By Alex Overland
British Ads Are Pretty Cool
This scab is about how British advertising is better than American advertising.
I used to think that creating super Bowl ads must be the epitome of advertising creative success. I had an ambition to do one at one point, as a sort of milestone to measure whether I’d succeeded as a creative. I still do, but the pedestal I put Super Bowl ads on is not as high anymore (more like a plinth at the moment). Anyway, I used to aspire to create americanstyle advertising. Not anymore. This change happened gradually, but it became very clear to me after seeing all the top and bottom five ads of this year’s Super Bowl.
Obviously, in the dynamic world of advertising, things change, and it may be unfair to label an entire nation’s advertising output. Overall though, it British advertising just seems to do subtle better. British ads seem less ‘addy’ — in comparison, american ones have small, annoying elements that push them from ‘entertaining’ to “oh, it’s an ad”territory: a lingering endplate, corny signoff, or excessive product shots.
Offthewall advertising seems to flow better here as well. When american ads are weird, it sometimes feels like the idea was the last one that no one hated, so it got made. With british ads, quirkiness always seems more justified, or grounded in the product/market/consumer behavior, so it’s not an untethered creative exercise, floating around with no connection to the brand.
American advertising isn’t bad (masters of the hard sell), it’s just British is, from what I can tell, better overall. It’ll be interesting to see how the styles evolve.