Tonight Cadbury is due to start off a search for a new Black Tray man in black to perform stunts galore to deliver a woman, typically on a yacht, a box of chocs. The other night Hovis brought back their boy on a bike, the Black Horse is starring for Lloyds once more, and so too is the pocket tap for Asda; and Tesco is now going to bring back a version of "Dotty," the character played by Prunella Scales of Fawlty Towers fame. Tetley Tea recently reinvigorated its little guys, and Dulux did the same for their shaggy Old English Sheep Dog, as did Andrex with their adorable puppy.
The Tesco story is interesting, given that it has already relaunched its "Every Little Helps" tagline and, now that it is trying to regain its former highs under a new CEO, the big idea appears to bring back a shopper from the '90s who was adorably "dotty" as she filled up her basket each night on television generally saying embarrassing things to shop assistants as her daughter (Jane Horrocks) look away in shame.
Throw in a terrifying warning that we're all going to be crushed by a tombstone engraved HIV/AIDS with some advice on crossing the road with the Green Cross Code Man and the journey in to the days of youth is complete. Out of interest, did you know it was the Green Cross Code Man who played Darth Vader under that cloak, although they decided to replace his strong West Country accent with the more "Hollywood" James Earl Jones. Darth Vader, it may come as a surprise, was really a very kindly man who taught British children how to cross the road safely.
So in a week where IAB UK figures have shown digitals go from strength to strength -- particularly in display, and more specifically in mobile display -- we end it with the realisation that advertising's biggest impact at the moment, the thing we notice in the advertising all around us, on television, is nostalgia. Funny that. Could television be the new antidote to the flashing banners of innovation? A safe place without pop ups and virals. A retreat in our front room after a day of emails, posts, likes and emojis to reflect on what used to be? Digital can carry on doing the innovating, television looks very much set on delivering the opposite -- nostalgia.