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8Dec/100

Vulgar Watches And A Smashed-Up Pensioner’s Face

What better way of advertising your flashy watch that showing a picture of a pensioner's battered face on your print adverts? Benetton must be kicking themselves they didn't think of this 20 years ago.

F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone apparently lobbied Swiss watchmakers Hublot to use a picture of his swollen, badly-bruised face in their new adverts, subtitled 'See what people will do for a Hublot'.

The watchmaker's chief executive Jean-Claude Biver said: "He told us, 'Please use it to make an advertising campaign because I want to show that I'm courageous.'

"I thought, 'Wow, this guy really wants a free watch has some guts.'

'Some guts', or 'no sense or class', depending on your point of view.

"It is also a protestation against violence that we are all afraid of today," claimed Biver, feebly.

Protestation my arse. This ad's existence is a kind of touchstone for the rather vulgar merry-go-round universe that the super-rich - of which Ecclestone is one of the more obvious examples - inhabit, where cash allows to people to do whatever the hell they want for the own gratification and amusement.

If you squint really hard, you might see some words at the bottom of the advert that say 'violence is bad, m'kay?' or something equally self-serving.

In fact, it's hard to imagine anything further from the truth. I'd love to see even the most seasoned PR explaining how using a picture of a battered pensioner's face to sell an expensive watch is somehow raising awareness of violence rather than the truth, which is that it represents a grotesque ego trip for an equally grotesque little man who's so far removed from reality that he thinks than getting his face smashed off a pavement is only an excuse to further his own naff and unpleasantly-high profile.

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