This week sees primary schools across the UK celebrate Shakespeare Week. I loved studying his plays and poetry at school. My friends and I used his famous quotes in our banter during our Sixth Form College days and have carried them through into our thirties. His work extends beyond classrooms, theatre stages and books; it’s evident in many areas of popular culture. Here are a few examples of how his work has been used in advertising over the past few years, there’s even one of our own included:
In 2005 Levi’s used a scene from Midsummer Night’s Dream to breath new life into the brand amid decreasing sales.
Coronation Street and Emmerdale
In this ITV advertisement the cast of Emmerdale and Coronation Street were seen quoting Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18. It is often said that if Shakespeare were alive today he’d be a soap/drama writer.
Red Bull’s “It gives you wings” campaign wasn’t a natural bedfellow for Shakespeare but that didn’t stop them. Rather than reciting Shakespearian lines they did a take on Shakespeare at work!
Carling Black Label
This was possibly the stand out UK advertising campaign of the 1980’s and the Shakespearian entry to the canon of work was every bit as classic as the series as a whole. Over ‘ere son. On me ‘ead!
We used the great Bard in an ad for NE1’s Get into Newcastle campaign to recruit business to the region by demonstrating there’s more to us than footy and beer, there’s also a lot of cultural activities.
Of course not every take on Shakespearian brilliance translates quite so well…