AdTurds was three recently, so I thought I'd better mark the occasion. I thought about mocking up an award of an actual turd - yer genuine Dirty Fido - and sticking it on a plinth, then going to the headquarters of not just the creative agencies but the companies in question and presenting them there.
Then I realised I didn't have the time, money, inclination or Channel 4 camera crew - to follow me around filming me failing to gain access to even the lift of those outfits before being ejected by security - to make such an endeavour worthwhile.
So I created an overview of the worst adverts that have been on the television since AdTurds hit the web. The ones that infuriate me; the ones I think are kinda despicable; the ones I simply think are total shit.
These are they. Feel free to add any you think I've missed. But they must be the absolute nadir. The ones that have you reaching for the remote, for ear plugs, for that loaded Smith and Wesson you just know is in your desk upstairs, next to the half-empty bottle of scotch...
The motherload. A series of adverts pulling every trick out of the bag - including what appears to be sexual molestation in its most recent ad - to make you sad, angry or possibly even dead.
The CIA used to blast horrible noises - rabbits being tortured and the like - at South American socialists; understanding that hideous, repetitive noises can be useful in driving people legitimately out of their minds.
It revived that trick when torturing Guantanamo detainees, using a mindless nursery rhyme to send prisoners round the bend until they started babbling a load of made-up nonsense just to make it stop.
That's what Confused.com does with its adverts. Only there is no end to it. If you use their service the adverts do not stop. Imagine being tortured. Imagine that, in an effort to make the torture stop you complied with the wishes of those inflicting pain on you. And then imagine that they keep torturing you anyway.
That's what Confused.com does with its adverts. They may be non-lethal weapons. But have you ever taken a Taser hit? They're non-lethal too.
Read the collected Confused.com AdTurds
The original in the mind-drilling adverts that have exploded over the last ten years. Barry Scott. What a cunt.
Read the original Cillit Bang AdTurds
We Buy Any Car
Needless to say, this is an advert on a parallel with a binbag full of festering food remains and cat litter tray content bursting all over your freshly hoovered and washed kitchen floor. Then you fall over in the shit, get some in your eyes and mouth; stand up; slip on it again; bash your head on the corner of a work surface and die.
It's all of that. But I think it's how awful WeBuyAnyCar is in other respects that elevates it so:
Read the original WeBuyAnyCar AdTurd
Duffy Coke ad
An advert so ill-conceived, so smug, so meaningless and so utterly dire that it killed Duffy's career stone dead.
In fact it was so bad that the fallout also killed Keith Duffy's career stone dead - and he had nothing to do with it.
Read the original Duffy Coke AdTurd
Try-hard stupidity tooth-rot misadventure.
BMW has a little bit of a brand problem - the public think they're cars bought by dicks. And while that may not be true it's not something you want to court. Why, then, show off two people who seem photo-fit descriptions of the word 'dick', smugging on about their brilliant lives?
A quite astonishing brand misfire.
Read the original BMW Lunds AdTurd
Bad for a long, long time now - but who was your least favourite front person? Katona? Biggins? Donovan? Or Stacey Solomabs (as she's know by several AdTurds readers)?
For me Donovan was the front-man for the most offensive of the lot - an insane trip-fuelled odyssey through a nightmarish Lynchian world that provided an insight into what it might be like to experience a particularly vicious acid-induced mania. Genuinely hellish.
Read the original Iceland / Donovan AdTurd
Kris Marshall never seemed a particularly charming feller to me - before the BT adverts he was chiefly known as a man who played an absolute bell-end in vile sitcom My Family. So, what better person to front your new, decades-long TV ad campaign?
Not only is the unlovely Marshall fronting these ads - he's pitched into a baffling, awkward step-family situation that someone at an ad agency obviously thought would be a neat reaction to the decline of the nuclear family. The end result is an advert that even nuns despise.
Read the original BT AdTurd
This is another company that I have a beef with, for what it does as well as how awful its adverts are. Hyper superannuated LOL! puppets playing techno and saying stupid things go some way to highlighting Wonga's target demographic.
Depressing all round.
Read the original Wonga.com AdTurd
Fuck off you knob-ends.
Read the original British Airways AdTurds
Has anyone, anywhere ever welcomed someone noisily and aggressively interrupting a quiet moment that requires some level of concentration? The shock itself of a sudden loud noise, coupled with a group of people rushing towards you is enough to drive one to unthinking violence. But then it gets far worse - a little turd starts patronising you about your grooming rituals.
I'd like to see other private moments interrupted in this way in adverts. Perhaps someone on the bog, cracking one out in a shower - or balls deep in the missus perhaps?
"Woo! Hello buddy - how's your sex? Have you heard of Yorkshire Tea?"
Read the original Gillette Proglide AdTurd
It might be because Barclays spends so much time on making its rich clients even richer by locating arcane and unlikely tax loopholes that mean these people - people who have so much cash they literally shit it - can avoid paying taxes. Taxes spent on things like, oh, the NHS, schools and Portcullis House fig trees.
But it could also be these adverts, voiced by Stephen Merchant, that have been making people groan with the sort of nausea one associates with a migraine. The unwelcome, undeserved smugness of someone who doesn't know everyone hates them - precisely for being smug.
Read the original Barclays / Merchant AdTurd
The mullet, the shouting, the grin. Someone is going to Hell for this - with any luck the bloke in the adverts.
Read the original Safestyle AdTurd
Cut almost from the same cloth is VanCompare's pitiful effort from a couple of years ago - the original write-up of which resulted in a torrent of hilarious abuse from idiot Sweet fans.
I made it up with VanCompare's CEO in the end - but this effort featuring The Sweet's Andy Scott remains possibly the most inept advert to grace TV screens for some decades.
Read the original VanCompare AdTurd
Halifax has been annoying you for at least ten years now, first with its idiotic staff karaoke, then with its quite hideous radio station series.
Halifax has dialled it back to a mere ten from that high point, but its choir adverts remain a thorn in the side of any sane TV viewers.
NB. This advert - of all the adverts on this site - is the one most frequently associated with the word 'kill' in comments and search queries.
Read the original Halifax Isa Isa Baby AdTurd
In the same way that air-raid sirens once signalled imminent disaster, the rat-a-tat-tat beat of Here Come The Girls now heralds one of the most debilitating series of adverts to ever grace television. Stick on a tin hat, head down to the Anderson shelter and await faceless death from above.
Watch the original Boots AdTurd
Killing Santa and replacing him with a credit card. Genuinely nasty.
Now give me your worst adverts of all time
“People are taking the piss out of you everyday.
They butt into your life, take a cheap shot at you and then disappear. They leer at you from tall buildings and make you feel small.
They make flippant comments from buses that imply you’re not sexy enough and that all the fun is happening somewhere else.
They are on TV making your girlfriend feel inadequate.
They have access to the most sophisticated technology the world has ever seen and they bully you with it.
They are “The Advertisers” and they are laughing at you.
You, however, are forbidden to touch them.
Trademarks, intellectual property rights and copyright law mean advertisers can say what they like wherever they like with total impunity.
Any advert in a public space that gives you no choice whether you see it or not is yours.
It’s yours to take, re-arrange and re-use.
You can do whatever you like with it.
Asking for permission is like asking to keep a rock someone just threw at your head.
You owe the companies nothing.
Less than nothing, you especially don’t owe them any courtesy.
They owe you.
They have re-arranged the world to put themselves in front of you.
They never asked for your permission, don’t even start asking for theirs.”
There are some new mocked-up adverts floating around the web at the moment - based on the idea of ads saying what they really mean. So MacDonalds one says 'you deserve it' or something, which isn't really far off what the real ones say. They're quite funny but a bit cutesy and hardly irreverent - and the effect on my brain was to send me off in a rather different direction.
I thought I'd have a go myself - not being averse to a bit of Photoshoppery in my day - but, having fucked around with a few layers, I decided to drop any pretence of sophistication and came up with the following rag-tag efforts.
They display the entire gamut of what amounts to any wit I may have - showcasing my phenomenal grasp of political satire and almost dadaist use of toilet humour to subvert corporate Britain.
With apologies to John Carpenter and Rowdy Roddy Piper
Praying for a derailment.
This is a classic tale of "boy meets girl" to remind us all what it feels like to meet someone you're attracted to for the first time. match.com has been at the heart of hundreds of thousands of moments like these. We call it the "match moment" - the moment when two people first meet and realise this could be the start of something good... the start of a love story
The advert features the song She Began to Dance by Matthew P and is available to download on iTunes now: http://bit.ly/oj5xl2
The ukulele played in the advert is a aNueNue Khaya Mahogany Soprano model.
Someone, who shall remain nameless, had this to say on the new Fiat Punto advert:
Why name three better cars in your own advert?
All joking aside, it would have been funnier to have 'the Fiesta we prefer' as this one, no?
Here are some other possibilities:
This is the Ibiza we prefer - people mashed off their heads on ecstasy pipes
This is the A1 we prefer - shots of reps driving on the Northern motorway near Scotch Corner
This is the jazz we prefer - generic jazz wigout
This is the colt we prefer - handgun fired repeatedly into side of beef
This is the cleo (bear with me) we prefer - any hilarious scene from Carry On Cleo (that's enough superminis now - Ed)
I can't find the words to describe my contempt for this latest advert from PETA, but I'm tempted to go out and buy some veal just to spite them.
No words for this, really. Just proof - if proof be need be - that Wonga.com is evil.
Hat tip to Dick Mandrake
If Salma Hayek knocked on my door stark naked every day I would initially welcome it. But by the 84th or 85th time it would get irritating. By the 592nd time I might no longer become aroused by the sight of Salma Hayek naked on my doorstep. By the 44,087th time I might even become vaguely irritated. And I like Salma Hayek.
It's the same with some adverts. The first time I heard the new MoneySupermarket adverts I thought: "That's Patrick Stewart. I like Patrick Stewart." Now it's getting tiring.
Advertising has pulled these tricks before. Cricket commentator David Lloyd. Doctor Whos Tom Baker and Paul McGann and David Tennant. Harry Hill. They're all starting to grate a little bit.
Let's get this clear, I don't blame them. If I could make a few grand for doing an hour's voiceover work I would - even if I were as rich as Patrick Stewart probably is.
No, I don't blame them. I blame advertising. Like the way that advertising slowly but surely sucks the pleasure out of music it uses and abuses, it turns you against other things you like. Former Star Trek and Doctor Who actors, for example.
So, even though there's aren't the most egregious adverts on telly in their own right, they're more annoying to me on a personal level. Here's how it makes me feel.
It's like Confused.com are paying my Dad to sing YMCA, only with Confused.com's idiotic lyrics. I love my Dad, but I'd have to give him a Chinese burn after a while of hearing the Confused.com adverts if my Dad sang the tune.
Patrick Stewart is not my Dad. Neither is Tom Baker. But i'm very fond of them. And advertising is making me hate them. Just a little bit at a time. But enough.
Tom has done quite a few voiceovers over the years. Here's a bit of an antidote to that - recording a voiceover for Symphony furniture (or something) and being irritable, sweary and very funny in the process.
And here's Tom being brilliant in advert, just to cheer you up.
Needless to say, the government scheme that encourages to go and work for tax-dodging multinationals for free is an utter disgrace, but that's probably being debated all around the web at the moment, so I thought I'd come up with something more pithy and easy to digest.
Namely, I've adapted the company mottos of the outfits currently
using free labour to boost their fat profits, which are no doubt squireled away in offshore accounts helping people get back into work to reflect their forward-thinking work practices.
Asda, Primark, Argos, Boots, TK Maxx, McDonald's, Tesco and Top Shop are in the firing line (Sainsbury's has dropped out already), so I've put forward my own suggestions, which I hope the companies in questions will be adopting as a matter of course as soon as possible.
Feel free to add your own suggestions.
Tesco - Every little helps (particularly in relation to free labour)
Asda - That's Asda price (subsidised by free labour)
Primark - Look good, pay less
Argos - Find it, Get it, Argos It (Here's your £15 expenses for working a 35-hour week)
TK Maxx - Always up to 60% less (pay than minimum-wage employees)
McDonalds - I'm lovin' it (this free labour, that is)
Poundland - Yes! Everything's a pound! (including what we pay the urchins working for free in expenses")
Boots - I'm not sure if Boots has a motto, so for argument's sake we'll say it's this:
Here Come The Girls (from the job centre, working for free)
Ditto for Top Shop, so here's a suggestion:
We use free labour to boost Aracadia Group's enormous profits
Background, from The Grauniad:
Unions have called on Britain's biggest high street chains to withdraw from government programmes that make the unemployed work for up to six months unpaid or face losing their benefits.
The call comes as Sainsbury's, one of the UK's largest retailers, confirmed to the Guardian that it has stopped branch managers from taking on jobseekers under the work experience scheme.
The move follows that of Waterstones book chain, which last week announced it had pulled out of the scheme because it did not want to "encourage work for no pay".
Under the work experience scheme, hundreds of thousands of largely young jobseekers will work in charities and private businesses for 30 hours a week, for eight weeks, without pay, and can have their benefits removed if they withdraw.
The schemes are in operation at more than a dozen well-known chains, such as Boots, Tesco, Asda, Primark, Argos, TK Maxx, Poundland and the Arcadia group of stores run by billionaire Sir Philip Green, which includes Top Shop and Burton.