Posts Tagged ‘Banking’

Picture the Loan

August 16, 2007

Money. Boy, it can be a bugger sometimes can’t it? There’s never enough to go around. There’s never enough to cover all the bills and still buy that new luxury car, family holiday and all the technological products that you desperately need to make your life fulfilling. Never mind. In years past people would have worked to afford their products or possibly gone without, having realised the sliding scale of income and outgoings have to at least partially balance.

Not any more though. Now you can have all the trappings of a materialistic lifestyle within days, with one easily arranged loan from any number of highly dubious, unregulated money shops. There’s Freedom Finance, Norton Finance, Intelligent Finance, Clearway Finance, Lombard Direct, Marble Loans, Loans.co.uk… there are now so many adverts for these fuckers on daytime television and across the board on cable that they’ve practically become a programming genre of their own.

The adverts are a mixed bunch. Some target those who’ve had bad luck in the past by using heavy-handed yet desperately amateur, metaphorical imagery (it’s raining on those in debt but the sun shines for those with a loan) while others bombard your senses with clip-art representations of desired material possessions. What binds them all though is that they are run by unscrupulous thick-necked bastards operating a bizarrely legal scam out of a shitty one-roomed office somewhere in a forgotten B-town in England. They’re not about helping you consolidate your debts, they’re about trying to get their mitts on your house when your financial guard is down.

Top of the pile for me is Picture Loans with an advert that simultaneously demonstrates the flippant and highly irresponsible approach they have to money management whilst treating their audience / potential customers like idiots. If we are to believe their advertising, they want people to make highly uninformed financial decisions on a whim, to willingly offer up their homes as collateral to afford a holiday and bind themselves to 25 year contracts with a company who think having ‘no paperwork’ for such a monumental decision is a virtue.

Just look at the advert above, or the second example that is at the end of this article, to see their dangerously casual approach to money. On both occasions the loan amount is decided in the moment, as if they were choosing the colour of new bathmat and the couples are so excited by the prospect of being given more money that they fail to realise they’re going to be paying back near double what they’ve borrowed.

“Yes” they all say “we’ve got a mortgage… and how much will that be a month?”

The casual indifference with which home ownership is presented is truly terrifying. It’s not a home, nor an investment, nor a nest-egg for your children – it’s a simple tradeable asset that you can cash in when your Ford Mondeo becomes more more than three years old. The couple in the advert below are actually filming themselves on a camcorder as they gleefully sign away the children’s inheritance, as if in years to come they can proudly pull out the projector and show the whole family exactly when they fucked up their futures.

The reason why these adverts are so wrong is simple; their key audience is the gullible, the stupid and the financially disastrous but they can’t put them on the telly as they’re unappealing. Instead they transpose the characteristics of the common moron onto the middle class, as if to say “hey, look, they’re just like you – or just like you want to be. If people with a nice house and abundant family can treat £25,000 as if it’s nothing then you can too.”

Picture Loans, and all those companies like them, are bastards. Quite how they can legally co-exist alongside the countless news reports and articles about the rising debt problem in this country is beyond me. They’re the equivalent of the dodgy man talking his way into your Grandma’s house before conning her out of her valuables… they target the desperate, the weak and the stupid and they do it under a pretence of wanting to help.

Then again, there’s always the argument that if you believe this shit in the first place you probably deserve everything that comes to you…

Deal Or No Deal

March 22, 2007

Edmonds 

And so begins another edition of my favourite display of greed and pomposity.

It starts with the intrusive Edmonds positioned unbearably close to the camera as he waffles his way through his usual introductory repertoire, something about identical boxes and there only being one question – ‘deal or no deal’. It is this final line which he painfully attempts to deliver with different accentuation every time, complete with dramatic pauses. There are however, only so many ways you can say four words before it just sounds plain demented, and more often than not it does – “deal! Or? … No… DEAL?”

And cue the music. The blaring din which sounds like the same kind of Casio keyboard nonsense shat out for the Paul O’ Grady and Richard and Judy shows. I’d happily bet that it’s the work of a zombie, who seemingly does the theme tune for everything Channel 4 coughs up between three and six in the afternoon. I’m sure I could find out who is to blame if I really gave a monkey’s.

During the show, Edmonds slopes about the floor with doodles on his hand as though he is God’s gift to entertainment. The fact is, he wants a fucking good kicking.

He oozes a smugness that Craig David would be proud of, always with a different colourful shirt tucked pristinely into trouser. The shirts smack of Edmonds’ wanton desire to be seen as some kind of playful extrovert, when really he’s profoundly dull. He must have an entire house full of those arsing shirts.

Edmonds (get a haircut) tries to dupe us into thinking that every game is unique. Well I’m sorry Noel, me old cock-germ, but you ain’t fooling me. Each game may differ slightly I’ll grant you that, but not in the way that you’re suggesting, you lying prick. Fingerprints are all different, but they’re all located on the end of a fucking finger.

The desperation of the man to see this show reach cult status is apparent with the insertion of certain mawkish expressions such as ‘The Crazy Chair’ (the player’s seat) and ‘The Power Five’ (the largest sums of money available), but within the uttering of these phrases also lies Edmonds’ reckless attempts to appear cool. It’s only a matter of time before he’s saying ‘far out’ or ‘cosmic’.

It has to be said that people scare me and given that the contestants are supposedly your average Brit, I can officially announce that our country is full of dangerous tossers. Who are these fuckers and which sorry corner of our country are these pointless rectums normally holed up in?

It has become a trend for the chosen contestant to say “its fine, it’s ok” when they lose £35,000 or whatever, the way I would if I dropped 2p on the pavement and decide to leave it there because it’s barely worth bending down to pick up. Then they pace the floor and meaninglessly yell “Come on!” which seems to whip the audience up into a frenzy every time. If these people are representative of the peak of human evolution as we know it, then please; stop the world, I must get off.

But it’s not just the over-excited contestants (and fellow panellists) that concern me here. Who are the audience? Why are they there? Who are these people that care so much about the financial gain or shortcomings of others? Would you really care whether or not a complete stranger pockets a quarter of a million quid? I try hard not to watch this utter shite but I know when I’ve seen it in the past I am more eager to see them go home with 1p.

Incidentally, I have never met anyone who would waste their time sitting in on a show like this, or any show for that matter, with the exception of something genuinely entertaining such as a comedy product. The audience must consist of the same kind of pond-life that make up the audiences for shows like the National Lottery Draw and ‘Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?’ and so on.

I could go on and on about how Deal Or No Deal winds me up, but I think that’s an aneurism I feel brewing. I will say this though; I would rather watch Bill Oddie looking for badgers than sit through another episode of this toilet juice, although conversely, I would rather stab myself repeatedly in the chest, sew up my eye-lids, and pour boiling water in my shell-likes.

Barclays Bank

March 21, 2007

Barclays Previous to this advertisment, Barclays were running a campaign wherein a bright young Executive was seen to be coming up with incredibly simple but effective ideas, much to the annoyance of his far flashier and vacuous contemporaries. Firstly, this makes me think that bright people working at Barclays are few and far between. Secondly I could never remember which bank the ads were for unless the missus reminded me, and she only remembers because she banks with the bastards.

In this new one the budget has obviously been pumped up. A brunette in a yellow bikini is sunbathing on golden sand. Her slightly geeky boyfriend – our simple-but-effective ideas man from the three preceding adverts – is beside her, looking out to see. She asks him to rub protective sun-screen into her back. He begins to do so as she drifts off then seems suddenly to have a Eureka moment. He wanders off towards the sea and starts recommending a financial package to his boss over his mobile. ‘Six point eight percent’ he’s saying. The little shit. He’s on holiday – what’s he doing calling his boss? Anyhow, he returns, smugly smiling to himself, and they continue lapping up the sun.

We cut to the end of the day and they’re packing away their stuff. ‘Beautiful, isn’t it?’ the brunette says as she looks at the sun setting, or something equally as bland, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is this: When she turns around, she is perfectly tanned on her shoulders apart from the fact that she has a massive pink area in the shape of ‘6.8%’! Yes! He was so distracted that he squeezed out the mathematics of his thought process onto her back, leaving her with an unsightly set of mathematical symbols where her skin hadn’t been browned by the sun! Fantastic comedy!

Or is it?

My other half made a salient point here.

‘What if he missed a big mole?’.

It’s true. If the area where he’d scrawled his equation was the only part of her skin that was protected, he’d seriously put his girlfriend at risk here. Perhaps, rather than this being a funny little ad about how dedicated to their work Barclays’ staff are, this is a comment on the human condition. In focusing so hard on his job – even whilst on holiday with his closest human ally don’t forget, this idiot had endangered his lover through his stupid obsession with impressing his boss, which would lead to promotion, which would lead ultimately to more money. The selfish shitbag. What it boils down to is this: staff at Barclays bank are prepared to allow their loved ones to die a slow and painful death, so long as they progress on the career ladder. The central character trait of a psychopath, no less.

There’s no way I’m banking with those selfish bastards now.