Out of England

Since last week’s blog was about a couple of ads that we at Gasp thought were generally ‘a bit iffy’, I thought I’d share a couple of ads that we’re altogether more keen on.

Despite his reputation, Gervais is still a hugely loved and bankable star, and to use a more controversial comedian would be brand suicide.

This time its not necessarily because the ads have ‘done a funny’. Which as you know is the chief criterion for the Gasp seal of approval.

However, this one certainly made me chuckle, it’s an ad for Audi featuring Reading funnyman; Ricky Gervais.

The strapline is ‘Stay Uncompromised’ and I think they’ve made a clever choice using Gervais to encapsulate this principle. Whether deserved or not, Gervais does have a reputation for obduracy when picking his targets for comedy. Why not use Roy Chubby Brown then, (or the American equivalent) I hear you ask? After all he’s stayed uncompromisingly racist and misogynist throughout his career.

The reason is that despite his reputation, Gervais is still a hugely loved and bankable star, and to use a more controversial comedian would be brand suicide.

In the ad, Gervais’ does one of his signature Stan Laurel-esque looks to camera. These looks do still tickle me, though some find them irritating I know, as they’re a feature in almost everything he’s ever done.

Above all though, the ad has a quick flash of his most infectiously funny character trait, that laugh. Once again, it’s divisive, like Gervais himself, but I still find it hysterically funny. For those of you unfamiliar with that unique chuckle, here’s a little treat.

Since we’re talking about an Englishman in America I thought, I'd also share one of my favourite recent ads, which I didn’t get a chance to blog about at the time it aired. Jaguar’s super bowl offering, featuring three of my favourite actors, Mark Strong, Tom Hiddlesdon, and Sir Ben Kingsley.

It’s beautifully shot and plays on the very true fact that Brits (mostly ‘posh’os) so often play the baddies in Hollywood films. It makes one proud to be British, in a way that few things other than an Olympic opening ceremony can. And borrowing from one of the best moments of that ceremony, the ad emphatically nods towards James Bond. And the monarchy of course, with the Jag driving up the Mall and the helicopter landing at Buckingham Palace. Though that isn't the rear of the palace, it a crafty piece of editing, don't you know.

It’s quite fun to look back at the sheer amount English toffs that have played Hollywood villains, the Star Wars series being the great exemplar. It’s something that’s perhaps been best put by eveyone’s favourite cross-dresser; Eddie Izzard

I’m trying to make this blog sound like a more proficient writer has wroten it, so what I’ll do now is tie-in the second bit about the Jaguar ad with the first bit about Gervais, thereby rounding it all off in a agreeable way for reader, are you ready? Here it comes…

It’s probably fitting then, that Englishman Ricky Gervais is playing the villain in the latest offering from another much-loved cinema institution; The Muppets. Nice to see that it’s not just Old Etonians that get to be the baddies. Though you wouldn’t guess that by looking at the current cabinet (bit of satire for you as well) !

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