I don’ know what makes an effective advert. Presumably it must
stick, if not in the conscience then in the subconscious. You would
think it important that it is clear what product is being promoted yet
there has been a trend for several years for adverts that leave you
guessing. Some adverts doesn’t appear to be selling a thing but a life
style. Some tell short stories, romantic comedies, all action
adventure, conveyed in images of rebellion, independence and freedom
that are initially more interesting than the programmes they
interrupt. Clearly there is a lot of psychology goes into an advert.
Whether or not a particular advert increases sales some are more
art than science. It’s the combination of music, movement, colour and
composition that stirs the emotions in a rather pleasing way. I have
noticed the very young are capable of appreciating an advert when they
can have no understanding of what it is about, theirs is an emotional
response. I see this when watching tv in the presence of my not yet
2year old grandson. He becomes excited and very attentive every time
a particular advert comes on.
He doesn’t have the words to tell me why this advert and to date
no other advert excites and pleases him. So I have tied not to look at
it as an advert for a bank but to see it in isolation as a piece of
The story is set at night . People of all ages come streaming out
of their houses carrying torches. As dawn brakes they are seen
clambering over the sand dunes. Black horses thunder along the sea
shore kicking up spray. The people and the horses come together. There
is a friendly horse for each person. The people laugh and smile as the
horses nuzzle them and they in turn stroke and pat the horses.
The opening scenes are a what’s happening? The horses have
fluidity of movement and power , they add excitement, rhythm and
intrigue. They convey a feeling of joy. Little boys understand the fun
of running and splashing. The people go to meet the horses or do the
horses go to meet the people? The horses may be big and strong but
they are friendly. Young children are attracted to and fascinated by
animals. They instinctively want to touch and stroke. This is clearly
about the horses.
The story has a happy ending. Children like happy endings it
makes them feel safe.
To my media weary eyes the whole thing is sentimental and
cliched lacking the necessary ambiguity. There are no layers to it.
Nothing to make you wonder. Yet for my grandson it stands out amongst
hundreds of adverts pumped into his living room every day. Don’t tell
me it’s horses. He has shown no particular interest in horses, he has
no toys horses or books that feature horses and his favourite cartoon
is Pepper Pig which has not featured a horse in the many episodes I
have repeatedly viewed. So what is it about these horses within the
context of this story? I don’t know and he can’t tell me.
Blair Mcpherson www.blairmcpherson.co.uk