World’s Best Commercials: Cannes ’92

When it comes to TV commercials, I’m not sure what best means: so good that you forget the product, or so good that you remember? Anyway, both kinds appear among the nearly 100 international examplesgood, bad, and indifferentincluded here. Many if not all of the foreign entries are dubbed or retitled in English, which tends to minimize the cultural differences, though a few of the differencessuch as the anticlericalism in the grand-prize winner, a cutesy Spanish ad for gluestill come across. I find most of this as tedious as the commercials I normally see on TV, though a few ads are aesthetically striking (above all the English one for Ariston) and many more have the virtue of telling us how people elsewhere in the world get cajoled into buying things. Still, I would have preferred a wider sampling; most of what we see here is from the U.S., western Europe, Japan, and Australia. (JR)

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