ITV's Ad of the Year really is a quite remarkable conceit – a programme on a channel funded by advertising telling you how great advertising is. Interspersed with adverts.
It's fiendishly clever, in a way that the people responsible can only be baddies and must be machine-gunned to death by a 'double O' agent to make things right. That's probably unlikely to happen, so you'll have to settle for my efforts.
Ben Shepherd sells it like he's narrating a royal wedding; Lorraine Kelly does her level best to look like the stupidest person who ever existed; a parade of ad bods prove to be various shades of annoying.
The most interesting thing about all this is wondering how ITV comes up with these ads. Going through them I realised I've literally never seen about one in five of them.
I don't watch vast amounts of television, but you'd think if there were going to be adverts featured in a 'best adverts of the year' TV show, someone who blogs on adverts might have seen them.
Anyway, until we see ITV's working I think it's best if we all assume that there's some sort of financial bribery involved.
These are the top 20 best ads for 2011, according to a panel of ITV viewers. I'm with Sid Vicious when it comes to the man on the street.
The Sun - Football brought to life
Rotoscoping was invented by The Sun, apparently. Terry Venables dribbles a load of cliched footy waffle out.
"It was like an explosion but with the beauty of a dance," says Vegetables. What a load of shit.
It looks nice, but it's for vile hate-mongering filth-sheet The Sun, so it must be absolutely horrible. Go away.
Walls sausages dog thing
The dog who sounds like The Streets who apologises for useless men. Hated this from the outset.
'Behind the scenes' stuff in the ad included all sort of hideously banal details that would make you want to go out and nut a heron.
Dior - J'adore
Charlize Theron meets Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe etc. I have literally never seen this on television, so how did ITV viewers decide it was the 18th best ad of the year?
Bafflingly, the ad creators refuse to divulge how they shot the ad. Something involving time travel, presumably. I literally cannot think of any other way.
Like the concept; hate the execution. Horrible whiny-voiced band.
Love these ads; don't care what anyone says. Music is great, ambiance wonderful; oddness intact, everyone love Suggs.
Kid dances with teddies. Another ad I've literally never seen before. What gives? Arlene Philips talks about the dancing teddies on the programme. Jesus.
Corgis search for television. Literally never seen this. Lorraine Kelly think this ad 'very very good'. We get to listen to the owners of the dogs. For crying out loud.
Clothes dance. Literally never seen it. Arlene Philips lends vital – and I do mean vital – insight into what it's like to dance while dressed as a pair of trousers. The hair transplant man from a talent show was 'bowled over'.
This is a genuine classic. Razor-sharp lines that are totally on the button. Brilliant. Wonderfully pulled off. Mel Sykes basically reveals that she gets wet when this ad comes on.
The JR Hartley ad updated. Don't think this works. Not especially charming, though well done.
Heineken - the entrance
Despise this music, so can't like this advert. Yes, yes, well done.
People on the programme express amazement over the choreography. Pathetic.
Lynx - Sexy boy
Angels fall to Earth, remove halos in search of man who smells of gas. It's kinda the sort of thing that Lynx does. Whether you think that makes it brilliant probably depends on whether you read Nuts, or work in advertising. Smell is important, says Mel Sykes.
Hovis - Farmer's Race
Literally never seen this. Farmers run. Quite nice. 'Real farmers' were actually involved. Fuck me.
John Lewis - Through the ages
I genuinely don't get John Lewis adverts. They seem to work, but why? All they do is borrow good stuff from other people. Certainly there's a skill involved in picking music, but it's all such a shamelessly obvious tactic.
We're supposed to believe that everyone cries when they see these ads. Let's not overstate the case here – these are well-made ads but there's nothing novel about them.
"Brilliantly uses music," says Arlene Phillips. For the love of Christ.
Also, the ad ends with The Kooks, who are obviously fucking shit.
British Airways - The Aviators
Fuck right off. This is an absolute fucking disgrace. It's insulting. It's disingenuous. It's totally shameless. Despicable, awful, hideous. Dreadful. I'm not kidding. (Read my original post on this - the biggest wank ever wanked ).
Cancer Research UK
A powerful advert, no doubt. I like ads like this for charities that show you real lives – and show you the upside to charitable works.
Aldi Xmas adverts
Like these. Real people. In and out fast. Not too twee. Well done.
VW Darth Vader ads
Brilliant fun, really well done though I still struggle to connect the product with the ad. See if you can name the car. Bet you can't.
T-Mobile - Parking Ticket
Fake traffic wardens befriend motorists. The sort of thing that might raise a flicker of interest for four seconds during your lunch break. No doubt people in advertising will tell us how astonishingly clever this is.
I do like the actors in it though.
Cravendale - Cats with thumbs
Walking cats. Meh.
Last year I described this as drowning in warm bovril while Lorraine Kelly and Ben Shepherd coo in your ear. This year, more like a load of boardroom suits patting your fevered brow while relieving you of your wallet.
Any programme called something like 'advert of the year' is like a red rag to a bull/ Surely very few people actually like adverts? That's why a really good ad sticks in the mind – because normally they're few and far between.
This ITV 'programme' – the inverted commas are a reference to the fact that this barely qualifies as programming; think of it as an extended ad break with some of your most hated people popping up from time to time and you're about right – presumes to tell us what the 20 best ads of 2010 were, according to ITV viewers.
8,000 ITV viewers, so unlikely to include Brian Sewell, Peter Yorke, Adrian Serle and Melvyn Bragg - or many more people who would recognise a pile of nonsense if it slapped them in the face.
2010 was, we're told, an "incredible year for adverts" that we "couldn't wait to tell people about". Apparently they've been "funnier, more inspiring and posed more questions than ever before". If you're anything like me the questions were usually along the lines of "who do I have to talk to to ensure this never happens again?".
These ads "made us go 'aaah'" or "turned back time and made us all think". Oh, they certainly made me think.
Usually I thought bad things, as I've detailed below, along with my thoughts on the actual Ad of the Year programme.
20. Go Compare
By identifying themselves, I fear creators Chris Wilkins and Sian Vickers may have committed a fatal error, if the keyword queries on AdTurds' Google Analytics account are to be believed.
Funnily enough, for two people who have created such unremitting misery, the pair, along with the Welsh bloke who plays Gio Compario, seem like quite pleasant people. Then again, they say Hitler was quit a nice chap in person (Christ, Godwinned myself with the first one).
• See also: Go Compare on AdTurds
19. Virgin Holidays
I'd literally never seen this before, which begs the question as to how ITV viewers held it in such high regard. Were the ITV guinea pigs were given a list of 20 and told to pick them in order?
Only a genuinely annoying advert came below this one, which is about right, as this looks totally forgettable, featuring a band called the Danke Schons (what?) doing a load of tedious old rock cliches; ('with credibility') according to the ad creator.
As a bonus someone called Vicky Binns proves to be an annoying twat, although nowhere near as annoying as a complete bell-end called Joe Cardamone.
Never seen this one either. Something about a big Dorito.
"What sort of a mind would come up with a concept like that?" asks Lorraine Kelly, for whom life must be an absolute ever-day wonder. Someone who'd watched District 9 perhaps?
17. Yeo Valley
Never seen this one. Rapping farmers.
Carlsberg's advert for the World Cup, making jingoism cool again. Thing is, I actually liked this for a while. Until the bit where they rape Bobby Robson's memory. And the bit where it goes a bit racist. Created by a guy who looks like he loves shit lager.
"You almost see [Jeff Stelling] as this pyscho beer-drinking hooligan," says some young twonk of the ad.
• See also: Carlsberg on AdTurds
The fat blokes runs. Quite a pleasant little advert. The bloke shed two stone in a few weeks in the course of making this ad. In the programme he looks like he's piled it all back on quicksmart.
Something about a young girl who likes bread. Never seen it. A bit Grange Hill. Quite pleasant.
13. Stella Artois
The one with the runaway piano. Quite diverting. "All I remember is a hot guy playing a piano," says Suzanne Shaw, showing that it didn't really work on her, and that she's dense.
12. Cadbury's fingers
Chocolate fingers scale Everest; play in band; land on moon. Quite good.
• See also: Caadbury's on AdTurds
Turning Carlisle railway station into something a bit more middle-class is actually quite a nice idea. Sure it's selling MDF and plastic chairs, but things that put a genuine smile on people's faces are so few and far between these days I didn't mind.
"What would happen if we put 100 cats in an Ikea store," is the stunning thunderbolt that brought this ad into reality. Being a cat owner, I could provide a fairly short list, with the word 'piss' featuring quite highly.
Since I own a cat, however, I quite like this.
This ad for the Audi R8 Spyder, featuring a load of cars on an ice rink, is a bit of cracker, like many Audi ads.
Having said that, I doubt it was the best car ad of 2010, nevermind one of the best ads of the year. Still, lovely to see the old cars, lovely concept, great execution.
Walkers turn Sandwich into a UK version of Westworld, but with celebrities. About the same amount of plastic though. Quite a nice idea, but I couldn't give a fuck about this.
7. Peter Kay - John Smiths
Meh. Not bad, but Kay is so overexposed and carries with him a reputation for nastiness that the new John Smiths ads simply don't have the same charm these days.
Skater babies. Fucking horrible. Aimed at every lobotomised coo-ing woman that thinks anything to do with babies is brilliant.
The bit where the babies skate towards the fence and jump at it will have me waking up, screaming and sweating, for weeks to come.
Frankly the whole thing looks astonishingly twee, deeply wrong and overwhelmingly disturbing.
Obviously overexposed, but I find the meerkat adverts quite diverting. AdTurds fact: Aleksandr Orlov is voiced by the geordie bloke from Alan Partridge.
4. John Lewis
"It captured the nation's imagination and emotion," says some woman about this John Lewis advert, which made us all cry, apparently.
This is the sort of advert that only affects people who aren't really in touch with their own emotions; the sort of people who might not be able to relate to such complex emotions as 'sadness' or 'happiness' without being told what they mean by a fucking advert.
Lorraine Kelly and some other talking heads discuss this advert, which I didn't really like, as if it were Shakespeare, Voltaire and Chekhov all rolled into one. It's actually Dan Brown.
• See also: John Lewis on AdTurds
3. PG Tips
Johnny Vegas and Monkey. Genuinely amusing, likeable, comforting. Nothing bad to say about these.
A rollercoaster that goes wherever you want it to – to work and back, through the shops, and past the windows of naked fitties (especially one that enjoy being perved over) – is a lovely idea. But that's as far as this advert goes.
Because there's nothing especially winning about this advert, especially in relation to what it's selling. I just don't see how it fits together. It doesn't make me think of Barclays. It doesn't make me think of money. It just makes me think, a little bit, about rollercoasters. And then I do something else.
Lorraine Kelly wonders how they made the advert. Christ.
The dog does funny things. Quite diverting. No idea what the ad is saying or the product is.
Critical faculties left at the door. Some of the dumbest talking heads on bodies that are actually still alive. Mainly-charmless ad types discussing tedious details from adverts. Many poor ads.
The televisual equivalent of doping yourself up on tranquilizers and slowly drowning in a bath of Ovaltine while Lorraine Kelly and Ben Shephard coo comforting platitudes into your ears.