AdTurds Bad Adverts – Badverts

23Oct/1424

The Co-Op Tattoo Advert

cop-op tattoo advert

Crikey.

I don't really know what else there is to say about this advert, the TV equivalent of a man taking your head between his hands, tears streaming down his face, and promising he'll never hurt you again. It's about as convincing and as unsettling.

Some context. The Co-Op Bank doesn't invest in dodgy companies; it was ethical before ethical was a thing. My grandparents got their food at the Co-Op, banked there, had their funerals with the Co-Op. In the north it was a way of paying into a union - banking and shopping with something you could trust. It evolved out of worker's unions and to this day retains an element of that spirit.

cop-op tattoo advert skull

Recently, however, the Co-Op has had a problem. Struggling in the modern era when banks are essentially government-sanctioned slum landlords, the Co-Op - with its notions of fairness and equality - is hopelessly out of step with a prevailing ethos of killing the last goose that lays golden eggs, mechanically separating the meat, turning it into kebabs and feeding it to diabetic children.

Further to this, in relation to now-dislodged Chairman Paul Flowers, it turned out the bank had been run by a combination of Bad Lieutenant (the Harvey Keitel version) and Father Jack Hackett and was in utter disarray. So this advert is a great opportunity to restate the brand proposition, win back some hearts and minds and regain the initiative.

Exactly why, then, you'd employ a third-rate Bond villain to deliver a monologue so earnest it makes Richard Burton look like Dappy, in an indeterminate accent while receiving a tattoo reading Ethics and Values... Well, I don't know why you'd do any of those things. If you\re suggesting that people at the Co-Op have the words 'Ethics and Values' permanently inscribed on their skin, well... that's clearly insane. If that's not what your implication is, why imply it?

cop-op tattoo advert skull ethics and values

The delivery is so intense it feels like it should pop up in a Mitchell and Webb sketch show; the mixed visual metaphors on show are so tortured and the message so utterly bizarre.

Flowers had to leave when it was discovered that he had bought a load of Crystal Meth, amongst various other dubious behaviour. I can only assume that he dreamed this up while high as a kite, screaming at the moon, wearing only his underpants and a porkpie hat.

It's rare that an advert has such power, but it genuinely makes me fear for the future of the bank (now controlled by hedge funds anyway following a bailout) and the group as a whole. If someone can OK this, they're capable of anything. If you misunderstand your own brand so fundamentally can there be any hope?

This campaign cost five million quid and I honestly believe that I could have done a better job. If we didn't know the Co-Op was in trouble before this ad, we certainly do now.

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  • GeoNeil

    More proof that the Co-Op has completely lost their way is them labelling their value products as “Ideal for the Food Bank” (and I don’t care if they’re a different organisation to the organisation behind the Co-Op Bank, it’s all the same name and all the same movement in the eyes of the public)

    No, there’s nothing particularly ethical, principled or of high value by asking customers to buy food from you, contributing financially to your business activities, specifically to donate it to food banks. That’s called turning a profit off other people’s charity.

    The ethical, principled and valued thing to do is to make the donation yourself.

  • GeoNeil

    More proof that the Co-Op has completely lost their way is them labelling their value products as “Ideal for the Food Bank” (and I don’t care if they’re a different organisation to the organisation behind the Co-Op Bank, it’s all the same name and all the same movement in the eyes of the public)

    No, there’s nothing particularly ethical, principled or of high value by asking customers to buy food from you, contributing financially to your business activities, specifically to donate it to food banks. That’s called turning a profit off other people’s charity.

    The ethical, principled and valued thing to do is to make the donation yourself.

  • Pingback: The Worst Adverts Of 2014 | AdTurds - Adverts that are shit()

  • SceneByScene_AT

    That accent – by the actor in the ad – is so SMOOOOOOTTTTHHHH! 😉

    But WHAT accent is it?!

    Surely I can hear a slight Irish twang??

    Am I right?!

  • SceneByScene_AT

    That accent – by the actor in the ad – is so SMOOOOOOTTTTHHHH! 😉

    But WHAT accent is it?!

    Surely I can hear a slight Irish twang??

    Am I right?!

  • J.R Hartley

    Omg, I’ve just seen the ad…and what utter rubbish? It was so poorly executed I was compelled to watch until the very end to check whether it was a joke or a no-win no-fee law firm! Concerning too that they only take ethics and values ‘pretty’ seriously and not ‘very’ seriously!

  • J.R Hartley

    Omg, I’ve just seen the ad…and what utter rubbish? It was so poorly executed I was compelled to watch until the very end to check whether it was a joke or a no-win no-fee law firm! Concerning too that they only take ethics and values ‘pretty’ seriously and not ‘very’ seriously!

  • Lindyloo

    He sounds South African…reminds me eerily of Oscar Pistorius

  • Lindyloo

    He sounds South African…reminds me eerily of Oscar Pistorius

  • WHIT?

    Who is the voiceover? – TOO perfect – sounds like manufactured (computer created). FAKE like the advert

  • WHIT?

    Who is the voiceover? – TOO perfect – sounds like manufactured (computer created). FAKE like the advert

  • FraniB

    More ironically he sounds South African.

  • FraniB

    More ironically he sounds South African.

  • Charlie

    It’s bizarre but almost every time I see an advert on tv which just grates on my nerves, I come here and it’s top of the list, pretty much without fail

  • Charlie

    It’s bizarre but almost every time I see an advert on tv which just grates on my nerves, I come here and it’s top of the list, pretty much without fail

  • Hudsonblue

    I found your blog after googling this god awful ad. I couldn’t believe it was actually real! To be honest until the tag line at the end, I thought it was an ad for another of those mind numbing ‘TOWIE/Made in’ type shows. WTF co-op..?! And 5 million quid?! Utter mugs.. Great blog by the way!

    • dan

      I did exactly the same, I feel the world and coop need to know how bad it is!

  • Hudsonblue

    I found your blog after googling this god awful ad. I couldn’t believe it was actually real! To be honest until the tag line at the end, I thought it was an ad for another of those mind numbing ‘TOWIE/Made in’ type shows. WTF co-op..?! And 5 million quid?! Utter mugs.. Great blog by the way!

    • dan

      I did exactly the same, I feel the world and coop need to know how bad it is!

  • Stell

    Yep, I second all of that, it’s not unlike the Boddington

  • Stell

    Yep, I second all of that, it’s not unlike the Boddington

  • Admiral Adama

    How did this cost 5 million quid? It’s just some lisping dude taking his shirt off, a purple flower and some Sharpie body art!

  • Admiral Adama

    How did this cost 5 million quid? It’s just some lisping dude taking his shirt off, a purple flower and some Sharpie body art!

  • Bobobtheboobcat

    Ironically he sounds Swiss.

  • Bobobtheboobcat

    Ironically he sounds Swiss.

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