450 Words from our Sponsor

You can watch all the imported programmes you want but you’ll only truly know what TV is like in a country by watching it with commercials. After a week of conspicuous consumption, here are my highlights:


Kindle Light:

Man on beach holiday complains to wet, bikini-clad woman that he can’t read an e-book on his tablet computer because of the light on his screen. Woman recommends her Kindle Light and man orders one electronically. Woman fends off a presumed advance before discovering he is married to another man. The pro-gay marriage sentiments sit uneasily with the heterosexual allure of the dripping swimsuit. Why does she mention that the Kindle has a light? That’s the problem! The tablet comes out of the commercial looking indispensable and a handy alternative to a mirror. And you know what’s great for that…a book!



I’m sure Harry Enfield will be relieved to know that after decades of writing and performing some of the best character comedy and social satire in Britain he is finally known in America…as a talking gnome with goggles.



No it’s not a web-savvy Charlie’s Angels spin-off. It’s a company offering a permanent hair growth solution to those thinning on top. According to the commercial, you can cut your new hair as much as you like. Because removing hair is the first thing you want to do to after years of it falling out. As the before and after photographs attest, Bosley products don’t just restore your hair, they also stop you photographing like you’re in prison.



Overprotective dad takes daughter to bus stop on her first day of school. In scenes reminiscent of Speed, dad drives alongside the school bus watching his daughter until he knows she’s having fun. A heart-warming commercial that nonetheless works just as well as a public service announcement about reckless driving. Also, a balding bearded man in a suit following a school girl in a car has connotations other than ‘father’.



Ronald Reagan went from corporate spokesperson to President-of-the-United-States and now Dennis Haysbert is doing it the other way round. Having been eclipsed as America’s first black Commander-in-Chief by a real-life David Palmer (who unbelievably has more people working against him than his fictional predecessor), Haysbert took his natural authority into commercials for AllState, one of America’s biggest insurance companies. In several ads, his grizzly-bear-that-learned-to-talk voice possesses the body of some just-hanging-out guy, endowing his retorts to urban myths with truth and reason. Even as a corporate shill, Haysbert connotes more credibility than the man who put him out of office.



Why settle for bread when you can have pastry? It’s this mindset that’s made me switch my fruits to Jujy.

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