Continuing our series of iconic Irish ads: the ESB ad. If you’ve ever had a home and left it, I defy you to watch this without welling up. If the Kerrygold is a Jilly Cooper novel, this is a Maeve Binchy. It’s so beautifully done in the way it tells a whole story, just through this man’s journey home from the train station, seeing old haunts and new joints out of the window, while Mammy switches on the electric blanket and takes the soda bread out of the oven … both things my own mother does. R recently posted this on Facebook and it provoked a lot of emotions (one person wrote, ‘You had me at the immersion, sob’).
These ads are so accomplished: I think advertising is a very underrated part of the Irish media/creative industries. It’s interesting how many of them play on the concept of home: Aer Lingus’s ‘Now You’re Home‘ is another one, or the Denny’s ad about ‘It’s breakfast time back home.’ The weird thing is that these ads were all for the domestic market: showing that even when at home in front of their TVs, Irish people still love to feel nostalgic and homesick. Maybe that’s not surprising because of course, in the ESB ad, it’s not just home he’s going to: it’s the foreign country of his youth.