The best of British adverts return for wildly popular festival at the Walker


Based on this program's popularity, the British just do things better than Americans – at least when it comes to television commercials.

Tonight sees the return of the perennially, and some would say inexplicably, popular British Arrows Awards festival at the Walker Art Center, which showcases the best of British TV ads from the past year.

The festival will run until Jan. 4. Last year it attracted more than 27,000 people, according to MPR.

Tickets for the first five shows this weekend are already sold out, so anyone hoping to catch this year's festival should book sooner rather than later on the Walker Art Center website.

Among this year's amusing selections will actually be an American advert, albeit one selling a British product and put together by an English director, as US comedy actor Jason Sudeikis reprises his role as "Ted Lasso" to advertise NBC Sports Network's English Premier League football coverage.

In the (now two) videos, the hapless soccer coach/pundit tries his hand at coaching London club Tottenham Hotspur, not realizing the game is played in two halves and there is such a thing as a tie, and then gives commentary a shot. Here's the first ad:

And MinnPost reports that those attending the awards this year can expect to hear a familiar voice in one of the adverts – none other than Prairie Home Companion's Garrison Keillor.

But there are some serious moments too, some of which would have trouble getting past the censors in the U.S., such as an anti-cyber-bullying piece that shows a young woman being followed by a noose.

Why is it so popular?

Other cities across the United States host Arrow Awards showings, but nowhere does it run as long or as frequently as in Minneapolis.

MPR speculates that the thriving creative industry in the Twin Cities might explain the interest in the irreverent, subtle humor of British commercials.

Sheryl Mousley, senior video and film curator at the Walker Art Center, told the Star Tribune she thinks Minnesotans respond to the "playfulness" and "innocence" of British advertising, which is in stark contrast to the "hard-sell" nature of US commercials.

Arrow Awards chairman Robert Campbell told the newspaper: "We have a great sense of irony and never take ourselves too seriously."

We won't spoil any of this year's adverts, but here are some of Britain's best adverts from previous years.

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