Posts Tagged ‘Crap adverts’

Cadbury’s Eyebrow Ad

March 3, 2009

With the public going batty for healthy comestibles, now is a bad time to work in the snack food industry. Vilified on television, snack foods are shown as the reason for poor, twenty-four-stone Janine from Slough being barely able to lift her bottom off the sofa, and also why the nation’s children are wobbling balls of fat in Jamie Oliver’s School Dinners. Give it ten weeks and your humble packet of salt and vinegar crisps will be held responsible for the recession, knife crime and the breakdown in relations between the UK and Russia.

So, you’d imagine it would be quite hard working in the marketing department at Cadbury’s. I remember chocolate adverts from my youth, usually featuring a cartoon frog in a baseball cap screaming its lungs off, designed to get us kids worked up into a pestering frenzy. The money-shot would always feature an enlarged shot of the chocolate bar, with all the different layers of chocolate, sugar and marshmallow labelled. Like porn for chocaholics.

To do that now would not only be impractical with all the anti junk-food advertising laws around, it would also make your ad’s guilty claims of being ‘more chocolatey then ever’ seem unappealing, almost perverse when displayed next to promotions for organic celery sticks and drum-wheat cracker bars.

So, the new trick is to resort to novelty promotions that do everything to distract the public from what they’re promoting. Poor old Walkers had to drum up some novelty flavours, from Chilli & Chocolate to Menstruating Goat ‘n’ Cress.

Cadburys have taken a different route, and the result is 30 seconds of very surreal television that makes about as much sense to me as the time I hit my head and tried to listen to BBC Cymru.

The advert stars two kids, both abducted from a special needs school in the 80s, who wiggle their eyebrows in time to some funky electro pop. The boy on the left is common or garden funny-looking, but the girl on the right is something else; a cross between those spooky little girls you get in Japanese horror films and the child of Frau Farbissina from Austin Powers.

By the time she starts to squeak a balloon in time to the music, you’re not only left confused as to what’s been advertised, you’ve also forgotten who you are. Your jaw hangs open as you stare agog at this new watershed in pointless advertising. It might work to the extent that it has distracted you from the unhealthy nature of the food whilst subtly reminding you that chocolate is fun, but it’s messed me up so much that I can’t decide if I hate it in all it’s fake internet meme glory or not.

I spent half an hour last night watching it on Youtube, oscillating between abject hatred and childlike affection, while jamming milk chocolate bars into my face at a rate of six a minute. At least it’s temporarily stopped me from thinking about eating healthily.

That might have been the point in the first place, come to think of it.

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Fire Kills – Pull Your Finger Out

January 12, 2009

It’s incredible that a thirty-second public information film can cause such intense irritation. It’s like stinging-nettle whiplash, the Julie Walters smoke-alarm campaign. And the worst thing about it is they double them up. Firstly, at the top of an ad break, you’ll have Walters asking if you fancy saving your family from dying, then telling you to ‘pull your finger out’ (presumably of your arsehole, as the proverb dictates) and test your smoke-alarm. Then, after you’ve sat through the malevolent maelstrom of all the other ads, she reappears to reiterate her message.

Perhaps it wouldn’t be so annoying if I didn’t already know full well that my smoke alarm works just fine. Maybe I wouldn’t get so wound up if it didn’t bleep at an ear-splitting volume every time I tried to lightly fry bacon. It might be that this campaign wouldn’t nestle on my tits and wrap itself around my wick if my smoke-alarm didn’t wail like a deafening banshee every time I put some cheese on toast under the grill.

Or maybe, if it wasn’t Julie Walters trying to tell me what to do like a stern, friendly teacher, I wouln’t want to kick the screen to smithereens. There’s something about Jules that sends me into a blind rage. The vastly overrated association with Acorn Antiques and Victoria Wood, the appointment to national treasure status that occurred off my watch and the chuckling mum persona she conveys on the TV, despite the fact she’s NOT MY MUM.

I fully realise that this is a twisted, personal pet-hate and most people will wonder what the hell I’ve got against Walters. It’s irrational, perhaps.

I admit it. It’s not you, Walters. It’s me.

Barnardo’s

December 17, 2008

The Barnardo’s advert, currently casting a black shadow over commercial TV, will continue to air despite attracting almost 500 complaints. According to the Advertising Standards Authority the advert was ‘justified,’ despite some of the complainants being victims of abuse who found the advert ‘distressing.’

Before we tackle the commercial itself it’s worth noting the power of the buck in this instance. Barnardo’s are paying a lot of money to run this advert. If they weren’t I should imagine 500 complaints would see the bastard taken off the air at once, especially ones from abuse victims. This is something the BBC, a publicly funded organisation, don’t have in their favour. Complain about them and a national scandal emerges, moan about your rights as a viewer after suffering shock following a confrontation with poorly judged and sensationalist shit such as this offing from Barnardo’s and you get brushed off like pubic hair that’s escaped from Stalag Luft Underpant.

The main problem with the advert is that it makes no fucking sense.

Yes, we get the cycle of abuse thing on paper but how does this offing from a Children’s Charity reinforce this? Who is this targeted at?

Teachers who don’t listen to adult women in school uniforms saying ‘I don’t understand’? That rotter who gives her a good smack round the head as she’s trying to eat toast?

Even if this was made clear I’m not sure where Barnardo’s fit into all this and am now left confused as to what Barnado’s actually do. I thought Barnardo’s was a children’s home. Are they advertising for residents or what?

The advert falls on its arse from the off by the choice of lead. The blonde ‘teen’ could be anything from 18 to 35. Either way, the character doesn’t have ‘vulnerability’ written all over her. In fact, the first thing you notice is she’s quite hot with big tits.

The choice of the ‘cycle of abuse’ is bizarre too. Not just the sequence of events, but the situations in which our heroine finds herself in. First off, we see her assaulting someone so our sympathies aren’t really engaged with her. When we see her crying in nick, a few of us probably thought she jolly well deserved it (what-ho).

Then comes the hitting scene which is as powerful as it is upsetting. Between you and me, it’s very well done, but it can’t be justified in any rational way as it doesn’t function outside of what it is… which is ‘nasty’.

The final scene of her getting whacked on horse is more farcical than hard-hitting. The makers may as well have portrayed her with a dribbling tongue hanging out, trying to catch imaginary butterflies over a Jefferson Starship soundtrack. Speeding the sequence up (instead, perhaps, on focusing on her welfare when she was younger which may have saved the whole shambles) demonstrates an ironic ‘fuck it, this’ll do’ mentality.

Should it be banned?

Not really, there’s no such thing as bad publicity and through foul means or fair, many more people will now have heard of Barnardo’s. Its just a shame that because of the poor way they’ve portrayed themselves you’ll have to find out what they actually do via other sources. The twits.

Christmas Advertising

December 16, 2008

Hmm. I’m not sure which of the Christmas ads would make me turn to crime the quickest.

Is it:

  • The one where Take That are simply having a wonderful Christmas time with that boob Myleene and her chums?
  • The one where that flubber-tongued twerp Jamie Oliver hands out cups of onion and cabbage to a pack of laughing rats in a car park?
  • The one where the increasingly unhinged Kerry Katona hands out the frozen party treats to her friends, her family, a Nolan and that wally, Jason Donovan?
  • The ones that are narrated by the Scotch fella who read out that poem in Four Weddings and a Funeral?
  • The one where the star of The Bitch and The Stud gushes over erotic pictures of salmon?

I just can’t decide. On the one hand, the Sainsbury’s one makes me want to take a sledgehammer to Oliver’s cranium, but on the other, the Iceland one makes me want to chase Kerry through the streets with a dog whip.

But do those advertisements fiil me with as much rage as the Co-Op ones (featuring this year’s most irritating Christmas song after The Feeling’s)? You have to admit, there’s a spine-cracking tensing of the entire muscular system whenever you’re watching the telly and you hear that immortal refrain:

“We me-he-he-he-heet in the wee-hee-hee-hint-her … AND WE FELL IN LOVE.”

Damn it! Where’s my knives?

And yet …

There’s that other one, isn’t there? The one with the toilet roll dogs that has McFly at the end? That one? And let’s not forget those ASDA ones with that bloody ‘It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas’ song that sticks to your brain like a malevolent tumour.

Oh God, and there’s the Des O’Connor one too! And the Richard Hammond one! And the bloody John Lewis one that’s trying to be all classy …

So which of them would drive me to murder? Which ads would I happily go to the gallows over?

Why … the perfume ones, o’course!

ROLL ON JANUARY!

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?

Studio Line

October 14, 2008

It’s okay, even though it seems like last week this advert is 22 years old…

Finished throwing up yet?

No?

Done now?

Good.

I thought I’d mention something about this quite amazing piece of advertising because, for some reason, whenever I heard the word ‘L’Oreal’ (and without wishing to go into detail, for work reasons I do) my mind always automatically responds with ‘S-S-S-S-Studio Line’ then the final part of this commercial mentally reveals itself to me like vagina dentata. Specifically, the models bursting through the desperately 80s styled wall, miming playing instruments with less conviction than Julian Sands doing Hamlet in jelly.

That last part is possibly the most irritating thing ever, and I mean ever, put on television.

But I’m finding it hard to criticise it. Twenty-two years later I can still remember the fucker as if it was yesterday. Every drop of the advert is in me. It lives inside me like some sort of dreadful turd I can’t shit out.

That, sadly, is the point of advertising. To make a brand stick in the mind by foul means or fair and whilst this advert seems harmless enough, maybe I’m now convinced beyond doubt that the makers of the ad deliberately ballsed up the ending in order to make us (me) recall the product via inexplicable anger at the sheer naffness of it all.

Moonpig, anyone?

KFC – Boneless Bargain Banquet for One

September 24, 2008

Hey you!

Yes, you..!

Are you sick of all the needless bother that goes hand-in-hand with enjoying a meal? Are you bored of having to sit at a table; of facing other people, of trying new and interesting food and having to use cutlery and plates?

How about restaurants? Aren’t they a pain? The way they make you choose what you want from a text menu instead of brightly lit photographs with combo options. It’s obscene.

And they make you sit inside them too – at tables. All you really want to do is sit at a bus stop bench with a cardboard box.

They’re so arrogant, showing off about having food that you haven’t heard of or possibly may not like.

What about women? So fucking annoying the way they make you spend time with them – listening to what they say or doing what they want and, worst of all, making you break the endless cycle of repetitive behaviour that makes life so easy.

Have you tried cooking? What a waste of time! Buying all those ingredients and then having to prepare it yourself! It’s an insult – making you responsible for your own food. Like you have the time to learn how to do that!

Luckily there’s an alternative to all that bullshit; a way out of socialising and trying new things, a way out of wasting time in the kitchen or spending more than a fiver on food. It’s called the KFC Boneless Bargain Banquet for One and it is the future of culinary delight.

No longer do you have to wait more than two minutes for your snap. No longer do you have to face the insufferable company of your other half and no longer are you bound by the societal constraints of etiquette or manners… it’s finally here! Freedom.

You can sit alone on the kerb and stuff yourself silly with greasy and abused meat from a questionable source and not have to worry about choice or flavour.

Vegetables? Bollocks! Taste? Bollocks! Polite company? Bollocks!

You can now sit in public and wolf down non-threatening food and not have to worry about trifling annoyances like bones or using forks. Look at those poor saps, stuck indoors and having a nice time with the ones they love. Pity them, for they are bound by having to make decisions, pretending to enjoy their fancy-dancy toff grub. You are the real winner, alone and free to enjoy your genetically spliced super meat without restaurants or the effort of cooking.

Have you tried Tennents Super? It’s brilliant – it gets you pissed without the constraints of having to enjoy the drink. How about microwavable burgers? So useful, because who wants to have to wait for longer than a minute and a half for dinner?

While we’re here, let’s mention internet porn… After all, who wants to go to the bother of talking to a woman when all you really want is tits at the click of a button?

KFC are all about the here and now. We’re about instant and easy gratification without the attention to pointless aspects like enjoyment or quality. We don’t bother you with company or pleasant surroundings, we don’t oppress you with plates and glasses – we’ll mainline you with an instant, worry-free hit of MSG and we guarantee you won’t have to talk to a girl, a waiter or another human being in the process.

What’s more, we promise to treat you like a complete fucking troglodyte moron in not only our advertising, but in our restaurants too.

NewsGush – Total Recall

August 28, 2008

Thanks to brain-melting industry publication, Marketing Magazine, you can easily obtain figures detailing how companies compare when it comes to a thing called ‘brand recall’ – which essentially means ‘remembering adverts’. After all – it’s no good making a brain-rotting telenudge unless it’s guaranteed to burn itself into the collective synapse of the proletariat consumer, eh?

Here’re the top 10 performers – and my attempt at total recall.

Sainsburys (69%)
Easy – this is Jamie Oliver patronising people and then cooking them a third rate dinner in some suburban vision of hell on earthly terrain.

Asda (61%)
No idea. Three crates of booze for a tenner? Some arsehole in a green hat patting his arse? Ian Wright pretending to be enthusiastic about baking a loaf? Or is that Somerfield?

Dolmio (60%)
Fucking annoying puppets blabbering incomprehensibly about sauce.

Littlewoods Direct (53%)
No idea. Scrabbling for a memory, I can picture some tall girl mucking about in slow motion on a beach in a peach-coloured dress – but I think that’s just a generic mental image I’ve invented when I think of the catalogues middle aged women get through the post. I also recall many happy moments spent with the lingerie section of the Kays catalogue. Thanks again, catalogue-model girls.

L’Oreal Elvive Re-Nutrition (51%)
Is this Andie MacDowell? Or Eva Longoria? Either way, it’s a shit actress talking crap. Or it may just be a model with the speech dubbed over. In any case, hair doesn’t need nutrition. It just needs an occasional wash.

Marks & Spencer (49%)
Undoubtedly this’ll be Myleene and Claude Makelele’s wife playing silly buggers in swimsuits, in a lighthouse while an old woman and a giantess look on. Getting a bit tiresome, this campaign (if looking at this sort of thing could ever be considered tiresome).

Burger King (49%)
The Dark Knight burger. When I can’t decide what brand of coloured, flavoured offal and dung pattie  I want to stick into my gut, I let a fictional character – usually a superhero – decide for me.

Morrisons (48%)
More reasons to shop at more-reasons? Is that still going? Or is it Alan ‘Arsehole’ Hansen clutching a trolley like a zimmer-frame? I’m guessing rather than trying to remember these ads now, if you hadn’t noticed.

Vauxhall Corsa (47%)
I can’t remember car ads, ever. Has it got a car in it?
Going very fast?
It has?
Then I won’t remember it.

Flora pro.activ (46%)
I don’t even know what this is. It’s got ‘Flora’ attached so I assume it’s margarine – but the weirdly punctuated and abbreviated bit at the end leads me to assume it’s a futuristic margarine that makes your bones robotic or something. This sort of branding makes me hit spread-autopilot and reach for the Utterly Butterly out of brain-freeze confusion.

The end

Scientific Conclusion:

We only remember adverts if they’re hugely patronising, if they feature women in bikinis or if they’ve got puppets talking with very strong, affected italian accents in them.

I think we’ve all learned something today.