York on ads: No 18: Exclusive photography

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The Independent Culture
AT LAST, a foretaste of the way things will be in the interactive global television supermarket of the future, when all this nonsense about British advertising creativity is over. It comes in the form of an Australian-style, instant-response ('call now]'), 120-second advertorial for Exclusive Photography, shot in the manner of an early 1980s morning magazine show - ie, like GMTV but less incisive.

Exclusive Photography is for women who 'don't take a good photograph'. If you believe you are as you photograph it's very therapeutic to be shown yourself looking faintly like Joan Collins. Exclusive Photography struggles to bring this redemption to thousands of challenged women through a package of make-up, hairstyling, propping and very oddly angled and misted camera work. Some extremely 'natural' looking women are shown before and after this treatment.

The healing hand behind the makeover is the distinguished Australian photographer Shane Monopoly. Shane sits in the studio set-up and is interviewed by a charming compatriot, who explains: 'People in Australia know you so well. Now you're in the UK, with the same fantastic service.' When we see Shane in his first close-up, we realise his looks too are . . . challenged. It may have helped him identify. Anyway, Shane is offering the full pounds 150 job for pounds 50 if you ring now.

American TV is full of this kind of thing, both in the programming and the breaks. Now we have one of our very own. We know it's an advertisement, however, because it says so, in large letters on the top right-hand corner of the screen. Peter York

Videotapes supplied by Tellex Commercials.

(Photograph omitted)