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McVitie’s and Cadbury’s: The Owls Are Not What They Appear

If you look closely on the internet there's all manner of bullshit to navigate. Forget Jennifer Lawrence grimeporn and the Deep Web, the really filthy stuff is to be found on the drivel-purveying marketing and advertising websites.

For instance, were you aware that there's an 'afternoon snacking market'? Of course, you weren't, because there;s no such thing. It's a nonsense term invented to convince biscuit-vendors that they have to spend more money on advertising, by convincing us that there's such a thing as an afternoon snacking market. There's not – it's a total invention. But I bet you're thinking about what biscuits you typically eat on an afternoon.

What, for example, differentiates a morning biscuit from an afternoon biscuit? What does the midnight snacking market consist of? What would you say if someone offered you a night biscuit?

Anyway, such 'afternoon snacks' can be seen in the form of Cadbury's Lu and Ritz – something that I think consists of two different biscuits, though I'm not sure. Every time I hear them reference they're called Cadbury's Lu and Ritz. What is a Lu? And isn't a Ritz a cheese cracker? Is that what a Cadbury's Ritz is? And do you have to purchase it with a Lu or can it be bought separately. And doesn't Cadbury's Lu put you in mind of a chocolate lavatory?

So many questions. What the afternoon snacking market advert is aiming for is obviously the idea that eating one of these biscuits is akin to a five-minute hit of pure heroin-cocaine highball, only without the attendant self-loathing, heart attack and death in Hollywood motel.

Cadbury's suggests that you'll want to dance if you eat one of their Ritz and Lu (or maybe a Ritz or a Lu, I really can't tell) – they call their campaign Moments Of Joy; McVitie's wants you to think that you'll enjoy a narcotic-free Twin Peaks-style trip if you eat one of their BN biscuits. Their current campaign is called Sweeet.

Picture 5

You've probably seen their ads where two girls make funny faces at owls that are sitting on their heads. I don't recall ever finding simple visuals so aggravating. McVities has form with this – not long ago we saw a Bush Baby coming out of pack of Jaffa Cakes, a puppy emerging from some digestives and kittens making nurses all gooey.

I despise every single one of them. Mannered, try-hard, whatever you want to call them, it's the sort of thing that seems designed to stimulate a reaction - any reaction - to make it memorable. We see the advert; we see the product - we make an association. Perhaps the best at this was the You've Benn Tango'ed series of ads from the 90s that suggested that drinking some fizzy orange pp was a bit like being slapped around the face. There's another on at the moment that suggests chewing 5 Gum is like standing under a torrent of Vimto.

Picture 4

Only, these adverts don't do that for me. Eating a Jaffa Cake isn't like all the horror, delights and weirdnesses of a trip condensed into 30 seconds. It's something that tastes nice with tea. Can you imagine how insane life would be if it were how advertisers portrayed it? A day-glo, high-volume rollercoaster of inescapable emotion. Exhausting, numbing, incomprehensible.

Sometimes a biscuit is just a biscuit. And thank God.

• To give you an insight into the insanity of biscuit marketing, I've C+Ped some stuff from an ad blog I found, along with my genuinely-held responses to it, line-by line.

The campaign was created to celebrate everyday moments made that little bit better with a McVitie’s biscuit.

Fuck off.


Fuck off.

places a packet of BN biscuits on the sofa behind them and invites them to enjoy an afternoon tasty treat.

Picture 2

Fuck off.

The packet is opened and out pops a wide eyed baby owl creating unexpected excitement

Fuck off.

and happiness

Fuck off.

for a moment before crunching into the crispy sandwich biscuit,

Fuck off.

enjoying the cheeky wink

Picture 3

Fuck off.

of a McVitie’s.

....fuck off.

Sarah Heynen, Marketing Director of Sweet Biscuits at UBUK, commented: “The new BN ad continues to illustrate the emotion derived from the biscuit eating moment."

Fuck off.


A List of Iceland’s Brand Ambassadors

I offer the following roll call with no comment.

Kerry Katona

Weirdly it's hard to tell if Iceland thought Katona's car-crash life made her less or more suitable to front their adverts.

Coleen Nolan

Said this: "“I’ve really enjoyed the last three years and loved working with the cast and crew. But now feels like the right time to move on and seek new challenges."

Jason Donovan

'...naked from the waist down an nursing a stiffy..."

Stacy Solomon

The only other things I've ever seen Stacy Solomon in are IACGMOOH and the Andrex advert where people are asked whether they scrunch or fold when they wipe their arses.

Peter Andre

Literally the only time Peter Andre takes the bus home after doing his weekly shop at Iceland is when he has a gigantic nervous breakdown.

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I hate Andrew Castle and First4Lawyers

I hate this guy. Did he play tennis once upon a time? I hate tennis.

I hate his voice. I hate his face. I hate his ambulance-chasing advert that suggests that justice consists of suing your cash-strapped council because you twisted your ankle on a paving slab while drunk.

I hate his Tory-voting, slacks-wearing, jacket-and-jeans, Audi-driving, Bolly-drinking, caviar-eating, corporate-speaking, commuter-belt, Tarquin-fathering, Clarkson-chumming, private-school feeing, yacht-wrangling twatty grid.

I hate Andrew Castle and I hate First4Lawyers.


AdWorms: August’s Worst Adverts

I seem to watch less and television these days, so material seems thinner on the ground. Rest assured I remain a frothing lunatic, sitting powerless in front the of the idiot-box at regular intervals, however.

Here's this month's equivalent of going to sleep alone in the bodily fluids you just shamefully emitted in search of a listless orgasm.

Sky Sports

Prepare for your brain to start actually atrophying, rotting and farting vile putrescence as your very synapses turn into liquid Haribo, courtesy of Jeff Stelling and his moronic court of yapping jesters spouting endless bullshit about nonsense that doesn't matter while the world burns.

Boots Number 7

Very little about this advert annoys me. That is, until we get to the last second or so when we get the Boots-patented "Number 7 - Ta Dah!" jingle. I would not have thought it possible that such a meaningless noise - beyond the McDonalds whistle - could enrage me so much, but there it is. The only solace I can find is in the hope that the actor responsible had to do thousands of takes on Ta-Dah! before the idiot-beards in the booth let her collect her fee, like Toast.

Anyway, ad from earlier in the year below. Jingle has remained the same - and probably will forever.

Oak Furniture Land

Oak Furniture Land is, I'm guessing, one of the least exciting lands you could end up in. The way it sounds vaguely like a magical realm - albeit where the only thing of note is that things are made of a particular wood - surely lures in the unsuspecting and the gullible, drawing them into a retail park outside Runcorn that stands as a testament to the fact that - as a race - we've fucked it up.

There are a few things that are superficially annoying about this advert, none of which really warrant a lexical spitroasting. It's the fact that it's been omnipresent on my television - the channels I watch, anyway - for most of the Summer. It's as if August is the time to bulk-buy oak: much as Xmas is the time for perfume and toys; Summer, bikinis; Valentine's Day, johnnies and dildos.

So insistently annoying I've kicked several saplings to death in the last four weeks.

Victoria Plumb

If you have a bathroom like an aircraft hangar, you too can croon weirdly to your significant other while the wash their bits. I have a genuine phobia of people singing at me - it weirds me out like nothing else: a mixture of trite, naff and unhinged. That might be why I dislike this advert so much - along with that odd 'singing-over-a-backing-track' thing that's going on here and several other adverts recently.

To quote Tim Bisley: "Fucking... plum!

Vote - August's Worst Ad

Tell me which you hate the most - or add your own suggestion.