Swimming pools are filled with people.
Some you know. Some you don’t. And every once in a while you see something that maybe you shouldn’t. And every now and then you see a large turd swimming towards you. And the swimming pool sells all your personal data to some awful internet marketeers. And you secretly ogle people you'd like to fuck.
That’s why swimming pools are a little like Facebook.
There are some new mocked-up adverts floating around the web at the moment - based on the idea of ads saying what they really mean. So MacDonalds one says 'you deserve it' or something, which isn't really far off what the real ones say. They're quite funny but a bit cutesy and hardly irreverent - and the effect on my brain was to send me off in a rather different direction.
I thought I'd have a go myself - not being averse to a bit of Photoshoppery in my day - but, having fucked around with a few layers, I decided to drop any pretence of sophistication and came up with the following rag-tag efforts.
They display the entire gamut of what amounts to any wit I may have - showcasing my phenomenal grasp of political satire and almost dadaist use of toilet humour to subvert corporate Britain.
With apologies to John Carpenter and Rowdy Roddy Piper
I was in a chip shop recently and saw these two wonders of print advertising. They are undeniably terrible, but I like them. They're not trying to be anything other than what they are.
Namely, that means a pair of sausages being all lovey-dovey while sitting on a plate of chips; and three girls in the back of a taxi, happily sharing a dirty kebab.
In the case of the latter it's a bit silly. I doubt these girls would see a 'great night' ending with a load of reconstituted, mechanically-recovered meat - but who am I to argue?
In the case of the second there's something very old-fashioned and gauche about this. It features two anthropomorphic sausages, very much in love because, well, because they're sausages. And people love sausages.
"Love is... McWhinneys Sausages," it tells us. These sausages represent, we're told, "love at first bite". Love seems to be a common theme with McWhinneys' marketing materials. Take a look at this:
This is an advert by McWhinneys about sausages, riffing off Robert Palmer's Addicted To Love. It's called Addicted to Love - Sausage Parody. Its killer line is "Gonna have to face it; it's McWhinneys I love".
At the end of the advert a giant sausage joins the sausage-loving band. I find it hard to believe that - at the end of it all - the entire cast and crew didn't simply get down on their hands and knees and weep.
But, hey. These are a bit inept and a bit silly. But at least they're honest. At least they're not trying to annoy us. At least they're not up their own backsides. At least they're not trying to drum some crapulous mantra into our heads. At least they're simple, good, honest shit adverts.
Final thought. Sausages having sex. How does that work? Happy New Year.
There's a very easy - and wholly unbelievable - get-out that advertisers can use in these cases; if you find something naughty about the image then that's your look-out. Not only that, but you're a filthy pervert to boot.
I suppose, put that way, there's really nothing at all that's odd about having Nigella 'I'm shoving a banana down my throat and spraying cream over my tits' Lawson looking beatific while 'salted caramel' drips down her face at all - and the fact that it appears as if La Lawson is on the receiving end of a popular pornographic shot that's increasingly referenced in popular culture is pure coincidence.
This isn't new - look at the longstanding 'Got Milk' (Make Mine Milk in the UK) adverts. Shots of famous and beautiful women with what looks like milk smeared across their lips.
You could just about get away with claiming that there's no innuendo there, but that's rather blown out of the water by these images featuring Josie Maran squeezing a teat and spraying mile all over her smiling, open-mouthed, tongue-out face.
Not convinced? Try these Russian milk adverts from a couple of years that at least have the nerve to be honest about what's being referenced here: milk = jizz.
Enjoy your cornflakes.
NB. An incoming link to this post from a French post described Nigell thusly: Nigella, c’est la superwoman brit’ sexy, très fameuse pour ses émissions télé pleines de slurp slurp sensualité -diffusées sur CuisineTV dans notre contrée. Certains l’ont même surnommée Queen of food porn.
Sounds filthy eh?
Only yesterday did I muse on how close to the bone Lynx's adverts adverts are getting - they ride a fine line between irony and a rather boorish Loaded-esque twattiness.
Its latest TV ad sees a man constructing an arc so that he might lure women - two by two - to his sea-going shag palace. How you view this ad depends exactly on what side of the fence you sit and I can see it attracting complaints. I find the 2012 'end of the world' stuff quite amusing, but if you're tacitly comparing women to animals that's a tad problematic.
Potentially more egregious - and kinda under the radar - is the inherent notion that wearing Lynx makes men more sexually attractive to women, who are rendered animalistically horny by a smelly spray.
This is all rather light-hearted - a bit like Carlsberg's 'probably the best lager in the world' thing - but it's rather open to scrutiny. How far can you push a gag before it becomes, well, not a gag?
Personally I'd like to see more brands adopt this tactic. New cars that have women dripping off them in lust. Carbon-haired 45-year-old Just For Men users beating them off with a shitty stick. Anusol bum-smearers drowning in seas of clunge.
For the time being the Advertising Standards Authority - rapidly becoming my favourite weekly newsletter vendors - have slapped Lynx down over a set of Lucy Pinder net and print adverts that were deemed 'a bit much' or somesuch.
The former feature La Pinder beinding over and wobbling her norks about during a set of domestic activities, "stripping wallpaper, jogging, applying lip gloss, eating whipped cream off her finger and playing with a light sabre", not to mention sucking a lolly - that old chestnut - while the latter was a riff on the 'beach shower' ads that were inescapable earlier this year.
The TV ads were cleared as they were timed to avoid being shown to kids, but the ASA received 113 complaints over the print ad for being "sexually suggestive, demeaning to women, and inappropriate for public display" - complaints it upheld. They describe the public's complaints thusly:
97 complainants challenged whether the ad was offensive because it was sexually suggestive, provocative, indecent, glamorised casual sex, and because it objectified and was demeaning to women;
2. 71 complainants challenged whether the ad was irresponsible because it was inappropriate for public display, where it could be seen by children; and
3. 12 complainants challenged whether the ad was irresponsible because it promoted promiscuity.
What proportion of ads aren't sexually suggestive, I wonder? And isn't reducing women to sexually ravenous animals a tiny bit demeaning? That seems to cover Lynx's whole canon to me. The ASA's judgement on the print ad reads:
We therefore considered that the poster would be seen to make a link between purchasing the product and sex with women and in so doing would be seen to objectify women
Surely that's the basis of every advert Lynx has ever done? Am I missing something here?
I'm not especially bothered by this curious ambivalence to what is deemed beyond the pale and what isn't - it makes for good copy - but it's fascinating and bemusing to see what gets pulled up the public and what doesn't. No wonder advertisers keep pushing the envelope.
Social networks have been all aflutter with an EPIC MATHS FAIL from Nature Valley - they make flapjacks - on a front page ad on Metro today.
The oat-rollers declared that they have increased the deliciousness of their bars by 200% by, er, adding another bar to the existing one.
Leaving aside the fact that doubling deliciousness is a tricky task at the best of times - and a nebulous one at that - you would only need to increase deliciousness by 100% if you're doubling the amount of bars; assuming you think that doubling in size equals doubling deliciousness.
How silly Nature Valley must feel! How ridiculous that their #ELEMENTARY MATHS FAIL is being seen by people all of the country! How stupid they must feel that everyone on Twitter and Facebook and blogs is talking about their delicious, oaty, sweet flapjacks!
Mmmm. Delicious, oaty, sweet flapjacks....
All of these come from some article I came across called 'ten adverts that shocked the world'. I forget where it was, but since it was a hyperbolic 'top ten' article I'd guess it was The Independent.
I don't find many of these very shocking, to be honest. Crass, distasteful, ill-conceived, boring and plain rubbish perhaps, but in a world where one can easily access images and videos of hardcore pornography, torture and murder at the click of a button I can't see how the bulk of these could raise more than an eyebrow.
Certainly, placing these amid the pages of a 'family' newspaper - as sex and death rags like the News of the World used to call themselves - they may be more problematic, but in these days of multimedia exposure it's hard to imagine even Mary Whitehouse getting too worked up over a picture of a kind-of naked bottom.
Here's my take.
The smoking one
Cigarette-smoking as sex slavery. As bizarre as it's unpleasant as it's unfathomable.
The paedophile one
Hideous. So much so that the point of the ad is lost in the viewer's desire to turn away. Although it's frighteningly similar to the front covers of lots of ents mags.
The dog sex one
The results of giving some bonkers, pretentious enfants terribles wannabes access to the cash in your marketing account. This sort of thing should exist solely behind paywalls online. And in my BitTorrent folder.
The sexy one
Stick a load of idiots together in a studio and sooner or later they'll come up with something like this.
The Toyota Prius one
I really like this. Sadly it's not even real. Toyota is far too boring to do anything like this. Can you think of a good Toyota advert? No, you can't.
The old one
Pfft. Since it's possible to see Angelina Jolie and Paris Hilton in various states of undress - and actually watch one of them sucking a cock and being fucked - it's not exactly shocking to see them subjected to some bad Photoshop. Maybe if they were given the make-under - and then video-d sucking cock and being fucked.
The blood one
Eh? What's remotely shocking about this? Good ad though.
The Benetton one
Now this. This is genuinely shocking. A dying man; an anguished family. Powerful, affecting stuff. Aesthetically this is a wonderful photo on top of everything else. Pity it's rather undermined by a multinational trying to sell baseball caps off the back of it.
The arse one
An arse. What's shocking about an arse? Unless it's Piers Morgan who, as we all know, is more of a twat anyway.
The carrier one
Pfft. I was more shocked by the Bernie Ecclestone corruption allegations.
So, there we have it. More of a lesson is link-bait and search-engine optimisation techniques by the Independent than anything.
You know what would constitute a really shocking print advert? Boris Johnson buggering a heron.
Cadbury's has apologised and withdrawn an advert that compared a chocolate bar to Naomi Campbell, referencing her stroppy, prima-donna-ish behaviour.
La Campbell and some silly pressure groups have been shrilly announcing their displeasure at this advert, which is an insult to blacks everywhere and is basically the same as if everyone who works for Cadbury had dressed up as Klan members and set fire to a burning cross outside her house:
"I am shocked. It's upsetting to be described as chocolate, not just for me, but for all black women and black people. I do not find any humour in this. It is insulting and hurtful."
Now, this was a silly thing to do from Cadbury's, especially as they got into trouble not so long ago for another misjudged advert featuring a 'giant, rotating negroid head', but how exactly is this racist? Chocolate is brown; Naomi Campbell is black so is comparing one to the other in an entirely different context indicative or racism?
Hardly, but in an age where virtually every act committed by anyone in the world has to result in a public apology it's hardly surprising and someone should have foreseen this.
What's disappointing is that a number of people beyond the ghastly Campbell appear to be jumping on a rather ramshackle bandwagon. Three people in the country complained about this, as is their right. They may have felt that the ad was naive and misjudged, but it's all so depressing whenever people cry racism with the slightest prompting.
Does anyone genuinely believe that a massive multinational would okay an ad that compared chocolate to a black woman on the basis of her racial make-up?
Personally I don't, but by the same token I wouldn't have believed that Cadbury's would, twice in rapid succession, release adverts that could be attacked on the grounds of mocking black people.
Anyway, here's a strapline for that ad that might have been racist:
"Like Naomi Campbell, it's brown"
This list of 'best print ads' includes the most '20 Most Hilarious And Clever Print Ads Ever' according to the Business Insider site, or '20-of-the-most-hilairious-and-clever-print-ads-ever-2010' according to the URL - thus becoming the first article to break known laws of time.
There are quite a few old favourites in here but there's a good amount of newbies too, including several from some glass-cleaning product manufacturer called Windex, the best of which is below.
My favourite is one for insect-and-bug-killing spray Raid, showing an arm presumably belonging to everyone's favourite friendly neighbourhood Spiderman. Subtle, witty and memorable. Just don't tell Marvel.
There are a few genuine funnies, including ads for Pepsi Twist (a lime urinating lime juice - presumably - into a can of Pepsi); one for Bose noise reduction headphones (man rows obliviously towards waterfall); Timotei (bouffant lion); clothes softener Softlan Ultra (a wrestler enjoying the feeling of his opponent's vest); Chupa Chups (ants avoid lolly on ground).
There's also one for diamonds that suggests that buying a girl an engagement ring will mean you get to open more than just a joint account. It's rather unpleasant, and reminiscent of Family Guy spoof of De Beers' adverts.
Inevitably a few are neither clever nor hilarious, including one for Sheetz (sauce on chip) and Aquafresh. Amusingly, Hugh Cornwell out of The Stranglers seems to put in an appearance one of the glass-cleaning ads too.
Anyway, a few of my favourite are below. Head over to Business Insider for the full list.