In a Word . . .

. . . advertisement. Patsy McGarry

A confession. I enjoy well-made advertisements. Particularly well made, witty TV adverts “ . . . and the way they might look at you”, so to speak.

In fact, and I’ve written it here before, I believe there should be annual awards for well-made adverts, as for TV and radio productions, and newspaper articles.

Why not? They demand as much craft, frequently more.

It appears to me that there’s a certain sniffiness about including adverts in awards ceremonies because they are so directly, and honestly, about selling things. That may be so, but it does not take from the skills involved, which is what is being recognised in TV, radio, and newspaper awards ceremonies not just the worthiness of the subject.


A favourite advert of my own since Covid-19 arrived on our shores uninvited last spring has been that for 3, the telecommunications company. The one with a small boy in bed talking to his grandfather on a laptop about the “monster” under his bed. His grandfather inspects, via laptop, and assures his grandson there be no monster there.

The grandfather is actor John Olohan and I have no idea who the child is but he is superb. Either that or there were umpteen takes. Or both. I read somewhere the advert was produced entirely remotely due to the pandemic with neither "grandfather" nor "grandson" ever meeting.

It is simple and very effective but the timing was sublime. No relationship has been as cruelly affected by Covid-19 as that between grandchildren and their grandparents. And that – though better now – continues, which is so sad as no relationship is as honest, as heartfelt, or as uncomplicated.

And it is lifelong.

My paternal grandfather Patsy McGarry and my maternal grandmother Tess Rogers were also my godparents. It was the tradition in rural Ireland where the eldest child was concerned.

Patsy was my third parent for the first 10 years of my life, the one who made least demands and with whom I spent most time. We got on famously.

And to this day I remember the soft burr of Tess’s voice reverberating in her breast as she consoled me through yet another “end of life” crisis which saw me through to the next one.

Both will live on as long as I do.

Advertisement from Old French avertissement from avertir "to make aware"