Posts Tagged ‘adverts’

Just a Thought: Adverts Featuring the Public

October 20, 2008

…you know the ones, where some half-famous celebrity or friendly unfamilar goes hunting along the high streets and cobbled lanes of England, looking for authentic verification that their product is in some way better than another.

It was bad enough in the heyday of Julian Clary and the Daz Doorstep Challenge (that was back when a slightly effeminate man turning on at your house and offering to rub white powder into your pyjama wasn’t banned under the Prevention of Terrorism Act) but now you’re forced to dodge them on the highstreet as they try to show you how to make a chicken curry, or disuade Jamie Oliver from crashing your houseparty or avoid some fucker with a giant sofa trying to make you cry.

The worst one at the moment is Gary Rhodes and his cutesie VW camper with a giant crumpet on top, stopping off at the Crystal Peak shopping centres of the land trying to make you guess – like you care, at all – which margarine is spread on which crumpet.

There he goes, tootling through the countryside talking to builders and mums, trying to convince anyone who’ll listen to his hyper-patronising childspeak that it’s really important that 5% more of the country prefer Flora to Lurpack.

Equally irritating is another TV chef, Phil Vickers, and his ultra-realist forays into cooking food on the street with a wide array of cast members who are all supposedly real people and in no way actors playing real people.

Adopting a vocal tone similar to that of a teenage care worker talking to a half deaf five-year old, he sizzles up a stir fry and brings Aldi into their hearts, whilst developing their self esteem and a community spirit. He is hateful person.

It’s bad enough that men are portrayed as imbecilic morons in adverts, and women as imperfect housewives, but now we as a nation – and as a society  and as a people – are being offered up as bargain-hungry fame addicts who’ll happily gather around the next insignificant detail if it means a chance of free food, being on TV or meeting a famous chef.

Oh… hang on. That’s what we’re are, isn’t it?

Bradford and Bingley

October 22, 2007

Hopes and dreams. Aren’t they fragile? Look at all those people, trapped in their grey and humdrum lives and abused on all sides by modern living. There they are, on the side of the tube platform having everything they ever hoped for blown away by one blast of industrial travel. Their hopes are so simple too… so, so, so simple. To own a house, to have a little bit of the outdoors to call their own – to have a single spot on this massively overpopulated planet that they can use for one fleeting moment as a source of relaxation.

I feel sorry for them. Trudging to and from work each day, rising at ungodly hours to scrape together enough money to live… how I wish that they could earn enough to have what some people would say is a basic human right. But, alas, I understand that lending and repaying are the cornerstones of civilization and to say that people shouldn’t have to work their entire lives just to own a tiny portion of land is tantamount to treason against capitalism.

Thank god, then, for banks and building societies. Thank god for their charitable attitudes to ownership and their self-appointed rules and regulations which keep them in positions of unimaginable power over the hard-working plebs they call customers.

Thank god, too, for advertising companies who see no creative paradox in ripping off sweet French movies that eschew traditional values to serve their own interests. After all, the only thing wrong with sweet French movies that eschew traditonal values is that they don’t endorse the idea that money is the only thing that matters and that banks and building societies are the only route to happiness.

Advertisers are great because they have simple tricks like grey representations of real life and colourful bursts of morgage propaganda. They can employ cute chicks to talk like children and deflect any ideas of fiscal responsibility. They can conjur up visions of idyllic lifestyles that are only achieveable by signing years away to multinational corporations… and they can make their ideas heard in a fair and balanced manner by screening it 20 times a day on every channel under the digital sun.

Thank god, I say, for Bradford and Bingley.

Tesco Direct

October 12, 2007

For an industry that is supposedly meant to be ahead of the zeitgeist, advertisers have a distinctly outdated viewpoint of human beings. Women are tawdry bags of imperfections that are in need of medical and cosmetic improvements, while men are serial sleazebags in search of the next commitment free lay. From the battling hoardes of early-morning shoppers who will willingly tear the jugular out of another female in order to get the new Chanel No.9, to the AIDS carrying ‘Mickey’ from the universally detested Head and Shoulders advert, they seem hell-bent on convincing us to be impressed by our most outdated stereotypes.

Take this latest advert from Tesco Direct. It’s clearly meant to be classy and sophisticated, but it comes across as a detestable 30 second remake of Alfie. A charmless date rapist, played by a man who is apparently a famous TV actor, tries to seduce an ex-Eastender by having his house fitted with budget furnishing… and she’s impressed by him.

Not only does it present men as egocentric wannabe lotharios, but it also offers up a viewpoint of women as obtainable when presented with the right combination of material possessions. Big fridge-freezer? Check. Nice new oven? Check. Remotely controlled faux-fireplace – surely the epitome of pseudo middle-class chintz? Check. The only thing they’re missing is the Tesco own brand Rohypnol he slips into her drink when his carefully balanced check list fails to get his dick sucked.

I’m confused as to what Tesco thought they were saying by commissioning this piece of instructional sleaze. Is our main character so desperate to nail this cock-tease of a cliche that he’s prepared to give it a shot while the delivery men are still in the house? “Don’t mind the workmen, love, now about getting your tits out…?” Is she so classy that she finds his ignoring of the proletariat boiler suits around them sexy? “Ooooh, I just love the way you pretend that those dirty little men don’t exist, now crank up the fake fireplace.”

Come to think of it, what woman in this world would be impressed by a guy who’s fitted his entire house with furnishings from Tesco? Ikea may have made mass-produced designer house furniture fashionable, but at least they suggest you mix and match to create your own style… Our deluded Don Juan character has simply let the biggest supermarket chain in the country decide what his furnishings should be. Character, style, a personal touch – all have been jetisoned in favour of an atypical image of middle-class success. They can worry about what looks good in his home while he gets on with the important business of getting his leg over with some dodgy, out-of-work, easily impressed skank.

While this advert is filled with horribly sex-pesty behaviour, my favourite moment is at 21 seconds in when our consumerismly impressed couple have to do a deliberate slow walk in order to let the Tesco men roll out the rug in time. It’s a moot point, for sure, but one that I find terribly funny…