I’m finding myself watching less television – I’d be something of a hypocrite if I didn’t after all, given my increasingly anguished entreaties for people to switch off the idiot box – and inevitably I’m exposed to less and less adverts. This is, arguably, something of a problem for someone who relies on crap adverts to fuel their blog but it does mean that the ones that really get my goat stand out from the crowd.
These AdWorms aren’t simply the ones I think are really bad – the omnipresent and decreasing-returns shtick of the Meerkats and Go Compare would be present every month if so – but the ones that really get on my aural tits; the ones that may as well be a toddler screaming on a bus or a car alarm keeping you awake at night.
These adverts – the adworms if you will – are shoe-ins because I find myself being annoyed at them hours after they’re broadcast. I find myself thinking of them when I’m sat on the train, walking home or lying in bath considering my very mortality. I find these adverts interesting because they’re designed to be annoying – and because I genuinely wonder where this ends.
The current Hotels4U advert strikes me as the latest in a long line of such adverts, but perhaps the most naked attempt to infuriate innocent members of the public (incidentally I recently booked a hotel and flicked through my mental list of brand names – LateRooms, LastMinute and Trivago – Hotels4U didn’t get a look in probably because they’ve failed to include their brand name or URL in their catchphrase, which is the whole point of these ads when you think about it).
I honestly think that, should the man who says ‘Anything for you, cupcake” be identified in a bar on a Saturday night someone might go for him, in a grisly recreation of the way the Ow My Balls! guy from Idiocracy is routinely blasted in the nads. I would decry this behaviour as rank thuggery – as I hope anyone who read AdTurds would – but a tiny part of me would understand how it might happen.
If someone repeatedly flicks my ear or jabs me in the chest with an index finger for no reason it’s quite possible that, eventually, on a bad day, I’d return the favour with interest. And while this sort of provocation doesn’t justify a physical response in any sane world, the part of us that learned how to cope with life in the playground might find a certain empathy with a desire to repay a deliberately annoying act in turn.
I hope the guy from the Hotels4U advert goes through life unmolested – it’s not his fault after all – but I’d like to think that the people responsible for these intentionally angering adverts find some sort of ironic just desserts, like the way that a philatelist would be crushed to death by a giant stamp or the cruel boss of an underpants factory would turn into a pair of Y-fronts in Tales of the Unexpected.
In the meantime here are this month’s choices. I’ve included Hotels4U again because, y’know.
Royal Navy Life Without Limits advert
The ‘you x, you y’ meme has long been tired and aggravating so I don’t know why they persist with it here. Even more obnoxious is how the line between honest representation and grotesque war porn fantasy has been long abandoned. The message in this ad is fairly clear – join the navy if you want to blow people away and get to play with cool toys.
Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised: armed forces around the world have long recognised that there’s a similarity between gaming and actually killing people – and played to those audiences. The vicarious thrill of warfare is frequently referenced in this ad but, fundamentally, it’s the maddening rhythm of the whole thing that makes it so fucking infuriating.
I can’t find the one that’s currently on, but it ends with the Cheese Thing repeating “Cheese! Cheese!” in an irritating voice. Ads like this always make me think of the voicoever artists. Did the actor in question, who once dreamed of playing The Dane, ever think he’s end up voicing animated dairy products with an idiom that would be be deemed a bit much at a child’s party? Did the rapper, inspired by the seminal work of KRS-ONE or Slick Rick, truly foresee lending his voice, honed on the streets of south London in brutally witty flow battles, to a smeggy twat riding around in a car made of cheese spaghetti?
I can never understand why anyone – even really stupid people – could find stuff like this funny and the idea that there are people who do depresses me enormously. I’d say that the thought of him melting might cheer me up, but whatever cheese spaghetti strings are made of I doubt they melt. Burst into flames, perhaps. Either way, get stuffed you cheddary bastard.
With reference to what I said above, every now and then there’s a report that a celebrity gets beaten up while the attackers gleefully repeat the catchphrase with which they’re associated (see What’s The Frequency Kenneth? for more on this). Though I do hope not, it’s not inconceivable that this guy joins those ranks, such is the inexorable twattiness of this advert.