It's Oscars time. Somebody wake the Grouch.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Round Men and Beverages - A Contemporary Vision


So, after over a week off, during which I was only able to consume one adult beverage and was not "lying face down in a drainage ditch, smashed with Irish whiskey," as our legal rep F. Johnny Lee cheerfully suggested over a recent repast of sushi, hot wings and burritos, I return to find Jorge waxing sentimental1 about Orson Welles' Paul Masson television adverts.

As much as Jorge writes like someone who has had more than a few sips at the Paul Masson troth himself, he is onto something. There was a time in American television history when the sight of a sodden, yet breezily elegant Orson Welles, hawking cheap California wines, rose to the airy heights of dry, advertisement-less BBC programming in terms of civilised mass communications. (I'm thinking of Panorama, World Business Report and Tomorrow's World of course.) That this occurred in an age when the earthy, obvious charms of programmes like All in the Family and Happy Days were all the rage is even more astounding.

So, why aren't there U. S. adverts of such quiet, cultivated appeal in this day and age? There should be, and so I've made a few suggestions below regarding who could be the "huge round man behind the table... to sell the delicious beverage" as Jorge so eloquently put it. This could take U.S. television advertising back to its salad days2, in my humble opinion. Of course Welles wasn't exactly in, pardon the expression, huge demand at the time, so it could bankrupt American advertising as well. It's a no-win situation, as far as I'm concerned.

  • James Gandolfini selling Bartles and James from an aeroport diner
  • George Wendt hawking O'Douls from behind a card table
  • John Goodman selling HiC from a truck stop booth
  • Wayne Knight hyping Snapple from a picnic table in Times Square
  • Jack Black trumpeting soy milk from the skids of a helicopter at 1000 feet
  • Ernest Borgnine soliciting for Mountain Dew Game Fuel from behind the wheel of a funny car
  • Chef Paul Prudhomme pitching Clam Juice from inside a Tilt-a-Whirl

Ahhh, I can just feel the class oozing across my computer screen.

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1. Well, "sentimental" is the closest word I could think of.
2. No, not to sell salad. Listen, you're missing the whole point.

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