Oh sweet irony.
Virgin Atlantic has sacked 13 cabin crew after they posted messages on Facebook referring to passengers as "chavs" and making jokes about faulty engines.
Disciplinary action was launched last week amid claims flight crew had criticised its safety standards and insulted passengers on the social networking site.
Other comments joked that planes were full of cockroaches and claimed the airline's jet engines were replaced four times in one year.
The John Lennon advert for the Citroën DS3 is total bollocks on so many levels it's difficult to know where to begin.
Let's start with the fact that John Lennon's voice is totally out of sync with the picture. Why? If he was saying something he'd clearly never said, such as "I think Citroëns are great", you could understand why they needed to get an actor to do an impression, then dub it over footage of Lennon. But he's actually saying something that sounds plausibly like something he actually would say. So the fact that the audio doesn't correspond to the picture, and the way the picture jumps around in an effort to disguise the fact, is just stupid.
Secondly, is it actually Lennon speaking? If so, then obviously it's exceedingly tacky to use a dead rock star's voice to sell a shit French car. If it's not him, then obviously it's exceedingly tacky to get a drawling Scouser to do an impression of a rock star's voice in order to sell a shit French car.
Thirdly, the concept is completely flawed. The slogan, and the gist of what the bespectacled Imagine crooner is saying, is that we need to look forward, rather than backward. That nostalgia is rubbish. The slogan for the DS3 (spotted also on billboards) is "anti-retro". So what better way to get this message across than to use some 40-year-old footage of a dead bloke? Is this too clever by half, or is it just complete shit?
Rhetorical question. It's obviously complete shit.
OK, so this is admittedly pushing the boundaries of what a daft blog about adverts tends to cover, but since journos are expected to be PRs these days, PRs expected to be marketers and marketers... well, you get the idea. We're all multitaskers now.
Including the Pentagon, which has gone into the communications industry with the news that the Iraq War will no longer be called Operation Iraqi Freedom, but Operation New Dawn instead.
Skipping over the fact that whoever comes up with these names – the hilariously- and unfortunately-titled Operation Infinite Justice and Operation Enduring Freedom are previous clangers – must moonlight as the guy responsible for naming all new first-person shooters, I'm not clear what this rebrand achieves.
Because the second you drop white phosphorous on the population you're supposedly liberating, all that talk of 'evolving relationships' starts sounding a little hollow, unless you're explicit on evolving them from being people into being charred corpses.
Can you rebrand a war? By its very nature war involves killing people in violent and unpleasant ways, whichever way you look at it. You might as well try to rebrand a killer virus, or road accidents.
You can wrestle all you want with the answer to what constitutes the first casualty of war, and the Newspeak aspect to it all, but at the end of the day what it reveals if the fundamental disconnect between advertising and reality.
The very notion that anyone can be fooled into readjusting their perception of the Iraq occupation due to a nice slogan seems barking. Then again, so did the idea that anyone thought the war was over back in May 2003.
I've got some inside information (made up in my head) on We Buy Any Car's ad campaign for the remainder of 2010.
• Paying people to knock you down in the street and perform the We Buy Any Car rap and dance over your cowering body.
• Tattooing We Buy Any Car on the foreheads of 1,000 prisoners, due for release in 2010
• Chiselling WeBuyAnyCar.com on every abbey, minster and cathedral in Great Britain
• Spraypainting WeBuyAnyCar.com on all models registered prior to 2002
• Broadcasting the We Buy Any Car theme tune from pirate radio in every major city in the UK on a loop
• Forcing David Attenborough into a series of media appearances where he is contractually obliged to mention We Buy Any Car twice a minute, every minute.
• Paying people to go on forums and blogs and build links back to the We Buy Any Car website, regardless of whether the forum or blog is relevant to the used car industry.
One of these is real. Guess which one.
On a serious note, if you want to find out more about WeBuyAnyCar.com, knowledge is power.
I can't think of anything worse than having a few friends round, a bit of takeaway food and a spot of larking about - only to have it interrupted by a freaky talking baby in a nightmarish William Burroughs acid trip from Hell.
But clearly Pizza Hut can.
The recently-invented phenomenon of Duff Duffs, referring to the drum beats that herald the Eastenders cliffhanger, is the worst marketing speak ever invented.
It wouldn't be quite so horrible if people had naturally started referring to them as Duff Duffs, but people haven't - it's the idiot invention of some sap who works for BBC3, itself rapidly degenerating into the worst channel on the box and a continuing knife through the heart of any claims the BBC has to an exclusive licence fee.
The cliffhanger has always been something of a phenomenon in itself, if not exactly a particularly well-liked one, but the last couple of years has brought a wholly unwelcome and self-aware explosion in this phoney phenomenon.
You can barely see a programme about soaps these days without a pack of talking heads singing theme tunes or reciting famous lines, making complete tits of themselves at the behest of an assistant director.
What makes it worse is the BBC's multi-platform reach, which allows them to broadcast these feckless quotes and musical stings into every corner of your consciousness. It's enough to send me, sobbing, into the arms of Rupert Murdoch.
The Duff Duffs campaign has been spearheaded with a number of advert featuring ordinary members of the public making massive tits of themselves by part-discussing part-reciting famous scenes from Eastenders. At the end they do the drum beats. It's just unbearably awful.
Running to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Eastenders has been a reasonably entertaining show counting down who has had the most cliffhangers devoted to them.
As a side note, it's fascinating to see how certain Eastenders actors have aged over the years. Shaun Williamson, aka Barry, is a walking advert for avoiding hair replacement therapy like the plague.
Shane Richie, though, seems to be in the act of performing some sort of miracle by simultaneously looking like a baby and an old man's reanimated corpse at the same time.
Unfortunately it's rammed full of scene-reciting, cliffhanger-enacting actors being forces to constantly refer to 'duff duffs', while the most cringe-inducing voiceover from Kirsten O'Brien includes a reference to 'duff duffs' every eight seconds.
I pray to God this doesn't catch on, I pray to God there's no iPhone app that plays 'duff duffs' at will, I entreat all that is holy that the general election to remain free of the inane gibberish.
Please stop saying duff duffs. Everyone, everywhere – I beg you – do not even say duff duffs. Don't do the music, don't scream 'Rickyyyyy!' or 'You're not my muvva!' or 'Gerroutta mar pub!'.
Don't pretend to beat the drums, don't sing the theme tune: don't encourage them.
And please, for the love of God and in the name of everything you may hold dear STOP SAYING FUCKING DUFF DUFFS.
High-interest short-term loans are not best advertised by a zany schizophrenic.
These pay-day loans are, by most metrics, pretty awful; making bundles of cash from the feckless, the desperate and the naive.
The interest rates themselves are pretty eye-watering in themselves, but if you default on your repayment you can expect some pretty stiff fees and more interest. Pretty soon you're far beyond any point where you can reasonably hope to repay all the fees.
The point in this advert I find so obnoxious is the assumption that only an idiot would approach a bank for a loan.
While I don't have much time for banks, it's a moment that reveals that Wonga.com is more than happy to take advantage of the current cynicism towards banks in encouraging people to take out loans with them.
Inevitably, because there are lots of stupid and desperate people out there, many of those people will not make their repayments on time.
Which is the point at which the true face of Wonga.com is revealed.
NB. The ad isn't available any more - presumably Wonga.com removed it because they got a bollocking off the ASA, mainly for the things I mentioned in the write-up above.
One of the things that's been annoying me recently is particular adverts on Spotify, the free music juke boxy things that's revolutionised the way people listen to their favourite albums over and over again.
Now, let's get this clear. I don't object to the concept. After all, I'm getting free access to
a number of tracks that presumably numbers in the hundreds of thousands – and I'm one of those people that gets uneasy over the prospect of people assuming they can have pretty much whatever they want for free.
Anyway, some ads are clearly optimised for Spotify in that they're not massively intrusive and get across a clear message pretty briefly then get the hell out.
Some ads really don't work on Spotify, including a version of the awful Dell treats advert that manages to be worse than the TV version.
But worse, due to its terrible ubiquity, is the advert for the Kia Soul that features some shit-eating grin voiceover and plink-plonky electronic music.
In itself it's not bad, perhaps for the first two or three times. But the 30th time it interrupts your enjoyment of some calming soundtrack, classical music or anything at odds with the Mr Blobby-esque Kia theme tune and it's an exercise in pure, tear-inducing frustration.
It's like being drenched in a bucket of ice-cold water while enjoying a hot bath. And then punched in the nose.
You can't turn it down, you can't turn it off. If you want to keep listening you have to endure the ad for a 31st time. CIA operatives could use it at Guantanamo.
Anything in moderation is tolerable. Most things to excess are intolerable. But don't take my word for it, check out what Twitter is making of it:
• Dear Kia Soul, fyi I will never ever buy your car because your ad just froze Spotify halfway through The Sea. Soul killers.
• NO @spotify I DON'T WANT TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE FREAKING KIA SOUL. Ahh, much better
• I will never buy a Kia Soul, thanks to spotify
• If I hear that Kia Soul advert on Spotify once more I shall attack their showrooms with molotovs and fierce rhetoric about car design.
• Spotify, stop playing the ad for the Kia 'Soul'. I am never, ever gonna buy that atrocious little crap-box. Ever.
• Dear Spotify, the jaunty Kia Soul ad goes with Shostakovich's 8th String Quartet like napalm with bare flesh.
• I hate you, Kia Soul. You make #spotify worse again.
• God the spotify ads do my head in. There's nothing like a bit of "Kia Soul" in the middle of some NIN....
• No Spotify, I do not want to buy a Kia Soul. I want to LISTEN TO MUSIC
• THE KIA SOUL ADS ON SPOTIFY ARE LITERALLY THE WORST ADS I HAVE EVER HEARD. FUCK OFF WITH YOUR ~*~QUIRKINESS AND INVIDUALITY~*~
• kia soul advert on spotify wrecks the mood of all my music.
• essaying whilst listening to remembranza by murcof, on spotify. it's veryvery good, but I DONT CARE ABOUT THE KIA SOUL AGHHH make it stop
There really are some awful PR pitches out there, with the rush to utilise aspects of social media into ad campaigns resulting in some pretty horrible creations.
And this. This is the Daddy of them all. I don't really think that many PRs or journos or marketers really understand social media, or at least how best to utilise it. This is a perfect illustration.
The power of social media is in creating something of value that has the potential to zip around the web across multiple platforms. If you do this well then members of Joe Public will do the work for you.
I don't have any inside information, but I'm willing to bet that CompareTheMarket.com has done pretty bloody well out of the CompareTheMeerkat.com campaign. It's captured imaginations, is fluffy and potentially amusing. It's perfect for social media platforms.
These Josh T-Mobile ads have not, because its fundamentally a pretty uninspired idea that smacks of lots of other bits and bobs out there at the moment.
'Create a band by roaming around the country holding jamming sessions with oddballs' is a cracking pitch only in the mind of an ad exec (and are all of those people on the bus really Josh fans, rather than paid-for actors and musicians?).
And if it were to ever take off it would only be due to the magnetic personality and shimmering talent of the individual fronting it.
Josh is not this person and, while probably a decent chap, cannot carry a massive multi-platform campaign on his thin, backpacking-around-India-during-a-gap-year shoulders and weedy one world wifflings.
Chuck in some awkward elements where Josh is required to suck some corporate cock in the form of some ill-fitting soundbites about how great T-Mobile is and the final nail in the coffin is hammered home.
I've said before that I don't object in principle to stuff like this, but when it's backed by a massive corporate outfit it's never possible to see past the real reason it exists in the first place.
And that's enough to turn it from something twee and rather nauseating into something genuinely awful.
OK, first up Carly Fiorina is the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard currently in the middle of a Senate run in California.
Fiorina is gunning for the Republican nomination, after former employer HP booted her out in 2005 (to give you an idea of what they thought of her, HP has has since contributed to her opponent's campaign fund).
So, you might think this ad is aimed at veteran Democrat Barbara Boxer. Nope, that's not how US politics works.
To first secure the Republican nomination Fiorina has to
smear overcome other Republicans also seeking the nomination.
So, this ad is aimed at fellow Republican Tom Campbell. Fiorina hasn't even got to Boxer yet.
It's so hard to know where to start with this ad. UK readers may be shocked by how vicious the ad is, especially considering its aimed at someone from the same political party.
But low blows and negative campaigning are par for the course in US politics, especially from the right-wing, following Karl Rove's foray into political campaigning.
What is more obvious is that this is completely swivel-eyed, wing-nut, bible-bashing, lib'rul-hatin' batshit crazy, particularly odd in the relatively-liberal California.
I mean, there's a guy dressed up as a wolf in sheep's clothing running around a hillside with glowing red eyes.
There's a sheep standing on a doric column that starts ascending into the stratosphere as if animated by Terry Gilliam on an off day.
There's a bizarre attempt at an acronym that doesn't even work - FCINO. And what do 'Piety' and Purity' have to do with anything?
It's a confused message, but is the message even important? To American's perpetually scared, perpetually angry, perpetually suspicious right-wing populus it may successfully brand Campbell as evil, demonic or, even worse, a Fiscal Conservative In Name Only.
It's a strategy that bombed with the UK's rather less terrified population with the Tories' Demon Eyes billboard poster in '97, but the publicity it has garnered speaks for itself.
It's often said that if you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it - and that's a mantra the US right has run with, which is why plenty of people believed Obama was a communist, a Muslim, a homosexual or not even a US national during the 2008 campaign.
This ad takes that theory and turns it all up to 11. It's all hyperbole, innuendo and flat-out smear. Already media outlets are declaring that this advert is so bonkers that it will finish off Fiorina's campaign.
I hope they don't underestimate just how susceptible US voters are to this kind of drivel. The fact that the seat in question is California offers some hope, but try telling Michael Dukakis that negative campaigning doesn't work.