For those of you who are regular readers, keep taking the medication. But thanks for coming back to the site after it was laid low by a malware attack that I eventually traced back to the servers of a shadowy cabal of ad execs who get together once a week to snort coke off the body of a dead hooker.
Anyway, all of that meant that I couldn't do my usual round-up of the year's worst adverts. Which was a shame, but also kinda appropriate. Because I don't think there was a single 'worst advert' last year. Why? Because the worst advert of 2012 wasn't an advert. It was an idea.
This whole site is based on a kinda overplayed hyperbole, which can be roughly - and I hope not entirely accurately - summed up as 'this advert makes me want to kill myself - and other people'. Of course they do no such thing, but many adverts do make me feel annoyed, irritable and a little bit helpless.
And this is the point of the new generation of adverts. Liking these new adverts is no good at all. Being amused by them or finding them cute isn't enough. Being able to ignore them is a disaster. Being angered; being physically affected by these spots isn't just a happy by-product, it's the very raison d'etre: the hot flush of annoyance, the raised heart rate, the merciless vomiting and the Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
Just think about that for a while. The point of adverts is to persuade you to do something you might not otherwise do. To part with your money in such a way that benefits someone else. On a personal level this sort of transaction might be represented by asking a friend or family member to loan you a few quid, after buttering them up with a few well-chosen words.
Or head to a job interview and lie about how great you are, all the time smiling, grinning, nodding at the endless bullshit spewing out of everyone's mouths and shaking hands while dying inside. And what if you want to convince your partner to do something they might not do otherwise? Needless to say, chances are you'll do a lot more than shake hands.
This is all part and parcel of the way we lead our lives, as human beings and as animals. It's a basic transaction in life. Heck, if my cat wants something he starts rubbing himself up against me. But imagine if all of these transactions were solicited in another fashion.
I don't buy my mate a pint before asking him if he can advance me £50, I punch him in the face. I don't praise a potential employer's workflow system, I piss in his amusing Simpsons mug. My missus kicks me in the knackers and my cat claws me in the eye.
We wouldn't put up with any of these interactions, let along smilingly hand over our cash, job or bacon rind. Yet that's what we do every day when these 30-second adverts are beamed into our minds with the explicit intention of upsetting us. Where does this end? Unskipabble Confused.com adverts on the start of DVDs? Gio Compario popping up on cinema screens? Rickrolling by Barry Scott?
I don't know, but I do know this. Efforts to piss you off will only increase. And all the technical weapons that are available will be deployed. Email, mobile, behavioural targeting, contextual ads and whatever the current conglomeration of web/streaming/TV and on-demand turns into.
The reason for this is that there are now adverts whose only point is to make you aware of a service. Not like it, not appreciate the quality of it, not have any loyalty towards it – simply know of its existence. It doesn't matter if you hate it; in fact, it's better if you hate it.
This is why the likes of Confused.com can launch stupefyingly bad adverts at us that are both horribly annoying and objectively shite without it making a shred of difference. It's why Go Compare is inflicting some smugly reflexive adverts about its own awfulness on us. And why the meerkat and its spin-offs are everywhere - even breaking out into the real world in the shape of dolls and - for the love of everything that is good - books.
Along with MoneySupermarket, these services are identical. They do exactly the same things, with literally nothing to differentiate on from the other. Coke and Pepsi; Sky and Virgin, Ford and Vauxhall. All of them emphasise why they're different and better than the other. The comparison services do not care about such things. Awareness is the only factor.
This nascent tactic is gaining ground among betting websites, where there is similarly nothing meaningful to separate most companies. PaddyPower has ditched its amusing adverts promoting money-back bets and opted for a dog-whistling adverts that skirt the borders of animal cruelty and various unpleasant bigotries. The Ladbrokes one with the idiotic Chris Kamara (LOL! Legend!) just has a bloke screaming at the TV for most of its duration.
This is because these companies want to be at the forefront of your mind when you make some soul-crushingly banal life decision such as "I'm going to start betting on the internet" - the sort of decision that indicates that you've probably given up on life and settled for a warm, unthreatening existence of DVD box-sets, football, pizzas, wanking on the sofa and worrying about immigration.
Need car insurance? Write down what initially comes into your head. Blocked sink? Inexplicable desire to place a bet on the Stoke / Sunderland game? What did you write? I bet, to your surprise or horror, that you were able to immediately jot down a few brand names you didn't even know were swimming around in your grey matter. Your own personal spam software isn't working anymore - you turned it off without even knowing it.
Advertisers will do anything to get in your head. And your slavery to the television opens the door to them. When idiots complain about the licence fee and profess that the other channels are 'free' just think about this spirit-killing exchange we make in order to get our 'free television'. This is where our witless defence of the right to choose has led us – a cowed acceptance of brainwashing; complicity in our own alienation, exploitation and subjugation. The tyranny of choice has never been so clear.
If the current state of affairs has taught us anything, it's that we can't be trusted to make our own decisions. If you want a vision of the future imagine a stupefied man drowning in pizza boxes, coke cans and Pringles tubes, the reflection of a Confused.com advert dancing in his eyes, forever.
This is the future we've chosen; it's the one we deserve. Happy New Year.
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.
Another month, another deluge of funny, weird, sexy and scary keywords that AdTurds readers have been typing into their search engines.
The one in the title - Fuck off I'm not talking to rice Uncle Ben - tickled me, but the following one also elicited a giggle too:
does the vw advert really say wouldn't it be nice if we were rover?
It isn't, of course, but the idea of it amused me. I doubt if any car manufacturer in the last 20 years would envy Rover, but the notion of VW putting subliminal messages into its ads, such peculiar ones at that, is an intriguing one.
Elsewhere the guy on the far left of the Halifax choir is upsetting readers - several readers have been upset by him. I've not seen him yet, but I imagine there's already a Facebook page that exists simply to disparage him. He'll probably be making an appearance on here soon, as I suspect I'm going to loathe Halifax's new ads even more than the old ones in the long run.
Paul Whitehouse, Stephen Merchant, Cheryl Baker and Louise Rednknapp were in the firing line this month - I particularly liked 'freddie flintoff morrisons fucking idiot' though.
Already the shortlist for the worst adverts of 2011 article is forming. And what a shitty shortlist it's shaping up to be.
AdTurds October 2011 keywords
oh the hatred i feel for the halifax adverts cannot be put into words - 11 separate instances. I find this hard to believe, but surely Google can't be wrong? According to the Big G 11 different people typed this phrase into their search engine and navigated here
"go compare" "fuck off" - 9 separate instances
confused.com fat black woman - 8 separate instances
stephen merchant is a c*nt - 4 separate instances
anyone else hate that guy in the loreal commercial? - 3 separate instances
fathers made to look stupid - 3 separate instances
fuck off halifax you c*nts! - 3 separate instances
fathers made to look stupid - 3 separate instances, see more on the stupid dad meme
gillette fusion proglide challenge guy is a twat - 3 separate instances
stephen merchant what a fuckin wanker - 3 separate instances
colmans advert disgusting cow - 2 separate instances
fuck off i'm not talking to rice uncle ben
what is the new muller advert about? - not yoghurt, I don't think
"patula" kid can fuck off
...... the confused.com woman keeps pulling stuff out her vadge! seriously.
advert where woman leaves her poop on the table - genuinely don't know what this ad is - anyone?
adverts with bums
adverts with gordon brown
are the 2 girls in the maltesers ad with boyfriends asleep sisters?
are the haribo family a real family
bmw she's a cunt commercial - sounds like a bold new ad strategy for BMW
bt advert - where is the bt womans baby? - good question
can i fuck danni minogue for cash?
chummy mums love fucking
colmans new advert gravy creepy
colmans gravy advert needs to fucking stop
colmans advert for beef gravy is horrible
confused.com advert aimed at homosexuals
do gay people object to the malteasers ad
does anyone else refuse to use go compare simply because they hate the adverts?
does anyone hate the fat fucker from the jacamo advert?
does the vw advert really say wouldn't it be nice if we were rover?
freddie flintoff morrisons fucking idiot
gillette fusion commercial voice over fuck buddy
girl shitting herself outside the palace in halifax
guy on the far left of halifax ad
halifax advert choir bottom left man annoying
halifax advert stupid bloke in choir
halifax adverts make me sick
halifax choir cunts
horrible awful weird money supermarket tv ad gorilla terrible
i hate the new coffee advert don't want to see people fucking on my tv
ive shagged cheryl baker
martine mccutcheons huge fat bum
mignon morceaux phileas fogg m&s - I remember these fried snacks fondly
muller advert what the fuck?
pepsi twist lime urinating analysis - great ad
professional women has a poop accident in her panties
sky broadband is fucking shit crap bullshit stupid
tesco people who are ugly
throwing poo acid advert uk - I refuse to believe there's such an advert
torture tory bing commercial - ditto
volkswagen advert hitler think blue
what advert had a wig attacking people - dunno but I want to see it
what the hell is happening in the new muller advert
who are the 3 men in the eurostar advert - advert win!
who are the tossers in eurostar advert
eurostar ad with jarvis cocker, who are the other two?
who is rod rammage?
who is that silly woman in the iceland ads?
who is the fat thing go compare
why cadbury caramel is better than cadbury crunchie
wispa death pussy images