Peter York on Ads: The art direction's so good I want to live on set

Orange Wednesday

Flicking ever onward through historic picture books as art directors constantly do, where did they find the interior for the new Orange Wednesday commercials? It's the classic 1950s modernist New York apartment - it feels like an apartment rather than an office - huge, double height, with vertiginous total glazing. What was it based on - an early TV network tycoon's pad, a Broadway impresario's?

Flicking ever onward through historic picture books as art directors constantly do, where did they find the interior for the new Orange Wednesday commercials? It's the classic 1950s modernist New York apartment - it feels like an apartment rather than an office - huge, double height, with vertiginous total glazing. What was it based on - an early TV network tycoon's pad, a Broadway impresario's?

Whatever, I want it. This interior, shot in black and white from above, or with telescopic lens, from across the skyscraper canyon, adds huge tone and gnomic depth to the business of advertising Orange's "two cinema tickets for the price of one" promotion. (It operates on Wednesdays, which starts you wondering, if Saturday is the peak admissions day which is the worst?) Two middle-aged men are in this über-apartment, debating, in a slightly post-modern way that's meant to involve you with the brand, what the promotion should be called. One has a deep smart American voice, the other speaks British RP and their conversation is shot in that 1960s art-movie style with the voice-track drifting over cloudy grainy views of the town and a fine Deco clockface surmounted by a globe, just below this Orange skylab.

It's all a bit tricksy - lights go on and off as they speak; a picture creates mouse-ears behind one of the characters. It's wildly disingenuous: "I don't have a promotion, just a name." And it's more than a little pi - "We reward our Orange customers." But it stays in your mind because everything - the art direction, the Nouvelle Vague-ish conversation, the music track with its clever jazz-ish sounds of double bass and plinky piano - has an effective kind of false resonance for people who stare at a lot of stills and watch a lot of films. They'll know how it's intended to work on them - to say that Orange is the cleverer network, the one with the cultural hinterland, the one for People Like Us - but at the same time they'll feel it's worryingly attractive. This is a commercial that targets art directors brilliantly.

Peter@sru.co.uk

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