Does yoghurt make you come? Does shampoo provide you with a throbbing, writhing, screaming climax? I only ask because that seems to be the implication that yoghurt and shampoo adverts are making on a fairly regular basis.
Only last year was the pleasure of eating yoghurt compared to having your clitoris blasted with sperm from a big fireman's hose. Don't even try to pick out the subtleties of that, because there aren't any. It's not an implication, it's scarcely metaphorical: yoghurt gives you orgasms.
Balls of deliciousness
At the moment you can see Nicole Scherzinger having one of those Hollywood-style orgasms that bear very little similarity to real-life ones - all head-tossing and 'yes-yes-yes!'ing - because she's eating some yoghurt. There's a defence in libel - evident throughout most of this site - than anything clearly absurd can't be taken to task for its claims. Hence Carlsberg's long-running 'probably the best lager in the world' and Lynx's adverts that have always implied that the smelly gas can turn weedy men into fanny magnets.
I guess that's what's going on here because I suspect yoghurt is most frequently eaten in place of cakes, biscuits and chocolate - the way a green salad might be chosen over a bag of chips. Surely no-one genuinely loves yoghurt? In the absence of the lack of deliciousness, adverts have made eating yoghurt into some sort of affirming lifestyle choice - it'll make you sexy, see? Like Nicole Skirtflinger.
The Pussycat Doll can be seen in a variety of scenarios where she finds some time for herself, settles down on a sofa or bed and unveils a Muller yoghurt with the same furtive delight she might unveil a double-ended dildo - usually ending up with yoghurt on her face, doffing a cap to another common meme in advertising; cumshots.
All snark aside, there is something very interesting about yoghurt adverts: they are exclusively aimed at women. You never see a bloke eating yoghurt in adverts: men are never addressed in yoghurt adverts, appearing only for the delectation and amusement of ladies slurping the white stuff.
Why is this? I play cricket every week in the summer and see lads eating yoghurt all the time. I buy it myself. Men eat yoghurt.
There are a number of suggestions for this gender peculiarity: the supposed feyness of yoghurt as a foodstuff; the supposed benefits in digestion, strengthening bones and clearing up vaginal infections (the latter two at least more relevant to women); women are more concerned with dieting and dodging fatty foods; women are more likely to buy groceries; women looks sexier eating food than men do, ergo the food looks better and people of both sexes are more likely to buy it. Either way, I challenge you to find a yoghurt advert that's aimed at men.
Orgasms in the shower
There's more. Here's Scherzinger having another orgasm (alongside some classic Herbal Essences adverts), this time in the shower. No wonder Lewis Hamilton keeps breaking up with her - the woman's bloody insatiable. What is it with women and their 'alone time'? Men are never portrayed as having a wank in the shower to sell Tango body gel, not we do we see men having a candle-lit bath and indulging in some furtive eating of Opal Fruits.
Weirdly, while male masturbation is portrayed as scummy and a bit weird in ads, it's quite the opposite for women. It's affirming, positive, representing feminine strength and independence. This is, arguably, reflected in a society where a woman admitting to owning a Rampant Rabbit barely raises an eyebrow in polite company, whereas men are rather more circumspect as to their ownernship of device called Fleshlights (if they own them at all).
Women in Advertising: Cleansing, Eating and Sex
This all tells us a lot about the advertising industry, which regularly reduces people down to whatever happens to be dangling - or not - between their legs. Women like eating healthy foods; they like cleaning themselves - so it makes sense to suggest that by eating and cleaning (two habits even flies share with us) women can somehow enjoy something luxurious and indulgent (and therefore be charged lots of money for it), rather than a simple function of existence. They are also likely to buy groceries and cleaning products for the family, so it makes sense that they should be targeted when it comes to adverts.
Ads reduce people down to their fundamental drives. With men it's often sport, success and machismo. When men are targeted in terms of eating it's likely to be burgers, fast foods, crisps, chocolate bars. When it comes to sex it's very much about how to be attractive to women. Men don't really exist in a vacuum in ads - we see them with their mates, kids, partners. To be a man in an ad is, generally, to be an adjunct of a wider unit.
Ladies, you too have been assessed. In terms of grocery shopping it's being sensible, smart and outthinking witless men (see the stupid dad meme). In terms of food it's indulgence, but there's a significant degree of crossover with sex. With the latter it's usually appreciating the male form - usually cast as slaves or some other inferior figures - or being worshipped, spoiled, adored. In terms of food and cleansing, more intriguingly, it's masturbating alone (see above, plus Flake, Galaxy adverts).
What this says about women and their relationship with sex is debatable but if you were going by what advertising tells us, even if it's on a subconscious level, there's a very clear implication that female sexuality comes down to a fundamentally solo - secretive, even - pursuit. Women too are portrayed as part of larger units in advertising, but when it comes to down to treating themselves the kids have been sent to the grandparents' and fella sent down the pub with his mates. Curtains drawn; lights down. Here comes the girl.
That's what millennia of evolution has come down to and - against all odds - it's women who are the wankers.
NB. Skip the next thousand words if you're just here for the funny stuff
Four hours. That's how long, if you're an average Brit, you spend watching television every day. And, if you're not watching the BBC, that means one whole hour of adverts every day.
There's a popular misconception that you don't pay anything when you're watching ITV or one of the free satellite channels. This is bollocks since you pay what amounts to a television tax at the checkouts when you buy the products you see advertised on television. Of course, if you subscribe to Sky you're not only creating the very adverts in the first place, you're also paying for the privilege to watch adverts: a double whammy that seems to be strangely overlooked by licence-fee whingers.
So, an hour of advertising every single day that you're paying for and also paying someone else to watch. Imagine allowing a door-to-door salesman into your home for an hour a day - and you pay him for the privilege. Or standing in front of a load of billboards for an hour every day - you bought them. Or switching on a television channel for the express purpose of being brainwashed by advertisers for an hour every single day - at a fiver per half hour. 365 hours a year. 16 days. Two weeks. Half a month. Every Sunday you might as well go to the cinema for seven hours just to watch adverts and pay for the privilege. Insane.
I wrote this after a walk through Hartlepool's town centre - a north-east conurbation that has been shat on from a great height by government policy, town planning and profiteering private landlords grown fat on the benefits of the feckless, ill, terminally unemployable or luckless.
Shorn of any meaningful industry or trades much of the north-east produces virtually nothing of value these days. Jobs mainly exist to service people and in this environment the requirement to sell stuff - necessarily goods of little or no value bought by people with no money on tick - becomes even greater, because without even this meagre trade even the hellish shopping centres and retail parks would be turned into rubble-strewn £2.50-a-visit parking lots.
Pound shops, value marques, charity outlets and even food banks make up much of the town centre. A friend of a friend runs one of those shops that sells food supplements and herbs. Recently his main supplier told him that he couldn't sell to him any more as he'd become an approved supplier to Holland & Barrett, a place whose clients are nothing if not eclectic, seemingly consisting solely of doormen seeking muscle protein and arthritic pensioners buying St John's Wort. The whey-protein vendors told him that he would not be allowed to supply anyone else within a certain radius. So another independent retailer is crushed into the dirt, the town becomes a little more homogenous and what little money there is is concentrated in the pockets of multinationals and spirited out of the town.
A job for a job, you might think. But that really isn't the case. Some jobs generate less value, per capita, than others and it's the big beasts who create the least value. An indie might generate, say, £20,000 a year. A McJob might create only £15,000. So when one of these places boasts of creating 20 new jobs the chances are there's a net loss in value to the region. Remember that, next time Tesco comes a-calling.
Why is this relevant? Because this system we live in relies on buying more and stuff. Stuff that we don't need. Stuff created abroad by miserable people for buttons, of material that's designed to become obsolete within months, requiring us to replace it with more shit. That the end of the line for these 'goods' is a place like Hartlepool, full of people with no money, is particularly perverse but it's become one of the prime money generators in our utterly fucked economy. Buying shit. It's a little like the last days of Rome, but with a TOWIE onesie instead of a Bacchanalian orgy.
The fuel for this ghastly engine is, of course, advertising. It's become utterly imperative that we keep purchasing, well beyond our needs or even meaningful desires. Thusly television adverts take on a greater significance. They must make us buy things we neither want nor desire. Our out-of-control demand drives down prices, which means everyone along that chain earns a little less. In doing so we perpetuate a system that destroys jobs, money, value and choice. We're all racing to the bottom; a fevered, insane dash to pay ourselves less, rob ourselves of hard-fought rights and salve our bruised personalities with holidays, cars and cheap shit - palliatives to block out the horror of it all.
Look around you the next time you're in a shopping centre, a supermarket or fast food joint. If you're particularly unlucky you might experience a chilling moment of clarity; a horrible insight into what lies beneath the facades. The Amazon warehouse, the Asian sweatshops, the palm oil plantations, the mines that provide the precious metals for electronics, the vast mechanised slaughterhouses. We're all complicit in this; we're born complicit. But we don't have to like it.
Adverts are the devil on our shoulder, whispering that we deserve it, that it's Christmas; a can of pop, a smartphone, a 12-month subscription to Netflix will complete us. Only adverts are done whispering. Adverts will mislead, pester, guilt-trip and annoy in their efforts to encourage us to cough up, barely stopping short of a metaphorical skull-fucking in terms of the aural assaults adverts increasingly lob at us. Adverts will inveigle and batter their way past your personal spam settings. They're not simply unskippable on a DVD these days, they're unskippable in your head. As a concept I find that objectively sinister.
Advertising doesn't have to be bad. It's just that advertisers have cottoned on to the fact that bad adverts frequently work better than good adverts. Remember that old maxim about a bad meal, and how you'll tell ten times more people telling their friends about a negative experience than a good one? We're wired to remember those details: the slap in the face, the finger in the door, the hair in the soup and that bloody awful tune that we can't get out of our heads. To be in your heads in what advertisers want, cooing that you deserve a new satnav or imprinting their url on your mind like cattle being branded.
Advertising pretends to be your friend. It is not. I can't tell anymore whether it is a symptom of our slavery to the worst excesses of the market or something more sinister: something that is leading us further down to the road to our own anaesthetic stupor; a wanton shoulder-shrug, idle channel-hop and a listless wank.
Ads may sometimes be a bit of fun, they might even be amusing and cheering occasionally. But they are not benign. They are precision-guided missiles aimed directly at your sense of guilt, unhappiness, esteem, self-image and alienation.
You choose to watch them for an hour a day while they try to fuck you up.
In that context, they're all bad. But these are the worst. Merry Christmas.
Women get wet while humiliating a man.
• Read the original Diet Coke AdTurd
Oh, hai rapey man with a modern-day Swatch Watch. Even though you look, sound and act like a twat I'm going to give you access to my vagina cos I like your wristphone.
Bean vendors try to convince us that the minimum-wage slaves they employ give a fuck about your Americano that you actually want milk in.
• Read the original Costa Coffee AdTurd
A bank makes stalkers live with sportspeople. Most of them seem to have some sort of alarming crush on said sportspeople now; at the beginning it was the other way round. There's some relationship dynamics right there. Expect Jessica Ennis' head to be found in a bucket soon.
• Read the original Santander AdTurd
Simply the worst advert of all time. Or, if you will, a shit ad.
• Read the original Andrex AdTurd
Emotional blackmail with your sugar-flavoured gakburger, sir? Nah, you're alright.
• Read the original McDonalds AdTurd
"I'm sorry to say the tests show you have a zingy, Mr Brown. You've got six months before your eyes fall out."
• Read the original EDF AdTurd
Celebrity cunts tell lies for money.
• Read the original Sky AdTurd
The 'ordinary voice' meme is, perhaps, 2013's most aggravating. No doubt it's relatable. It's also horrible.
A rap about a Vauxhall Corsa. KRS-ONE would turn in his grave, if he were dead.
• Read the original Vauxhall AdTurd
So try-hard you can imagine an ad exec wanking in the background while this got shot.
2013's most annoying noise - another appearance for the 'ordinary voice' meme - has returned for Christmas to mop up any viewers who may have luckily escaped thus far, like a battlefield executioner dispatching wounded soldiers with a bullet to the head. Oo-wack-a-doo-what-a-loada-crap.
This carnivorous fish was vaulted a long time ago but watching these once-amusing adverts devolve into late-era Only-Fools-And-Horses drivel has been painful. The only sane response is to hope for a cobra attack on the whole troop followed by twitching deaths, like when Flower got offed in Meerkat Manor.
You might not think there's much that's particularly hateful about this, apart from its syrupy, sickly chicken-soup-for-the-soul bullshit and that awful kids' choir. But look closer - this is the Irish version of the advert and it's more notable for what it doesn't include than what it does. Compare it with the UK version below, which features a happy - and gay - couple. Seems Coke can conquer anything - apart from homophobia. And tooth decay, obviously.
• Want more? Read the lists from previous years...