Cracker by Damian Christie


I don't just read the newspaper. I get it.

...Usually down at the dairy, although sometimes I nick one from work. Actually often I don't read it, I just get it. Then I leave it on the table, unopened, and throw it away a couple of days later. Into the recycling bin, natch.

The lads at Pulp Sport obviously find the new TV3 news promos (sorry can't find a link to those) a bit naff too, and have put together these parodies, which I like.

I'm not being partisan here, I find most news promos a bit naff. Usually because they're created by marketing and advertising people, and require reporters, presenters and journalists to do things they don't normally do. Running alongside a tank in Pukekohe, pretending it's the Gaza strip; a high-profile presenter going to cover certain stories because an upcoming promo is scheduled and the footage is needed. Or, in one of the more ridiculous tales I've heard, an ad agency using a production crew of about twenty people (focus puller, DOP, director, clapper loader and so forth) to show presenters doing natural-looking vox pops, which are done all day, every day in the real world, by a reporter and a single camera op.

It's just not real.

But we kinda know that about advertising don't we? Even if the thing that's being advertised is the news?

As a result I've been a bit surprised by the amount of chatter not just on the blogs (including a big discussion over at Spareroom) , but stories on telly and everything, about Telecom's new McCallum & Partners ad.

Maybe I lost all my principles somewhere between being a lawyer and a journalist, but I can't quite get worked up about an advert creating a fictional company (or in this case, a partnership).

Adverts are, by definition, fake, aren't they? Otherwise they'd be short documentaries and no-one would buy anything. Beer just isn't that much fun, nor are cars, shampoo, cereal or chocolate bars. Imagine if ads certainly used real people telling the truth:

Scene: Local dairy.

Woman: I'd like a Mars Bar please.

Dairy owner: That will be $1.80 thank you.

Woman: (eating bar) Mmm. That was quite tasty, although now I feel a little sick.

I don't think this 'fake ads' scandal is entirely new, either.

Thinking back as far as my little memory will allow, there was a guy allegedly called Brucie, who probably wasn't. Vince Martin has never really worked at Beaurepaires, not in any sense that he needs to turn up in that uniform. That Fernleaf Butter family that had everyone entranced in the early 90s? Fake. Those two Mainland Cheese old guys don't make cheese. In fact, I'm pretty sure even Ches and Dale didn't use their real names.

Even just a month ago, the brain-damaged woman in the LTSA ads simply turns out to be Australian

So why is McCallum & Partners coming in for such criticism? Because it's Telecom? Because its AmCam feel means some people were fooled into thinking it was real, then were annoyed to find out it wasn't? Does it matter?

If there's any reason to be disappointed, it should be because Saatchi & Saatchi simply ripped off a good internet viral video of real people doing this for real, and charged Telecom a shitload to remake it for them. But that's hardly unique in advertising either, those NZI ads ironically entitled "someone's always stealing your stuff" always seemed to me to be ripped from the 42 Below virals.

Anyway, fake or not, it's still done in one take, with a whole lot of locals (I recognise at least three people in that ad, and they're not actors, dancers or otherwise gifted with abilities that would make them more able to perform such a feat than an ordinary worker at say, McCallum & Partners), it's got a catchy tune courtesy of Elemeno P, and it's a bit of fun, isn't it?

Or maybe I don't actually get it.

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