Stay tuned, we’ll be right back

By Nicole Kobie

Traditionally, commercials have signalled the time to get up and use the washroom, make popcorn, or get a drink so as not to miss the show. However there are many 30- second ad spots that keep viewers glued to their seats and are, in fact, better than the program.

The World’s Best Commercials of the Century celebrates those phenomenal miniature films and hilarious jokes found in television ads.

While most of North America loves good commercials, Canadians seem especially partial to them. Do you love the famous Eaton’s sweater ad, the recent pride-inducing Joe Canadian one, or find yourself watching the Super Bowl at the local pub to see the American commercials, such as the Bud Frog one? Then you’ll adore this compilation. It’s unlike the commercial specials shown on TV because there is no annoying commentary and the focus is on European spots rather than North American ones.

Of the nearly 100 ads, only two are Canadian. Both are public service announcements and quite serious–a contrast to our current humour-laden commercials. The first, a stunning domestic abuse story, and the second, a frightening Cystic Fibrosis ad, are extremely effective showing we do more than just advertise beer. There are many beer commercials throughout the show though, with Australia and Britain contributing the most.

The old classics are all here: the Life cereal "Hey Mikey, he likes it" ad, the singing California Raisins, and the 20-year-old "Mean" Joe Green Coke ad all made the cut. While it’s fun to see those classics, the most fun ones are the shocking European ones, the thought-provoking PSAs and the old ’60s ads.

The most shocking ad in the show is from the Netherlands. A family are in a car when a song whose lyrics consist solely of "I love to fuck you up the ass" comes on. The meaning is lost on the parents who like the beat and start bopping their heads. Their children just giggle. What’s that ad pushing? English language classes.

Unforgettable doesn’t begin to describe the PSAs included in this show. A Greenpeace ad shows fur-clad models walking the runway with blood spurting everywhere. An Africare spot suggests that if you can’t send money to help starving African children, send shoe boxes. Why? Because they’re running out of coffins. A two-decade old French Greenpeace ad should still be shown today. Rings on a cut-down tree are pointed to with a note saying when famous people, as far back as Napoleon, were born; the clincher in this ad is when "the birthday of the motherfucker who cut down this tree" is shown.

The-older-the-better seems to be a theme throughout the show. One of the best of the dated ads is a simple Volkswagen beetle ad. The scene takes place after a heavy snowfall and the one question plainly asked is: how do snowplow drivers drive to the snowplow? Answer: in a beetle, of course!

The World’s Best Commercials of the Century is in limited run at the Uptown Theatres from Sept. 15-25, playing nightly at 6:30 and 8:30.

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