The latest Comic Relief ad campaign adds to the canon of Red Nose commercials that are actually watchable.
For most people most of the time, ad breaks range from the merely inconvenient to the uber-irritating. But there’s one time of year when everyone puts their prejudices aside and leaves the mute button alone during the break to bask in the efforts of game-upping market men. In America, that time of year is the Superbowl, when the nation ritually compares the best commercials hijacking the big game, almost as if they were more important than the sport.
Though the budgets may be more modest, the UK equivalent is undoubtedly Comic Relief. Rather like the fundraising event itself, everyone, from hard-nosed marketeers to an even harder-nosed viewing public, sheds their usual cynicism and joins in the fun. Softening up Brits is no easy task, especially when there’s money involved, but some ads, like Jackpotjoy’s delightful new vehicle for Queen of Bingo Babs Windsor, manage just that by promoting a product that’s raising money solely for the cause, not the company (in this case, Jackpotjoy’s Red Nose Day Bingo, from which all proceeds go to Comic Relief).
Mars have pulled off a similar trick this year, with a new campaign inviting the public to share footage of themselves suspending their Maltesers in funny and innovative ways. The best entrants submitted to the Maltesers Facebook page will see their efforts added to an advert on national television. Helping the public look at the lighter side of Comic Relief, stars like Tess Daly and Kimberly Walsh are allowig themselves to be suspended in vertical wind tunnels by jets of pressurised air. Maltesers are donating 2p from every special pack in a bid to raise a million pounds for Comic Relief.
It’s not just UK stars that have joined in the fun. Comic Relief – now in its 25th year – is recognised and supported around the world – and beyond. An intergalactically-famous star helped raise awareness while promoting a British brand, when in 2001, ET joined forces with BT.
Some of the best efforts are made by Red Nose Day organisers, in aid of nothing more than promoting the cause. Like this one, a spoof of the famous Cadbury’s moving eyebrows campaign that swept the nation some years ago.
Perhaps even better than that was the 2009 commercial that brought together some of the luminaries of British advertising from the past fifty years, including Honey Monster and Captain Birdseye.
So keep your eyes peeled between now and the 18th March for some inter-programming entertainment. There’s sure to be a few surprise Red Nose Day-themed adverts coming your way – tell us which ones you think are best!