The other day I went along to the cinema to see the new Tintin movie, my first cinema visit since Avatar. It’s rather a pity that movies are now so expensive that I can only go to ones that I know/hope are going to be worth the money but in this case I was more than pleased with the film (for exactly what I thought, read my review at Subterranean Death Cult). I’ll save the rant about the recent batch of crappy films for later; instead what’s playing on my mind is some of the ads in the pre-show reel.

I usually enjoy the pre-show reel; the ads are generally funnier, better written and less G-rated than their television counterparts (not all, of course) and the trailers are also good fun. Yet, when the first of a number of Xbox Kinect ads started playing I raised a critical eyebrow. Apart from an intense dislike of the Kinect (for reasons listed here) the ad got my goat for spending a minute and a half showing off things that the Kinect can’t even do!



At the bottom of the ad was a subtitle saying, “This ad shows future possibilities only” (or something to that effect) which roughly translates to “This ad is complete bullshit!” – I notice this text was lacking in the online version, above. I can’t imagine that other companies would be able to get away with a similar type of ad: if Ford ran an ad like it, 80% of the ad would have the actors driving cars out of The Jetsons. I’m also rather sceptical that musicians would choose to record music by miming in front of a Kinect and any bomb technician using a Kinect as part of their job would shortly have more use as a meat-based sandwich spread.

The second ad was one that can easily be summarised by “EPIC PENCILS ZOMG!!1!one”. I’m guessing that working a pencil contract must be one of the greater challenges in the advertising industry as pencils are products with little room for innovation but golly if they didn’t give it their best go!

The ad consisted of a disembodied hand twirling a pencil to a funky beat while the camera zoomed in and out for two minutes at an increasingly urgent pace before ending with epic thuds as pictures of each pencil in the range froze on screen. I tried looking for a copy of the ad online but the Internet hasn’t deemed it worthy of entrance to the digital sphere – which probably gives you an idea of how pointless an ad it is.

Normally I wouldn’t be tempted to write about the ads I’d watched before a film but the inanity of these ads burrowed its way into my brain and I felt it best to get it out. Fortunately they were more than balanced out by a set of excellent trailers (including a new Aardman picture) and a truly excellent film.