Why British TV Ads Are Better Than Ours

Here it is folks. The British have us beat when it comes to television advertising. While American ads rely more on addictive but mindless jingles and phrases, our neighbors across the Atlantic are elevating their spots to cinema status. It's become quite common for a British television commercial to compete (and win) at Cannes. Compare these gorgeous UK beer commercials to the boob-worshipping boy's club imagery common among Budweiser and Miller Lite ads in the States.

On Sunday, November 28 and again on December 5, MFAH Films presents The 2010 British Television Awards. The film is a collection of the year's most thought-provoking TV spots, chosen by top advertising executives and producers from around the world. This year's winners include British commercials for Volkswagen, Cadbury, the Department of Transport, McDonald's, and the winner of the best ad of the year, a mass dance-off from T-Mobile.

T-Mobile Dance (2009)

Campaign: "Life's for Sharing" Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi Director: Michael Gracy Award(s):

Digital Cinema Media Award "Best Television Commercial of the Year"

(2010) Who doesn't love a flash mob? This infectious spot features a spontaneous dance number taking over Liverpool Street Station in January of 2009. Part of the "Life's for Sharing" campaign, the clip provides a charming visual of how quickly joy spreads through a crowd, encouraging the audience to share its joy with others--using T-Mobile phones, of course.

Richard Silverstien, co-chairman and creative director of San Francisco powerhouse Goodby, Silverstien & Partners, told the New York Times, "In general, TV advertising has always been a high form of public art in the U.K. People over there watch commercials as if they are entertainment...[American] companies want everything buttoned-up in a 30-second ad. This often leaves nothing to the imagination, so you get pretty pedantic advertising."

Department for Transport - Live with It (2009)

Campaign: "Think!" Agency: Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO Director: Andy McLeod Award(s):

Gold Award "Best 30-60 Second Commercial"

(2010) Whoa. We wonder if an ad as spooky and disturbing would make it past the FCC on this side of the pond. This public service spot plays into one of our worst nightmares (hint: "I see dead people"), and sticks with you long after it's done.

To purchase tickets: Sunday, November 28 at 2pm.

Sunday, December 5 at 5pm.

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