BETC Created a Bunch of Throwback Ads for ’80s Products, Just to Remind Us How Far TV Has Come

Canal highlights the long road to portable streaming

Fictional 'Video Boulevard' illustrates how easy movie viewing has become since the '80s. BETC
Headshot of David Griner

From the return of Duck Tales to Netflix’s hit wrestling look-back, GLOW, the 1980s are certainly on people’s minds these days, and ad agencies are no exception.

Earlier this week, we saw an Australian spot that imagined a feather-haired visitor from the ’80s getting hungry eyes for 2017’s streaming TV options. And today we’ve got another fun retro campaign for streaming, this time from French provider Canal.

Agency BETC created a series of believably throwback ads for products that seemed like—and certainly were—marvels of innovation in their day. Video rental stores, home VHS recorders, compact televisions and more are highlighted in the spots, which only transition at the last minute to highlight the contrast with today’s offerings of portable video on demand.

While it’s easy to mock the technology of yesteryear, these spots do a good job of respecting the ancestors of modern video by showing just how much convenience and flexibility they brought to daily life. While there’s a bit of implied mockery here in recapturing the earnest joy of ’80s TV tech, there’s also a nice undertone of respect for what was accomplished during a decade of questionable fashion but unquestionable innovation.


Title: Canal Experience
Brand: Canal
Agency: BETC Paris
Executive Creative Director: Stephane Xiberras
Creative Director: Eric Astorgue
Creatives: Chrystel Jung, Romain Ducos
Director: Blacktool

@griner David Griner is creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek's podcast, "Yeah, That's Probably an Ad."