If you were an advertiser, would you continue to peg your brand to a another brand, if that brand proved to be a constant, lamentable failure? Just imagine getting Nick Clegg, Danny Alexander and Vince Cable to film a series of adverts of them twatting about eating crisps, sharing pizza, swigging coke while smiling at each other or pretending that they spend their spare time meeting each other in shit restaurants or using office white goods.
Nick Clegg, electoral poison – like graphite preventing neutrons interacting with one another – shitting all over your brand. You just know he’s going to bow out of the next competition that comes along with an abject performance that lacks guts, nous and passion; you just know he’s going to emerge, blinking and squinting – red eyed and looking like he’s just pissed himself – into a press conference to mutter the usual empty platitudes and excuses, looking as shocked as a man who’s just been told that his family has been wiped out in a mass gerbil attack; you just know that you might as well sponsor a slug to promote your brand of Ready Salted crisps.
So, why would you throw a tonne of cash at this washed-up, permanently-useless brand in painfully stilted adverts that no-one likes? What good can possibly come from it?
Clearly no-one in advertising asks themselves these questions, as we’re subjected to a four-year cycle of appalling adverts, generally from the less-recognisable members of an England squad you know is going to underperform, with the air of a troop of WWII soldiers who’ve spent the winter in a Belgian ditch. With Roy Hodgson.
Not many of them are Youtube yet, but they’ve stated to leak onto television screens, like toxic fracking fluid leaking into the water table. I’ve seen one where Joe Hart attends a crisp-based festival; another where Jeff Stelling, Ian Wright and Paddy McGuinness – three men who should either have the word BANTER or TWAT written across their foreheads – fix problems in a pub.
Both are appalling – and the latter especially features a meme that needs to be stabbed in the neck, buried and forgotten. Footerblokes – three of them, every time, in case people think they’re sad (one), gay (two) our loutish (four upwards) – standing around in a pub looking gormless, nodding at one another and no doubt discussing Nigel Farage in admiring tones. Here it is – can’t you just smell the lingering ‘coming-over-ere’ xenophobia in a whiny estuary accent?
England out in the second round. The hollow-eyed excuses, the retirements, an empty can of Pringles with Steven Gerrard unsmilingly staring out from the artwork. The World Cup is a money-making exercise that just happens to have some football bolted on; like Christmas it’s been royally shafted up the wrong ‘un by the corporate world – these adverts are just the lube.
There was, a few years ago, a wonderful footy ad that was a rare happy marriage between football and brand. It had wit, charm and warmth. It’s this one, also by Carlbserg, from a time, not so long ago, that the grasping excess of modern football, the horrible empty artifice of it all, wasn’t so spirit-crushingly apparent. Looking at it, you could almost believe that the modern game isn’t quite so hideous – the spit-roasting, the racism, the obscene cash, the sense of entitlement, the simple-minded partisanship – a failed brand that gets dug up every four years and pumped with cash until it writhes about a bit. Unbelievable, Jeff.