SUPPLEMENT: The British Television Advertising Awards 1996; Contents: Chairman’s report

As technology allows television to splinter into discreet, ever more esoteric channels, I believe that one day there will be a channel which only shows television commercials. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. This will not be the result of moral decay and the relentless onslaught of capitalism. It will be in response to the legitimate demands of a generation of people for whom TV ads are as valid as programmes. Certainly commercials are better plotted than most sitcoms, usually better photographed than the average drama and quite often more intriguing in 40 seconds than a so-called thriller in 40 minutes. Of course, not all commercials will qualify. But judging by the quality of the 1,218 commercials seen by the BTAA jury, this year’s entries, albeit slimmed down a bit to get rid of the dross, could demand a sizeable audience. Take the craft skills involved. These are now so honed that the editing of feature films often looks leaden by comparison. Now that we have left juke-box advertising behind, music is now integral and makes a real contribution to the emotional appeal of a spot. And direction is almost always inventive, sometimes plain dazzling.

As technology allows television to splinter into discreet, ever more

esoteric channels, I believe that one day there will be a channel which

only shows television commercials. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a

week. This will not be the result of moral decay and the relentless

onslaught of capitalism. It will be in response to the legitimate

demands of a generation of people for whom TV ads are as valid as

programmes. Certainly commercials are better plotted than most sitcoms,

usually better photographed than the average drama and quite often more

intriguing in 40 seconds than a so-called thriller in 40 minutes. Of

course, not all commercials will qualify. But judging by the quality of

the 1,218 commercials seen by the BTAA jury, this year’s entries, albeit

slimmed down a bit to get rid of the dross, could demand a sizeable

audience. Take the craft skills involved. These are now so honed that

the editing of feature films often looks leaden by comparison. Now that

we have left juke-box advertising behind, music is now integral and

makes a real contribution to the emotional appeal of a spot. And

direction is almost always inventive, sometimes plain dazzling.



This year’s reel of shortlisted finalists was more than two hours long.

After sitting through it, most of the jurors were impressed not only by

their own good taste and sound judgment, but also by the exceptionally

high standard of the work. The winners were the subject of intense but

amicable debate. Hopefully, the outcome will raise the bar again,

inspire more imaginative ideas and more ingenious ways of making them

come to life. Although I was not allowed a vote, I was particularly

pleased that the VW Dealer campaign was honoured.



It is one of the peculiarities of our culture that we create these

little television objets d’art with such finesse and conviction. We

should cherish this expertise and enjoy the fact that from conception

through to the editing and sound suites of Soho, we have some very

talented people in this industry. It is their work that is rightfully

recognised tonight.



Tim Delaney, chairman of the judges, is chairman and creative director

of Leagas Delaney



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