PETER YORK ON ADS: NO 115: VAUXHALL VECTRA

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The Independent Culture
MOST future fantasies in advertising look utterly characteristic of the assumptions and aesthetics of their own age. But it is the special achievement of the new Vauxhall Vectra ad to have given us, in 1996, a remarkable mixture of Sixties, Seventies and Eighties futures.

We see a series of likely millenarian events, the main thrust of which is that, in the future, we will live in the swoony world of a big-budget Nineties ad. So: an interesting sky plus a sort of post-Concorde plane with a novel-looking propulsion unit, a face briefly in profile, a glowing clock-face on very fast forward - all mixed like nothing so much as a Powell and Pressburger dream sequence (their fantasies, done with string and plaster on 10-bob budgets, have been very influential on commercials directors).

And then we have a parade of cute girls' and boys' faces - very androgynous, and all with the mid-1990s fringe - coming at us catwalk fashion, appropriately vacant. One - looking like Steve Strange in his early Eighties Wild Boys get-up - has a Virtual Reality headset. Then there's a confusing passage that looks like Vogue food photographs of exotic fruit slivers overlaid on the rear wing of an American Fifties car. And from there to the desert of Mon- ument Valley filling with a bright blue sea. A huge whale tail emerges in slo-mo. Is there a little ecological thought here?

And then, through what I can only describe as a sort of bubble-wrap effect, ingeniously filmed, appears the word "Vectra" (in precisely the sort of bright chrome lettering that graced GM cars in the Sixties), followed by the Vectra itself, on water, and looking like nothing so much as one of the larger Rovers with a touch of the BMWs. Clearly not an electric pod, let alone a beam-me-up teleporter.

A grand, sonorous voice says "designed for the next millennium: the Vectra from Vauxhall". Even that purposeful, cod-futuristic alliteration puts me in mind of Victors and Veluxes.

! Video supplied by Tellex Commercials.

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