Archive for September 27th, 2007

ASDA adverts

September 27, 2007

Celebrities are amazing people. Truly, madly, deeply amazing people. They can brighten our day, make us feel special and turn even the most humdrum act into an exciting, liberating experience.

Take, for example, working for ASDA. To the vast majority of normal people it is a great example of a McJob – mentally and physically demanding, underpaid, patronising and exploitative – but in the hands of Ian Wright it is a joyous task filled with comedy banter, idle conversations and pleasure-bringing to the great unwashed. How wonderful! The job seems to be so much easier and improved with the inclusion of a celebrity fish-seller it makes you wonder why ASDA haven’t sacked their entire workforce and replaced them with washed up TV pundits. Think about it; one roaming camera crew to keep up the quality service and you’ll have thousands more customers flocking through the doors clammering to see Chantelle making pies and Nick Hancock offering wine-tasting.

What’s very interesting about Ian Wright’s behaviour in this advert is that almost everything he does would urge disiplinary action against normal employees. Were a 17 year old shelf-stacker to hustle or entertain customers in such a manner, they would find themselves hauled into the manager’s office and verbally beaten into submission. Were the 17 year old also to be overly familiar to customers, approach children offering them food and disply a lack of knowledge of their subject then you can guarantee that they’d be shown the door.

The advert tells us more about ASDA than they’d like us to know; primarily that they’re tight enough to rely on celebrity association rather than specialised branding. It’s far cheaper to throw a c-list celebrity into a store and let him interact with minimum wage employees (who will not have been paid extra for their involvement) than a considered and creative campaign from a large advertising company. Shoot it on handheld low-grade camera to keep costs down and you can afford to throw even more money at your designated ‘personality.’

At least Ian Wright is a better choice than their previous spokesperson, Sharon Osbourne. Her gurning, patronising spiel about bargains and parental responsibilities just made a nation stare aghast – amazed that anyone could think she was a thrifty shopper, let alone a good parent.

It’s an awful advertising campaign; misleading, simplistic and exploitative of their workforce. Much like the company itself.

“Asda has been criticised for misleading advertising, using suppliers who are known to have illegal employment practices, ignoring planning regulations and destroying greenbelt land, lack of serious environmental policy and blatant greenwash. With its ‘strategy of consolidation’, copied directly from Wal-Mart, Asda pursues an aggressive takeover policy of small towns, wiping out local competition and local jobs. False claims by the company about ‘value’ and ‘convenience’, have been challenged, along with the exploitation of every opportunity to push impulse buying”

Corporate Watch