Type 'city cars, fun' into Google and you get 210m results. That's because - in the absence of powerful engines, taut handling, luxurious refinement, big interior space and hi-tech gadgets there's not a huge amount else to trump when you're selling these little cars, other than their price.
Hence, in these three adverts for the Toyota Aygo, Citroen C1 and Peugeot 108 there's one theme reinfored again and again: fun. Toyota has even gone so far as to suggest you 'go fun yourself'. Peugeot reinforces the idea that you can personalise the 108 to your heart's content. Citroen, interestingly, has a young man in its advert - a rare departure for these cars that tend to be aimed at women. It's also 'naturally urban' - and to prove it, here's a picture I took of it on the recent launch in Coventry.
What's interesting about these cars is that they are essentially, despite what manufacturers say, the same car so we have a rare opportunity to see how three different brands are represented by three different agencies given the same product to market.
That they have managed to create three fairly separate identities for them - with three clear messages - is pretty impressive. That they're decent ads is all the more impressive.
My tip? Avoid the 1.0-litre engine and go for the 1.2. That rules out the Aygo but, frankly, if you like the colours who am I to argue? Let me know which one you like best.
Citroen C1 - Naturally Urban
Harry Potter goes hipster in Breaking Bad car-park.
Peugeot 108 - This Time It's Personal
Androgynous robots stalk through JG Ballard landscapes.
Toyota Aygo - Go Fun Yourself
Futuristic neo-noir directed by MGMT.
Surely this man doesn't really exist, apart from in the imagination of a Radio 4 producer.
The Redknapp family are such serial offenders on adverts that there's a whole section on this site devoted to them. In amongst brands like Go Compare, Marks and Spencer, McDonalds and the like there's one sticking out like a sore thumb: Redknapp. That's how much advertising they do. Thomas Cook, Nintendo, The S*n.
I used to crunch the Google queries that sent people to this blog, only to find the following one day in 2011:
how stupid is louise rednapp
how thick is jamie redknapp
Alas, I can't comment either way, though a mate used to serve a lonely Jamie cocktails in his Spice Boy days while he waited for Louise to fulfil her contractual obligations and reported that he was both a nice guy and a good tipper. If I were to suggest a tip for him, it's for his not wholly unlikeable clan to get off my television already. They are as ubiquitous as Benedict Cumberbatch and surely it's not unfair to say a millionth as talented. Take this latest effort for Wilkinson Sword.
What am I missing here? The content of this ad seems to bear no relationship to the product being sold. How does shaving your legs free up time to sit in a garden and wank on about your amazing but 'i'm just a normal human being and real Mum' life while shitting gold bricks and scrawling your mark on another shit advertising campaign.
And, as a friend pointed out, in what way is Jamie Redknapp demanding in the context of this advert? Other than pubic depilation, which is the only reason I can think of for the coy laugh.
Still, it's nice to hear that her day only 'gets better' once she's packed the husband and kids off.
Either way – like every other campaign the Redknapps are associated with, not to mention Jamie's ill-fitting M&S suits and piano-black ties – it's a complete misfire.
'Be spontaneous!' is the strapline. As in 'human combustion' it's to be hoped.
I realise I'm venturing into unexplored territory here but I've never felt so compelled to voice my dislike over something so much and, let's face it, this is a blog that all about voicing my dislike of things.
I've felt ambivalent about Robin Thicke since I heard his Blurred Lines song. It's insanely catchy, yet hateful in many and varied ways. For example, the open, rampant misogyny (not remotely excusable under any sort of 'irony' defence) that sees Thicke blow smoke in a woman's face to make her cough, explain that he knows 'you want it' in a threat of sexual assault that's not even concealed, call women 'bitches' and boast about having a large penis (as a rule of thumb - no pun intended - if you have to boast about the size of your dick you ain't got a big one). Robin Thicke even makes me hate the name Robin - and that's my name.
His friend TI, ladies, also boasts about having a big penis and would like to 'tear your ass in two' with his own cock. He'd like to sodomise you to the extent that he makes your ass bleed. He'd like to cause you profound rectal trauma. He wants to bum you so hard he causes you physical injury. That's nice, eh?
While I like looking at women with no clothes on, the unrated video for Blurred Lines is just indefensible. If you attempted to defend it on any grounds imaginable you'd just start uncontrollably dribbling and quickly fall into unconsciousness - that is to assume you're not dribbling or unconscious already, which I think you'd have to be.
Speaking of tits, Pharrell is a tit. Stronger swearwords just don't work as he's not actively obnoxious, just a tit. He's a tit. A twerp. A berk. A dick. A fanny. A knob. In Liverpool parlance he's a blert. In Hartlepool lingo he's a doyle or a rarf. But mainly he's just a little tit. He's a falsetto Norman Wisdom in a bacofoil suit.
Anyway, Robin Thicke has since split up with his missus, who presumably tired of him prancing around with topless models, sticking his fingers up the bumholes of adoring female fans and grinding his crotch against the asses of teenagers.
So Robin Thicke has had an idea. He's devoted his entire album to her - it's called Paula - and revealed a ghastly song called Get Her Back in which he purports to reveal a series of creepy text messages between him and his wife. It's basically stalking across the medium of Youtube and MTV: the virtual equivalent of hiding in bushes and pushing illegible tear-and-jizz-stained scribbles - varying between declarations of undying love, sexual longing and sexist passive aggression - through the letterbox of an ex.
The whole Robin Thicke story is so appalling because it's validating a kind of objectification, emotional abuse and sexual control that we thought we'd eradicated decades ago. It's normalising the behaviour of men who cheat on their partners, degrade their partners and control their partners and think they can make it up with a bunch of flowers and emotionally illiterate apologies. It's an extension of the Rihanna / Chris Brown situation where a man beats his partner to the point where she's hospitalised and goes on to be even more successful than he was previously.
An element of this that confuses and disturbs me is that both of these men have fanbases largely consisting of women - and are very much playing to the dynamic of a horrible 'I hurt you, but (or because) I love you' shtick. That's down to how these men are marketed and how they portray themselves - what's so fascinating about it is that it shows you can essentially sell misogyny to women, which is some going.
Perhaps you're wondering what this is doing on a website about adverts. You've got me there. No, this is not an advert. Unless you count it as an advert for how awful Robin Thicke is. Which it is. And he is. Utterly fucking awful.