Cultural confidence

In the same way that great English advertising is very 'English,' the best B.C. advertising is very 'B.C.'Maybe that is why we find Bill Reiter and Miles Ramsay radio so funny.They reflect an inherent cultural confidence; a confidence that allows Westerners...

In the same way that great English advertising is very ‘English,’ the best B.C. advertising is very ‘B.C.’

Maybe that is why we find Bill Reiter and Miles Ramsay radio so funny.

They reflect an inherent cultural confidence; a confidence that allows Westerners to poke fun at themselves – something Eastern Canada has always had difficulty doing.

Much of the best Western advertising has a fundamental goofiness; an absolute unwillingness to take itself so seriously. After all, out here people work to live, and not the other way around.

Serious issues are treated here with a basic humanistic sincerity.

For example, Drinking Driving Counter Attack features an intimidating cop walking towards us, followed by a phalanx of flashing cruisers.

It does not preach or homilize, it says simply that if you drink and drive in B.C., you are toast. No one tried to be clever here. The message is simple and the threat is real.

Similarly, the Workers’ Compensation Board spots crossed a number of risky lines to involve B.C. viewers and their families in a tragedy that could easily be theirs if they do not practise workplace safety.

Maybe the work coming out of this part of the world feels fresh for the same reasons we love a lot of what comes out of smaller markets in the u.s., and Europe. It has not yet been veneered over by mainstream generalism.

Maybe there is a lesson in that; for me, at very least, a reminder to stay humble. People are people; and talking to people in an ad is no different than talking to them on the street. They will listen to, or ignore, you for the same reasons.

Peter Barron is vice-president and creative director of J. Walter Thompson in Vancouver.