This TV Ad Shows Nothing But a Washing Machine Working -- For More Than Three Minutes

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Samsung is treating U.K. viewers to an ad showing nothing but clothes in a washing machine going around and around for three minutes and 20 seconds.

The South Korean electronics giant claims it is the longest single-shot ad ever screened on U.K. television, and it's showing on Britain's second biggest commercial station, Channel 4, during Friday night prime time.

There is a moment of drama – when someone uses the new AddWash feature, which enables forgotten clothes to be added during the cycle. And the monotony is broken occasionally by a counter telling you how long you've been watching the washing, or words popping up on screen telling you what you could be doing instead: learn to speak a language or play an instrument, for example.

Samsung's hashtag, #LifesTooShort, highlights the fact that the newQuickDrive cuts laundry time in half. According to Samsung's research, the average mindless Brit spends 61 days across a lifetime just watching the washing go round.

For people who like this kind of thing, the ad finishes with a promise of more to come: "If you love fast washing, check out 'Washing Machine: The Movie," coming soon.

Mark Seaman, head of domestic appliances at Samsung U.K. and Ireland, says in a statement, "This commercial shines a spotlight on the performance of the machine itself to create a mesmerizing spectacle where art meets technology."

The spot, by agency Taylor Herring, will fill up a single Friday night ad break during popular U.K. show Gogglebox on Channel 4. Stars from the show – which is based on a similarly mundane principle of watching people watch TV – will stir up online conversation by tweeting about the commercial while it's on air.

Samsung's ad also references the "interludes" – a kind of old-fashioned screen saver – that used to appear on commercial-free British TV in the 1950s when no show was playing. A rotating potter's wheel was one of the more popular interludes on show.

It also references the "Slow TV" movement, which began a couple of years ago in Norway and lets viewers watch life unfold in real time on their screens. However three minutes is nothing compared to Arby's commercial that showed brisket cooking for 13 straight hours – although that spot only showed online.

Mindfulness app Calm, co-founded by "Moshi Monsters" creator Michael Acton Smith, ran a two-minute ad that showed only rippling lakes, lapping waves and raindrops on leaves, while Travel Channel also got in on the act when it let viewers sit back and enjoy the scenery on a 12-hour road trip as an antidote to Black Friday a couple of years ago.

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