Wednesday, 24 June 2015

the dark side of the loon

I read somewhere that people are moaning about the “dark side” creeping into the latest batch of KFC commercials. Dark side eh? Have these people ever seen the Stihl chainsaw New Zealand ad, delve in if you dare: or the Alka seltzer “eaten something you shouldn’t have?” “Lifeboat”.
What KFC have plugged into, be it ever so gently, is that rich vein of stuff our Yankee brethren are forever calling “human truths”. A terrible, heavy-handed phrase meant to imply the watcher will go, “Hey, c’est moi!” and buy their chicken in buckets.

What the KFC ads have actually hit is the collective funny bone of anyone with a somewhat left-field sense of reality. OK, we’re not talking Gary Larson here , (, but they will make a lot of people smile while they’re up to their elbows in grease and suspicious chicken parts., They aren’t Grand Prix, but they’re a good step in the right direction.

Humour is the hardest emotion to pin down en masse, so many variables have to be factored in and so often it washes clean the original intent. We all have different ideas of what is, and often more vehemently, isn’t funny. As PJ O’Rourke puts it “…People say you can’t make fun of cripples, but they’re wrong, as anyone who’s ever heard the one about Helen Keller falling down a well and breaking three fingers calling for help can tell you.” You see, half of you are smiling guiltily, the other half are reaching for your guns or blackberry’s to object. Humour divides as often as it brings together.

The Pot noodle ads “Seedy Sanchez” at:, “It’s dirty and you want it,” at:
and, “Bombay Bad Boy Flavour” are so grimy you may need a shower after watching, but well worth the voyeuristic experience at:
The dreadful “Blue Sky Offers” from Ford have achieved a certain notoriety down The Brazen Head as they appear to be spiralling further and further away from their heady humour of the early ads with the bird flying into the solid cloud. As I say, it’s in the eye of the beholder. The usually accurate eye of my own art director has been focused lately on what our Antipodean cousins think is funny. In a cloud of Issey Myake and twirling pearls she points out that the Maxibon commercials are funnier than a Platypus on a waterbed. Each ad tracks the life of normal people who have laboured under famous names. Neil Armstrong:
Michael Jackson:
and a boy called Cameron Diaz;
all star in these beautifully written and paced pieces.

Comedy can be a risky business as the guys in Scandanavia who penned those now infamous cartoons will tell you. (I’d give you a link but it may mean someone stopping all the imports again and I need my Lurpack). Luckily this didn’t stop those ad fanatics from Nando’s in the middle-east who recently produced a commercial celebrating Ramadan that was funny enough to make you break fast to eat your hat. Feast your eyes at:
Maybe if there was more of this so called dark humour and a few less dark deeds we’d all live a safer, happier life. Now that would be funny.

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