A TV ad project to promote “The Beatles” double-album called off

End of October / early November 1968

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TV ads were considered to promote “The Beatles” double-album, but the project was finally called off, as it was judged too expensive.

My strong opinion was that Paul McCartney should appear in the commercial. We would have liked Paul to be seen reading an imaginary music critic’s article on the new album, spliced with five-second snatches from the songs. It’s going to cost Apple £16,000.

Head of J. Walter Thompson, the London advertising agency – Quoted in “The Beatles: Off the Record” by Keith Badman

The presentation was nice, but the 90-second TV spot was too expensive. I think Ringo would be better on TV than me. Anyway, I want to talk to the other Beatles about it.

Paul McCartney – Quoted in “The Beatles: Off the Record” by Keith Badman

We proposed to buy six buses from London Transport at five-hundred pounds each and paint them white, with Beatle Bus written along the side, alongside pictures of well-known personalities staring out of the windows.

A representative from J. Walter Thompson, the London advertising agency – Quoted in “The Beatles: Off the Record” by Keith Badman

Paul McCartney or Ringo Starr will face the cameras for an unprecedented Beatles’ TV commercial – lasting a minute-and-a-half – which is expected to be networked by all ITV stations throughout Britain on November 17. The commercial is booked or the peak advertising spot of the week – immediately after the news bulletin on a Sunday evening – and is to promote the Beatles’ forthcoming double album, now titled simply “The Beatles.” Scheduled time is 9.20 pm. A total estimated cost of the project is expected to be almost £16,000, assessed at full-network rates.

As visualised at present, the commercial will almost certainly feature snatches of several tracks from the double set, which includes such diverse material as a West Indies-style number “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da”, a rocker “Back Home In The U.S.S.R”, and the 20s flavoured “Rocky Raccoon”.

The straightforward title “The Beatles” was forecast in the NME on October 12.

It had originally been intended that Paul McCartney would appear in the commercial, but it is thought that Paul would prefer Ringo to take part. […]

From New Musical Express – November 2, 1968
From New Musical Express – November 2, 1968

Last updated on October 3, 2021

Going further

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