John Cleese Breaks Free in TomTom GPS Campaign

John Cleese has been doing ads forever, with extremely mixed results. The high point may have been his famous Compaq computer spots from the '80s. The low point was probably last year's ad for the Home Emergency Response service in England—in which he stomped on his own legacy by playing a guy whose house has "faulty showers." He also did a weird set of ads for data-security firm Iron Mountain in which he played a character called Dr. Harold Trainwreck. His latest foray into shameless money grabs is a new campaign for TomTom, the GPS company. Cleese's voice has been available on U.K TomToms for years now. Now he's in the new global TV campaign, from Pool Worldwide in Amsterdam. The work is not itself a trainwreck, but it does (in the first spot below) involve a middle-aged man who commits suicide by jumping in front of a truck—a bold plot twist for an auto-related company. Cleese himself turns in an OK performance, with the traffic-jam setting allowing him to settle into his favorite character—the perpetually annoyed, anti-social jackass. Maybe that's the real Cleese and not a character. One more spot after the jump.