[insert slogan here] @ Zoo Charteris

YESYESNONO’s [insert slogan here] explores the artform that is advertising

Review by Katie Hawthorne | 14 Aug 2018
  • [insert slogan here]

Has a John Lewis advert ever made you cry? Was it the one with the old man on the moon? It's OK, you can tell us. He was so lonely, and maybe… we all feel a bit disconnected at Christmas, sometimes?

In YESYESNONO’s [insert slogan here], advertising speaks an intimate, personal language: a language of hope. Sam Ward, dressed in a neat blue boiler suit, leads us through four Volvo adverts with the gentleness and precision of a therapist, unhooking the hokey new-age sentiments from their slogans – “To feel, to really feel, is a rare thing these days” – and exposing the universal human desires that lay beneath. Visuals by Conan the Librarian and a live score by Ola Rae bring Ward’s reinterpretations to life, and in these moments he becomes something like a preacher: confessing, remembering, shaking with emotion.

[insert slogan here] takes the road less travelled – a cynical attack on materialism this is not. The critiques are gentle. Ward reads mission statements from creative agencies that describe adverts that are as unique as YOU are. Ridiculous, right? But it becomes obvious that these glossy, varnished vehicles are avatars for the people on the other side of the TV screen, people like you, longing for adventure or romance. Hoping to really feel something.

Audience members are invited – by way of the brand of shoes on their feet or the watches on their wrist – to help re-stage Ward’s very favourite advert. As they build sandcastles (naturally the advert takes place on a beach), light candles (vital for ambience) or re-arrange white cardboard building blocks for a car (labelled: “Window!”, “Wheel”, and “Sexy?” Ward asks them soft, intimate questions. For a moment, they are the centre of the universe – and isn’t that what we all want? He's learned from the best. Volvo. 

[insert slogan here], ZOO Charteris (Sanctuary), 2-19 Aug, £12-£10

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