Stephen fry/grown-ups

I’ve just finished The Fry Chronicles. It’s an entertaining read, hampered somewhat by Mr. Fry’s tendency  to go on and on and on about how crushingly insecure he felt even when he was the toast of Cambridge/The West End/Broadway etc. Yes, Stephen, we get the point: you need to be somewhat self-deprecating about your achievements, but one explanation of that would be plenty.

Anyway, as I tend to do when reading books of this kind, I marked a couple of passages (so did Stephen) that might interest you:

‘Novelty and originality do not come from the invention of new milieus, new genres or modalities. They come from the how and the who, not the what’.

Another dig at digivangelism. ‘Nuff said. But then we have a slightly more interesting point:

‘Intoxicating drinks disguised as milkshakes and soda pops exist for those whose taste buds haven’t grown up enough to enjoy the taste of alcohol. As in food so in the wider culture. Anything astringent, savoury, sharp, complex, ambiguous and difficult is ignored in favour of the colourful, the sweet, the hollow and the simple.’

Have you noticed how many ads, especially those aimed at adults, seem to be full of exactly the kind of thing Stephen is talking about? Cartoon characters, primary colours, dumbass soundtracks and fuckbrained, educationally subnormal voiceovers that seem tailor made for children or morons.

I guess people will justify this by saying that such pappy blancmange is more likely to appeal to more people, but to what extent? Darker, more polarising, more ambiguous ads are far rarer, but also far more memorable:

Why don’t adults who are talking to other adults produce work that is more, well, adult?

Instead of aiming for the lowest common denominator, why not try appealing to grown-ups with brains?

If movies aimed at kids can take a chance on something like this:

why can’t ads aimed at grown ups?