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.
In Roger Corman's portmanteau of Edgar Allen Poe's short stories, Masque of the Red Death, Vincent Price - as Prince Prospero - explains that his father once locked a man in a yellow room for a year to see what would happen. When Prospero was done with him the man was half-mad and unable to look at the colour yellow for the rest of his life.
Having watched eleven months of adverts that could drive the calmest man to knuckle-biting angst I know how he felt. What would happen, I wonder, if a man were made to watch price-comparison website adverts non-stop for a year? My bet would be a fate from another Poe story, namely being reduced to a puddle of foul, stinking, steaming pustulation in a matter of minutes.
2011 continued where 2010 left off, with a number of big names - chiefly price-comparison sites, financial sectors and high-street names - doing their level best to put you in a bad mood. In a marketplace where brand recognition is paramount, an advert equivalent of a hair-pull is good work.
Let's consider, for a second, the utter absurdity of price-comparison adverts. Short, aggressive messages that cost tens of millions of quid to create and distribute; designed to make us use a website that shows aggregated prices for financial services. And to make us use them they try their damnedest to make us feel angry - it's utterly barking mad by any rational standpoint. Welcome to advertising.
So it should come as no surprise that price-comparison site adverts usually constitute a significant degree of 'worst of' lists. Go Compare and Confused.com anyway. In my wholly scientific price-comparison site advert survey earlier this year readers disliked them the most. CompareTheMarket continues to show that price-comparison sites can be tolerable, enjoyable even, but the majority of ads in this pester-power genre have all the subtlety of a South London racist tram rant.
I've left Go Compare off this year - I think we can all take it as read that we hate it - and the Patrick Stewart MoneySupermarket ones haven't quite piqued my anger yet. Confused.com is, of course, because I absolutely despise it.
Alas, there's nothing we can do about any of this. You want your Corrie, your I'm A Celebrity, your X-Factor, your E4, your More 4; you pay for it. By buying Corn Flakes, Anusol, Mattesons smoked pork sausages, Muller yoghurt, KFC and Volkswagen Crafters. By submitting your details to MoneySupermarket and Go Compare; by banking with Barclays and Santander and Halifax. By doing your Xmas shop at M&S, Tesco, Iceland and Littlewoods.
You pay for these adverts to be created. You have created your very own monster. Stacey Solomon's gangbang of cheap food and families. Jamie's Oliver increasingly piggy face smirking over some brussel sprouts. Freddie Flintoff headbutting pork pies. And, lest we forget, Cara Confused pulling unfeasibly large items out of her vagina.
The only, tiny, infinitesimal thing you can do is to boycott the products of the ads you despise; an act so futile it's up there with shouting at the telly and blogging about adverts you hate.
But you can strike a blow for humanity. You can, in your own way, blow Gio Compario's brains out; throw an anvil at the Halifax choir or kick that "Wooh! Hello buddy, how's your shave?" twat up the arse forever by delivering swift internet justice.
Vote for your worst advert of the year here - and send a metaphorical horse's head to these people. It's the one chance you'll ever get to fight back. The war was lost long ago but, briefly, the boot is on the other foot. And it's a foot of righteous anger.
Deliver it to the knackers of evil - and rejoice.
The worst adverts of 2011 - shortlist
Marks and Spencer Xmas ad
An advert that is so brazen in the lie that it is telling even Tony Blair would baulk at delivering it. Honey-voiced cannon fodder line up to tell us that your dreams can comes true even as they're being edited out of the ad, week by week, as theirs die in the pages of tabloid and shopping centre ribbon-slicing Hell.
And let's not even mention Frankie...
• Read the original Marks and Spencer Adturd
VW Think Blue ad
I've never included an advert on these lists before simply because the soundtrack is so irredeemably awful. The visual concept is quite nice - albeit not exactly original - but this rendition of Wouldn't It Be Nice - a truly beautiful and lovely song - is so stomach-knottingly awful with its whiney delivery that this may be my most despised advert of the year.
• Read the original Volkswagen Adturd
British Airways' massive wank
It's possible that this advert opens up a small rip in the space/time continuum every time it's played, so up its own backside is it; like an Ouroboros serpent burrowing into its own rectum, rather than swallowing its tail.
Several people have already been sucked into some sort of existential Mobius strip, as reality struggles to orientate itself with this new level of awfulness.
An elbow to the nose of anyone who's attended Heathrow; to anyone who's been through a body scanner; to anyone who's looked forlornly at a notice board to see a row of red where their flight details should be.
• Read the original British Airways Adturd
Wonga got into trouble last year for making adverts deemed too flippant to sell an eye-wateringly high money-lending service, so what did it come back with? Three grotesque hyperannuated puppets, gurning and twitching around, explaining various 'payday loan' scenarios.
Adverts to give you nightmares, if not for the crippling APR, then the disturbing mannequins - like marionette corpses given life once more in the pursuit of selling ill-advised loans.
Would you buy money form reanimated cadavers, twitching around in their ghastly parody of their former lives? Did you know that Wonga.com actually uses reanimated corpses to staff its call centres? Of course you didn't. But you do now.
• Read the original Wonga.com Adturd
I have no inherent objection to ads that try something else; cock a snoop at received wisdom. I like Jarvis and Gondry; some of my favourite adverts are utterly batshit crazy, but this is simply idiotic. No-one knows who these three people are; two-thirds of them are hard to understand; the concept is confusing and unengaging.
The most ridiculous thing of all is that this is an advert for Eurostar that's using London 2012 as a hook. It is quite conceivable that Europeans might be lured to Eurostar by the promise of Olympic sports to the other side of the channel.
But it has exactly zero relevance to anyone in the UK - unless they're planning to fly to Paris and then get the train back to London in order to get to a lake in Slough. Just a bad, bad idea.
• Read the original Eurostar Adturd
BMW tracked to two brothers and interviewed them about their empty lives: cue instant hatred.
How could it ever have been otherwise? Everything about this advert is dripping with a smugness so cloying it's a relief when the television doesn't dissolve in a warm, self-satisfied fart and start oozing into the carpet.
The Lunds themselves may be nice people, but if BMW had made it their target to make themselves, and the brothers, look like the biggest cunts in the world they couldn't have done a better job.
• Read the original BMW / Lunds Adturd
I'm still not exactly sure what happened here? Is this the confused result of an ad simply gone very wrong? Or, more likely, an attempt at a deliberately bad advert. A bad advert so bad that it made Halifax and Go Compare look like an indoor firework compared to Haribo's Tunguska?
Are there any vile pornographic subtexts here? Almost certainly not - but that doesn't mean I'm not going to imply that there are. And it's really hideous stuff. I mean it. Sick, just sick.
Can you image if you actually, in real life, saw the events in this ad take place? The utter horror of that - your world turned totally upside down. Either you had lost your mind or, or...
The alternative is too hideous to contemplate. But I feel sure the Haribo family would start moving towards you. No smiles, dancing or singing now. Just pure, unfettered blood lust. The horrifyingly blank eyes, the hungry mouths, the chittering noise as they gnash their teeth...
• Read the original Haribo Adturd
This, on the other hand, is rather more straightforward. It's utterly hideous on a much more prosaic level; the result of a creative brief just going more and more wrong with each successive iteration.
There's a decent idea behind all of this; it looks glossy enough. But it's annoying. And it's utterly inept. Why the heck was a rap about salad included here? And why crowbar it into the ad is such an unwieldy way? "Help yourself to salad [three second pause]... all the salad that you want." Dear Christ.
I refuse to believe anyone associated with the ad was happy with this. No-one put this to bed with that sense of satisfaction of a job well done; just a weary shrug. The problems, the lack of direction, vague brief, 'the best we could do'.
I imagine the director, driving away from the shoot at a Harvester on an industrial estate near Daventry; Five Live is on but he's not listening. He misses his turning but just lights a cigarette and just drives and drives and drives...
• Read the original Harvester Adturd
Stephen Merchant always seemed like the nice one when set against Ricky Gervais, didn't he? You could imagine Ricky Gervais actually physically abusing Warwick Davies - but not Merchant.
He may not actually step in but would linger in the background, distaste writ large on his face as Gervais' high-pitched hyena-ish laugh rang out, another blow raining down on the dwarf's back.
"Come on Ricky," he'd offer, a weak smile on his lips. "That's enough now. He's had enough for one day."
Gervais would stop; his fun forgotten, for now.
"What did you say? 'Stop'? Stop what?". His voice is calm and sounds reasonable, but there's a dread stillness to him now.
Suddenly Warwick shrieks in pain as the riding crop connects; another withering blow on his lacerated buttocks.
A nervous rejoinder: "The, er, the whipping. Stop. You've gone too far." Merchant swallows hard.
"Too far? I've gone too far?" A high-pitched giggle, baring those oddly pointy teeth. "And who are you to tell me I've gone too far, you gangly Milky Bar... Cunt."
Gervais approaches, flicking the riding crop absent-mindedly, unblinking.
Merchant spots a squirrel dashing across the set and point it out, hoping it will lighten the mood.
"Squirrel there, oops, he's off," pointing at the squirrel disappearing through a door; another nervous smile.
It's not working - and he can tell Ricky is getting tumescent with the thrill of the violence that is to come.
"No, come on, you've had your fun Ricky. Let's write some more lines, eh?"
"'Write more lines'? Oh, I see. You want some of this too. Is that what you want?"
Spittle flecks the lips and Gervais is clearly nursing something that isn't vertically challenged in his pants.
"You want to talk to Mr Whippy too? I'll write some lines - across your back!"
Ricky is now pointing at Stephen's face with the fun-size whip. Stephen backs away, but Shaun Williamson grabs him from behind and holds him steady.
Gervais raises the whip above his head, Merchant knows that to struggle will only make it worse. Warwick Davies is sobbing across the room - still wearing the leather chaps and waistcoat Gervais insists on - a look on his face that says 'thankyou'.
At that second Johnny Depp enters the room, and it's as if a light has been switched on. Gervais drops the riding crop, Barry wanders off in search of cream cakes and Merchant relaxes, slightly.
He fingers the scars on his face and neck; flinching at Ricky's high-pitched whinnying. At least Warwick survived.
Once upon a time you might have looked at Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant and imagined a dynamic between them a bit like that. But no more. This set of Barclays adverts are so awful I find it impossible to look at him in anything approaching a positive light any more.
I'm sure Ricky Gervais does not whip dwarves with riding crops, just as I'm sure neither man is actually evil. But whenever one of these ads comes on I think of Merchant brandishing an Ewok figurine and throwing it at Warwick Davies. Really hard. And laughing.
• Read the original Barclays Adturd
This is a genuine search query, typed into a search engine today, resulting in a visit to AdTurds:
Is there a bigger cunt on tv than the twat in the gillette pro-glide ad?
The answer to the question is 'no'.
• Read the original Gillette Adturd
...and still they come. Confused.com adverts are certainly memorable - for featuring a weird cult with massive bouncing breasts and a multi-dimensional muffed leader singing about what is understood to be a dating service.
If Brian Blessed were to shout FAIL from the moon for eight years it wouldn't be sufficient to describe this deleterious misfire.
• Read the original Confused.com Adturd
Paul Whitehouse / Aviva
Can Paul Whitehouse tapdance? Is Paul Whitehouse dead? Has Paul Whitehouse bought a house in Tuscany? These ads seem to really confuse people, who don't seem to be able to tell fiction from reality.
They confuse me too, mainly because they're so strange. They're just like Fast Show vignettes, but somehow there's a message for insurance in there too. I never really receive that message because I'm too busy writing WTF? all over my skin in felt tip.
A very unlovely, aggravating, baffling and truly weird series. In't Aviva brulliant? No, no it's not.
• Read the original Paul Whitehouse / Aviva Adturd
Quite probably taking victory at the last minute, for my money, this Christmas advert for Littlewoods is not content with simply being an entirely new shade of awful, it's killed off Santa too.
I'm not really sure why Littlewoods felt the need to dispossess children of their youthful innocence quite so abruptly and violently, but there you are. Perhaps because Santa Claus is now deemed an obstacle to accessing the true meaning of Christmas - children's pester power - to be tolerated any longer.
Perhaps they should have gone further; explaining that their parents will die one day, anything they truly love will be taken away from them and there is no God.
Start firing off Littlewoods credit cards emblazoned with 'THIS IS THE ONLY THING THAT TRULY LOVES YOU' once they get to 12 months, I say.
• Read the original Littlewoods Adturd
Idiotic - if nicely shot - drivel that made 53,000 people come to this site over the course of the year to try and find what the hell was going on.
I don't have the energy to talk about it again. Suffice to say that the guy doing the voice was NOT Morgan Freeman.
• Read the original MoreThan Adturd
I always hated this song, but imagine how much more I hate it now that it's being used to advertise cow paste, using a reanimated cow skidding around on a dinner table.
I mean, at least Wonga waits until people die to use their corpses to run their UK operations, but Colmans relies on cow's being killed to make its beef gravy. That's right - a creature loses its life for this to be made possible.
That's all well and good, but there's no need to shout about it - or make a hideous, distasteful advert about it. It would be like Wonga using their bodysnatching teams on their adverts.
• Read the original Colmans AdTurd
Halifax won last year's worst advert poll with its bank-employees-as-idiotic-regional-radio-disc-jockey ads.
Having dispensed with the services of DLKW, who were responsible for the radio station adverts, it's now up to Adam & Eve to rescue Halifax's reputation; battered by poor performance as part of Lloyds and its hated ad campaigns.
This one is noticeably less egregious; it's not actually trying to cause you mental distress, which is always a bonus. The people in the choir are actual Halifax employees and they're trying to convey messages such as Halifax's Saturday opening and so on.
But still it's horribly annoying. It may be the misappropriation of the songs - I don't want my bank telling me they'll 'be there' or that I've had a 'hard days night', but it's OK 'cos the bank's open in the morning.
What next? 'It's OK not to be OK'? 'You are beautiful in ever single way way'? 'What I got you gotta get and put it in ya'?
To try and bolt such garbled messages about savings accounts and the like to these twee little ditties is simply rather grisly. It's like a door-to-door salesman spending hours cooing over your family snaps and lovely crockery, only to open his briefcase in the last ten minutes and try to sell you a 'little piece of paradise'.
You kinda wonder if all the preceding stuff is just a big pile of bullshit, don't you? And, you know what, you'd be absolutely right. Banks exist to make money from you - don't forget it.
Also, bonus hatred for the guy who does a little first pump in the bottom left-hand corner at the climax of one of the ads - for some reason not present in any of the ads on Youtube. I bet the people who made the ad would make out that it was "just something he did on the day" and that they "decided to leave it in".
Lucky that he was positioned in one of the two places that would be really noticeable, then, eh?
Now vote for your most hated ad of 2011
You've seen the candidates - now you have to pick one. And only one, mind. None of this multiple voting shit. I know it's hard. You may have to think long and hard and about - agonise over whether your vote goes to Wonga, Littlewoods, Barclays or one of the others.
Either that or clear your cookies and vote again.
Not content with associating God Only Knows with a crap van, we now get this bastardised version of Wouldn't It Be Nice promoting VW's Think Blue programme. It begs one question, and one only:
What did the Beach Boys ever do to Volkswagen?
The following comes with the caveat that VW produced the greatest ad ever a few years ago in the shape of Night Driving
This isn't an especially bad advert as it goes if you watch it without the sounds off, but it is advertising something resolutely dull.
What elevates it to egregiousness is its use of God Only Knows, which is possibly the most beautiful song ever written on what's possibly the best album ever written with some of the most sublime string and wind arrangements ever and the most stunningly perfect vocal ever recorded.
A blissed-out, ethereal, ingenuous love song written in the heady of days of mid 60s Californ-i-ay that not only speaks of one of the most evocative times in the world's history but is recognised as one of the most stunning pieces of work ever created by human hands.
Somehow, then, I find it a tad hard to believe that Brian Wilson had in mind the Volkswagen Caddy when he was crafting this love song to love itself – so a pox on the houses of those people who decided to defile it with images of a sodding commercial vehicle from industrial Germany.
People may love their old camper vans, a vehicle most probably seen around the beaches of west coast America in the 60s, but that's about as far as those emotional connections with cars go. They do not love modern day Caddy Maxis, Caravelles or Crafter Dropsides.
The emotional connection between man and vehicle is harder to define; harder to predict and harder to create. Scarcity, design, character, nostalgia, luck and context are all here. The old camper van had it, the old Beetle, the old Mini, the Porsche 944, the Alfasud, the Ursaab, the Citroen DS, early Land Rovers, the Dodge Charger, the Pontiac Trans-Am, the Jag E-Type, the Ferrari Dino and dozens of others.
Few modern-day equivalents do, for most of the reasons outlined above. It's the difference between loving a first edition of The Great Gatsby and loving a copy of Katie Price's new hagiography given away free with this month's copy of Heat Magazine.
To suggest otherwise is just wrong-headed but to chuck a load of cash at this ad in an attempt to lend some reflected sheen is not just lazy, it's virtually sacrilegious. What next? Waterloo Sunset playing over some loving shots of Toilet Duck being sprayed around a dirty lav? Johnny Cash singing Hurt in Halifax's hellish radio station? Eno's Ending (An Ascent) playing while Gio Compario bums a pig in the new Go Compare ads?
Whoever matched this ad to this song should spend 12 solid months driving around Romford in a modern VW van, hauling bags of animal feed in and out of it, listening solely to Talk Sport and staring at the latest dog-eared copy of The Sun with its dead-eyed celebs - until their soul locks itself into a small, dark room and thinks long and hard about what it did on the day it matched the most eye-wettingly beautiful noise ever created to one of the most boring devices in modern life, in an effort to encourage SME fleet managers on the M4 corridor to choose a a Volkswagen Crafter CR35 LWB 2.5 BlueTDI Luton instead of a Citroen Relay 35 2.2Hdi Luton Tailift.
As any fool know, car adverts tend to be the best during the commercial break. More cash to splash, more cool to sell, more creative licence, more humour, better visuals.
So car ads tend to look better and be more engaging than any others. Many of them are little art forms in their own right: expounding on the car as expression of freedom; pushing that emotional connection; as a driver of industry and innovation and - sometimes - as an excuse to go totally batshit crazy.
Ford Fiesta - This Is Now
Great combination of visuals and audio.
Peugeot 206 - Sculptor
Great soundtrack, nice idea. Would have been even better if the result had been an Austin Ambassador.
Citroen C5 - Unmistakeably German
Witty and so well executed, even down the phenomenally German-looking bloke in the ad. Part of a current push by volume manufacturers to take their cars upmarket towards BMW, Mercedes and the like. Because of stuff like this - and ever-improving products - that push is working, to some extent.
Honda - Impossible Dream
This looks great and it's quite affecting. But its actually telling the story of Honda through various semi-hidden details and references. As such it's kind of a piece of corporate art, but it looks great so what the hell?
Volkswagen Golf - Night Driving
This is simply one of my favourite things ever. Richard Burton reads Dylan Thomas over Cliff Martinez. Stunning. Beautiful. Moving. Simply incredible.
Citroen C4 - Transformer
Wonderful bonkers stuff from Citroen, with two adverts that suit its leftfield, quirky brand image superbly. Pity they're for the C4, probably one of the more boring cars on the road.
Honda Civic - Choir
Clever, clever, clever.
Car ads can be funny too. Here's Mark Heap demonstrating that emotional connection - the reason people spend such huge amounts of cash on things that depreciate like a concrete narwhal.
Volkswagen Golf GTi - Singin In The Rain
Lovely stuff. Well conceived and executed by David Elsewhere.
Audi RS4 - Spider
Making your car appear genuinely terrifying is a brave move, but kinda an obvious one for performance saloons like the fearsome RS4 when you consider the kind of people likely to buy one.
Honda Accord - Cog
All-time stone-cold classic.
Vauxhall - Sledgehammer
One of my favourites advert ever; a great mix of visuals and music and so memorable. Pity it ruins it with that awful Clapton riff that was Vauxhall's corporate jingle for years.
Ford Puma - Bullitt
Tricky to reference something so iconic, but great CGI and the best car of all time - the Ford Puma of course - make it work. Awkward CGI in many ads since have shown the dangers of such an ad.
Dunlop - Tested for the Unexpected
Fucking insane. Tony Kaye genius. It's advertising tyres!
Citroen CX - Le Beaute Sauvage
A giant Grace Jones head in the desert burps out a Citroen CX, also driven by Grace Jones. She shouts and drives back into her own head. Presumably it's all meant to evoke savage beauty, rather than ungainly French rust-bucket. Fucking mental, as Citroen adverts should be.
Simplicity itself - and all the more memorable for it.
Genuinely driving a car onto a genuine airbag? Could there be a better way of embedding your brand with the fundamental concept of safety? Works for Volvo.
A human beatbox Bing Crosby? What larks!
Except... What does it mean? I can't detect anything within the advert that links a rude-boy Crosby to Argos' back-to-front shopping experience.
There's some mention of stuff that's 'up to date', but that's really pretty weak. It could have actually worked, with just a different tagline: 'Not what you'd expect' or 'Different from the rest'. Anything that ties the ad to the product.
Another problem, and this is obviously a judgement call, is that it's not particularly charming. It actually comes across a little bit as making fun of Crosby.
Where does the meme go from here? Olivier's Richard III reciting KRS-ONE's seminal condemnation of the NYPD, Sound of Da Police? Nureyev parkouring his way through Shoreditch? Simon Rattle mashing up some earbleed gabba in a field near the M25?*
Still, what an original idea, eh? Except it's not, it's just like VW's 'Original Updated' advert for the Golf a few years ago.
That ad had Gene Kelly's Singin' In The Rain spot updated, with dancing from David Elsewhere. I thought it was brilliantly conceived, executed and rather lovely.
And it made sense. Because the Golf has been around for yonks, but it's been updated, see?
And it's funny, and engaging and serves to enhance the original. Kelly's family OKed the ad because Gene had always been a supporter of new, innovative dance.
I think this Argo ad fails on all of those counts. It's not hateful, it just seems muddled. Like the whole Argos shopping experience.
* In the event of any of these things happening, I want ten per cent