There's a rather serious problem with this ad, apart from the fact it's utterly awful.
The conceit of two women called Pam and Fern, because it supposedly sounds a bit like Planitherm, is designed to make you remember the name. Planitherm. It sounds like Pam'n'Fern. See?
Only it doesn't. Planitherm, to me, brings to mind some sort of sanitary product. Pam and Fern brings two idiotic housewives to mind. And that's it.
Perhaps if you they called Plani and Therm they would sound a bit like Planitherm. Think about it:
Plani: Hello Therm.
Therm: Hello Plani.
Plani: Have you seen them lot over there, they've got some new double glazing in.
Therm: Double glazing? Are you drunk? The economy's in ruins, we're going to war with iran and you're burbling on about double glazing?
Plani: Umm, sorry. Why do you have a pen in your hair?
Therm: Because I'm mentally unbalanced.
Plani: Uh, OK. By the way, the new double glazing - it's called Planitherm. That's a bit like us, isn't it?
Therm: What in God's name are you dribbling about, you stupid woman?
Plani: Well, it's like our names isn't it? Plani and Therm - Planitherm. See?
Therm: ...keep away from me. KEEP AWAY FROM ME!
EDIT: "Nando’s South Africa takes these threats very seriously and will regrettably no longer flight the TV commercial.
"We feel strongly that this is the prudent step to take in a volatile climate and believe that no TV commercial is worth risking the safety of Nando’s staff and customers."
So, just to confirm, Nando's feels strongly that the right choice in this volatile environment is to can the ad, an environment presumably not perceived as volatile about two weeks ago. Riiiiight.
Is there a better way of selling friend chicken than with Robert Mugabe, Idi Amin, Saddam Hussein, Pik Botha and Muammar Gaddaffi?
Clearly if you run Nando's ad campaigns for them the answer is no. This is, admittedly, very well done and very amusing. But – and feel free to call me a humourless PC-brigade knobhead – it's rather tempered by the fact that between them the men featured in this advert are responsible for killing millions of people.
Were I to Godwin myself in this – only the third paragraph of this post – I'd suggest that Nando's is unlikely to feature Hitler pointing at a gas chamber and laughing in any of its ads for selling fried chicken. Which begs the question: how many deaths must you commit before you're considered beyond the pale when it comes to selling fried chicken?
Was Pol Pot excluded because he was deemed 'too murderous'? Or Papa Doc Duvalier ruled out due to the rapacious extent of his butchery? Heck, if people who killed millions are okayed, then what about mere mass murderers?
Just imagine Fred West, Denis Nilson, Peter Sutcliffe, Ian Huntley, Ian Brady and Harold Shipman having a party around a big table in the Nando's UK-specific Christmas advert for fried chicken. Miming the throttling of their victims; giving gifts of spades to one another; pointing at bones and just laughing and laughing...
If that doesn't say 'have a very merry Christmas and eat some fried chicken' I really don't know what does.
Only yesterday did I muse on how close to the bone Lynx's adverts adverts are getting - they ride a fine line between irony and a rather boorish Loaded-esque twattiness.
Its latest TV ad sees a man constructing an arc so that he might lure women - two by two - to his sea-going shag palace. How you view this ad depends exactly on what side of the fence you sit and I can see it attracting complaints. I find the 2012 'end of the world' stuff quite amusing, but if you're tacitly comparing women to animals that's a tad problematic.
Potentially more egregious - and kinda under the radar - is the inherent notion that wearing Lynx makes men more sexually attractive to women, who are rendered animalistically horny by a smelly spray.
This is all rather light-hearted - a bit like Carlsberg's 'probably the best lager in the world' thing - but it's rather open to scrutiny. How far can you push a gag before it becomes, well, not a gag?
Personally I'd like to see more brands adopt this tactic. New cars that have women dripping off them in lust. Carbon-haired 45-year-old Just For Men users beating them off with a shitty stick. Anusol bum-smearers drowning in seas of clunge.
For the time being the Advertising Standards Authority - rapidly becoming my favourite weekly newsletter vendors - have slapped Lynx down over a set of Lucy Pinder net and print adverts that were deemed 'a bit much' or somesuch.
The former feature La Pinder beinding over and wobbling her norks about during a set of domestic activities, "stripping wallpaper, jogging, applying lip gloss, eating whipped cream off her finger and playing with a light sabre", not to mention sucking a lolly - that old chestnut - while the latter was a riff on the 'beach shower' ads that were inescapable earlier this year.
The TV ads were cleared as they were timed to avoid being shown to kids, but the ASA received 113 complaints over the print ad for being "sexually suggestive, demeaning to women, and inappropriate for public display" - complaints it upheld. They describe the public's complaints thusly:
97 complainants challenged whether the ad was offensive because it was sexually suggestive, provocative, indecent, glamorised casual sex, and because it objectified and was demeaning to women;
2. 71 complainants challenged whether the ad was irresponsible because it was inappropriate for public display, where it could be seen by children; and
3. 12 complainants challenged whether the ad was irresponsible because it promoted promiscuity.
What proportion of ads aren't sexually suggestive, I wonder? And isn't reducing women to sexually ravenous animals a tiny bit demeaning? That seems to cover Lynx's whole canon to me. The ASA's judgement on the print ad reads:
We therefore considered that the poster would be seen to make a link between purchasing the product and sex with women and in so doing would be seen to objectify women
Surely that's the basis of every advert Lynx has ever done? Am I missing something here?
I'm not especially bothered by this curious ambivalence to what is deemed beyond the pale and what isn't - it makes for good copy - but it's fascinating and bemusing to see what gets pulled up the public and what doesn't. No wonder advertisers keep pushing the envelope.
So Currys and PC World staff are the henchmen of giant intergalactic evil empire? Figures.
Time was we'd judge the start of the Christmas season by the appearance of crackers in shops; nowadays it's the appearance of the first Christmas adverts.
With fully 50 days before 2011's Yuletide there were Christmas adverts on our tellies; filmed in the unseasonally pleasant September and October across the country. Freddie Flintoff in a duffel coat, surrounded by fake snow, santas and mince pies. In St Albans. In September.
So, what festive delights await us this year? M+S had ditched Twiggy and Danni; the Sainsburys ad constitutes Jamie Oliver's swansong; what would John Lewis come up with this time?
Absurdly, Xmas adverts for the big supermarkets and department stores have become event television. But how big - and shit - have these events been this year?
By my money they've mainly got it right. Iceland has backed away from the insanity of last year's Donovan adverts; Marksies has ditched its middle-class smugathons; the overall tone is of restraint, when compared to last year anyway.
It's not all good. The Boots girls are still coming - perhaps due to the entry of Ann Summers into our advert marketplace - and there are still two truly diabolical efforts here.
Familiarity - and you can bet you'll become very familiar with these ads - is sure to breed contempt, even fury. By the fifth time you've seen the new Littlewoods or Toys R Us ads you'll be ready to hurl your chestnuts at the telly.
But with any luck this year's crop of Christmassy ads should leave you relatively unmolested come Christmas morning. Just pray no-one has a Halfords-style reaction when unwrapping presents.
It seems to be John Lewis' modus operandi to make viewers cry these days, with their ads ploughing a fairly shameless furrow that seems to work for them.
I think the strategy pretty canny. It's a rich seam of nostalgia, sentimentality and general warm fuzziness - all the stuff that makes Christmas what it is.
Next year's advert will apparently feature a sickly kitten being stroked in front of an open fire by Terry Wogan for a full 120 seconds, while Gary Jules' Mad World plays in the background.
Turd rating: One
Celebrities: Jamie Oliver
"Goto Sainsbury's for a magical Christmas feast," says this last effort from Jamie Oliver on behalf of the upmarket supermarket.
Nice idea, nice execution. Minimum Oliver. Good work.
Turd rating: One and a half
Celebs: Stacey Solomon
Where was there to go after last year's Xmas Iceland offering, featuring Jason Donovan as a perverted ringmaster? Well, back to basics really. Christmas parties, finger food, Stacey Solomon's enormous face - I'm fairly unsure Stacey and her family will be tucking into gammon over Xmas, mind.
I take exception to the horrible new Solomonised recording of Driving Home For Christmas - a song I always make sure I have on a CD when actually heading home on Christmas Eve.
Not especially egregious then - and a thankful step back from the Lynchian horror of last year - but I doubt any celebrity would ever be seen dead entering Iceland, which seems to be ever closer to some sort of underclass shopping experience every time I hazard upon one.
Turd rating: Two
Celebs: Delia Smith, Heston Blumenthal
I'm a bit nonplussed by this one, featuring Delia and Heston. It hinges everything on four distinct products and doesn't really compel me to find out more.
It looks a million bucks - a bit Downton Manor via Heath Robinson and Tim Burton - but it doesn't feel especially cosy.
A bit chilly, all told, like a Heston artichoke and air-dried Haribo truffle in liquid nitrogen.
Turd rating: Two
Celebs: Andrew Flintoff, Bruce Forsyth
Hmm. Jury's still out on this one. I suppose Freddie still has enough goodwill from the Ashes in 2005 and 2009 to get away with this - and some good decent, honest, thick Lancashire shtick probably doesn't do any harm, although it's a bit much that they actually correct Flintoff's awkward delivery.
Nice cameo from Brucey at the end and a fairly strong message - Freddie like pies! Legend! Meat! Christmas! Pastry! Brulliant! - unlike many of the ads featured here.
Turd rating: Two
Marks and Spencer
Celebs: X-Factor cannon fodder
It's fairly apparent that M+S and John Lewis are competing to be the winterval shopping experience and Marksies has really wheeled out the big guns for this X-mas effort.
Riding the X-Factor bandwagon has brought its own problems that rather trouble me (the singers either got a paltry £3K each or nothing, depending on who you listen to - Merry F'ing Xmas) but as an ad in itself it's well executed and reasonably inoffensive.
I just find it hard to shake the feeling that we're all implicit in an evil plan to make berks like Simon Cowell even more filthy rich than they are already. From somewhere in Brighton comes the sounds of Johnnie Robinson gently weeping.
Turd rating: Three
Celebs: None that I'm aware of
A novel, decent conceit but I'm not sure why a family of sperm are striding around shopping centres looking for Christmas presents.
There's one extremely strange - and rather disturbing - aspect to this. "Mmm, eggnog," says Father Sperm, Homer Simpson-style, absent-mindedly.
"Mmm, Bieber," says Ma Sperm, appreciatively. Actually, more than appreciatively. Lasciviously, you could almost say.
Now, I suspect Bieber is legal, but probably only just. What's more he looks about four. Just imagine the Dad lusting after Hermione Granger and see how you feel about that.
Turd rating: Three
Nice idea, nice execution but this is a terrible assault on the senses - the sort of thing the CIA used to blast at Manuel Noriega.
Turd rating: Three and a half
Celebrities: None that I'm aware of
I find it hard to believe that the Here Come The Girls tattoo doesn't have some sort of Pavlovian effect on half the population these days - its very presence like the foreshadowing of some horrific catastrophe.
Personally I'm inclined towards punching myself in the neck, but voiding of stomachs, noses, bladders and bowels are all empirically-proven side-effects of hearing this tune.
Since this one has a clear Great Escape theme to it I'm hoping there's a bonus ad that involved them all being taken out to the woods and machine gunned.
Turd rating: Four
I wonder if the Wachowski Brothers ever thought that their revolutionary Bullet Time trick photography invention would ever be used to shill a discount supermarket chain in a bizarre Christmas advert.
I'm guessing not, just as I'm guessing that no-one would have foreseen the inclusion of a mind-spinning Inception-style telescopic reality setting for an advert selling trouser-vendors.
I just find this confusing - and I don't get what it has to do with Matalan. Presumably all the people feature in it are asleep, bald, pale and nude - possibly in a gigantic monster-feeding embryo chamber.
Turd rating: Four
Toys R Us
Why, when you have a much-recognised and much-loved Christmas advert in the form of the ageless "There's a magical place; We're on our way there; With toys in their millions; All under one roof" ad, would you piss all that brand equity down the drain with a vile American rap waffling on about coupons?
Appalling. Inexplicable. Appallicable.
Turd rating: Four and a half
An absolute fucking disaster, unless the aim was to reposition Littlewoods as the most low-rent outlet on the marketplace.
The ASA has actually been moved to an issue a 'we don't like it, but we have to go along with it' rebuttal to complaints that this ad is killing Santa. And replacing it with what? A bloody credit card.
If this were Japan some ritual boardroom suicides would be going on about now. Possibly metaphorical, possibly not.
I never want to see this ever again.
Turd rating: 245,835,585,299,001
So, there you have it. A rotten bunch to be sure, but this could have been so much worse. No-one would ever pretend that Fukushima was a good thing - but the alternative doesn't bear thinking about.
And, just in case you think I'm overcooking things somewhat, take a look at this - and never, ever forget.
Well, well, well.
Don't look for him - he isn't there. Frankie Cocozza that is. Not happy with cutting his bits from the new M+S / X-Factor clustershag advert, poor old Francis has actually been painted out of the latest version of the ad, which is presumably causing some headaches at M+S headquarters.
Mark and Spencer's Christmas ad for 2011 is designed to be modular, so that when poor unfortunates get voted out - or dropped for not being sufficiently headline-grabbing - they can be excised from the ad, as if they were never there in the first place. Heartwarming stuff.
Clever, huh? Well, I think not for reasons I detailed here.
But M+S presumably did not see the fact that Cocaine Cocozza - as the tabloids are probably calling him - would get embroiled in a bit of sex-and-drugs rumpus and then get spotted looking totally mashed in the advert's group shots.
M+S has been playing a bit of Youtube hide and seek, hiding and deleting various ads and uploading new ones as contestants have been voted off.
But the most recent development sees Cocozza actually painted out of the group shot, like Trostsky from various Bolshevik photos.
It's a remarkable piece of TV flotsam revisionism and perhaps the perfect example of why I thought these ads were a bad idea.
Unless 'anything your heart desires' included a week of coke-fuelled shagging followed by the swiftest career plunge in history I rather doubt Frankie is digging the M+S advert at present.
That's assuming he hasn't been erased from existence altogether.
The previous version
Cocozza appears, looking mashed, in the top right-hand corner at 47 seconds
The latest version
And now... a blank space!
Oh well, at least Frankie can still be spotted on the M+S Youtube page, just
EDIT: Actually, they've even painted him out of him that Youtube home-page background now.
EDIT 2: And here's the most recent, with Kitty removed from history, replaced by Amelia Lily like it's Invasion of the Bodysnatchers via X Factor.
Having edited out The Risk, Johnny Robinson and Frankie Cocozza from its X-Factor-themed Christmas advert, a new edit has appeared with an altogether different group shot that shows the helmet-headed wild man staring into the distance - mouth agape - in a manner resembling Jim Morrison's corpse as if he'd just seen Louis Walsh stroking his stiffened-yet-tiny cock in the night sky.
Far be it for AdTurds to suggest that Cocozza was mashed on ecstasy pipes, but in light of recent allegations over his unceremonious exit from the competition we're not ruling anything out.
Cocozza has pretty much as good as admitted that he bummed all of Girls Aloud and the Sugababes - Cheryl Cole and Heidi Range twice - and snorted at least an entire South American coca harvest during his time on the show, sleeping as little as 18 minutes in the last three weeks and subsisting on "parsnips and Haribo".
So perhaps we should make some allowance for the tired lad on the day the M&S X-mas advert was filmed.
Given his physical and mental state we should probably be grateful he's not simply spewing down his suit while fiddling with himself in the brand new advert that reminds us all how great Christmas and Marks and Spencer's are.
46 seconds in, if you're wondering
EDIT: M&S keep making their vids private after I've embedded them, so here's the previous version - it still has Cocozza's blank expression on view but it's about a second later
As if making a young girl who looks even younger than she actually is pose in a highly provocative fashion with a large phallic object between her legs weren't enough, this perfume is called 'Oh, Lola!'.
Why not go the whole hog and call it 'little girls are hot and fuckable' instead?
I'm not sure whether this is a good thing or not, but there you go. Actually I am, it's a bad thing.
JS-P, as precisely no-one calls her, quoted my "women stalking the camera en masse — post-feminist zombies lusting after a scarf" observation about the Marks and Spencer's Christmas adverts from last year in the Daily Scum (that's Mail in this instance, rather than Sun or Express).
There are a couple of things of note here: the first being that I was not afforded the gesture of a link or mention; the second being that it's a straight quote lifted straight off here, several months after I published it - and it outranks me in the SERPS.
More proof, if proof be need be, that Google Page Rank is a twat. And so is Janet Street-Porter.
No way am I linking back to them, so here's the screenshot.
AdTurds readers have been hatin' on this advert for Rosetta Stone's peculiar language software for ages.
I'd've liked it better if the woman had come into the room mid-wank and the bloke had replied "I'm turning Japanese, my lotus flower".