Go Compare Advert Proves Advertising Doesn’t Work

go compare advert

Yes it’s another Go Compare advert. I thought a long time ago I had nothing left to say about them and, indeed, there’s not much new to this latest effort featuring Gio Compario wingwalking over English landmarks with some musicians because blah.

Astonishingly and worryingly this advert has been on Youtube at the time of writing – and it has 2.5 million views. Two-and-a-half million people – 2.49m more than vote in local elections – have decided that they wanted to spend a minute of their time watching the latest Go Compare advert. I mean I know people actually voted for Brexit and Trump but this is on a whole different level.

“Ah but you watch the adverts!” someone usually claims in response to these missives, as if they’ve discovered the Ark of the Covenant and solved Fermat’s Last Theorem in one fell swoop. Well yes, I have. Twice in fact. But I suffer for the good of humanity, like those people who sting themselves so they can research the effects of your arm turning into rotting offal and sliding off your body like a fried egg hitting a window.

go compare advert £2bn

Anyway, something did catch my eye that I thought was interesting. This advert is about the amount of money there is out there being wasted because people don’t switch. They don’t switch energy suppliers, home insurance, car insurance… and £2bn a year goes into the pockets of utilities companies who, as we all know, barely have a pot to piss in.

Four out of five don’t bother – in the knowledge that it could save them around £100 a year. Imagine that. Someone says ‘if you fill in a couple of forms on the internet I’ll give you a ton’ and they shrug and go and watch Love Island on catch-up.

Why is this significant? Because it throws into doubt the efficacy of all sorts of things: privatisation of utilities being better for consumers, the invisible hand of the market, advertising…

So there you have it. You were good for something Gio – proving your own uselessness. Now fuck off.


belegacy stella artois

Look, I know, right? They’re only doing their jobs and it fell to someone in the retained agency Stella Artois employs to come up with a catchphrase. There had to be a catchphrase, a hashtaggable piece of blah that people could electronically write at one another whenever something amazing happened. Something that conveyed all the heritage, excitement, aspirational and ‘fucking hell!’ All encapsulated in one crapulous assortment of letters.

Just Do It.

The client had said something as good as ‘just do it’ – quotable, meaningful and concise and brilliant in equal measure. And the people knew they could never come up with something as good but they had come up with something so they started to brainstorm. When they could have been walking in the beautiful British countryside, enjoying a great pub lunch, reading a great book or just having sex – they were brainstorming instead.

And someone in a room about half a mile north of Euston stopped gnawing on their pencil and said ‘…….. #belegacy’? And someone wrote it down on a whiteboard with a bit of a crinkled nose to suggest they thought it sucked balls but felt tipped it next to the other ones anyway.













And seven people looked at the hashtags and felt a well of sadness in the pit of their chests and looked out across London; for a second they faced up to what a colossal waste of time and energy it all was and teared up as they thought of fields, beaches, friendship and the baby birds in the early summer trees.

They thought of being six, 11, 18, 21. Times in their lives when anything could have happened. They could have done any job, gone anywhere, been with anyone and done anything. Before the job, spouse, car and house that now defined them. Before hashtags.

And then they thought of the deadline and the client and the bonus and the graphic designers waiting for the brief. And they knew the graphic designers longed to create quirky, minimalistic magazines about food, bikes, tech and architecture. And they knew the graphic designers would have to make these utterly insignificant gestures of marketing fart, which would then be returned by a client making just enough changes to make their job seem meaningful.

And they thought of the people who would hear #belegacy – and they knew the people would hate it and see through it and they knew they’d have to do it anyway. They’d have to approve #belegacy and tweet it and actually say it while looking enthusiastic, for God’s sake. And they knew there’d have to be an app. And someone would have to be paid half a million dollars for Facebooking, tweeting and Instagramming #belegacy with some pictures of beer and sunsets.

And they thought of being children, and they thought of love and family and the meaning of it all and they thought of being dead.


And a little switch flicked off for a fraction of a second and then flicked back on again. And they nodded and wrote things down and agreed that Jasper would action that item and left the room.

And they looked down at the streets below and thought how the people and cars looked like ants. And they knew whatever happened from that point onwards there would always #belegacy.