas company. Having retrieved his black chair

from storage, Magnus demonstrates little of the comic timing for which

Mastermind should have been the perfect training ground. More

unfortunately, it seems the director would rather have been working on

health and safety videos for the civil service, because he spent the

entire film avoiding what could have been a really great climax: Magnus

climbing on to the big black leather seat himself! All in all, this

logical and clearly presented ad will stay in the collective memory for

about as long as it takes most people to shout ’pass!’.



From the ridiculous, to the sublime - Seinfeld starring as the perfect

shopper in the ’do more’ Amex campaign. In one spot, the comedian

rescues Lois Lane in a supermarket, upstaging Superman who has forgotten

his wallet.



In another, he whips out his credit card at a petrol station, surprising

the attendant who assumed he would be paying cash. My calculator

probably doesn’t have enough spaces to the left of the decimal point to

work out what Jerry trousered to help create and star in these ads. It’s

the kind of money that could be stretched over 12 months for most

marketing directors and still leave them with an end-of-year surplus to

impress the shareholders.



However, if you subscribe to the view that commercials are uninvited

guests in someone’s living room, these certainly crash the party with

some panache.



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