Auto TV Commercials: Brad Meets Britain

Posted on 20 September 2012 by Tony Santos

It’s no coincidence that some of the best-loved and longest running adverts on TV have put relationships at their core.  Our fascination with finding out what happens next to the characters we see for 30 seconds at the intervals has kept us glued to our screens over the years, and has made these ads more like  mini soap operas.  Here is a recap of some of the most memorable relationships from TV ads.

Nicole & Papa

From 1991 to 1998, Nicole and Papa were two of the most famous faces on TV in Britain.  Conceived to promote the Renault Clio, the saga of this father-daughter relationship captured the imagination of viewers across Britain and was one of the most talked about ads of the decade.

In the run up to the finale – which was centred around Nicole’s wedding day and watched by more than 23 million viewers – the press was rife with speculation about the fate of Nicole.  If you haven’t already seen it, you can find out what happens here.

The BT Family

BT tapped into the zeitgeist with its take on the modern family, which first hit our screens back in 2005.   Centred around a couple – Jane, an older woman with teenage children and Adam, a younger man – the narrative followed the family through important moments in their lives.

The campaign ended in 2011 after BT conducted a Facebook poll to allow viewers to decide the outcome of Jane’s pregnancy test.  1.6m votes were cast and couple’s fate was sealed.  All is revealed in the wedding finale.

The Oxo Family

One of the longest-running series of advertisements on TV was the OXO commercials.  The ads – which centred around a typical middle class British family –ran for a whopping 16 years from 1983 to 1999.

The story followed the family through a range of different mealtime scenarios – from mum trying out something new to Dad having a bash at preparing the dinner – and resonated with the British public because they seemed to capture the nuances of everyday life in middle class Britain.

Colleagues in ads

More recently, ad-makers have turned their attention to relationships between colleagues.  The Orange Mobile phone idents used in cinemas, follow a group of producers as they are pitched to by a range of celebrities; each time they ruin the pitch with a ludicrous mobile phone-related idea.

Also, a new ad from Enterprise the UK based car hire company follows the relationship between a reserved Englishman, Dave and his bold all-American colleague Brad, as Brad gets to grip with English culture.  The ads are still in their infancy, but the dynamic between Brad and Dave could make for a long-running storyline. Watch this space.

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