For me, going to the cinema is often a slightly nervy business. When I go, I go because I like to see films on big screens with big sound how they're meant to be seen. I certainly don't go for a meal of slimy hot dog, popcorn, Revels and Coke, for company, for a snooze...or, heaven preserve us, a CHAT. I mean, for God's sake, Northwest London, if you want to do any of the above rather than watch the film, kindly eff off back to Nando's from whence you came and leave me to enjoy Inception without your mindless drivel about Leonardo DiCaprio not looking quite as cute as he did in The Beach. (And he wasn't even cute in that, by the way; he was having a narcotic-fuelled nervous breakdown and doinking another man's girlfriend. Floppy curtain hair and smooth skin alone do not a Lothario make.)
When I'm not turning round and glaring meaningfully at people who don't notice I'm turning round and glaring meaningfully at them (I'd never actually say 'would you mind not talking, please?' of course I'm British) or tutting at teenagers eating popcorn with open mouths, I am shielding my eyes from the bloke next to me decides to polish his glasses or check a text on his ruddy mobile at a crucial moment. Apart from when the Orange commercials are on. At this point, I can't take my eyes off the screen and nobody is doing anything they shouldn't.
Quite simply, these commercials are total genius. I can't think of any other mobile phone provider who creates such consistently good ads. The key to the success, of course, is the premise in the first place and the casting. For those of you not aware of the Orange commercials (and I think you must be in the minority or perhaps you're just cleverly not getting annoyed in cinemas like I am), various actors pitch ideas for films to a certain Mr Dresden and the Orange board the main sponsors of the fictitious movie-to-be. What starts off as a serious and perfectly good idea gets dragged down into a ridiculous product placement-fest for Orange. My two personal favourites star Rob Lowe in one and Darth Vader in the other, and you can watch both of these below.
What I find surprising is how poor some of the commercials are for the other mobile phone companies. Remember that Virgin Mobile one last year? Exactly neither do I. Vodafone? Oh, there was that really naff one with David Beckham looking self-consciously, handsomely famous, right? O2? O-Who, more like. Er... T-Mobile? Ah, T-Mobile now you're talking. Two spectacular flash-mob style commercials which left onlookers agog and TV viewers brimming with feel-good smiles. The Liverpool Street Station dance-off was masterful and inspired, and the Trafalgar Square karaoke was also a Britain In Love With Britain moment if ever I saw one. But these videos do have a run time of several minutes and can't really be done again to the same effect, I shouldn't think. And that is where Orange really scores. It's a great formula and the possibilities are almost limitless. All you need is an actor who can be mocked and that's about it. Even the film idea they're pitching doesn't need to be that clever. Just the one-liners, the put-downs and the tongues neatly in cheeks need to be killer.
These Orange commercials are so good, in fact, that I am going overboard on my YouTube quota this week to bring you my favourites in one easy-to-view batch below. If you're in need of five minutes' break, a cup of tea and a giggle, click away below.
Click here for the John Cleese Orange commercial.
Click here for the Steven Seagal Orange commercial.
Click here for the Patrick Swayze Orange commercial.
Click here for the Juliette Lewis Orange commercial.
Click here for the Danny Glover Orange commercial.
And you know what? At the cinema, people are always absorbed in the Orange commercials. The only time I might turn and glare is if they aren't laughing uproariously which is, in my opinion, 100% mandatory.
By Ashley Morrison
Ashley is a blogger, copywriter and editor