Now that this season of Mad Men, the brilliant TV series about Madison Avenue ad men (and women) in early ‘60s NYC, has ended, Richard and I plan to watch it the way we prefer to watch a season of a TV show, all at once. So, no spoilers, please. We'll download it from iTunes or Netflix and have a marathon viewing session, 13 episodes in a row.
Speaking of marathons, and advertising, we’ve noticed a few posters in Paris promoting the 2012 Olympics in London, created on behalf of an Olympics sponsor, Eurostar, the high-speed train service that gets people from Paris (or Brussels) to London in less than three hours. The ads seem to us pure genius. Why?
· They express an ironic message about something of value: excellence in athletics and health (As the pre-Socratic philosopher, Thales, said: “Νοῦς ὑγιὴς ἐν σώματι ὑγιεῖ," -- “A healthy mind in a healthy body.”);
· but without preaching;
· with quintessential deadpan British humor;
· depicting two English blokes with English hair and paunchy bodies as ancient Greek statues, frozen in modern “athletic” poses for two favorite British pub sports: darts and snooker.
We discovered that the ad campaign for Eurostar was created by a French company, Leg, who have done other Eurostar ads poking fun at French stereotypes of the beer-swilling Brits, an approach that's likely to attract the French and Belgians to London’s Olympic Games.
How delicious! Wouldn’t it be great if all advertising were this witty and original, linking ancient art and attitudes about health with modern physical culture? How rare is that?
Now if only they’d reinstate the ancient Greek custom of competing naked, rubbed all over with glistening olive oil, Richard and I would jump on the Eurostar and go, too. Or maybe we'll just rub each other with olive oil for our Mad Men marathon.