Here's Confused.com's latest steaming pile of dung, by far its worst yet, featuring an awful scribbly thing singing Queen's Somebody To Love.
This is clearly Confused.com's most recent attempt to come up with a 'character' for its adverts that can rival Geo Compario from Go Compare and Aleksandr Orlov from Compare the Market (Confused.com makes all its adverts in-house, perhaps explaining why they're all so unutterably dire).
Previous Confused.com (s)hits include the baffling Confucius Yoda thing; a load of commoners talking about how incredible their experience of using a particular price-comparison website is; the weirdy two-dimensional set ones with a load of people acting like twats; and the original with Nicky Campbell kicking things off by going AAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH!
Watching Confused.com desperately trying to locate some kind of brand strategy, thrashing back and forth with a succession of appalling advert, has been vaguely pitiful.
The latest gives some sort of life to the original wavy-haired screaming thing that has appeared on the Confused.com logo for some time. Now it's called Cara and just want to find somebody to love. Or something. Or maybe it'a saying that customers have found something to love, in the shape of Confused.com.
To suggest that people love using a price-comparison website is to fundamentally misunderstand why people use things like price-comparison websites, to my mind. I have to go to work every day, shave my face from time to time and occasionally suffer going to the weddings of people I've never met. It doesn't mean I like doing them.
In giving life to Cara Confused, or whatever she's called, Confused.com has - perhaps - created one of the most unlovely characters on television. Arguably one of the more disturbing too. The wavy hair makes her look like a crazy cat lady; the maniacal stare makes her look like a killer; the painted smiles on the billions of twitching cartoons remind me of the kool-aid drinking visages of a load of dim, doomed cult members.
Just what the fuck is all of this about? What's with the song? How does a song about Fredddie Mercury's love life translate to car insurance? I don't like Queen, but Somebody To Love is actually rather bittersweet - a defiant rallying cry against the drudgery and loneliness of modern life. To co-opt it for your latest abysmal advert shilling your stupid website is actually pretty obnoxious.
And the ad itself? Cara actually appears to pull a microphone stand out of her minge. What the fuck is up with that? Confused.com is '18 million strong' we're told at the end. By what standards? In what way? In the sense that that's how many people have used your service? Somehow I doubt that 0.1 per cent of them would be prepared to say that they 'loved' Confused.com. By those standards Anusol is probably 50 million strong.
I find this advert utterly hateful. Far worse than Geo, far worse than Omid Djalili's ads for MoneySupermarket.com and, obviously, a country mile away from the entertaining meerkat adverts. And it's yet another bizarre change in direction away from the previous efforts.
The only solace I can find is in imagining every single one of the people in the cartoon dead from imbibing some poison straight from Cara's vagina itself.
A penny, you say? And it costs £30? Bargain! What do you mean 'destroy all humans?'.
Anorak has a gallery on what it calls the sexiest adverts, a roll call of the usual titties and bums indulgence from people like Diesel, Calvin Klein and Durex.
I find them vaguely dull, sexist, unimaginative and almost wholly unerotic, consisting mainly of an idea of eroticism and sexuality conceived by a jaded, coke-snorting, homosexual fashion maven living in a loft in Manhatten.
It's all oiled-up limbs, hardbodies, Lolita-esque vulgarity, with nary an original thought in the 50-odd images that make up the gallery.
Few of them are actively shit, just a bit tiresome. But the example below is in a different league. It's quite horrible, and a truly bizarre way to advertise something great.
So, there you go. That's what people in advertising think about sex. Pfft. Give me Nanette Newman any day.
There's clearly an idea that the nation loves these M&S adverts, with its parade of unloveable celebrities, including celebrity stick insect charisma-vacuums Danni Minogue and Twiggy.
Latest among these national treasures is pasty-faced comedian Peter Kay, a man who - anecdotally - is a fairly nasty piece of work. Kay's shtick, like many over-exposed comedians of the last decade, is deeply tiresome by now too; it's generally a sign that someone is at least three quarters over a shark if they're appearing in these deeply-dreary ads.
Kay appears, hilariously, doing a dance routine where he is replaced by a thin, athletic stunt double. Do you see? In an ice-skating section he glides, grinning, towards the screen like a psychotic balloon. It's quite alarming.
Later on he does some vogueing with Twiggy, while dressed as a gay Orson Welles; and he also appears as a gay dance instructor. Swiftian.
There's also some of the worst examples of what's become the most wretched meme in advertising; namely women stalking, en masse, towards the camera as if they're some kind of sassy, post-feminist zombies lusting for 100-per-cent woollen scarves or coconut body lotion.
Girls pretending to be pop stars in their bedrooms - kooky! - and sexy chicks in lingerie - cheeky! - and kids running amok in school - cutesy! Oh, and Jamie Fucking Redknapp is in it, apparently.
This is what our Christmas has become. May Santa forgive us.
There's a pretty bloody obvious message in this irritating advert for First Direct.
Twat around in school and you'll end up as a call-centre monkey sat next to some gobby "I'm crazy, me!' pain the arse like Michelle Green for the rest of your days.
Sit up straight, pay attention and shut the fuck up, otherwise you might spend the rest of your working life listening to a Michelle Green twatting on about the fucking X-Factor, her awful fucking family and her latest failed fucking diet.
If 'we're all like that here' is a genuine reflection of First Direct's call-centre, God help them.
See if you can work out what the hell this role entails from the jargon-addled, circumlocutious job description for a Head of Marketing Communications & Public Relations position. I can't fathom it.
Role: Head of Marketing Communications & Public Relations
Location: West Midlands
Present the marketing communications team as ambassadors of excellence in the field of B2B marketing, to encourage trust and partnership with the Business Unit teams and through the Supply Chain Be the Company’s marketing communications expert and Brand custodian. Manage the Brand strategy and adherence to the associated policies Work with internal stakeholders (specifically business units, strategy and HR managers) to develop media neutral communications strategies to support business plan objectives (brand, customer development, acquisition & retention) including supporting Work Winning and Business Development cross-functionally In conjunction with the other Group Marketing and Communications Heads, Business Unit Managers and Strategy team, develop a communications strategy (national and international), bringing to the discussion specific expertise and knowledge of the company’s integrated solutions, services and construction market and business objectives Develop supportive brand media strategies to inspire and engage the Customer building loyalty and leveraging ‘word of mouth’ Develop tactical guerrilla brand media strategies with our agency partners to deliver the communications strategies to best value for money and KPIs Develop the New media communications strategy and plan, ensuring the company tops the appropriate Natural Search listings relevant to its customers Oversee delivery of integrated business unit through the line communications, bringing expertise and knowledge in making communications compelling, relevant and differentiated Liaise and co-ordinate with wider marketing teams to achieve integrated through the line communications with all activities – i.e. Operational business unit marketing, Customer Experience & Insight, PR, Internal Communications Deliver ad hoc communications for tactical activities where required, in line with wider context of the company’s marketing strategy. E.g. Responsible for all business based Sponsorships Manage and develop relationships with our agencies to the extent that they become partners to Company’s rather than suppliers. Manage and develop the ‘design’ for in-house graphics & print (individuals report to their Business unit line managers). Consider in-source vs. outsource models and ensure best practice Exceed internal stakeholder expectations by proactive management throughout strategic development and delivery of communications. i.e. drive proactive Sustainability and Health & Safety (Target Zero) marcomms plans Be responsible for the marketing communications budget Evaluate communications effectiveness, direct learning’s and KPIs to continually improve Manage and develop the Brand Advisor
Why the Random Caps? Where the punctuation, or - for that matter - syntax? WHat do these phrases mean, outside the head of a marketing wonk? And, dear God, the apostrophe abuse.
More to the point, will anyone come away from reading this with any idea whatsoever of what this job entails, apart from a load of old marketing-PR bullshit?
Just imagine, in the distant future, this job description is the only surviving document of our times; the only thing upon which future generations will base their opinions of us. They'd think we were completely batshit crazy. And they'd be right.
NatWest has apparently made a pledge to the the country's most helpful bank, as Paul McGann keeps telling me.
But this isn't some advertising bullshit of the kind at which banks excel. It's 'a real commitment'. Well, that's nice. But by whose standards, exactly, is NatWest going to be the most helpful bank on the block?
There's some stuff about flexible opening hours and shit, which is certainly helpful, but how to measure something as nebulous as 'helpful'?
How helpful is it, for example, to charge me £20 when I go overdrawn, despite the fact there's no significant cost to the bank of me going overdrawn by a few pennies? That's very unhelpful to be quite honest.
So was the period in the early part of this decade when, once a year, NatWest would simply cancel all of my bank cards without warning. Very unhelpful when stuck on a weekend break in the Lakes without cash.
You know what's phenomenally unhelpful? The complete inability to move your money around, pay bills and the like via electronic banking unless you have you own titting card reader.
Extending my overdraft to a whopping £2.5K when I'd asked for a hundred quid seemed helpful at the time, but it wasn't in the long-run. It was more helpful to NatWest, thinking about it.
I don't really object to any of this in terms of this silly ad; as I've said before it's a bank's prerogative to fuck you every which way.
It's this ludicrous idea that, up and down the country, there are people trying to judge whether NatWest is more helpful than Barclays, or Halifax, or Lloyds TSB. It's just inane.
By the same token, I could make a pledge to the nicest person in my circle of friends; Piers Morgan could pledge to be the smuggest **** on telly and Monica Galetti could pledge to adopt the 'most surprised' facial expression on a cookery programme.
A panel of judges will be required, including Stephen Fry and John Barrowman. An audience that boos or cheers whenever another fatuous 'helpfulness' target is achieved or missed. A rosette pinned to the chest of a bank clerk in Frome.
And somewhere a lonely printer in a back room at a NatWest branch is helpfully printing off another £20 bank charge.