This is my last word on PaddyPower - unless they bring out some more dog-whistling adverts - and I'm ending on a positive note.
You see, it is possible to make memorable, funny and not shit adverts based around betting. It was proven by none other than PaddyPower just a short three years ago, with a series of ads highlighting a money-back guarantee.
These are truly superb ads, genuinely funny and brilliantly observed. In the three below Carlton Palmer, Des Walker and Bruce Grobbelaar play it dead straight and all are afforded amusing lines, impeccably delivered totally deadpan (or, alternatively, all of them are so wooden they appear deadpan).
They aren't ironic and the reactions to all three sudden appearances by 80s and 90s footie stars - of total terror and bewilderment - make them both unsettling and wonderfully funny.
But there's more again. Grobbelaar's wobbly legs trademark, Palmer's sudden appearance below the water of a bath and Walker's surreal appearance, as if half centre back, half football shirt are very weird, which feels completely right for where these ads are.
Throw in the third-person dialogue - you can Carlton Palmer having a bath; put whisk down, Grobbelaar's here in peace; Desmond Sinclair Walker, 657 appearance, one goal - and you have a trio of very funny ads.
Good work by agency Karmarama, who don't have the Paddy Power brief anymore. Which is a shame, as there's genuine wit in the ads. Still, probably easier to poke fun at trannies and chavs eh?
I was looking up some old ads that PaddyPower did a couple of years ago, having been reminded of a good run of ads a few years ago that featured sporting types in unlikely situations.
Then I found this one on Youtube, an advert sees four guys in wheelchairs doing a runner from a curry house simply to set up a horribly lame scenario where an irate Indian man swears in Hindi at four paraplegics and calls them 'wheelies'. Just for a second you could almost imagine you're watching Love Thy Neighbour or some other openly offensive - and deeply shit - 70s sitcom.
It's titled 'Banned Paddy Power Ad' and the subhead is 'They wouldn't let us put this one on TV'. Well, with such dangerously radical material I'm not surprised The Man got his knickers in a twist, political correctness and health and safety and all.
"Not offensive, just shit!," says the first comment.
"What a shit advert...this shit isn't going viral lol," reads the second.
The ad has a ratio of exactly two Dislikes to every Like thus far. Which goes some way to restoring my faith in humanity. But confirms everything I'd previously suspected about PaddyPower.
Nothing much more to say about this apart from how much I utterly despise it. I'm saving while going about my daily business am I? Well, fuck me, I'm glad I now understand how simple interest works. Better stop going into the bank every day to remind them to pay me my .045p interest.
Youtube Likes to Dislikes: 12 to 134
Here's Santander's previous effort - now deemed 'too corporate' and, presumably, 'not hideously annoying enough'. Lovely music (Wild Beasts) and a neat, slightly dreamlike visual metaphor. Loses marks for the faux-folksy 'hello' though.
Youtube Likes to Dislikes: 111 to 14
Someone who had recently given birth once told me that, upon hearing a baby cry, her breasts would leak milk, presumably as some sort of unconscious, primitive maternal stimulus (wonder of motherhood, blah fucking blah).
That strikes me as being an unedifying position to be in, at the whims of whatever brats are in the vicinity and requiring a spare blouse at any given time of the day, though I suspect that most women who have given birth are rather nonplussed by the idea of embarrassment at unintentional milk spillage, having had various people prod their vaginas and sew them up again after a small screaming red thing has emerged from the part of them normally reserved for their partner's penis (or turkey-baster).
Anyway, the point is that the sound of a baby screaming has unfortunate ramifications. For new mothers, surprise lactation. For absolutely everyone else, pain on a level similar to receiving anesthetic-free root-canal surgery.
The sound of a child screaming is the most awful noise known to man, worse even that the noise of Piers Morgan having a wank or Janet Street-Porter being bummed.
It's a noise designed to do something to us – as animals who got ideas above our station – on a primal level. It demands that we do something about it. You can't fight it. It's like being scared of heights; it's like wanting to have sex with beautiful members of the opposite sex; it's like being disgusted by George Osborne's face. It's built into us.
I've not made up my mind whether Dulux knows about this or not. A charitable reading is that the people who made this ad simply thought it was a clever juxtaposition. A more sinister reading suggests that the people who made this advert know exactly what they're doing; annoying the living fuck out of people in order to make a more memorable advert.
Halfords had an ad over Christmas with a young girl screaming all the way though it – and I wondered whether we'd have a raft of baby-scream ads, delivering precision-guided primal shocks to your very core.
If it is deliberate there's only way to go after this – an ultrasonic non-lethal weapon that makes people vomit up their spleens. That'd be memorable, eh?
Private Eye is, of course, excellent. It's a satirical and investigative and gossipy political mag in the UK that I've bought for years because it's irresistible, like an upmarket version of Heat for political / media geeks.
It has columns on lots of different things: advertising, railways, TV, books, the media, politics and so on. It also runs a column on advertising, Ad Nauseam, on advertising and shenanigans in the industry. I guess it's written by someone within - or previously within - the industry because whoever writes it certainly gets something of an inside track.
I was interested to read the following about Paddy Power and its recent run of ads, clearly intending to be controversial for the Hell of it, that culminated in the Gregos Traitorelli ad. I disliked this ad because it's so obviously intended to push the envelope of what's acceptable - along with all its other recent ads.
Lots of people have been leaving lots of witless 'get a sense of humour mate' comments that shows that they can't be arsed to actually think about the issues or they're too stupid to. The issue for me is this: deliberately courting controversy by flirting with offensive issues like race, class, animal cruelty and gender issues. I find it vaguely pathetic, in the way that I find it pathetic that largely middle-class journos write inflammatory stuff in the knowledge that thick readers get off an some casual racism or homophobia with a healthy side serving of big tits.
It plays people for being stupid. It works the system (in this case what's considered acceptable in the world of advertising) simply to gain a flash of notoriety. The Gregos Traitorelli ad is flirting with race issues to make you put a ten-pound bet on Balotelli scoring a goal.
But don't just take my word for it. Read what Private Eye has to say on the subject - and ask yourself is this is all quite as innocent as you might think.
Several companies have used an advertising strategy that involves goading regulators with risque ads to receive free publicity. Other advertisers end to loathe the self-styled mavericks, because they prove that adland's cosy self-regulatory system lacks teeth, thus threatening the whole edifice.
First French Connection was the bad boy, followed by Ryanair. Now it would appear bookmaker Paddy Power is taking up the mantle.
In late 2010 it ran a TV ad featuring blind footballers kicking a cat
. When that received more complaints than any other ad that year, the free publicity penny seems to have dropped. Since then the cheeky Irish pranksters have run topical ads featuring the footballer Luis Suarez after he received an eight-match ban for racial abuse; a spot entitled Lady's Day asking viewers to pick out the 'stallions' from the 'mares' at a race day; and an internet-only ad featuring a man shooting 'chavs' with a tranquiliser gun at the Cheltenham Festival.
Its latest spot features a man who placed a bet against his own team renaming himself Gregos Traitorelli, relocating to Greece and supporting a team called Athletico Kebab. You might expect this kind of stuff from Paddy Power by now, but its agency, Crispin Porter & Bogusky, should know better
I once caught sight of an email that was circulated around a few advertising houses (I think it was from some one at DDB) that namechecked popular blogs being read by advert types. AdTurds was namechecked in a section called 'for rude boys and girls', which pleased me.
There was another blog under the same heading, called Copy Cunts that I commend to you. Copy Cunts finds examples of adverts ripped off popular internet memes and presented as if new, shiny, interesting and worth a bill of £250,000.
There are a few that I'm aware of – generally any advert you think it cool – but I've not found one myself before. Before we go any further, here's Beardyman with an absolute slice of fried cocaine.
He's good innee? Innee good?
Anyway, here's something utterly awful to put you in a bad mood.
Hate it? Good. So does everyone else in the world. Especially the people who made it. To them this advert is a constant reminder that they have bequeathed something hideous to the world.
They have not made people laugh, cry, hope for a better world or see the everyday beauty in something that has become overfamiliar.
They have made some people irritated about biscuits. Well done.
EDIT: CopyCunts did this ages ago. So, ironically, I'm a Copy Cunt. Oh dear.
You know what, Churchill? I love...
...this witless run of adverts where we live together like some charmless analogue of a BBC children's series from the 80s?
No. I love...
...earning a packet for whoring myself out for a series of adverts that are destined to become loathed by everyone who sees them because of their sheer ominpresence?
No (well, obviously the money bit). But largely no. I love...
...my stupid voice?
No. I love...
...this weak attempt to copy the meerkat effect by making what was once a mildy diverting nodding dog character into a carpet-bombed attempt at a tedious meme?
No. I love the time I found this decapitated Churchill dog in a car-park in Liverpool.
Oh... no, no, no, no...
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