It’s The Same Old Song On Groundhog Day
THAT IS TODAY IN CASE YOU HADN’T REALISED (February 2nd)
Many of us here in the UK would not have heard of Groundhog Day if it wasn’t for the very funny 1993 film that featured Bill Murray and Andi McDowell about arrogant TV man Phil Connors learning how to be humble.
But now the phrase has entered into everyday use to mean the same thing happening time and time again on repeat.
But what is Groundhog Day all about?
It’s all to do with a little mammal unsurprisingly called a groundhog and what it sees on the day when it emerges from its burrow on February 2nd (also known as Candlemas.) According to ancient folklore from the 18th and 19th Century Pennsylvanian German population, if it is cloudy when it comes out then it won’t see is shadow and stay out, meaning that spring will come early; if it sees a shadow it runs back into the burrow because the winter weather will continue for six more weeks.
There are many famous groundhogs in the USA, the most famous of which is Punxsutawney Phil from Pennsylvania who can attract early morning crowds of up to 40,000, but others like Nibbles, Western Maryland Murray, Sir Walter Wally, Chattanooga Chuck, Woodstock Willie, Susquehanna Sherman and Dunkirk Dave are renowned throughout their own areas for predicting early spring or a winter extension – with a full agreement never reached amongst all groundhogs.
Maybe that’s because the original celebration has its roots in ancient European folklore where a sacred badger or bear was the predictor instead of the groundhog. Perhaps the baton wasn’t passed over properly!
But as with the film, Groundhog Day is all about predictions of repeats – hence connection with days after days being the same. And for followers of car adverts, you could be forgiven that every day is Groundhog Day. (I bet you wondered where the car bit would come in!)
Let’s be honest here; are not 99% of all car adverts not created to a formula? Shots of cars driving through mountain ranges in lovely weather tastefully directed from way up high? A car driving through city streets coming up against obstacles such as paint balls or having weird people look at them (or normal people look at them weirdly), close ups of a hand changing gear… you know what I mean. It’s almost like there is a checklist for car ads to be made from.There are the odd adverts that break the mould – some for Honda and VW instantly spring to mind – but generally it is difficult to tell one from another. It is like that “I Got You Babe” moment in the film every time you see one. Deja-vous for the masses!
And an article in the newspapers last week may explain why. It’s all to do with the fact that there is a “Big Six” advertising agency groups that include such media giants as WPP, Publicis, Dentsu and Eurocom; and these groups, in 2012, bought 127 agencies between them to bring under their corporate umbrellas – and this is on top of 98 in 2011 and 54 in 2010. This means that 279 ad agencies throughout the world are controlled by 6 bosses.
No wonder the ads all look the same; they are being made by the same people.
No wonder all the PR blurb that we read here goes on about all the same things with the same descriptive adjectives; they are being written by the same people.
No wonder I think we are in Groundhog Day every day. We are being told the same things by the same people in the same way every day.
“What if there is no tomorrow? There wasn’t one today.”