Look, I think we’d all acknowledge that everyone involve has taken significant steps towards making their Hive advert a lot less hateful. And we thank them for their efforts. The old Hive advert was undoubtedly one of the most awful things that has happened in the modern era – so awful people thought it was far worse than that debilitating “Anything For Yaw, Cupcake” effort from Hotels4U.
But did anyone ever really yearn for the return of this advert? This attempt at a winsome ditty that only succeeds in setting teeth on edge? Whereas he was previously unseen, and singing about wacky shit like visiting ‘your mad Dad’ and ‘making origami from a slice of beef pastrami’ he’s now The Singing Bard, trying to communicate a concept as vast and potentially epoch-making as The Internet Of Things via an Open Mic night.
My heart goes out to people in adverts like this. In the case of Hotels4U I genuinely feared for the safety of the actors involved. With Just Eat I lamented the cosmic forces that had brought two people to make enormous twats of themselves in front of ten million people every day. In the case of The Singing Bard, well, I’m doubtful how keen I would have been to be seen on screen. Christ, I’m doing the rhyming thing now. Just like The Signing Cow. Oh Christ.
Anyway, what was so bad about the previous Hive advert was its try-hardness. There’s one bit where the previous narrator pretends to laugh at the idea of ‘having a kick about with a team of giant trout’. That is simply not funny – it’s certainly not funny if you have previously written that lyric, rehearsed it many times and parsed it for humour many times. Nothing enrages people like affectedness because it’s like breaking the fourth wall, only in real life. It’s the equivalent of people who say “I’m mad,” when what they really mean is “I’m a dick”.
So we’ve rowed back from the horrors of 2014, with its deliberately childlike animation and acoustic cockwomble. But this still remains aggravating. Not in the same way that the Just Eat or MoneySupermarket adverts are annoying, and deliberately so. They’re mean to be like that, so you think “I’m hungry” and subsequently pick up the phone to order a takeaway without ever really knowing why.
That’s not something I see happening when it comes to remote-control central heating. A good idea, for sure, but a rather more complex transaction to embed in people’s subconscious. I fear all the updated Hive Advert and Signing Bard really succeed in is making people feel furious at the sight of a thermostat.