You know when someone says something that's a bit surreal or off-the-wall that kind of has the potential to be funny but falls very flat?
It comes across as just a bit awkward and try-hard – like it was pre-meditated and someone decided that they would say it and it would be hilarious and make out that they were just being spontaneous and wacky?
But it's someone who isn't know for being spontaneous and wacky – it's someone know for being deeply unfunny and even a bit of a knob.
You feel sorry for them, because they're making an effort. Most attempts at humour are really some sort of attempt to ingratiates oneself in a social situation. But when someone tries it an it falls flat it's embarrassing for everyone involved.
You know those moments? The awkward silence? Someone attempting to humour them? Their own obliviousness to the fact that their joke just fell flatter than a whaffer-thin mint?
That's what this Go Compare ad is. And if you missed the reference that's how Go Compare should have done this new twist on the Gio Compario story. Sue Barker blowing him up with a bazooka? Tragically unfunny.
This is a shame, because this new ad starts really well - Gio running over to a couple of singing the 'Go Compare jingle at them. They're disturbed, unsure. There's a ot of comic potential here – but it's all wasted in a kerrayzee (in reality more lame than a John Bishop gag) pay-off that has everyone involved staring at their shoes in shame.
An opportunity missed – and quite possibly the start of a shit new campaign that has Bruce Forsyth, Christine Bleakley and Gary Linekar trying to finish off the fat fuck.
ETA: Now with added Stuart Pearce. Literally everything I wrote above applies to this too.
Funny thing coincidence, eh? On the day when the following search query directed someone to AdTurds:
when are they going to get rid of that annoying go compare advert. it has been driving my wife mad for the last 2 years?
...it was announced that Go Compare is to review its advertising account, quite possibly spelling the end for the fat opera bell-end.
Go Compare has, for me, just become a kind of buzzing noise that is faintly irritating but I've managed to push into my subconscious. Not so AdTurds readers, who are still driven to spitting fury by the seemingly never-ending production line of utterly terrible adverts.
In the face of the seemingly unconquerable meerkat, Confused.com's determination to push the bounds of gynaecology and MoneySupermarket virtually throwing money at people to use its services, time may be called on Gio Compario and his rather boring antics.
Here's what The Drum has to say on the subject:
It is believed that a pitch process is being planned for next month at which three agencies will compete for the work, alongside Go Compare’s own in-house marketing team – which produces the notorious TV ads.
It also suggests that Gio – or, more likely, singer Wynne Evans – is contracted to Go Compare for another year.
So, the question is, can we stomach it for another year? AdTurds readers voted it their least favourite in my wholly scientific price-comparison advert poll last year.
I'd say we were at the end of our collective wicks a long time ago, but I don't think that will affect Go Compare's decision. Go Compare, perhaps more than any other ad, has shown agencies that annoyance is a powerful weapon when it comes to financial services ads. Ads that have nothing more interesting to offer than the unmitigated thrill of typing our personal details into web-page fields that may offer us slightly cheaper home insurance.
What I'm saying here, what I'm getting at is this: Go Compare may not be the end, it may be the beginning.
Is there such thing as a 'favourite price-comparison website advert'? It's a bit like 'favourite dictator' or 'favourite plague-carrying creature' really isn't it? The least of several evils or somesuch.
Still, I was curious as to whether it was possible to create something memorable and reasonably enjoyable - or 'reasonably not irritating' at least - so I created a poll to find out the UK's favourite price-comparison adverts, and form what would almost certainly be the most incisive, wide-ranging, in-depth and analytical, er, analysis of the ads ever prepared - ever.
Something that works for the advertiser and doesn't drive viewers to murderous, visceral hatred. Let's face it, creating a price-comparison advert that doesn't drive people to uncontrolled defecation several times a day is a massive win in these stakes.
With the number of votes nearing 100 I decided that the time was right to analyse the results. Well, that and the fact that I was quickly losing interest in the topic.
I had a feeling one would be way out in front, with the other three rooted to the foot of the table (to borrow a phrase used by every sports commentator when discussing Premiership football), with a sprinkling of 'Fuck you! They all suck!' responses - which are entirely reasonable under the circumstances - fighting it out with Confused.com and Go Compare.
But while I was correct on the first count - there was a runaway winner with over half of the vote - I was surprised that one of the competitors pushed the leader close for a long time before taking second place with almost one third of the total vote.
What does this tell us? Well, firstly it seems to tell us that people are indeed amused by - and fond of - Aleksandr Orlov, the Russian meerkat perpetually frustrated by idiot internetters mistaking his rodent-prostitution website for a price-comparison website.
For what it's worth I think the CompareTheMeerkat adverts are by far the best of the bunch, with a clear message and clarity of brand and purpose. And a neat, amusing pun to boot. Well done to agency VCCP for achieving the seemingly impossible.
Runner-up was Omid Djalili's efforts as Haggle Hero for MoneySupermarket adverts, a bonkers Iranian mithering unlikely celebrities for not trying to get better deals on their insurance.
I found the Nigel Mansell and John Prescott ads pretty good the first couple of times I saw them - the ads settling into a comfortable routine after some initially dubious first efforts - and the fact that Djalili's arrival heralded the departure of that Peter Jones berk and his series of embarrassing ads raises it even higher in my eyes.
As Germaine Greer reportedly said of the Jones adverts: "I thought being rich meant you didn't have to suck that kind of cock." Nice one Germaine.
Third place was taken by Confused.com with its brilliant set of adverts featuring a swivel-eyed bouncing-breasted fruit loop warbling bad karaoke that makes everyone think it's a dating service.
My thoughts are well-documented, but I will recount a conversation I recently had with someone who works at Confused.com - the gist of which is that everyone at Confused.com is well aware of how awful the ads are apart from the marketing department. Make of that what you will.
Second to the bottom were a series of responses that would normally comprise the 'Don't know' option, but in this case comprised a kind of 'Fuck you! They're all shit!' option. Fair enough.
And in last place - somewhat surprisingly to me - was poor old Gio Compario, the fat tenor, who finds himself in a series of unlikely situations singing operatically about price comparison websites.
Sheer overexposure? Is it time to kill off Gio? Hardly - while it's possible to read something into the good results for CompareTheMarket.com and MoneySupermarket.com it's less clear to discern whether people actually dislike the Confused.com or GoCompare.com adverts.
Perhaps they just don't make as much of an impression; perhaps the adverts are disliked, though that doesn't say much of their penetration; perhaps people are overfamiliar with them. And perhaps the people who are more inclined to like it are less likely to stumble across this website and vote for all sorts of reasons. They don't use the computer; they don't search the web; they didn't find this website; they don't search for bad adverts websites; SEO; blindness; mental derangement.
What I'm saying is that this is hardly scientific. Having said that I'm going to pretend it is, because a spot of own-trumpet-blowing never did anyone any harm.
So there you have it. Aleksandr Orlov - aka CompareTheMarket.com/CompareTheMeerkat.com - is the winner. Imagine the CGI meerkat receiving a golden turd mounted on fist with a single, middle, upraised finger. And Djalili getting a silver one. And Cara Confused having her stupid goggle-eyed head cleaved in two by a giant scythe.
And understand that I still hate them all.
As we've already discovered, people think that Confused.com is now some sort of dating site thanks to its latest weird-ass ads featuring a swivel-eyed mentalist thrashing around on the screen.
After the swivel-eyed loonie warbled and wailed its way through Somebody To Love and Chain Reaction, making everybody believe that the price-comparison outfit had ventured into some sort of lonely hearts website for crazy cult members, there's now an advert out trying to reiterate the point that it's actually a website about comparing insurance quotes - something about ten billion miles away from a strange karaoke with a load of weird squiggles bouncing their tits around.
Too little too late? However annoying the meerkat, Go Compare and Moneysupermarket ads are, there's an undoubted clarity of purpose to them. The new Gio-in-space and John Prescott Money Supermarket ads suggest that these memes have a lot further to run, so I thought I'd do a poll to see which are peoples' favourites of the price comparison ad wars.
Vote for your favourite at the bottom. Before you get there, here's a reminder.
Cara Confused thing
See more Confused.com adverts
See more ComparetheMarket adverts
Omid Djalili thing
See more Moneysupermarket adverts
Fat tenor thing
See more Go Compare adverts
The latest Go Compare advert - featuring our fat insurance-comparing Italian tenor running amok in a Keystone Cops-style silent film car chase - is perhaps the least annoying yet.
That's because while the 'Go Compare' jingle is still in place, it's missing Gio Compario's witless refrain, a noise with all the attendant insistence and pain of a dental drill.
For that reason it may not have the same effect - either on the nerves of the viewing population or the memories of price-comparison customers. Although that hardly seems to matter now. Gio's singing or not the brand seems unstoppable now, like a giant radioactive asteroid heading for New York.
Some things seem to be a fact of life these days; things we hate; things that add a little spot of irritation to our lives; things that just make us want to punch the nearest face until it's just a bloody pulp.
Traffic jams, road works, premiership footballers, Piers Morgan, X-Factor, train strikes, the News of the World, Kelvin MacKenzie, Kay Burley and... adverts.
Were adverts always designed to annoy us? Probably, watch any selection of ads from the 50s and there are catchy jingles, overenthusiastic actors, glitzy sets and repetitive slogans. All there to burrow into your consciousness like a parasitic wasp on a caterpillar.
But it's only recently that adverts have become actively hard to escape. Sure, the way we watch television these days means we consume more adverts than when it was just the good old BBC, cheap'n'cheerful ITV and young upstart Channel 4.
But the way we consume across a number of media means there are more routes of attack for advertisers. Print, radio, online, cinema, mobile, interactive... All are simply roads into your consciousness, ready to be exploited.
And what roads. The absurd thing is, you choose to watch them. You sit, supine, while they sap your will to live.
You even seek them out on the internet to confirm how much you hate them. Advertisers must be frotting themselves senseless.
What else to make of people who come to this blog seeking to watch an advert that drives them around the bend? An advert that could almost be pitched at kids, it's so ridiculous.
An advert that draws LOLz and ROFLz like it's a dramatic chipmunk. Only the dramatic chipmunk never wanted you to fill in your car insurance details on its site in order to save twenty quid. It's sheer, evil genius.
Go Compare seems to annoy people much more than any other ad on the TV. Sure it's annoying, but it doesn't actually bother me as much as many others.
Readers searching for the ad and ending up here seem almost driven to homicidal rages by it; here are some examples of what AdTurds reads have been searching for:
go compare ad fuck
i fucking hate go compare
go compare ads fucking shit
go compare advert racist friday
go compare arse
go compare died
i fucking hate go compare adverts
Who'd have thought Gio Compario could stir up such ire. But it's not Gio's fault. We watch them; we seek them out; we Google them; we buy the t-shirts.
We created him; we nourished him; we sustain him. It pains me to say it, but we get the adverts we deserve.