Presenter Ade Edmondson defines this new two-part series as one exploring how ads mirror our tastes, but of course it’s little more than a thinly veiled chance to laugh at all the old ads that have defined ITV since its launch in 1955.
Nowt wrong with that of course, and Ade’s tongue-in-cheek links featuring terrible puns and one-liners from a brightly coloured virtual set clearly signify that we might be in media studies world, but it’s media studies lite, and we’ll have a bloody good laff as we study obvious gems like the Smash ad, curiosities like Beryl Reid in a 1950s beer ad, and slyly subversive ads like Heinz’s anti-Thatcher beans one.
Sandwiched between them are the glorious booze campaigns for the likes of Campari, Cinzano, Carling and Fosters, and lots of spot-the-celeb opportunities as June Whitfield, Terry-Thomas, James Bolam and Stanley Baxter star in fun mini-sitcoms – the former two as Anne Hathaway and William Shakespeare in a Birds Eye ready-meal ad, no less.
In showing how these three-minute vignettes mirror our tastes, it ably does what it says on the tin (to quote another popular ad), and who can argue with that? Just don’t be surprised that it’s a tin of Space Invaders pasta in tomato sauce rather than a tin of gourmet cassoulet.