Dear Kevin Bacon: about those adverts...

Feature Mark Foster 5 Nov 2013 - 06:00

Love Kevin Bacon, hate those bloody adverts he keeps doing...

We know we're not alone here. There's an actor very close to our hearts, who has recently found himself in a situation not entirely dissimilar to a dancing bear: a once proud creature now forced into prancing about for a cruel master, a great sadness behind his eyes. We know that you will join with us in wishing him a full and speedy recovery. We hope you will add your voice to our ideals. The man in question is the brilliant Kevin Bacon. And this message is for him.

Dear Kevin Bacon,

We love your body of work, and also your physical body. That's also rad. If we hung out – and I hope we will – you'd be among friends.

In Animal House you taught us that, to get in with the right people, sometimes it is necessary to undergo repetitive physical torture to prove yourself. Without such an example, the writers at Den Of Geek would not possess the mental and physical strength to undergo our mandatory initiation ceremony (a curious rite involving a bungee chord and a three-tongued creature of ineffable origin known only as 'Statham-Kaiju').

In Tremors, you taught us how to deal with giant rampaging worms. In Footloose you taught us that there are other ways to express our inner turmoil (also, more subtly, that there are a lot of words that rhyme with 'footloose', eg. Mongoose, papoose, caboose, and so on. A useful lesson for any aspiring wordsmith). In Apollo 13 you taught us that a combination of you, Tom Hanks, Gary Sinise and Bill Paxton is a swell bunch of guys to get stuck in an enclosed space with. I could go on, and will. You were a compelling screen presence in X-Men: First Class, and your mutton chops in that looked good enough to eat.

I think you'll probably get our drift here. We really like you, the actor Kevin Bacon. We really, really like you.

And we think you like us. You keep on pleasing us with your interesting film and hair choices, popping up in unexpected cameos in movies that are lagging. Your surname is Bacon. Everyone likes bacon. Even vegetarians non-grudgingly accept it as being a highly desirable object. Up until recently, one of the best combos in existence was that of the Bacon role and bacon roll. Have you ever watched Mystic River while noshing on your namesake? You should. You really should. You see Kevin? You see how we want to give back in this relationship?

You will already know what is is that you have done.

Every time I go to the cinema, or watch something using on demand streaming, there you are. A shadow of your former self, your utterances delivered with a faux-gleeful swagger as if this will mask the grief that shines from your eyeballs like a big sad lighthouse.

It's painfully obvious that you have never heard of Roy Walker, let alone maintain familiarity with his popular catchphrase. Coronation Street? Really? You claim to know of Corrie. I believe I know more about Coronation Street than you. While I have never watched it either, its producer used to work on Doctor Who, and so I have researched it on the off-chance that it comes up in a pub quiz.

I think you would take the continental breakfast over the full English, such is the desperation you radiate in that exchange. Do you not notice how everyone in the café looks at you with a look of utmost pity? And that's in the advert. If people who are being paid to advertise the same product as you can barely resist your pathos, what chance do we have?

There is also the issue of ubiquity. These adverts are before every film you see, and we have no choice in the matter. If you like films, you are forced to sit through endless Sisyphean cycles of the same melancholy onslaught.

You call us friends in those ads. Well, it's getting tougher to be your friend Kevin Bacon. That sentence is as true as it was painful to type. But I don't blame you. I want to stand by you in your hour of need, no matter what.

I blame Saatchi and Saatchi, who devised the campaign, for hiring Kevin Bacon solely to make an advert based on 'The Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon' – knowing that the actor's finances are depleted after succumbing to the biggest investment fraud in US History - and then getting 'The Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon' wrong. Then following it up with an advert that plays merry havoc with the official Kevin Bacon canon, and then following that up with an advert involving a massive conga line that defies physics, is narratively inconsistent, and has at least two seconds of gratuitous Noel Edmonds.

It's like seeing an old homeless man who's mind has gone. They are both discombobulating and deeply sad.

This is unacceptable.

I know adverts are going to be bad, and repetitive, and use famous people to make us think 'No way! George Clooney - star of Batman & Robin and Grizzly 2: The Predator – he likes Wagon Wheels too. I will buy more Wagon Wheels.' Those ads were class. First Class. These are more like The Last Stand. Yes, they will make loads of money, but at what cost?

Advertisers have noticed that an advert doesn't have to be good, it just has to be memorable. They have also noticed that an easy way to make something memorable is to make something terrible. And them pummel people with it until their hopes and fears bleed out of their every orifice. Even if it's a multi-million pound advertising campaign that's going to have every chance to smear itself all over their brains, you can't risk it being forgettable.

We don't blame you, Kevin Bacon. In better days, you may not have needed to accept the contract. Maybe you still don't. Maybe you have an ulterior motive, one that you've yet to reveal. You may yet be revealed to be playing your cards close to your chest. Oh, how we wish we were those cards.

With the absence of a definitive answer, we would ask of you, Kevin, to forbid any more of these adverts to be seen by the eyes of any sentient creatures (even voles, and they are proper dense). The love we have for you is too great to witness further degradations. If you lose out financially I am sure we can have a whip round and get something sorted out. For starters, you can use my Netflix log on if you like. That'll save a few dollars. Anything to stop you from taking work where your talents are not needed.

Only then will the continued sullying of your reputation be stymied, only then will its descent be halted. Otherwise, people will soon be claiming more than six degrees of separation from you.

I feel this is the only course of action left to us.

Dearest Kevin Bacon. I do not want us to drift apart.

Kind regards,

A lot of people who love your films here in the UK.

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I was just thinking about how terrible those adverts are, and how much they've made me start to actually hate Kevin Bacon (which is unfair, I know). Loved this.

We'll all forget about him in week or so when we're all bombarded with A-listers selling p*ss in a bottle across our tv's just in time for Xmas.

What really irks me about the most recent one is that Kev appears to suggest that the phrase "no brainer" is British in origin, when even the most cursory Googling shows it's American. Why did nobody check this before using it as the basis for the entire advert? And why, in one of the previous ones, would calling 'Flatliners Bacon' cause a readout of his heartbeat to appear on the phone's screen? Makes no sense at all. And why is the 'Apollo 13 Bacon' portrayed as stupid? And what was going on with that googly-eyed bloke behind Kev at the end of the conga one?

I think your article is all too forgiving. True, Bacon has made a lot of good films in his time, but these adverts should be properly classed as War crimes, and Bacon has to answer for them

Speaking (well, writing) as an advertising creative, whose very job it is to come up with such concepts, I feel for La Bacon and think maybe he should not be held to blame. Perhaps its his agent we should accuse, for accepting the job, although Im sure Kev had a say in it. Maybe the creative who sole the concept to EE/Orange - although based on the original ads for orange weds with the various Bacons, I do actually see the fit there with the client. Then again, with such a varied and fluctuating career, you cant really diss the man for accepting the work. There was quite likely a sum attached that was more than he got for Tremors.

I just miss the old Orange Gold Spots :( they were actually about films...

I still can't believe 'Hollow Man Kevin Bacon' is one of the characters - what exec signs off on having a rapist character in their ads? Looking forward to 'The Wodsman Kevin Bacon' appearing in the next batch of trailers.

*Woodsman, obvs...

Amen to this.

I'm pretty sure he's only referring the equivalent of 'no brainer' in the UK rather than it being a British term.

I have terrible issues, in particular, with the spray tan one...too much trouser pointage....
Let's not mention the fact that Kevin (okay the makers of the adverts) appear to not fully understand the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon in the first place :-/

First World problems eh...

I actually began to wonder, after the fifteen hundredth unavoidable viewing of that ad, whether Kevin Bacon actually DID understand the rules and was, in fact, just trolling us. Very successfully, I might add.


I don't mind the adverts really. The one that I'm most disturbed by is the fat, half naked bloke (sumo wrestler?), who does this 'nod' to Mr Kevin Bacon in the conga. He's either not really there, or Mr Kevin Bacon is not really there, as the whole exchange is completely surreal. It bugs me every single time.

I'd just like to add that this is the second time in two days that Grizzly 2: The Predator has come upon my radar. Weird.

Don't blame Bacon blame Madoff!

I really enjoyed the multi-Bacon ads, but I'm not a fan of the Kevin Bacon: fan of Jedward ones.

Which just goes to prove, it's always better to have more Bacon.

I never pay attention to those adverts, I was only vaguely aware of them till I read this! Don't go to the cinema much, all ads on TV are skipped / muted.

And he has the crazed eyes of a murderer. The sumo dude, not Bacon.

I see them for what they are. A lighthearted attempt by marketing folk to try and get people talking about the adverts/EE phone network. Guess what they worked!

Also I do find them funny but as a holder of a Cineworld Unlimited card I have grown weary of seeing them so often in the cinema.

Think of it though. His manager/agent tells him about the idea and the salary, and then the small amount of work that is actually involved. Who wouldn't say yes to that!

Yes, the Bacon ads are bad. But they pale in comparison to Robert Downey Jr in the HTC ad at the car wash...

Presumably the awfulness of the adverts is an attempt to distract us from the even greater awfulness of the re-branded Orange/T-Mobile. EE is only marginally better than the truly terrible Everything Everywhere. And yes, Kevin should realise that he'd be better off living a modest life in a small semi-detached house somewhere than continuing to humiliate himself in these adverts.

I don't know which are worse, these or those bloody Yoda/Vodafone adverts

Yeah, I can't help looking at that guy's weird eyes everytime. How does that happen?

If I win the lottery I'm going to buy all the ad space before films I go to see and replace them with 20 foot high letters that flash and say "TURN OFF YOUR PHONE YOU F*CKWIT" either that or train attack dogs to go for mobile phone users or buy all the tickets for the screening. This goes up there with my plan to build a private road from my house to work. I really need a big win on the lottery.

1 - I doubt he gives a toss

2 - turn your tv off/over when ads come on

I can't turn the switch off the screen at the cinema. People would complain!

I actually enjoy the meta-crisis feel to his adverts. I think the fact that he obviously doesn't know anything about Corrie and other english institutions is part of the joke. I think DOG have missed the meta-joke.

I think it would be cheaper to buy a bulldozer and pay for the insurance claims when you ram everyone out of the way each morning on the way to work, than actually build a road. Having said that if I had a big win on the lotter, the last thing I would be thinking about is going to work.

I've obviously given this a lot of thought, my original ideas included a tunnel from my house to work, buying the office next to my work and converting to a mansion and building a helipad on top of the office. I never thought about quitting work ;P

The Yoda adverts are much, much worse.

The googly eyed chap was a contestant on Britain's Got Talent called Antonio Popeye (geddit?). That was the boundary of his talent. Googling his eyes. God know how but he got through to the semi final on that alone.

Obviously now he is the go to guy when directors need a person to pop their eyes out in surprise, Tex Avery style, but they don't have the budget for CGI.

The LOTR one, where Sean Astin jumps down off the chair, was great!

Sometimes I go to see three or four films in one day. I used to like Kevin Bacon.

I feel the rest of that comment fills itself in.

*adds signature*

I loved them. Didn't love them the tenth time I saw them - but I really liked the "don't let your mobile ruin the movie" schtick.

The adverts made me realise he wasn't / ain't all that. Tosser.

As bad as people think these adverts are, you have to remember that Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick lost all their money in the Madoff scandal. It looks like he's taking whatever work he can get to make at least some of it back.

It's also part of the reason why he's doing 'The Following' (steady TV pay). It helps that the show is properly cool, though.

those bacon ads really do suck d%$* but what really got me going was the 10-15min Stiller trailer at a recent screening of capn philips, Stiller! jus cos your trailer is 15mins long does not mean i'm goin to watch ur s&*$£

sorry but i love these adverts. Kevin.... keep them coming

Breaks my heart every time I see them. Except the bit with the Britain's got talent eyeball chap. That was actually really ace. :-( x infinity.

Unfortunately the fact that the KB adds are popular enough to actually merit an article on D o G tells me (and the advertising agency) that their campaign has been a success, so expect more of them....

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