As has become more apparent of late, I do like some adverts. As it’s the end of the decade it’s the season for ‘best of’ lists looking back over the last ten years. Inevitably, rather than do something more interesting like putting an angry Charlie Brooker in a room with some ad execs, there’s a perfunctory ‘best 20 ads of the decade’-type programme tonight titled ITV’s Best Adverts Of The Decade.
All of the choices are pretty obvious, which is not to say they’re not good, by and large. Frankly the programme doesn’t do them justice, nor do the awful talking heads who contribute absolutely fuck all to our appreciation or understanding of the ads.
Some people called Mark Charnock, Andrew Castle, Sharon Marshall, Jonny Vegas (actually I like Jonny Vegas), Stephen Mulhern, Anthony Worrall-Thompson, Claire Beale, Paul Ross, Kym Marsh, Duncan Bannatyne and some dancing kid compete to be the biggest twunt on display.
Astonishingly it’s not Paul Ross, but Andrew Castle – a man with all the charm and searing insight of a pile of dog shit. Anyway, I’ve collected them all below, along with my own pithy opinions of the ads in question.
ITV’s Best Adverts Of The Decade
Halifax – Howard
No, no, no, no, no. Fuck no.
Budweiser – Wassup!
John Smiths Peter Kay adverts
Funny, probably Peter Kaye’s best work.
Carlsberg – Old Lions
Brilliant, lovely to see everyone’s favourite old footie players in action one more time.
Waterslide – Barclays
Event ads jump the shark. Patronising, twee and fairly disingenuous drivel.
Volkswagen Golf GTi – Singin in the Rain
An undisputed classic.
Sure For Men – Stunt City
Sony Bravia – Balls
A nice ad that looks phenomenal.
Citroen C4 – Transformer
Fun, funky, French. Stone-cold classic.
PG Tips – Monkey and Al
Sony Bravia – Paint
John West – Bear
This first example of flash mob advertising is quite good.
Guinness – Tipping Point
I’ve long since tired of Guinness’ smug, ethnic vibe. And it’s a rip-of of the far-superior Cog.
Cadbury’s – Gorilla
Skoda Fabia – Cake
Honda – Cog
It had to be. It’s not my personal favourite but it’s a slice of fried gold.
Compare the Meerkat
Funny and gains points for subverting an awful genre, but rapidly becoming tiresome.
Well observed, but hardly the best ad of the last ten years.
It’s been a tough year for TV viewers, assailed by telecommunications or financial services adverts at every turn. And to think people still want the licence fee scrapped.
On certain satellite channels this year I’ve been convinced the amount of advertising may have outweighed the amount of actual time devoted to showing programming, so ubiquitous were the adverts in questions.
And what a load of utter shit those adverts have been. Smugness and attempts to annoy brands into the minds of viewers are the two things that really get me.
In those instances you can almost picture the guilty creatives, gurgling beatifically as they masturbate onto a digestive biscuit before writing ‘Impatience is a Virtue’ onto an oversized whiteboard.
I find it all quite hateful, but that’s the world we live in. I like to think that the people involved are every bit aware of how utterly depressing it all is. But, while they are all going to hell, they earn more money than I do – so who’s the real chump?
It’s been a bad year for banks, Stephen Fry and the unlikely triumvirate of Tiger Woods, Roger Federer and Thierry Henry. But it’s been worse for Duffy, a singer potentially destroyed by a particularly catastrophic commercial.
My only hope is that the money was worth it for those celebs taking the shilling, especially if the ads they patronise appear is this list of 2009’s worst.
You may disagree with my choices, but I think this was about as bad as it got this year in advertising.
Peter Jones and his godawful Money Supermarket ads escaped the pits of despair on a turbocharged shopping trolley.
If you think I’ve missed any obvious others feel free to suggest them – and vote at the bottom – and remember that the people responsible will be lined up against a Shoreditch wall the second the revolution comes.
Ten worst adverts of 2009
Kebab Pot Noodle adverts
An ad that has the sheer effrontery to start with the words ‘We know you find us annoying’ goes straight to the top of my personal list through its sheer hatefulness.
My personal rejoinder to whoever was responsible for this will always be ‘I know you’ll find this agonising’.
The first, a Flight of the Conchords rip-off, was bad enough. The High School Musical One was actively evil.
The fact that it will be enjoyed by those low on gorm via their mobile phones and Bebo accounts makes it all the worse.
T-Mobile’s Life’s For Sharing advert
Flashmob advertising really seemed to hit its stride this year, with advertisers realising that a unique, joyous and spontaneous event could be harnessed by the forces of evil.
T-Mobile did an ad at Liverpool Street station that I actually thought was quite good – the reaction of people watching is what makes these. They all looked amused and cheered up; a brief chink of sunshine in their miserable trudge to work.
However, as flashmob ads have become more prevalent, the public has become more jaded. Nowadays its possible to see ‘making of’ and handheld footage of such events where people actively ignore flashmobs and similar stunts.
So, what was once something rather glorious and heart-warming has been transformed into someone trying to sell you a monthly telecommunications plan.
While this one for T-Mobile isn’t really a flashmob I’ve lumped it into the same mass public stunt genre.
Red driving school advert
Anyone who thinks that becoming a driving instructor is their way out of a badly-paid boring job into a new world of opportunity, hard cash and self-determination is sadly mistaken.
It’s a one-way ticket towards mind-shattering boredom interspersed with moments of extreme danger shared with endless, faceless, 18-year-old twunts who already have a brand new 3 Series (that you’ll never be able to afford) on a promise from their Dad.
Miraculously, even though this advert doesn’t reference any of these things it still communicates the extreme desperation involved in deciding to become a driving instructor.
Direct Line ads
2009 was the year Stephen Fry went massive, as if he wasn’t already there. Poor Stephen comes in for a lot of stick, mostly ill-deserved by my reckoning, but he hasn’t done himself any favours by agreeing to these terrible ads for Direct Line.
Paired with Paul Merton, perfectly cast as a sneering cockney shit, Fry exudes all the characteristics his critics level at him.
They’re unfunny, smug, aggravating and seemingly ubiquitous – which is exactly the sort of press Fry doesn’t need, as his detractors would paint him as all of the above.
Duffy coke ad
It’s just possible that this coke ad, featuring Duffy riding to the shops on a bike, could have finished off the ordinary Welsh songstrel, so debilitating has its effect been.
AdTurds’ Google Analytics accounts reveals thousands of combinations of keyword phrases all revolving around the words ‘Duffy’, ‘coke’, ‘advert’ ‘shit’ ‘terrible’ ‘awful’ and lots of other unfortunate adjectives in a similar vein.
There are adverts that irritate me far more than this one, but the exceedingly low quality of the concept and its execution make it easily the worst.
It almost feels me feel sorry for Duffy. One minute the new Carole King; the next a poor man’s Joss Stone.
Just what on Earth are these adverts about? They look like a modern-day demographic box-ticking homo-erotic Three Stooges played out with at least two people seemingly incapable of adopting facial expressions.
And now Federer and Woods are replaced by cartoons, with only Henry of the original trio remaining to mug around in their ongoing contest of hitting each other with their respective balls.
118 118 adverts
The original standard-bearer for deliberately annoying adverts, this absurd telephone information service certainly needs memorable ads to convince people to pay upwards of a quid to find information they could easily access through a Google search in seconds.
Like a load of advertisers have sat locked in a room with ten kilos of coke for a weekend, everything in these adverts smacks of a brainstorm spiralled horribly out of control.
Beefeaters, Ghostbusters, Dave Bedford, The Stig, Elvis impersonators – every post-modern crapulous ironic reference imaginable.
I hope Ray Parker Junior got a fucking packet.
Go Compare advert
An undisputed nadir of the annoying advert genre, sewn up earlier this year by the amusing Compare The Meerkat ads.
So it’s a case of diminishing returns for these ads, which are competing furiously for your attention.
Peter Jones ran this one close but it’s the fact that you can almost see the working behind this – maximum possible annoyance – running through it like a stick of rock that makes this one so deleterious.
Natwest help adverts
I’m writing this on a day when the supreme court has ruled that banks are allowed to make unfair charges – an issue the banks have spent the last decade fighting – on no moral basis whatsoever.
So any suggestion that banks really give a flying one about the general public is automatically exposed as the height of hypocrisy.
These adverts for Natwest, a bank which has charged me a few hundred quid over the years for occasionally straying a few pounds over my overdraft limit, are the worst.
And lest we mention the bonuses? Everyone hates banks now, but they don’t care – they don’t have to.
They have a carte blanche to screw you every which way, and no amount of touchy-feely adverts (which are inevitably awful) will change that.
Samsung Jet advert
The motherload. The most hateful pile of cack ever committed in the name of advertising.
A message so vacuous, yet simultaneously horrible, that it transcends the medium. This isn’t just one of the worst adverts ever, it’s one of the worst anything ever.
Its foretelling of a Britain where the only ideology is the satisfaction of appetites is the most chilling portent of a nihilistic future ever seen. It would have terrified Ballard and Burgess.
If you want a vision of the future, imagine a bloke taking a picture of his cock on his mobile phone – forever.