When I want to feel warm and cosy, I watch YouTube videos of old 90s TV adverts. They give me a kick of nostalgia and remind me of simpler times when you could hug people without fear of dying. Last night, I watched a video with adverts from 1994 and I spotted something strange. The adverts were from ITV but the intro was one of BBC2’s old idents (the one with the green paint). I thought the video had changed. You never saw BBC on ITV unless it was on the news.
And then it turned into a Pizza Hut advert.
So how did this all come about? Peter York picked up on the story for The Independent back in 1994:
Advertising is in the ‘borrowed interest’ business: famous or beautiful people and spectacular locations are regularly borrowed to add interest to somewhat basic product offers.
Now Pizza Hut has gone one better: it’s borrowed a television channel. More precisely, it has ‘appropriated’ – as a certain type of intellectual likes to say – the BBC2 logo, in its large, plain, anodised-aluminium form. If you’ve had the feeling that you’re in the wrong place recently when watching ITV or C4, it’s because the BBC2 logo has appeared. It sits in its wind tunnel and is swept with green paint, as usual – but then a yob appears and splashes the camera lens with paint, too. It’s a very disconcerting, memorable media-age joke.
But it turns out “spoof” idents have been around for decades and there’s even a website archiving them. I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who felt a little off by the giant metallic 2 on the “wrong” channel.