Have you ever noticed how few black people there are in Christmas adverts? Or Oriental or Asian?
I'm guessing that different racial demographics are a lot less valuable to the Christmas Cash Climax that this time of the years represents, with WASPs more likely to actually indulge in this celebration of the market economy, but once you've noticed it, it's hard to un-notice.
For all that the media is reasonably heterogeneous these days it's as if everyone closes ranks at Christmas. Look at the smiling white extended-family faces. You don't see many people in wheelchairs, fellas kissing one another, black families pulling crackers or Muslims, well, doing whatever it is that Muslims do on Christmas Day.
Not that this is a call for a token black face amid the sea of caucasians all over the airwaves - that would be almost as insulting. But a Christmas advert featuring only a black family seems unthinkable. As does the cold hard reality of what Christmas is for a lot of people - and sorry to be such a miserable fucker at this point - a lonely time.
Here's one that would take some real fucking balls - and guarantee my loyalty for many years to come. Instead of jizzing all of that cash on some hungry celebrities I'm calling out the supermarkets: Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury's, Waitrose, Morrisons, Marksies. The lot of 'em.
Here's what you do with that cash. You take over a nice hotel in 30 towns and cities around the country. You use your own produce - the nice stuff, the free-range stuff, the expensive stuff - and cook a Christmas dinner for the local Salvation Army patrons. Homeless types, kids on the street, care home people, the elderly, George Entwistle; people like that. Roast turkey, some live entertainment, loads of booze, some crakcers, a few gifts and transport there and back.
What's the cost of that? Even if it were thirty grand a pop you're still quids in. And imagine all that lovely publicity. That's 2013's advert sorted - and a smile on the faces of thousands of people who might not have much reason to crack a grin. And, perhaps more to the point, we don't have suffer your annual smugathons that are as hard to digest as a three-day turkey-and-stuffing sarnie.
Go on, British supermarkets, do it. I challenge you. I dare you.
OK, on that bombshell I'm going to round up this Xmas ads from this year. If last year's Xmas ads are anything to go by it won't be pretty...
Alien sperms continue to swim around our television screens, like the smeary laptop screen of a man who knows the names of all his favourite porn stars and sends them a picture of his cock in the post every Yuletide.
I don't know why Argos is continuing to plough this furrow - to justify the hefty wodges of cash that have been already sunk into the concept presumably - but this seems to be a stinker on all levels.
It's annoying, it's bemusing, I don't see how it connects with the brand (perhaps, once, there was an idea that aliens would take to the 'wrong-way-round' Argos shopping experience, or something) and it feels well past its sell-by-date.
But, more to the point, it's trying to make a virtue of something that isn't particularly helpful. Surely the whole attraction of shopping online is that it's then delivered to your door at no extra cost? If you have to order online, not necessarily easy in the first place, and then physically go to an Argos store anyway what's the sodding point?
What's more, Argos' thing is that you have to look through a catalogue to find what you want, fill out a little form and then take it to the desk. It's that classic thing of making a virtue out of something that, on the face of it, is actually harder than the usual system (see also: Salt And Shake crisps).
But the Argos online shopping app removes that whole exchange. So not only is the online shopping thing not especially helpful, it also invalidates the whole point of Argos.
With this ad, Argos has just ejaculated in its own face.
Times worse than my charitable Christmas advert idea: 30
So far all I can find online is this effort from Tesco, which involved a Furbie and Lionel Richie (and doesn't that sound like a great internet rumour?).
I have seen a few other Tesco ads that end with a little Christmas hat perched jauntily on the Tesco logo, so I guess this is part of a multi-ad approach that eschews any big central campaign and will offer little snippets of deals, particular products and the like.
As such it doesn't give me a lot to get my teeth into, but I like the fact that the whole campaign isn't resting on some cash-splashing jamboree. But it's not especially memorable either, despite the nifty visual gag.
Tesco calls this advert 'Christmas 2012 Clubcard Exchange advert'. Yeah, and a Happy New BOGOF to you too.
Times worse than my charitable Christmas advert idea: 3
Iceland went a bit off the rails the last two years in its Christmas advertising: in 2010 suggesting some sort of chavvy David Lynch horror festival; last year assaulting us with Stacey Solomon's ginormous face.
I think Iceland has a problem - people think it's cheap: the food is cheap, the people who go there are poor; the brand is toxic. Just yesterday someone told me that they would 'never go into Iceland'. They've only got themselves to blame - for several years the brand has aligned itself with people who scream 'low-rent' - and thus its brand has acquired the same image.
As someone who writes about cars for a living I can tell you at length why being thought of as cheap is dangerous. To be thought of as offering good value, on the other hand, is very different. It's a subtle difference - ultimately a meaningless one - but one that brands get wrong time and again.
However - and this is a big however - this new ad from Iceland might just go some way to changing all that. This Xmas ad looks lovely, it puts product right at the heart of the ad and it's got one of the most calming, sentimentally satisfying noises ever accompanying it.
Pretty much a home-run. And not a hideous celebrity in sight. If there had been one this year my money was on Tulisa - as someone who's probably been seen by many slapping a cock across her own face she probably wouldn't have been the worst celeb Iceland had employed.
Times worse than my charitable Christmas advert idea: 1.1
A new entry - I don't remember seeing any Debenhams ads for a long time. As a new effort it's not bad, but it's very much a greatest hits of successful Xmas ad tropes. A nice train, snow, a glamourous lady running hither and thither and being delighted by what she sees...
At one point it threatens to go a bit Boots, with three women stalking rather jarringly - look at the costumes! - down a flight of stairs and the big John Lewis-style 'awwww' moment at the end.
Inoffensive - and a bit hard to remember who it's for. Which is fairly appropriate as I'd struggle to tell you what sets Debenhams apart from any other department store.
Times worse than my charitable Christmas advert idea: 2
Christmas adverts go austerity. This year we've spent all our cash on a donation to charity, says a voiceover. As if the mink-and-ermined Waitrose customers give a stuff.
I also have a feeling that there's something a bit disingenuous about all this - how much did it cost to buy up all the ad space to tell us you're not spending any cash on a fancy Xmas ad, eh, Waitrose?
Still, one in the eye for all the others who've spunked up a load of cash on celebs and a frankly insane amount of Christmassy milieu. And it's not far off my idea for 2013 - but this doesn't mean you're off the hook, Waitrose. Oh, no...
Times worse than my charitable Christmas advert idea: 2.5
Times worse than my charitable Christmas advert idea: ∞
There are certain groups you can't possibly criticise these days. The Armed Forces, for example - rebranded as 'Heroes' in our modern parlance, seem to be utterly beyond reproach. I've got a lot of time for people whose chosen career paths have taken them into the army, navy or airforce, but I don't think it especially good for society that anyone is untouchable.
But woebetide anyone who has a pop at Mums. This previously-unknown phenomenon in society - actual people who you might pass in the street or live next door to, who have little people inside them and then 'give birth' to those tiny creatures - is now the most exalted in every facet of life.
See how they use their reproductive organs to conceive and then gestate foetuses who grow inside them for nine months before emerging in a bloody, slimey curtain to the spontaneous applause of everyone within a mile's radius.
The ability to fulfill one's sexual facilities seems to be on a par with parting the red sea these days. But there's more. Once they've had these wailing mucal balls extracted from them, these women actually return to work and even go shopping.
If I had my way, we would not rest until every photo posted to Facebook was of a unfocussed child frowning vaguely in the direction of a camera. Everyone who has ever brought a child into the world must be given an OBE. I demand a new Minister for Motherhood and that we replace Nelson atop his tower with a 40-tonne tribute to MumsNet.
Or we could just watch this fucking Christmassy Asda advert. For fuck's sake.
Times worse than my charitable Christmas advert idea: 23
Toys R Us
I can't tell if the people who do the adverts for Toys R Us are secretly setting us up for some sort of glorious return to the days of a smiling giraffe pointing at Connect 4, or whether they're just complete imbeciles.
Because this sexed-up ad for Toys R Us is like asking Dappy to give the New Year's Day message instead of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
A happy-slapping in advert form. Get rid of it, for the love of Geoffrey.
Times worse than my charitable Christmas advert idea: 42
We all know the form by now. An effort that is fairly explicitly trying to make you cry. A precision-guided Cupid's Arrow aiming to shatter your emotional aorta and cause a blockage of sludgey mawk in your left ventricle. A psychological heart attack in advert form.
In this one a snowman - bereft of a comedic genital carrot and possibly related to the Weeping Angels as no-one ever seems to see it move - fetches some gloves for his missus (also a snowperson, but with no snowtits in evidence), requiring a massive trek across, apparently, a bit of England that resembles the Alps.
Next year will be Barber's Adagio For Strings as a series of rostrum-camera'd sepia photos of beloved personalities who have passed away (Tommy Cooper, Eric Morecambe, the Dad's Army cast etc) ticks over in a starlit sky above a donkey sanctuary.
Times worse than my charitable Christmas advert idea: 8
Marks & Spencer
Blergh. Back to middle-class women dancing around like people who are so smug even Ian Hislop thinks it's a bit much. The 'stalking-towards-the-camera' meme, the dicking-about-in-jim-jams stuff, the endless smiling...
There's a half-hearted effort to make it a bit less Surrey-Commuter-Belt-ABC1s with some INXS in there, but really this is Marks and Spencer by the numbers. And those numbers are £39.99 for a scarf you know your Mam secretly dislikes.
Times worse than my charitable Christmas advert idea: 9
I suppose we should be grateful we're not getting the rat-a-tat-tat of Here Come the Fucking Girls again, but Boot's mission to align Christmas and your feelings for your loved ones with hairdryers strikes me as a tough sell.
There are some non-white faces here portrayed in a way that feels natural, so bonus points for that, but there are also a few odd things going on here.
Is the Mum who's in bed at first suffering from some debilitating ailment - is there a suggestion of a disease in remission here? And is the girl who suggests checking into a hotel naked? I'm genuinely not sure. If so, why? If not, then why does it look like they are?
All told, though, I think this is the Christmas advert I dislike the least.
Times worse than my charitable Christmas advert idea: 1.08
With a voiceover so earnest, it makes Kevin Whately talking about African children dying of dysentery sound like a Top 40 chart rundown, this Matalan ad is going for broke in pretending that it gives a fig about its customers' enjoyment of Christmas.
Frankly, I don't believe these massive multi-million quid corporations telling me they love me - and neither should you. So the whole ad is undermined by the transparency of the exchange between customer and vendor.
Matalan, you want my money, not my approval. Don't pretend otherwise - we'll get together a lot better. As it is, you're unlikely to earn neither this festive season.
Times worse than my charitable Christmas advert idea: 11
First things first. Having attempted to do away with Santa in its ad last year, suggesting that a 'lovely muvva' was responsible for all the Christmas shopping, the very first shot is of Saint Nick pulling up on a sleigh this year.
A wise move, I'd suggest, not because I really give a toss about whether children believe in a mythical being or not (see how easy it would be to include a smug Dawkins-esque rant here?) but because the naked commercialisation of young kids was one of the most egregious things I'd ever seen.
Still, Littlewoods is at it again here. Is that a mobile phone that some kids have bought AJ's Mum? Yes it is. How fucking lovely. A phone. I know this is a judgement call, but I don't find anything cute about shoehorning little kids into ads; I find it obnoxious.
What's more, Myleene Klass (it's worth pointing out that she's one of only three identifiable front-of-camera slebs on this year's lot), who I have no particular beef with, seems to have acquired that skeletal hawkish look that 30-something celebs on fad diets assume with the passage of time. To be quite honest, I think it makes her look a bit frightening. Have a few goose-fat-roasted-spuds this Xmas, Myleene.
An attempt to rein in the hideousness of last year's effort then. But there's still something a bit grasping about the whole thing; as if the very thing veneer over the it that could be peeled back to see a call-centre, a distribution depot, a foreign factory...
Times worse than my charitable Christmas advert idea: 9
Woah, and you thought the Asda advert was bad. It would be easy to start crying sexism at this ad - and I don't doubt that many have already. Whether this is patronising to women or men, or whether you see this as a fairly realistic portrayal of what it is to be a woman at this time of year probably depends on your point of view.
I'm going to steer clear of all that stuff - I can see both sides - but I do think this is a bad advert. For fully 86 seconds of the 90 this Morrisons advert consists of, it's slating Christmas. Does the pay-off haul it back over the line? I'm not that sure it does, you know.
So, then, Christmas. An utter ballache, with a side-serving of chauvinism. Sheesh, where's that eggnog?
Times worse than my charitable Christmas advert idea: 5
This is a slogan that I've puzzled over for some time. If you weren't already aware, it's the John Lewis slogan and it's fairly aggressively pushed, as if it's of vital importance to the brand's strength.
The thing is, I don't see how it can be. For a start, exactly how many people know what this means? Never Knowingly Undersold. What is underselling? A soft sell? Like they don't try to make you buy things too much?
"Never Knowingly..." is a bit of an ambiguous slogan too, isn't it? It's like a bit of a disclaimer: "Well, we didn't knowingly dump all that depleted uranium on a nursery in Baghdad but as it transpired that's what happened. Sorry."
Never Knowingly Undersold. Just ponder those words and their meaning. There are two things - in isolation from John Lewis - that I might assume this meant. The key word is 'undersold'. A derivation, I'd guess, of the verb 'to undersell'.
What meaning might we attribute to this word? If you undersell yourself you don't value yourself sufficiently - or promote yourself in line with your talent or ability. Is John Lewis suggesting that it doesn't (knowingly) undervalue itself? Unlikely. So we can discount that line of reasoning.
Secondly, although I've never heard it used in this context, I'd hazard a guess that undersell might mean to undercut competitors. But is John Lewis really saying that it doesn't (knowingly) sell its goods at a lower price than competitors? Again, this seems so unlikely as to be impossible.
So, what does it mean? I looked it up and, according to John Lewis, it means that John lewis will refund the difference if you see a lower price elsewhere for something you buy in the store. If you consider that 'Never Knowingly Undersold' is prefaced with an elliptical 'We Are Never' then it makes a kinda-of sense - if you're aware of the rather archaic meaning of 'undersold'.
But without this clarification it could actually appear that John Lewis is saying that its own goods are 'Never Knowingly Undersold' - the direct opposite meaning of the actual meaning. Assuming that anyone has got this far in the first place.
What this amounts to, then, is a slogan that is likely to baffle consumers or, even worse, make them believe that John Lewis is a really expensive place to buy their decorative bottles of olive oil with chilis in them.
The slogan used to refer to the John Lewis promise to refund the difference if shoppers found a cheaper price for goods bought in the store elsewhere, but even that isn't true anymore - as of 2011 it will not offer a refund on products for which it provides a longer warranty than High Street rivals which, as it turns out, covers rather a lot of good sold at John Lewis.
Underlining all of this is a survey from 2003 that found barely half of high-street shoppers could understand what the promise actually meant:
21% of respondents thought that it had the exact opposite meaning than the one intended, and that the company never purposefully charged lower prices than its competitors.
Nearly one-fifth thought that it meant that John Lewis never deliberately charged more than competitors.
The survey found that nine out of 10 people polled would not use the word "undersold" in common usage.
Can any of this add up to a strong marketing proposition? A largely misunderstood slogan that is rather fudged by small print?
Well, John Lewis certainly thinks so as it's made the slogan the keynote of its latest ad. Of course, this being John Lewis, we're legally obliged to blub whenever they come on our TVs and associated devices.
Perhaps the slogan works better in relation to these ads actually. These lengthy, mawkish ads have become the store's stock-in-trade - whatever else you might think of them, they're certainly not undersold.
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.
Time was we'd judge the start of the Christmas season by the appearance of crackers in shops; nowadays it's the appearance of the first Christmas adverts.
With fully 50 days before 2011's Yuletide there were Christmas adverts on our tellies; filmed in the unseasonally pleasant September and October across the country. Freddie Flintoff in a duffel coat, surrounded by fake snow, santas and mince pies. In St Albans. In September.
So, what festive delights await us this year? M+S had ditched Twiggy and Danni; the Sainsburys ad constitutes Jamie Oliver's swansong; what would John Lewis come up with this time?
Absurdly, Xmas adverts for the big supermarkets and department stores have become event television. But how big - and shit - have these events been this year?
By my money they've mainly got it right. Iceland has backed away from the insanity of last year's Donovan adverts; Marksies has ditched its middle-class smugathons; the overall tone is of restraint, when compared to last year anyway.
It's not all good. The Boots girls are still coming - perhaps due to the entry of Ann Summers into our advert marketplace - and there are still two truly diabolical efforts here.
Familiarity - and you can bet you'll become very familiar with these ads - is sure to breed contempt, even fury. By the fifth time you've seen the new Littlewoods or Toys R Us ads you'll be ready to hurl your chestnuts at the telly.
But with any luck this year's crop of Christmassy ads should leave you relatively unmolested come Christmas morning. Just pray no-one has a Halfords-style reaction when unwrapping presents.
It seems to be John Lewis' modus operandi to make viewers cry these days, with their ads ploughing a fairly shameless furrow that seems to work for them.
I think the strategy pretty canny. It's a rich seam of nostalgia, sentimentality and general warm fuzziness - all the stuff that makes Christmas what it is.
Next year's advert will apparently feature a sickly kitten being stroked in front of an open fire by Terry Wogan for a full 120 seconds, while Gary Jules' Mad World plays in the background.
Turd rating: One
Celebrities: Jamie Oliver
"Goto Sainsbury's for a magical Christmas feast," says this last effort from Jamie Oliver on behalf of the upmarket supermarket.
Nice idea, nice execution. Minimum Oliver. Good work.
Turd rating: One and a half
Celebs: Stacey Solomon
Where was there to go after last year's Xmas Iceland offering, featuring Jason Donovan as a perverted ringmaster? Well, back to basics really. Christmas parties, finger food, Stacey Solomon's enormous face - I'm fairly unsure Stacey and her family will be tucking into gammon over Xmas, mind.
I take exception to the horrible new Solomonised recording of Driving Home For Christmas - a song I always make sure I have on a CD when actually heading home on Christmas Eve.
Not especially egregious then - and a thankful step back from the Lynchian horror of last year - but I doubt any celebrity would ever be seen dead entering Iceland, which seems to be ever closer to some sort of underclass shopping experience every time I hazard upon one.
Turd rating: Two
Celebs: Delia Smith, Heston Blumenthal
I'm a bit nonplussed by this one, featuring Delia and Heston. It hinges everything on four distinct products and doesn't really compel me to find out more.
It looks a million bucks - a bit Downton Manor via Heath Robinson and Tim Burton - but it doesn't feel especially cosy.
A bit chilly, all told, like a Heston artichoke and air-dried Haribo truffle in liquid nitrogen.
Turd rating: Two
Celebs: Andrew Flintoff, Bruce Forsyth
Hmm. Jury's still out on this one. I suppose Freddie still has enough goodwill from the Ashes in 2005 and 2009 to get away with this - and some good decent, honest, thick Lancashire shtick probably doesn't do any harm, although it's a bit much that they actually correct Flintoff's awkward delivery.
Nice cameo from Brucey at the end and a fairly strong message - Freddie like pies! Legend! Meat! Christmas! Pastry! Brulliant! - unlike many of the ads featured here.
Turd rating: Two
Marks and Spencer
Celebs: X-Factor cannon fodder
It's fairly apparent that M+S and John Lewis are competing to be the winterval shopping experience and Marksies has really wheeled out the big guns for this X-mas effort.
Riding the X-Factor bandwagon has brought its own problems that rather trouble me (the singers either got a paltry £3K each or nothing, depending on who you listen to - Merry F'ing Xmas) but as an ad in itself it's well executed and reasonably inoffensive.
I just find it hard to shake the feeling that we're all implicit in an evil plan to make berks like Simon Cowell even more filthy rich than they are already. From somewhere in Brighton comes the sounds of Johnnie Robinson gently weeping.
Turd rating: Three
Celebs: None that I'm aware of
A novel, decent conceit but I'm not sure why a family of sperm are striding around shopping centres looking for Christmas presents.
There's one extremely strange - and rather disturbing - aspect to this. "Mmm, eggnog," says Father Sperm, Homer Simpson-style, absent-mindedly.
"Mmm, Bieber," says Ma Sperm, appreciatively. Actually, more than appreciatively. Lasciviously, you could almost say.
Now, I suspect Bieber is legal, but probably only just. What's more he looks about four. Just imagine the Dad lusting after Hermione Granger and see how you feel about that.
Turd rating: Three
Nice idea, nice execution but this is a terrible assault on the senses - the sort of thing the CIA used to blast at Manuel Noriega.
Turd rating: Three and a half
Celebrities: None that I'm aware of
I find it hard to believe that the Here Come The Girls tattoo doesn't have some sort of Pavlovian effect on half the population these days - its very presence like the foreshadowing of some horrific catastrophe.
Personally I'm inclined towards punching myself in the neck, but voiding of stomachs, noses, bladders and bowels are all empirically-proven side-effects of hearing this tune.
Since this one has a clear Great Escape theme to it I'm hoping there's a bonus ad that involved them all being taken out to the woods and machine gunned.
Turd rating: Four
I wonder if the Wachowski Brothers ever thought that their revolutionary Bullet Time trick photography invention would ever be used to shill a discount supermarket chain in a bizarre Christmas advert.
I'm guessing not, just as I'm guessing that no-one would have foreseen the inclusion of a mind-spinning Inception-style telescopic reality setting for an advert selling trouser-vendors.
I just find this confusing - and I don't get what it has to do with Matalan. Presumably all the people feature in it are asleep, bald, pale and nude - possibly in a gigantic monster-feeding embryo chamber.
Turd rating: Four
Toys R Us
Why, when you have a much-recognised and much-loved Christmas advert in the form of the ageless "There's a magical place; We're on our way there; With toys in their millions; All under one roof" ad, would you piss all that brand equity down the drain with a vile American rap waffling on about coupons?
Appalling. Inexplicable. Appallicable.
Turd rating: Four and a half
An absolute fucking disaster, unless the aim was to reposition Littlewoods as the most low-rent outlet on the marketplace.
The ASA has actually been moved to an issue a 'we don't like it, but we have to go along with it' rebuttal to complaints that this ad is killing Santa. And replacing it with what? A bloody credit card.
If this were Japan some ritual boardroom suicides would be going on about now. Possibly metaphorical, possibly not.
I never want to see this ever again.
Turd rating: 245,835,585,299,001
So, there you have it. A rotten bunch to be sure, but this could have been so much worse. No-one would ever pretend that Fukushima was a good thing - but the alternative doesn't bear thinking about.
And, just in case you think I'm overcooking things somewhat, take a look at this - and never, ever forget.
Shots is a bit like the Face magazine to Marketing Week's Financial Times of the advertising industry, though it's not exclusively on ads. Assorted virals, music vids and trailers also feature in what is mainly a look at cool stuff and creativity within the industry.
It's a bit wanky (they've got their own embeddable vid players for crying out loud - these people are serious multimedia nodes) but it does appeal to the part of me that admires adverts and the like as unique, intense art forms that can be absolutely superb. Shots compiled a top ten, well, things of 2010 - some of which are adverts.
No Go Compare, Halifax or Iceland here - though some old favourites and old enemies do rear their heads at some point.
Old Spice: The Man Your Man Should Smell Like
AdTurds approves. Brilliant campaign, executed superbly.
OK Go: This Too Shall Pass
The latest iteration of Honda's Cog advert. Impressive, but they didn't exactly get there first.
Puma: Hard Chorus
Mmmmm. Juxtaposition. Well done.
Stunning, but what the hell is going on? Little Blade Runner riff, more than a tad on the edge. Cool. But is that enough?
John Lewis: Always A Woman
No, no, no, no, no.
Nike: Write The Future
Dulux: Let's Colour
I like stuff like this. Don't care what anyone says.
A stilted, awkward cashgasm that's not original in the least.
Lovely little piece that combines nice visuals with showing off the product. Wonderful.
Levi's: Ready To Work
Mmmmmmmmmmm. Not sure. Nice idea, now convinced by the execution. Next up: Phileas Fogg tries to turn Consett into something other than a shithole, using mignons morceaux.
Here are the top ten AdTurds of 2010, by traffic. They don't really reveal how searched-for the ads were - the VanCompare advert is only so high because several outraged Sweet fan forums linked to the site, urging other Sweet fans to attack me - but as a good rule of thumb, these ads must have stood out from the crowd.
That may be because people loved them, hated them or just wanted the chance to see them again. Either way, with certain caveats, these ads made an impression. Make of that what you will.
2. Bing adverts
The Campaign website - the title that focuses on advertising at the sprawling Brand Republic empire - has gone top ten ads of 2010 crazy, with a veritable smorgasbord of best, worst, most surreal and celebrity-themed listy link-bait stuff.
Since it's presumably staffed by people who presumably have their ears to the ground in the world of ads, rather than venting spleen on a blog, and features a hefty industry-based community it's interesting to see what those in the industry think of last year's offerings.
Nike's vaguely hysterical Write the Future spot for the World Cup absolutely reeks of cash but I couldn't get particularly excited about it (though I did like the smaller Rooney spot, which had much more charm and wit). Whoever's writing the ad copy for Campaign virtually spunks over it in two different lists. Ho hum.
Big hitters such as M&S, John Lewis, John Smiths and Virgin seem to go down very well in Campaignland, while the lower ends of the market - the Go Compares, Icelands and ComparetheMarkets of this world - get nary a look in.
I don't really agree with many of the choices of the supposed best ads as they mainly seem to comprise cash-heavy, celeb-heavy tie-in ads - Christmas and the World Cup most obviously - that are heavy on spectacle and clearly cost an absolute bomb.
The John Lewis ad is again described as an advert that made adults cry; a claim that seems, to me, to be totally without foundation that has passed in to some sort of folklore.
Where things do get interesting is the worst celebrities list, which doesn't flinch at sticking the boot in, heavily. Jedward, the Redknapps, John Cleese, Barbra Windsor, Peter Mandelson's ghastly Third Man spot and the genuinely baffling Derek Jacobi Xmas Sony ads feature in the list, among quite a few that are new to me.
Among the ones I haven't seen before is this one featuring charmless footy-and-lager goon Tim Lovejoy wooing a Mediterranean beauty with some pasta. It's a bit creepy and very rubbish, because Lovejoy shows himself to be perhaps the worst actor to ever grace a loft apartment.
Finally, AdTurds has a spot of advice for whoever compiled the top ten surreal adverts - without including this slice of fried gold by ad/film/doco genius Tony Kaye, made for Dunlop in 1993.
If this isn't surreal - and bear in mind it's advertising tyres - we don't know what is.
Campaign's advert top-ten-athon
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.
The world is sitting with big, fat tears rolling down their faces watching this advert for John Lewis, at least that's what's the internet is telling us.
Really? The first time I became aware of it was when people started telling us about it on the Suggest an AdTurd form and my housemate started throwing things at the telly.
The first thing I thought was Bill Fucking Joel. I'm not sure how lyrics like:
She can kill with a smile / She can wound with her eyes
She can ruin your faith with her casual lies
really invite me to buy into this touching life story. To me it suggests deep duplicity and cruelty and, of course, she also 'steals like a thief'.
That's just for starters though. Because she will also 'carelessly cut you and laugh while you’re bleedin'. This woman sounds awful! She's a sociopath!
I'd suggest that the ad is missing a few scenes. The one where she gets backscuttled by a bloke at work and then lies to her husband about it.
The bit where she embezzles tens of thousands of pounds from the charity she works for as an fund-raising manager.
Or the bit where she wallops her kid and locks her overnight in the pantry for making a mess in the kitchen. And why not take that 'laugh while you're bleeding' line literally?
Hell, it may not sell as many teasmaids, but it'd be a much better advert.
• FYI: The song is performed here by Fyfe Dangerfield from the Guillemots - a massively overrated band in AdTurds' book