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.
Who on Earth told Chris Kamara he was funny?
Seriously, how on Earth does Ian Wright keep getting television programmes? The man is one of the least appealing characters on British television, but he's been inescapable for the last 20 years.
Wright began his television career in terrible adverts before graduating to terrible chat shows and the like. Why? Who knows? Why not Les Ferdinand, Chris Armstrong, Andy Cole, Teddie Sheringham or Chris Sutton? At least two of them have shown themselves to be much more engaging footie pundits than Wright, who eventually took himself off to Gladiators in search of more serious TV fare, having sulked or squealed his way through Match of the Day for a few years.
For whatever reason, Wright was earmarked as one of the chosen few who'd go on to make more money after his footballing career had finished than he did prior to it (see also Andy Gray, Jamie Redknapp, Chris Kamara).
Most of the adverts below seem to show Wright as a thoroughly irritating tit, acting like a berk in just about every single one. He does show the occasional spark of comic timing, but I've never found him to be anything other than charmless and tiresome.
Interestingly, Five seems to have made an entire advert for its risible Live From Studio Five programme to showcase Wright's most awful traits; chiefly witless, uninformed jabbering.
There are a couple of good ads here – the Nike battle against a footballing demon; the ad for Swedish betting outfit Stryktipset; and the tolerable Ladbrokes cafe effort, though that's largely down to Ally McCoist (see also: Ladbrokes 2010 World Cup ad).
The most egregious – where Wright visited an Arsenal fan's house to use his phone, only for said fan to stand around dribbling and repeating Wright's name – doesn't seem to have found its way onto the interweb.
That's a shame, because it may have served as a warning from history against the following two decades of utterly appalling advertising from the gobby twat.
NB. In addition to all the spots below, Wright has also filmed adverts for Nescafe, Pizza Hut, Asda, Kellogg's, One2One, Privilege, CarpetRight, Thomas Cook and Walkers. He must have a fucking phenomenal agent.
It's been a fruitful year for the AdTurds, with much more material that could be covered in the end. The Suggest an AdTurd feature is brimming like one of those huge tanks in the American midwest that's full of boiling, gaseous pig shit.
Go Compare ran away with this one in 2009 and like Cliff Richard, he's a very good bet for this year's gong too, despite stiff competition from Confused.com, WeBuyAnyCar, BT and Halifax.
There are dark horses too. Who saw the VanCompare advert coming? Or Bing's heroic attempt to take on Google with some monkey noises? Or the total horror of Jamie and Louise Rednkapp 'laaaahvin iiii...'?
And what about Spotify? That came from nowhere eh? But how many people who heard Jack Davenport's infuriating Alfa Romeo MiTo advert will ever forget it?
What has emerged is the likelihood that a genuinely hated ad is likely to find its way back on your box again and again. If people dislike it, they probably remember it; if the remember it, it's probably on the screens all the time; if it's on the screens all the time it's probably disliked. Hence your most hated ad is back on the telly again and again. QED.
That's unfortunate if you're driven to twitching fury by such adverts, but it seems increasingly clear that it's how ad agencies work. Bad adverts are, if you like, a necessary evil. But this is concentrated evil. One drop of that could turn you all into hermit crabs.
Read on! Weep! Vote! Smash yourself in the face with an iron! Watch again! It's the most annoying, most shit, most terrible adverts of 2010!
Effortlessly the worst series of adverts since, well, the last lot of Halifax adverts. While truly appalling, these adverts don't quite make me fear for the human race. They're like the Mumford and Sons, Tesco or Microsoft of bad adverts. Always there, always disliked, always shit (or mediocre at any rate).
But there are, to my mind, worse evils in the world. AdTurds readers seem to disagree, so expect this to go straight in at number one in the poll below.
Full disclosure: AdTurds has a bit of a thing for the blonde in the Lucky You advert.
Confused.com - Somebody to Love
After several failed attempt, Confused.com finally hit upon a character of its own designed to annoy the shit out of people everywhere. Only this isn't just annoying, it's also inept. A confused (ahem) message only serves to leave a bemused WTF rattling off the walls.
Imagine Confused.com's squiggly drawing thing being rather indelicately spitroasted by Gio Compario and Aleksandr Orlov and you have a pretty good metaphor for how their respective campaigns have panned out.
Read the original entry: Confused.com Somebody to Love
Marks & Spencer's Xmas Turd
Hard to believe now, but there was once something vaguely canny about these M&S adverts, before they fell in love with themselves so massively it's a surprise they don't simply have the cast frotting themselves on cashmere jumpers and gift packs of bubble bath.
This festive effort swith Peter Kay, Twiggy, Danni Minogue and some other people too dreary to mention is so smug that Piers Morgan thinks it's a bit much.
Read the original entry: Marks & Spencer Christmas advert
Thomas Cook Redknapp horror intersection
AdTurds has some inside information on this effort from Thomas Cook that suggests that it was responsible for more complaints than anything else the travel company has ever done.
That may or may not be true, but what is true is that Thomas Cook has a huge effigy of the gruesome Redknapps (who seem to exist purely in advertising these days) in its reception, no doubt now defaced by people driven to violence by Louise and Jamie's vile, whiny estuary voices.
Read the original entry: Redknapp Thomas Cook adverts
Bing clutch bags
Tasked with apparent no-win scenario of designing an ad campaign to humble Google, ad agency JWT struck a canny line with the 'information overload' line but went on to present it in the most annoying way possible.
I always thought it would have been better to have the information overload people spouting a load of gibberish about hot Asian babes too.
It's also problematic because the Bing engine isn't any better in displaying relevant information that Google, Yahoo, Ask or any other search engine in the entire world.
Read the original entry: Bing adverts
Dell treats Lollipop
On the face of there was nothing too annoying about this advert for Dell's laptops first off. But the sheer carpet-bombing ubiquity of the first few bars of the Chordettes track - particularly when it invaded Spotify - rendered it simply unbearable; and almost certainly used as a torture device in Guantanamo Bay.
Lollipop Lollipop Oh Lolli Lolli Lolli Lollipop....
Read the original entry: Dell treats advert
Pity poor Josh. Basically used and abused by a massive multinational in their doomed marketing campaign like a Thai ladyboy by a second-hand car salesman from Romford on his annual sex holiday.
Awful music, crap idea, poor chinless Josh. A powerful mixture of pity and contempt.
Read the original entry: John T-Mobile advert
Citroen DS3 John Lennon
The Citroen DS3 might have been the most enjoyable car AdTurds thrashed this year, but this ad featuring Lennon pondering the shitness of nostalgia and retro - in an advert that was all about nostalgia and retro for a car that was all about nostalgia and retro - was one of the least enjoyable ads.
Bonus turds for the affected out-of-synch footage too.
Read the original entry: John Lennon Citroen DS3 advert
The post that provoked nothing less than death threats, legal action threats and the infinite wrath of seemingly every Sweet fan on the face of the Earth.
All of that ended in a détente with the actual chairman of VanCompare and a message of good wishes to Andy Scott, believe it or not.
Still, this is possibly the most inept advert every to grace a television. Sweeeeet!
Read the original entry: VanCompare advert
BT family adverts
Perhaps the most unloved TV couple since Sam Fox and Mick Fleetwood, Adam and Jane seemed to reach a climax this year in the 'is she or isn't she?' interactive campaign. Sadly the options didn't involve death or divorce, but whether Jane was pregnant or not (AdTurds readers suggested their own ending).
In the most stultifying spot of television ever, the answer was revealed as yes and somewhere in Scotland came the noise of John Logie Baird and Alexander Graham Bell softly weeping.
Read the original entry: BT advert - what happens next?
Go Compare adverts
AdTurds can't really find it in his granite heart to hate Go Compare. Annoying, yes, but no more than any Little & Large sketch from the 1987.
To complain of the rampant repetition; the sheer inescapability of Go Compare ads would be to complain about the ubiquity of grass, water, why the very air itself.
Still, a guaranteed big hitter in this year's poll - and maybe they'll finish it off with Gio exploding in gas, fat and hair after one 'whaffer thin mint' too many.
Read the original entry: Go Compare advert
Ladbrokes World Cup ads
Two of the most annoying people on television gibbering and gurning like idiots; an appalling campaign; distasteful subject matter; a soundtrack used in at least two different ads over the last couple of years.
Without Wright and Kamara is would be awful. With the charmless pundits it enters a new circle of Hell.
Read the original entry: Ladbrokes World Cup adverts
We Buy Any Car advert
Few adverts are genuinely hateful, but We Buy Any Car managed it this year with the advertising equivalent of having Fern Cotton blast an air horn into your face for 60 seconds several times a day.
Pretty much the nearest thing to a sonic weapon - a non-lethal weapon designed to disable victims by provoking vomiting or 'uncontrolled' defecation - that you'll ever see on television.
Read the original entry: WeBuyAnyCar advert
Alfa Romeo Spotify advert
Sadly, or fortunately, I've been unable to track down the audio of this bad, bad ad. Suffice it to say that this advert on Spotfiy was generating hundreds of tweets a day on Twitter, and none were positive.
Actually drove me to a Spotify Premium account. I've yet to work out whether this is sheer genius on the part of Spotify; sheer idiocy on the part of Alfa Romeo; a combination of both; or simple ineptitude. Either way it's abysmal.
Read the original entry: Alfa Romeo Spotify advert
Iceland 201 Christmas adverts
It was an oversight of massive proportions that Iceland's 2010 Christmas adverts, featuring Jason Donovan, were not originally included in this list, but an ad break that featured four or five versions of this ad recently convinced me of the error.
There's something genuinely unsettling about all of this. The insistence of it, the repetition and noise and the fact that the food all looks so horrible.
This isn't just an annoying advert. It;s an advert to give you nightmares.
• Read the original entry: Iceland 2010 Christmas advert
Vote for the worst advert of 2010!
Vote for your most hated ad of 2010 and we'll go an pelt the ad agency who wins with rotten fruit. And very hard stones.
What the fuck is this shit all about?
The ubiquitous and uniformly-awful Wright and the absurd Kamara, known to football fans everywhere as an idiot pundit, are dressed up as traditional English gentlemen and caked in mascara. Why? Here's what Ladbrokes says of the M&C Saatchi ad:
The creative features a series of entertaining vignettes, some of which are 1960s themed, set to the tune of ‘Self Preservation Society’ from the film The Italian Job. Chris Kamara and Ian Wright give cameo performances extolling England’s chances at the World Cup. As the action comes to a conclusion, it becomes clear that we have been inside the mind of a football fan, watching his decision making process taking place. As we come out of his head we see him blurt out loudly that England are going to win the World Cup, however he has forgotten that he is at dinner with his girlfriend who looks very unimpressed with his inappropriate behaviour.
What a load of utter fucking bollocks. It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever: it's incoherent; it fails as an attempt to raise Ladbrokes' profile; it fails to communicate a message, and it's not just surreal, it's actually vaguely disturbing.
The crushingly banal observation of Ladbrokes is that the ad communicates the idea that 'having a bet is a fun, contemporary thing to do'. My thoughts on Wright are well-detailed. As for Kamara, he is to change his name to Chris Cabanga by deed poll in an effort to aid England in their World Cup campaign. The fucking tit.
Ladbrokes describes the World Cup as 'the biggest customer recruitment opportunity across a four year cycle', which is probably the most honest assessment of every business's attitude towards South Africa 2010 as you're ever likely to find.