April 13, 2010

MadAve In The Movies: How to Get Ahead in Advertising

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By Kurt Brokaw, Culture Editor

1989: British ad humor has always been, well, different from U.S. ad humor. It's cheekier. It can be darker and even drift into the macabre while keeping a straight face.

Here's Exhibit A, co-produced by George Harrison. The USP is that you get ahead in advertising by growing a second head. Excuse me? No no, it really happens - this nutty ad guy is trying to figure a new angle on a pimple cream. His subconscious, image-filled mind sprouts a boil that appears on his face. The boil grows into a second face and head. The face starts talking, and takes over.

It's more than a little Freudian, sort of like the adman-from-Hell. Richard E. Grant dominates the film, and he's a bad dream come true. Pretty Rachel Ward gamely tries to hold her own, but she's no match of an enlarged, engorged boil that never stops yakking. It's like having Audrey Two, the plant in "Little Shop of Horrors," growing out of your neck.

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