AdTurds Bad Adverts – Badverts

10Apr/157

Samsung Galaxy S6 James Corden Advert

James Corden baffles me. He's actually quite a good actor and isn't utterly dreadful - despite his annoying ubiquity ramping up the irritation quotient. But I have never once found him remotely funny. And when the rest of the world finds something funny that you don't, it's discombobulating.

Gavin And Stacy, not funny. Horne and Corden, not funny. Lesbian Vampre Killers I'll admit I haven't seen, but does anyone on God's green Earth think it's likely to be funny? His Comic Relief skits that Premiership footballers think are hilarious, not funny. James Corden, fundamentally, is not funny.

Consider this James Corden advert for the Samsung Galaxy S6 phone - it is not remotely funny and I honestly can't see how or why anyone would disagree with this analysis. A man wearing a beard (Wilf, his 'alter-ego') and being pretentious isn't funny; it's one of the hoariest cliches imaginable about directors. People being freaked out by special effects is not funny. That's one of the hoariest cliches going about oversold adverts. Taking the piss out of Apple - a bit rich coming from global megalith Samsung - isn't funny, it's one of the most frequently-trod memes out there. All told, it's an incredibly unfunny advert.

Corden is described by Samsung as the 'man of the moment' and 'humourous'. The Drum describes Corden as 'personable' and the advert as and 'tongue-in-cheek'. Wow, hold me back.

"I don't need this," says Corden at the end of the advert - and that's what so odd. No, you don't need it: you don't need the money, the exposure or another unfunny thing on your CV and we don't need it either. Undercutting the over-exposed, rich and successful is a bit of a recurring theme in Corden's stuff - but isn't he all of those things? He's mates with David Beckham, Gary Barlow, David Cameron and Andy Murray. It's like satire done by people who literally don't understand satire.

Corden seems to be the golden boy at the moment, for reasons I can't really fathom. From his oddly creepy documentary following around Gary Barlow - someone else who has attached themselves to David Cameron for reasons not especially obvious - to his day editing The Sun or twatting around with Beckham, it's as if the roly-poly funnyman seeks out media opportunities designed to irritate most right-thinking people.

James Corden Advert Beckham

"Hilarious spoof advert"

Famous people chumming around with other famous people is one of the most aggravating things imaginable - Corden seems to have made a career out of it. It's safe, smug and sycophantic.

James Corden Book

I love Britain for its irreverence and its inclination to cock a snoop at the rich and famous. But the blandishments of Corden - and his resulting popularity - seem to fly in the face of all of that. Like so many others I can only look on when Corden appears on my screen with genuine puzzlement. James Corden just isn't funny - is he?

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30Dec/1314

The Worst Adverts of 2013

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.

The Diet Coke cumshot

The Diet Coke cumshot

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.

30 pieces of silver

30 pieces of silver

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.

This watch will give me access to your fanny

This watch will give me access to your fanny

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.

Costa buries its employees

Costa buries its employees

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.

Arse wiping over a cocktail

Arse wiping over a cocktail

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.

Emotional mcblackmail

Emotional mcblackmail

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.


Diet Coke

Women get wet while humiliating a man.

• Read the original Diet Coke AdTurd

Samsung

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.

Costa Coffee

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

Santander

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

Andrex

Simply the worst advert of all time. Or, if you will, a shit ad.

• Read the original Andrex AdTurd

McDonalds

Emotional blackmail with your sugar-flavoured gakburger, sir? Nah, you're alright.

• Read the original McDonalds AdTurd

EDF

"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

Sky

Celebrity cunts tell lies for money.

• Read the original Sky AdTurd

Admiral

The 'ordinary voice' meme is, perhaps, 2013's most aggravating. No doubt it's relatable. It's also horrible.

Vauxhall

A rap about a Vauxhall Corsa. KRS-ONE would turn in his grave, if he were dead.

• Read the original Vauxhall AdTurd

Muller

So try-hard you can imagine an ad exec wanking in the background while this got shot.

Lotto

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.

CompareTheMarket

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.

Wonga

Enough to make one pray for the second coming just so Christ can twat the money-lenders again. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Coke

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...

Worst adverts of 2012

Worst adverts of 2011

Worst adverts of 2010

Worst adverts of 2009


Now vote for the worst of 2013

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