How would you fancy spending the whole night watching nothing but commercials? It may sound like the unlikeliest entertainment format ever invented but Night of the AdEaters is insanely popular. Now, thanks to the IPA, it’s coming to London…
On October 16, the Bloomsbury Theatre in London will host Night of the AdEaters, a marathon six-hour screening where the audience will have the perhaps dubious pleasure of seeing over 350 ads on the big screen. While for many the notion of going to the cinema just to watch ads may seem incomprehensible, the festival in fact has form, and has previously taken place in 160 cities worldwide, from Brussels to Beijing attracting audiences in their thousands. CR talks to its irrepressible founder, Jean Marie Boursicot, about the event.
Night of the AdEaters in Paris
Creative Review: When and how did the Night of the AdEaters begin?
Jean Marie Boursicot: It all started when I was three years old! After having discovered my first treasure, a big poster lauding the merits of Gervais cream cheese, I decided to become the Ali Baba of advertising! The operator of the Ciné Madeleine, a local cinema in Marseilles, who found me ‘loveable’, gave me films of candies and the embryo of a collection was born. I rifled the waste bins of the film distributors of the Boulevard Longchamps who, carelessly unaware, discarded trailers and advertising films. By accumulating my treasures, I mixed my passion for posters and advertising with that for the cinema, without imagining, at the time, turning my passion into a business.
After studying, I emerged in Publicis in 1978. There I discovered that no one keeps advertising films – neither advertisers, nor agencies, nor producers – they all just discard them! I decided to create my cinematheque – today it contains more than 800,000 films and grows each year by ten to 25 thousand extra items.
In 1981, I decided to open up my advertising film library by creating the first night, called Candies. I had two objectives: to share my passion for advertising and cinema and to collect the funds needed for the maintenance, restoration of old films, and to pay for trips that allow me to criss-cross the globe in search of rare pearls of advertising. The Night of the Adeaters in Paris and the provinces became an institution in 1984.
The St Petersburg event
CR: How do you choose the ads?
JMB: It is my own choice! I do not choose ads according to specific brands, I choose commercials from all over the world. I choose commercials that are unexpected, moving, that offer great moments of cinema, that are funny, exotic … and sometimes I also like to show the worst in advertising. The cocktail is amazing!
CR: Do you just show old ads, or contemporary ones too?
JMB: I know that my audience want to see the best and latest commercials, therefore I offer them what they expect according to what I like. But I also like them to discover older commercials, which are a homage to my film library.
CR: What is the largest audience you’ve had for an event?
JMB: In Beijing at the People’s Palace we had 12,000 ‘ad-ficionados’ a few years ago.
CR: What is your favourite ad ever?
JMB: A fabulous 1948 Walter Lantz cartoon/commercial for Coca-Cola – ‘The Brave Little Tailor’.
For tickets etc go here