One of the main differences between Dutch and American television is commercials. Basically, we watch the same programs (The Voice of Holland sound familiar?), complain about how nothing good is on and keep watching anyway. Then, a commercial break comes on. Dutch television skips the commercials half the time (winning!), but especially the contents of those commercials differ.
For one thing, here it’s prohibited to name other brands in your own commercial. If anything, you can quote an independent quality test, but if you’re not #1 in that test, you’ll have to come up with something else. This eliminates 30% of American commercials. Also not allowed? Claims that make no sense. I’ve seen a commercial for fish oil that ‘doesn’t have the fishy smell after you take a pill’. If any of you ever took a pill that had you smell like fish all day, I’d love to know. Eliminates another 20% of commercials. Now what are we left with? Local stores. Car dealers and furniture stores. Those commercials are based on one idea: the owner walks through the store (preferably wearing a cowboy hat, his new-born daughter, a rifle, a jacket with the stars and stripes or any combination), points at some of his best deals and then waves at an ascending camera with all of his personell. You would never see this in the Netherlands. Dutch commercials are more subtle and, if I’m honest, easier on the eye. It does help that there are no local commercials, but only national ones, but still. Apart from the Superbowl commercials, I’d rather watch a Dutch commercial break.
Below: one from a series of famously funny Dutch commercials (all by the same insurance company). What is your favorite commercial?