NZ TV commercials have quite often a dig at something. Anything we can laugh at will be used including our own culture. Any occurrence that can stir up the whole nation or pass on a subtle/over the top message. Making mini works of magic to make viewers laugh, cry, and even buy.
Our well-known director Tony Williams made this ad ´Dear John´. One of a series of iconic TV commercials. Tony produced this commercial to advertise BASF cassette tapes in 1981. It gave a funny face to the famous country music song, written by Billy Barton, Fuzzy Owen & Lewis Tally. It was sung by Jean Shepard & Ferlin Husky and released in 1953. (see here Original song). The song referred to the United States involvement in the Korean War.
They made this commercial on a shoestring budget. Therefore 40-gallon drums were¨borrowed¨ from roadworks. For the right effect, they painted them green. The soldier´s dog tags were actually milk bottle silver caps ¨borrowed¨ from the delivered milk-bottles at nearby houses. Probably left the neighborhood wondering. To set the stage they used old Quarrie works round past Owhiro Bay in Wellington. This would set the scene ape a Korean War zone of the evergreen MASH TV series. Most of all they included O´Reilly´s name in the mail call for emphasis. Jacqui Fitzgerald sang the adapted version produced by Murray Grindlay. In the end, this classic ad was voted Best Australasian commercial of the 80s.