Imagine going to take your car to be repaired and before fixing the problem the bloke at the garage puts your kid to sleep with a click of his fingers. Personally, I'd be quite disturbed by that but apparently it's all part of the service if you go to Kwik Fit.
The advert where the annoying little kid gets put to sleep by the Kwik Fit repair man is truly very weird. I like to imagine an alternative version, perhaps ruled out during pre-production, where the garage bloke punches the child in the face. It would work just as well (edgy!) but would of course be considered an unacceptable depiction of violent child abuse against a vulnerable young person suffering from attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.
The hypnotist angle provides a neat solution, in that the child is still "knocked out" - and thus shuts the fuck up like we all wish he would - without any of the nasty NSPCC connotations.
What's really bizarre about the ad is the woman's reaction. Instead of screaming "What have you done to my boy!?" or even "Help!" she accepts her son's fate with the incongruous words:
Brilliant, thanks, that's great.
Perhaps the Kwik Fit guy has already spiked her drink with valium. One can only imagine what happens once it kicks in proper.
There's no resolution either. The kid could still be asleep for all we know. It's bleak.
Well, where to start with this one? I had to see this fully three times before I worked out what the hell it was.
I feel a little harsh describing this as an AdTurd, as it at least has some imagination and wit on its side. But the whole things is so bizarre, it beggars belief that at no point in its creation did anyone say: "Hold on, what the fuck are you on about?"
I assume there's a kind of Stepford Wives vibe going on here, but the introduction of some sort of robot mechanical arms also reminds me of Demon Seed, a 70's horror film where Julie Christie is imprisoned in her house by a computer, promptly knocked up by her computer-controlled house, and gives birth to a brass baby voiced by Robert Vaughan.
In some ways the idea that Peggy could be impregnated by the Queen Vic would have a certain degree of verisimilitude, so entwined is the building with her and her family.
Also appearing in this Eastenders trail is Archie, played by a man rejoicing in the unlikely name of Larry Lamb. Lamb is excellent as Archie, all sideways sneers and gimlet eyes, so I was disappointed to learn that he's responsible for bringing DJ George Lamb into the world - a bloke for whom the word 'twat' must have been invented.
Lamb appears in Bela Lugosi-esque finery and lighting and looks genuinely terrifying, but I find the fact that he actually gives Peggy a pearl necklace in the advert too off-putting to enjoy even this element.
All in all, the whole experience reminds me of a Gary Larson cartoon: Just Plain Nuts.
There was a time when the tattoo that beats out at the start of the song didn't drive men everywhere into a rage.
This was about 18 months ago, when the song by Ernie K. Doe was probably quite good. But now it's ruined, forever tainted by the association with the idea that make-up is important and there's some sort of unifying global sisterhood.
It appears on absolutely anything to do with women now. It's been used by two huge brands – Marks and Spencers and Boots – in ubiquitous advertising.
A number of TV idents have used it. Sky used it to advertise the Women's Cricket World Cup – a competition so boring that not even the deployment of this awful music could convince anyone to watch it.
It's now the advertising equivalent of a lazy sub who writes 'Exclusive!' at the head of an article rewritten from a press release; a half-arsed attempt to give something rubbish the vaguest lift.
If I were a woman I'd find this patronising, but I can imagine there are plenty of women who'll lap up these ads. "That's so like us!" they'll say to each other, as if it's something to be proud of.
So, that's it women. Feminism's dead. Even post-feminism's dead. You're back to being defined by your love of clothes and make-up.
And men everywhere have this godawful song in their heads every time they're waiting for you to come downstairs.
This is your anthem. Forever.
As I sit typing this out, it's just come on again...
Note: Very few of the following links will be Safe For Work.
I can't be the only person to think that Matteson's new advert for its actually-quite-tasty smoked pork sausage is about as dirty as advertising gets.
Like most sausages, the Matteson's sausage looks a bit like a cock – if the cock in question is horsehoe-shaped and double-ended. I think it's not unfair to say the creatives behind this advert have also noticed the similarity.
The advert rather suggestively invites the viewer to imagine what you might do with the glistening twelve-inch, double-pronged horseshoe dual-phallus – the obvious answer being to insert it into...well, not most obviously a stir fry.
Anything that follows in the advert is overshadowed in my mind by the thought of what a young lady, for example, might do with it if left to her own devices.
It doesn't take a genius to find similar-shaped items for sale on the internet, and cooking is likely to be the last thing on the mind of people browsing such rubber-based tools.
Which makes this product all the more bizarre – it's almost as if it were made for this advert (though it wasn't, the product's been around for years).
So what's next? Cakes shaped like a pair of tits? Frankfurters shaped like two homosexual gentlemen engaged in what I'm told is known as docking? Perhaps some of that novelty-shaped processed meat made to resemble two big fat lesbians fisting one another?
I don't know whether it's a sign of my getting older or society getting ruder, and I'm no prude, but I'm a bit discombobulated by the sheer high frequency of the inneundo in this ad.
If you said the word 'dildo' on an advert you could probably expect the combined weight of Ofcom, The Daily Mail and those berks at MediaWatch to come crashing down on you like a ton of bricks. But place the thought of the act in someone's head and you're creeping in under the radar.
Thankfully while searching for this ad on Youtube I was relieved to find that I'm not the only one who has these impure thoughts. Brings a whole new meaning to the slogan "Mmm...Mattesons."
By the way, if anyone's wondering exactly what act springs to my mind, it's the second one down.
Fast-food retailers must be thanking their lucky stars for the global recession. In times like these the welfare of food animals, consideration of trans fats and class aspiration goes out of the window.
People want value, ease and comfort, which is where fatty bad-for-you-food comes into its own.
This is all so counter-intuitive it beggars belief, but it plays back into the hands of the people who are secretly ashamed of buying cheap meat but maintain they can't afford it. Back to good old KFC for a value bucket of chicken bits to feed the family and to hell with those posh nobs eating free-range fowl.
Predictably, this annoys me. If you ever see a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall or Jamie Oliver programme where the two well-meaning but slightly unhinged chefs encourage chavs to cook proper food, you'll know that there's always one who maintains that buying an organic chicken will leave her two plump children starving hungry. This woman is always fat, which makes a mockery of any such argument.
If anyone in the country had any sense they'd be stocking up on potatoes, carrots and parsnips. Show me a family of four and I'll feed them for a week on a tenner. They might lose a bit of weight, but they'll be a lot healthier.
But while the recession should play into the hands of the crusading chefs, it's driven them back into the greasy arms of fast-food retailers. It's madness. A Domino's pizza costs 15 fucking quid.
KFC has chosen this time to unleash a charm offensive on the British public. Where previously it had gone with 'yeah-but-it's-really-tasty' type ads, KFC now wants you to know that its chicken is fresh.
Fresh from a slaughterhouse where it was kicked around like a football, perhaps, but fresh nonetheless.
I couldn't find the ad itself, but it involves a nice-enough lad talking about his love of food, particularly the chicken bits he rubs in flour a thousand times a day. There are some shots of salads – for women – and that's about it.
Here's what Jennelle Tilling, vice-president of marketing, KFC UK and Ireland, reckons:
"We know freshness and quality are increasingly important to the British consumer, so it's great to do a campaign that lets them in on our secret to great tasting chicken - quality ingredients, freshly prepared."
KFC has got some work to do, it would seem, in bolstering its public image. But, frankly, why should you care when you have a captive audience just waiting to shove its greasy face back into the trough at the slightest justification?
I give it to summer before they go back to working-class families sitting down to a variety bucket.
• By the way if you were expecting stuff about KFC not actually selling chicken, it's not actually true. It's simply that their food's fucking horrible.
There are numerous things I detest about this stupid advert for Garnier UltraLift PRO-X anti-wrinkle cream, which has recently been revived after a welcome hiatus of several months.
Firstly, the name. Cosmetics companies (especially those aimed at women) seem to have a bottomless pit of daft-sounding patented ingredients for their products, which unconvincingly attempt to convey futurism, science and complex research by men in white coats at the same time as nature, health and the live-giving properties of the earth.
The use of the letter X and the prefix "Pro" is highly prevalent in these sorts of adverts. This particular one contains one of the most offensive affronts to the English language of recent times, with its random partial capitalisation of various letters in the product name and voiceover talk of "Pro-Xylene, derived from beech wood extract".
The concept of a squeezy rubber ball to illustrate saggy middle-aged skin is the next irritation. It's not that I don't get the idea they're trying to get across, it's just that it's done in such a patronising way that it should really be illustrated with tinkling lullaby music and a chimp shaking a rattle.
Then there's Davina McCall, fresh from hideously over-acting with her imaginary off-screen mother in an advert for hair dye. She's delivers the crackpot script with an superb lack of conviction. Her artful monologue complements the red ball motif in its ability to appeal to the nation's most dimwitted housewives, while simultaneously hinting at a behind-the-scenes legal minefield related to the veracity of the various claims made.
It's all about bounce
announces Davina, as she squeezes the stupid red ball. Then she says:
For me, it's the best anti-wrinkle cream.
I find this strange. Why only "for her"? It immediately suggests that other people wouldn't necessarily agree. It makes me nervous. Then there's repeated use of the word "plump". As in: It's about the plump, innit. Then the ball is unleashed.
As it unfurls, as if to show the skin being "plumped", the word "Dramatisation" appears at the bottom of the screen. It's not clear why. Would anyone looking at this red rubber ball seriously think this is footage of human skin, thus making the "Dramatisation" disclaimer necessary? Or is it to cover Garnier in case someone thinks the reason the ball is unsqueezing itself is because it's had anti-wrinkle cream rubbed into it? Either way, it's completely shit.
Anything that's masquerades as ironic in advertising is not funny. That's an important first principle in Ad-Turd-Land.
Anyone who finds adverts that are pitched as deliberately cheesy and/or annoying is an idiot. That's a second.
The makers of Cillit Bang advert are primarily responsible for a new concept in advertising: the ad that sets out deliberately to set your teeth on edge, make you clench your first, or possibly take out your physical frustration on animals, housemates or even yourself.
This one wasn't the first, but it popularised the concept. If you have minimum brand penetration, little money to spend and an utterly boring product one of the obvious routes to boring yourself into people's minds is to simply annoying the fuck out of them. It does not seem unlikely that the stupid name is supposed to make you think it's called 'Clit Bang.'
Imagine some of the events in your life that are most memorable, the ones of which you have total recollection: stepping on a nail; breaking a bone; being run over. Immense physical or psychological discomfort is always memorable – adverts like this one work on the same basis.
There's almost something Pavlovian about it. The very sight or sound of 'Barry Scott' – a made-up loud-voiced character who exists solely to annoy – makes me break out in hives. The very idea of him makes me wring my hands.
Watching it once isn't enough to give you the full impact. Adverts are an annoyance in themselves, interrupting your train of thought when immersed in something enjoyable. It's like relaxing in a warm comfortable bath, only to have Piers Morgan walk in every 15 minutes to have a dump.
So, an advert break sets the nerves jangling already, and then Barry Scott arrives. The first time it's puzzling, the second time it's already unfunny, the third time it's enraging.
Someone has created this advert simply to piss you off, and that makes it more annoying. There will come a point where you've seen the advert 100 times, and you start to crack in the face of a repeat viewing.
But the advert on its own is simply the start of the horror. Newspaper articles start to dissect its appeal. It unfathomably appears on Youtube as a video you might like. Students, bloody students, start wearing Barry Scott t-shirts.
And then the whole thing enters a terrible new phase. There are new adverts featuring Barry Scott. Ringtones. Shit sketches making even unfunnier versions.
Because you hate it so much you notice it that much more. Cillit Bang has reached critical mass. Hundreds of thousands of people have been irritated beyond belief, and somewhere in London an underpaid creative working for an ad company is sniffing a line of coke off a toilet cistern.
First off I'm a big fan of Apple's stuff. And I say that not as one of the Johnny-Come-Latelies who jumped aboard with the Mitchell and Webb Mac versus PC ads or first-gen iPods. No, no, no. I was using Mac Classics nearly fifteen years ago using Quark XPress and Adobe Photoshop in the days when the interweb didn't exist and parsing a 20k JPEG took three hours.
So I've got Mac chops OK? Listen, I was there in the old days, when it was genuinely cool. Apple stole a march on, well, everyone else when they decided that using a computer didn't have to be a baffling and distressingly-difficult task left to nerds and kids. When they realised that a computer didn't have to consist of three huge whirring grey plastic boxes that didn't look good in anyone's house. When, to paraphrase those Mitchell and Webb ads, using a computer just became really fucking easy.
These days it's all Nathan Barleys, 45-year-old CEOs who play squash and these students who seem to have more money than I do who form Apple's target demographic. And in doing so they've priced every ordinary fucker who used their stuff cos it worked and was good for designing on and playing obscure techno on out of the market.
I still forgive Apple for their high prices, we've got to price some of the scum out of the Mac market, and generally-speaking you pay for what you get.
But with iPods and the iPhone Apple has lost it. What's with these absurd prices and poor quality? Have you seen the earphones that come with the iPod? And don't get me started on the iPhone. Actually, I don't know anything about the iPhone as sanity has prevailed in that particular direction.
But I have seen the ads for the iPhone, and frankly they stink. There's always been a certain smugness connected with Apple, which is part of the cache. Yes I've been ripped off, you're saying, but at least I've got some cool kit.
The new iPhone adverts that cover new iPhone applications – Last.fm, Urbanspoon. Shazam and so on – take this smugness to a whole new level, thanks to some of that generic wibbly music that swathes all middle-class aspirational ads these days, plus the most annoying voiceover you've ever heard.
If you were to imagine Chris Martin talking about his new gold-plated toilet it couldn't possibly be more self-satisfied. It's so smug because its so simplistic and patronising, it's the equivalent of a car salesman saying "I don't need to sell you this car, it sells itself."
Throw in a tone of voice that suggests the narrator is permanently surprised by how, like, totally amazing the iPhone is and hey presto – an ad that annoys the living shit out of everyone.
By the way, if any passing PRs from Apple drop by, can we have one?
I've noticed that since Jaguar Land Rover has had to go cap-in-hand to the government to ask for loans it has introduced an advert that essentially shows the Discovery 3 to be pretty useful. JLR's in a
pretty difficult state at the moment, but it's product range is strong and I back it to survive.
This is probably where JLR should be going with their ads, especially at a time like this. It screams 'quaint, British, stylish, cash savings', which is a good idea. But this wasn't always the case.
I wrote on MotorTorque a while ago about these two viral ads, which were officially-sanctioned, which features posho sports people Josh Lewsey and Zara Philips sneering at commoners.
The ads were internet-only and designed to show Land Rover's support for rugby union and eventing. A laudable aim, and although showing your heroes cheerfully covering the less well-off in dog piss and horse mucus may annoy a few people in the sticks, it probably went down very well among Land Rover's braying target demographic.
Frankly, I'd like JLR to continue this theme. Perhaps an advert featuring Test Match Special journalist Christopher Martin-Jenkins blasting away at a group of hoodies with a twelve-gauge from his Rangey is in order. Or Sue Barker tying up Jeff Brazier to the front of her Defender and driving into a wall? Or why not go the whole hog and simply have Prince Philip urinating directly onto the faces of street urchins?
I await Land Rover's new viral campaign with anticipation.
Confused.com is a suitable name in that it describes the company in question's current advertising strategy. It wasn't five minutes ago that they'd ditched the cheap and cheesy approach and as Robin previously noted, settled on friendliness, reliability and ease as the key values they were attempting to get across.
ling (and clever) rival campaign from CompareTheMarket.com, which stars an amusing Russian meerkat called Alexandr, a rushed new advert from Confused.com has been cobbled together starring a disgusting rubber thing called Confucius. (I'm assuming this name is a stab at a pun on the word "Confused" but who's to say.)
It's becoming obvious that Confused.com is a fundamentally rubbish name for a mature price comparison website. It certainly seems like they're struggling with anything approaching a coherent brand identity and are lumbering from one daft idea to the next as they attempt to escape the tedious "bloke pulling his hair out" motif of yesteryear.
As to the content of the advert, you'll notice Confucius can barely move his mouth and is thus perhaps not the ideal brand ambassador. He looks in pain and isn't funny. They've got him reading a magazine called What PowerBoat, presumably to convey some kind of wackiness. And his way of speaking sounds like someone doing a really poor Yoda impression.
All in all, not entirely a success.