Was there a golden age of UK commercial television?
Could there be? And could it be now?
A certain generation would have it that it was when dialogue was
supreme, when its stars were the stars of the gentler BBC sitcoms and
production values were worshipped above all else.
And very good it was too. But as the jury spooled their way through the
shortlist of this year’s BTAA candidates, it’s difficult to believe that
the variety, inventiveness and imagination apparent today has ever been
Formats, time length, film language - everything is now up to question
and quite rightly so. Home-made commercials, hand-made commercials,
commercials whose only star is a fax machine, three-minute commercials
of enormous quality and entertainment made for pounds 80,000; anything
There are, of course, still plenty of techniques looking for ideas and
there are still too many people who can’t see beyond MTV for their frame
of reference. But the energy and iconoclasm of the current crop of
creative teams who view a camera as a tool for fun and energy and not an
arcane object of worship - bad news for those rapidly obsolescent
production companies who persist in their fat habits, hiding behind
alleged production values as their excuse - is exciting and hugely
Only the packaged goods section remains obstinately rooted in the
’customer as moron’ school of advertising, interestingly probably the
most over-researched, over-planned and over-thought category of them
But those apart, the body of work set before us made the three days a
pleasure and the task simple. The organisation, as always with the BTAA,
was superb and the blackcurrant and apple crumble on the second day was
Congratulations and thanks are due to the jury, who were highly
diligent, verified by their consistency in their voting. There was
good-humoured comment and in the end little dissent because there were
few grounds for dissension.
Hopefully, you’ll agree with their view. And in considering the bulk of
this year’s winners, hopefully you’ll agree that the current creativity
in our television advertising is as high as it’s ever been.