Crimes Against Advertising: Ian Wright

Seriously, how on Earth does Ian Wright keep getting television programmes? The man is one of the least appealing characters on British television, but he’s been inescapable for the last 20 years.

Wright began his television career in terrible adverts before graduating to terrible chat shows and the like. Why? Who knows? Why not Les Ferdinand, Chris Armstrong, Andy Cole, Teddie Sheringham or Chris Sutton? At least two of them have shown themselves to be much more engaging footie pundits than Wright, who eventually took himself off to Gladiators in search of more serious TV fare, having sulked or squealed his way through Match of the Day for a few years.

For whatever reason, Wright was earmarked as one of the chosen few who’d go on to make more money after his footballing career had finished than he did prior to it (see also Andy Gray, Jamie Redknapp, Chris Kamara).

Most of the adverts below seem to show Wright as a thoroughly irritating tit, acting like a berk in just about every single one. He does show the occasional spark of comic timing, but I’ve never found him to be anything other than charmless and tiresome.

Interestingly, Five seems to have made an entire advert for its risible Live From Studio Five programme to showcase Wright’s most awful traits. Chiefly witless, uninformed jabbering.

There are a couple of good ads here – the Nike battle against a footballing demon; the ad for Swedish betting outfit Stryktipset; and the tolerable Ladbrokes cafe effort, though that’s largely down to Ally McCoist (see also: Ladbrokes 2010 World Cup ad).

The most egregious – where Wright visited an Arsenal fan’s house to use his phone, only for said fan to stand around dribbling and repeating Wright’s name – doesn’t seem to have found its way onto the interweb.

That’s a shame, because it may have served as a warning from history against the following two decades of utterly appalling advertising from the gobby twat.

NB. In addition to all the spots below, Wright has also filmed adverts for Nescafe, Pizza Hut, Asda, Kellogg’s, One2One, Privilege, CarpetRight, Thomas Cook and Walkers. He must have a fucking phenomenal agent.

Best Ever Print Ad Taglines?

Stuff like this is gold dust on marketing, advertising and PR blogs because it’s good link-bait-y copy. Top tens always go down well, but if you can match something that tugs at the nostalgia strings of readers, string it out over 20-odd pages and churn out some generic keyword-heavy intros and you’re away.

It’s ironic that this one is about advertising taglines, as the title ‘best every ad taglines?’ – or words to that effect – is almost an advertising tagline in itself.

Anyway, the slogans on this article by Forbes – coincidentally one of the least user-friendly sites in existence – are inevitably US-based, but enough of them should have leaked through to our combined UK and European consciousnesses for them to make sense.

Some are universal. BMW’s Ultimate Driving Machine is timeless. Or so you would have thought, as BMW recently ditched it for the appalling Joy.

Just Do It – also a good one, and a slogan coincidentally used by my Dad, in his general attitude to life. Not because of a freaky baseball-cap-wearing US geriatric, but because it worked for him.

Got milk? has alway baffled me. Surely the answer is either ‘yes I have go milk’ or ‘no I haven’t got milk’?

Mastercard’s There Are Some Things Money Can’t Buy tagline is supposedly well-loved. And while it’s spawned a thousand spoofs, it doesn’t exactly stand out. Does it do anything that other cards don’t do? No, it doesn’t. So who exactly ‘loves’ it?

Verizon’s Can You Hear Me Now? suggests to me that the line is bad, forcing a redial. It also sounds like something a Tarantino protagonist would shout while pumping someone’s head full of bullets.

McDonalds’ You Deserve a Break Today has an old-world charm, certainly more than I’m Lovin’ It. And We Bring Good Things to Life for GE is quaintly pleasing, far more so than the meaningless, aspirational Imagination At Work. Then again, these were the days before carbon emissions.

Forbes tells us that the simplicity of The Milk Chocolate Melts in Your Mouth, Not in Your Hand is what makes it so good. But if describing what a product does makes a tagline clever, why isn’t the Pampers slogan Keeps Baby Shit From Falling Out All Over The Place?

And Time to Make the Donuts? Surely the donuts have been made already? What?

You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby – Virginia Slims’ tagline for marketing fags at women – is well-loved, Forbes tells us. Is it? Is it really? Who loves it exactly? The best I can say about something that plays on womens’ fears of their own body image is that it smacks of a low animal cunning.

Reach Out and Touch Someone from AT&T is obviously problematic, while Be All You Can Be – for the US army – has a lot of obvious unfortunate rejoinders: ‘working-class cannon fodder’, perhaps?

Anyway, what I think stuff like this says about advertising is that it’s indelibly linked with a hazy nostalgia for time’s gone by. No-one’s immune to it. It’s the reason why old ads get a run out from time-to-time; the reason we form affinities with brands; the reason why articles like this exist.

Because we don’t love the taglines. We love the bittwerweet melancholy of remembering.

• What are the ‘best-loved’ UK advertising slogans? Some that seem typically British include Ah, Bisto!; Go To Work On An Egg; Beanz Meanz Heinz; Have A Break. Have A Kit-Kat; For Mash Get Smash; Hello Tosh, Gotta Toshiba…