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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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Vodafone Advert: Martin Freeman Submits To Money

Martin Freeman Vodafone advert

I have a lot of time for Martin Freeman. His everyman, underdog shtick has a real ring of authenticity and, as the most relatable man in most television series or films he's in he's a natural repository of good will and trust for the viewing public. Tim in The Office; John Watson in Sherlock; Arthur Dent in Hitchhikers; Bilbo Fucking Baggins... he's always a bit nice, a bit awkward and so very human. He might as well have been walking around with a target painted on his back as far as advertising is concerned - hence this Vodafone advert.

I wrote an email to a Government agency a while ago, providing my advice on how to communicate important things (pensions, benefits - boring, awkward, difficult stuff to communicate in adverts) through the medium of television advertising, having been unimpressed by their over-complicated efforts.

The concept ran as such: if you need to tell the unwashed masses about something both dull and difficult - the switching off of the analogue system that was feared might result in thousands of grannies being unable to watch Countdown and not knowing why, for example - you do it as simply as possible. An example: Michael Parkinson, sat on a chair, a white background, explaining in white-hot Yorkshire common sense that you need to buy a Freeview box if you want to be able to continue watching Inspector Morse repeats for 18 hours a day.

For that demographic you could hardly do better than Parky - a man with a face like Harrogate toffee, a voice like warm beer and a presence like a crackling open fire. A man imbued with good humour and sincerity.

Martin Freeman is the Michael Parkinson of Generation X and Y, who have almost been trained to listen to what he says and silently root for him. Tim the Underdog, John the Underdog, Arthur the Underdog, Martin the Underdog. Slightly pained, put-upon - but we will always have his back. Because he's you, me, us. We see Martin Freeman and we see ourselves. So if Martin Freeman has a Vodafone contract and wants to make lots of money through that association, who are we to judge?

For advertisers, Martin Freeman must be catnip - not for nothing is his voice lathered over TV adverts. Freeman is a precision-guided missile to your Trust Nodules, buried deep inside your Empathy Gland, just next to your Buying Synapses. It's no surprise he's in such demand from charities and political parties - it's hard to think of anyone better who can convey the required feels.

In this context it's clear why Freeman is a man in demand in advertising. And despite the ubiquity of his adverts, the frequency of them and - more often than not - the annoyingness of them, we can't hold it against him.

For he is Martin Freeman. Bastard.