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John Lewis / Waitrose Bohemian Rhapsody Advert

John Lewis : Waitrose Bohemian Rhapsody Advert

I am immune to the supposed delight of other peoples' children, specifically the sound of the them singing. The sound of children laughing - heck, even my dormant hormones stir a little in their long slumber - but children singing? Genuinely horrible noise. Children are rubbish singers. And so it goes with this John Lewis / Waitrose Bohemian Rhapsody advert.

What have we got here? There's some robots, some kids (awwww!) singing Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody, something about robots... it's a spot of blah because John Lewis and Waitrose are doing something with their branding and everyone must know about it. The tagline interests me - "For us it's personal" - because this advert has hit the airwaves, probably at some obscene price, just as John Lewis is sacking 270 of its staff. I'm sure the irony is not lost on them.

John Lewis : Waitrose Bohemian Rhapsody Advert

John Lewis, of course, is usually in hibernation at this time of year, waking only to spunk twelvety billion pounds on an advert in which a:

CGI / old / young;
person / animal / creature;
is sad / is sad / is sad.

When John Lewis ventures out of its natural Yuletide habitat its adverts generally involve children in some way, so to deliver a precision-guided arrows of consumerism straight to the hearts of weepy parents with crap drawings on their fridges, emotions utterly shot through years of looking after small humans and deep, deep wallets full of cash unspent on the nights out, city breaks and romantic holidays rendered impossible by enslavement to their offspring.

John Lewis : Waitrose Bohemian Rhapsody Advert

What else are they spend money on, but expensive and unnecessary kitchenware, expensive and unnecessary aspirational food, and expensive and unnecessary bed linen, straight from your friendly John Lewis and Waitrose stores?

And because this advert has a lot of money and a John Lewis logo lavished on it, people on social media are simultaneously evacuating their bladders, orgasming and weeping at the same time - as if they have swapped all of their mental faculties for one big gland that responds solely to emotions, pinballing from weepy mawkishness to an almost feral desire to spend £38 on a selection of herb-infused olive oils for that woman at work they don't like.

John Lewis : Waitrose Bohemian Rhapsody Advert

So forgive me if I don't join you in dabbing at your cheeks, getting slightly tumescent and feeling the need to do John Lewis's job for them by sharing it all over social media. I know it's not Christmas yet, despite John Lewis buying the festive season in 2012, but bah fucking humbug.


Commodity Fetishism: G-Tech AirRam Advert

gtech airram advert

The G-Tech AirRam advert is the perfect example of a phenomenon of our times, namely making something utterly banal and everyday sound sexy and dangerous by giving it a stupid name.

The G-Tech AirRam is, perhaps, the perfect case in point. It is basically a hoover, albeit one of those souped-up hoovers that sounds like the world is ending whenever you fire it up, runs on a battery that lasts about ten minutes and can pack as much as 100g of filth into its dirtbox. It's digital, which is a fancy way of saying there's a battery in it, and it probably has some glowing lights on it. But, fundamentally, it's your grandparents' vacuum cleaner with some fancy branding.

Not convinced? Let's deconstruct this name a little. G-Tech. Sounds like military hardware, although in actual fact you use it to hoover Hobnobs crumbs out of the crevices in your much-used couch. AirRam? Sounds like some monstrous sex aid, even if the closest it ever comes to nookie is sucking up the short-and-curlies from under your bed.

gtech airram advert

In this advert put-upon housewives are 'tethered and shackled' by their old hoover, in a line that sounds like it comes from a lesbian prison sex drama.

And when you put your boring old-fashioned hoovers away 'more mess appears'. I'm unclear how the cordless G-Tech AirRam helps with this particular problem, but OK.

"Do we really want to touch the dirt?" the man who designed the G-Tech AirRam asks us, presumably rhetorically. I have never met a hoover whose dirt you did not have to touch, unless you're happy to spend ten minutes trying to shake the compacted fluff out of the vacuum's every nook and cranny.

Adding to the cognitive dissonance here is a man who looks like he's a curate on his day off, wielding something that you acquire to blast aliens in Halo.

gtech airram advert

The AirRam will help us break free, we're told next, in what might be a cheeky reference to the classic Queen cross-dressing music video. It's all deeply silly.

But what do I know? It might be the best hoover you'll every buy. As you lie on your death bed, you may look back on the moment you took delivery of your new G-Tech AirRam and consider it the finest day of your entire life. The product and the advert don't especially bother me. What does irk me is the branding.

Cast your eyes around the retail world these days and you're assailed by brands that sound like they should be selling bulletproof vests, assault weapons or cruise missiles: Under Armour (vests); Gel Speed Menace (cricket shoes); Airblade (hand drier). If something can be sold it can be branded in such a way it sounds like it should be reviewed in a weapons magazine, regardless of how innocuous the product is.

gtech airram advert

A quick glance at the other hoovers on the market is testament to the small-penis boasting of these brands: the Dyson Cyclone V10; the Philips SpeedPro Max; the Shark DuoClean... I'm not even making these up.

Want more? You can buy a vibrator called Bullet, a pick-up truck called Warrior. Herbicides evoke wild-west notions. T20 Cricket? Blast. Big Bash. Football boots? Predator. If we eat avocado it must be 'smashed'; meat must be 'pulled' or 'shredded'. Energy drinks? Monster, Relentless, Red Bull.

It's like we can't allow ourselves to be impressed by anything unless we're snarling at it or it's snarling at us; a whole race of people angrily throwing cash at gadgets with stupid names as we accelerate towards our own ma-made doom. Maybe if we called climate change HumanFuck we could get behind doing something about it.

In the spirit of such clear insanity, I've a few suggestions of my own for how to brand a stupid cordless hoover - and if any of them are ever used I claim my 20%. Feel free to join in.


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