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What ads should – or could – we bring back?

Celebrities who appear on TV talent shows often talk about the raft of positive benefits they experience; losing weight, improving their fitness, marrying Jordan, and the obligatory emotional “journey” are all very well, but the most valuable of all is that they are suddenly catapulted back into the affections of the nation once again as they reignite (and sometimes exceed) their fame of previous years.

A parallel process of reinvention and rediscovery also appears to be happening in the ad break.  If you were watching Dancing on Ice last night you would have seen one of the most iconic British adverts of all time, Yell’s Fly Fishing starring J.R. Hartley, remade for 2011 with a new leading man, a new search for a lost classic and a new way to search.  Rapier’s 2011 remake of the 1983 AMV ad follows a new character – former DJ, Day V Lately – embarking on a hunt for a lost trance mix of a 1992 track he produced called ‘Pulse and Thunder.’

This canny homage to a well loved classic aims to tap into viewers’ latent feelings of warmth and affection for the advertising and the brand, while making a valid point about how Yell’s offering has evolved over the last three decades.

And Yell is not alone. Other brands like Persil, Hovis, Milkybar, PG Tips and Tetley have all drawn on and reinvigorated past TV ad creative in recent years. And some have just unashamedly repeated them. You might have enjoyed another touch of TV déjà vu recently when in amongst the newly minted creativity of the latest ad break you could suddenly hear Robert Palmer’s Addicted to Love and watch as a beautiful woman with a sore throat dressed in a 90s suit gets into a lift to be kissed sensuously on the neck by an imaginary man. Yes, the steamy Halls Soothers advert The Kiss, which first aired in 1993, has also been back on our screens.

So, is the industry embracing some kind of retro aesthetic or is this just a recession-inspired practical acknowledgement of the value of all that TV adstock lying dormant, waiting to be reignited?

Whatever is going on, it got me wondering what other ads we’d like to bring back?  What would you choose? Help us come up with a good list and we’ll put a reel together and put them up on our website. 


  • Lindsey Clay
    Lindsey Clay
    CEO, Thinkbox
  • Posted under
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