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TV Nostalgia Is The Advertising Gift That Keeps On Giving

John Cleese is the latest actor to reprise a beloved role for a brand.

TV Nostalgia Is The Advertising Gift That Keeps On Giving

Over the last few years we’ve seen it happen again and again–brands diving head first into our endless appetite for TV and movie nostalgia by bringing back classic characters in a completely transparent, yet still pretty fun, move to use the halo of a still-strong popularity to distract fans from the fact they’re actually watching an ad.

Ferris Bueller for Honda. Doc Brown for Lego and Toyota. Steve Urkel for Scion. And now after 35 years, John Cleese is once again Basil Fawlty of the BBC series Fawlty Towers, this time for a Specsavers commercial.

In the spot, created by the brand’s in-house marketing team, Cleese recreates a classic scene in which he has a slight disagreement with his car. The comedy legend told The Mirror that he’s been asked plenty of times over the years to bring back Basil, but the Specsavers pitch was the first good idea. “But these people had an idea, and I have to say, I met them and they were all very nice, and within twenty minutes we’d written the script. Because it was kind of obvious. And I looked at that, and I thought, no I think that will work and it’s genuinely funny.”

Just in case you’ve never seen Fawlty Towers, this would be a bit like Jerry Seinfeld deciding to do a Hertz ad.

About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor and writer with Co.Create. He's a former staffer at Advertising Age, Creativity and Canadian Business magazine.



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