Monday’s Newcomers 

14 May 2007 tbs.pm/134

thinkbox

Well, here’s a blast from the past about which I am ambivalent. According to the about us page, thinkbox is “the television marketing body for the main UK commercial broadcasters – Channel 4, Five, GMTV, ITV, Sky media, Turner Broadcasting and Viacom Brand Solutions”.

Now lets ignore the idea that Turner is a main UK commercial broadcaster (the very idea is laughable) and the oh-so-self-conscious bit of corporate nonsense that is “Viacom Brand Solutions”.

No, the point here is that this website, in a bizarre corporate version of YouTube, is offering new videos for you to watch… of the latest UK adverts. Updated every Monday.

Well, adverts in and of themselves are not things I would choose to watch (not modern ones, anyway; set me down with a few beers and a tape of 60s, 70s or 80s adverts and you won’t see me until bedtime). But evidently thinkbox think out of the box and think that we will.

What they seem to be half remembering is that, once upon a time, we were able to watch all the new adverts every Monday – by switching to ITV before broadcasts started (and by that I mean “started in the afternoon”) and watching them play out over the network.

This was a process that has continued to amaze television historians to this day, mainly because these adverts were generally pre-final approval (if anyone remembers the days when advertisers weren’t trusted not to rip us off until a committee had watched and double-checked just in case) and played even in regions that wouldn’t see them normally.

What historians today forget is that nobody was watching. There was no television at this time of the day; switching on speculatively was pointless and, in most middle class homes at least, tantamount to being Queen Slut of the Sluttish People (to be fair, in working class homes, nobody was watching either, but because people were working too hard for too little).

At least one thing has not changed; this modern, internet meme-based version of Monday’s Newcomers will also have very few viewers. But probably little opportunity to put up the type of captions seen in the third and forth pictures here. Now there’s a meme I’d like to see happen.

A Transdiffusion Presentation

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