The adverts haunting my dreams this month, in no particular order...
There's something about the way that, as a society, we seem to regard gak like McDonalds, Domino's, Nando's and Haribo as some sort of incredible treat. Fine if you're a child; frankly pathetic if you're an adult. These pizzas are, as it goes, quite nice, as long as you recognise that takeaway pizzas are about as similar to the real thing as a fruit pastille is to a hydrogen bomb.
But, seriously, have you ever deconstructed the cost of these precision-guided heart-attack missiles? For the cost of an average large pizza - one you're going to eat, lukewarm, in your house let's not forget - you can get a fillet fucking steak. You could buy two free-range twatting chickens. Or a cunting keg of beer. If you live on the minimum wage you will work for two and a half hours just to buy this fusion of all-the-worst-food-groups-with-cheese-on-it. Want sides? You do, because you're conditioned to tell yourself that you deserve to treat yourself. Back to scrubbing those bogs mate.
Or, have you been unlucky enough to spend any amount of time trying to decipher their impossible menus? That bloke from Coast has been drafted in to try and explain its myriad nooks, crannies and labyrinths. Fermat's Theorem could have been solved with the brainpower it took to construct something so devilishly baffling- again, something designed not be to easy to use, but to make you spend more money.
But, mainly, I have a problem withe the appalling soundtrack. Not satisfied with that ridiculous, and totally empty, GREATNESS FROM DOMINO'S! song we now have to hear it backwards. I'd say hold the cheese, but, y'know.
Clubcard Fuel Save
Not much to say about this, other than it made me shout OH, FUCK OFF! at the television earlier today. And, believe it or not, that's not something I make a habit of. So twee that it makes Felicity Kendal vomit.
"Oh, no. That's terrible. They've shit all over your cat."
"Don't just stand there stating the bleeding obvious, woman, call the bloody police!
Vote for March's Most Annoying Advert
All despicable, all currently on television. But which is worst? You tell me, for once.
There's a basic template from which these toothpaste / toothbrush adverts don't stray far. Celebrity dentists, bad dubbing, actors pretending to be members of the public and extraordinary claims about how our teeth will fall out if we don't switch from Colgate to Aquafresh to Sensodyne or back immediately. And floss. And rinse out or mouths with Listerine. And chew sugar-free gum. And stop eating fruit.
Thing is, all of these adverts have some extraordinary claim about how 30 million people in the country have gum disease. This doesn't make me throw out my toothbrush and current toothpaste, however, it simply makes me doubt the efficacy of these toothpastes. What's more, how come I have to select whether I want to whiten my teeth, stop my gums receding, prevent cavities or fight plaque - how come I can't do all of them with one toothpaste?
I don't doubt the effects of not looking after one's teeth - I didn't get my first filling until I was in my 30s - but I've started to wonder whether there's any difference whatsoever between toothpastes. And what other product out there are we told to buy with such frequency that we can't possibly comprehend? Even if you don't understand how a combustion engine works, you can probably gauge whether the more expensive stuff (high-octane petrol and the like) is worth it from how often you have to fill up. Food and drink - you can disregard the cost on the basis that you have a preference. Finance, insurance, all that jazz? Crunch the numbers.
With toothpaste, toothbrushes, oral hygiene it's a leap of faith. You choose to buy a brand of toothpaste depending on whether you believe the claims in the adverts or not. None of us would know if the whole thing wasn't a gigantic swizz. And the adverts are what make me suspicious.
With deodorants, shaving products, skin creams - things that play on our vanity and desire to conform - advertising has upped the ante. They spend huge sums of cash trying to encourage us to buy their products that are increasingly absurd. Claims about new 'technology' and biological jargon are designed to wow us into parting with cash for stuff we could not possibly need. Again, we stake our faith in the claims of adverts, celebrities and brands - because we have no way of determining the truth of their claims. Look into the survey samples and there are some startlingly weak claims being made.
What's more the fact that toothpaste companies actively engage pester power - aiming adverts directly at children - concerns me. The parallels here, with junk food, sweets and Disney, hardly casts the oral hygiene industry in a flattering light. I still remember the day Macleans came to out school to give us free toothbrushes and hand out Macleans stickers - Dan Decay was my favourite - and convince us to buy their toothpaste. Extraordinary when you think about it.
The similarity to what I'd call bad advertisers - the ones that aim themselves at vulnerable demographics and make ambiguous, hard-to-comprehend claims - in the way oral hygiene companies advertise their wares to use makes me suspicious. Suspicious enough to spend some time trying to decipher these claims. So, be warned, toothpaste vendors, I'm calling you out. Unless all my teeth fall out first.
Wonga has voted the worst advert of 2013 poll by AdTurds readers in an absolute landslide, the like of which I've never seen before. The Wonga.com advert got almost twice the number of votes that the second-placed advert; the Wonga.com advert got many more than the bottom eight-placed adverts put together; the Wonga.com advert got three votes out of every five cast. People really, really hated the Wonga.com advert.
I honestly can't find anything else to say about these Wonga adverts and I don't intend to mention them again. I'll let others speak for me from now on, so you don't just have to take my word - or that of AdTurds readers - for it. The last one says it all, really.
I usually love the sound of a guitar, but the Wonga advert with the man and the elderly perv who's made of plasticine makes my teeth itch.
— R2-Dee2 #16 (@deemontague) March 12, 2014
That Wonga advert with the old cunt playing a guitar really fucks me off
— Adam Neville (@adamneville96) March 12, 2014
that wonga advert can fuck off
— um (@LucyInnit) March 12, 2014
the wonga advert creeps me out like seriously
— eleanor lucy (@elly_lucy) March 11, 2014
That Wonga advert with the guitars is worse than Nazism.
— Nick (@BagelsAndSamba) March 11, 2014
#jeremykyle advert break: 1. Wonga loans 2. Cash for gold 3. Cash for clothes 4. Cash for everything 5. Lawyers for cash 6. Greggs
— Man (@12mmBeard) January 28, 2014
I'm finding myself watching less television - I'd be something of a hypocrite if I didn't after all, given my increasingly anguished entreaties for people to switch off the idiot box - and inevitably I'm exposed to less and less adverts. This is, arguably, something of a problem for someone who relies on crap adverts to fuel their blog but it does mean that the ones that really get my goat stand out from the crowd.
These AdWorms aren't simply the ones I think are really bad - the omnipresent and decreasing-returns shtick of the Meerkats and Go Compare would be present every month if so - but the ones that really get on my aural tits; the ones that may as well be a toddler screaming on a bus or a car alarm keeping you awake at night.
These adverts - the adworms if you will - are shoe-ins because I find myself being annoyed at them hours after they're broadcast. I find myself thinking of them when I'm sat on the train, walking home or lying in bath considering my very mortality. I find these adverts interesting because they're designed to be annoying - and because I genuinely wonder where this ends.
The current Hotels4U advert strikes me as the latest in a long line of such adverts, but perhaps the most naked attempt to infuriate innocent members of the public (incidentally I recently booked a hotel and flicked through my mental list of brand names - LateRooms, LastMinute and Trivago - Hotels4U didn't get a look in probably because they've failed to include their brand name or URL in their catchphrase, which is the whole point of these ads when you think about it).
I honestly think that, should the man who says 'Anything for you, cupcake" be identified in a bar on a Saturday night someone might go for him, in a grisly recreation of the way the Ow My Balls! guy from Idiocracy is routinely blasted in the nads. I would decry this behaviour as rank thuggery - as I hope anyone who read AdTurds would - but a tiny part of me would understand how it might happen.
If someone repeatedly flicks my ear or jabs me in the chest with an index finger for no reason it's quite possible that, eventually, on a bad day, I'd return the favour with interest. And while this sort of provocation doesn't justify a physical response in any sane world, the part of us that learned how to cope with life in the playground might find a certain empathy with a desire to repay a deliberately annoying act in turn.
I hope the guy from the Hotels4U advert goes through life unmolested - it's not his fault after all - but I'd like to think that the people responsible for these intentionally angering adverts find some sort of ironic just desserts, like the way that a philatelist would be crushed to death by a giant stamp or the cruel boss of an underpants factory would turn into a pair of Y-fronts in Tales of the Unexpected.
In the meantime here are this month's choices. I've included Hotels4U again because, y'know.
Royal Navy Life Without Limits advert
The 'you x, you y' meme has long been tired and aggravating so I don't know why they persist with it here. Even more obnoxious is how the line between honest representation and grotesque war porn fantasy has been long abandoned. The message in this ad is fairly clear - join the navy if you want to blow people away and get to play with cool toys.
Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised: armed forces around the world have long recognised that there's a similarity between gaming and actually killing people - and played to those audiences. The vicarious thrill of warfare is frequently referenced in this ad but, fundamentally, it's the maddening rhythm of the whole thing that makes it so fucking infuriating.
I can't find the one that's currently on, but it ends with the Cheese Thing repeating "Cheese! Cheese!" in an irritating voice. Ads like this always make me think of the voicoever artists. Did the actor in question, who once dreamed of playing The Dane, ever think he's end up voicing animated dairy products with an idiom that would be be deemed a bit much at a child's party? Did the rapper, inspired by the seminal work of KRS-ONE or Slick Rick, truly foresee lending his voice, honed on the streets of south London in brutally witty flow battles, to a smeggy twat riding around in a car made of cheese spaghetti?
I can never understand why anyone - even really stupid people - could find stuff like this funny and the idea that there are people who do depresses me enormously. I'd say that the thought of him melting might cheer me up, but whatever cheese spaghetti strings are made of I doubt they melt. Burst into flames, perhaps. Either way, get stuffed you cheddary bastard.
With reference to what I said above, every now and then there's a report that a celebrity gets beaten up while the attackers gleefully repeat the catchphrase with which they're associated (see What's The Frequency Kenneth? for more on this). Though I do hope not, it's not inconceivable that this guy joins those ranks, such is the inexorable twattiness of this advert.