December 23, 2006

I'm out

I'm gonna eat 'till I'm sick, drink too much, waste loads of money and make a general nuisance of myself, all for baby Jesus. Yes, it really makes sense having a December birthday celebration for someone who was actually born in September.
I'll be back sometime in the New Year.
And have a Merry Christmas. I'm having none of this Happy Holidays bollocks.

December 22, 2006

The CMM News Advertising Awards 2006

Let the big bananas of the advertising world dream up their own awards for the greatest, most effective, best art-directed and best tiddlyompompom watsit ad thingies. This is my own ill-considered list of 2006’s ad achievements, in no particular order.

1. The Crispy Tummy-Wipe Award
For the most gratuitous use of sex in advertising. Made for no other reason than to prop up the sales figures of paper tissue manufacturers.
These exercise vids had a certain charm about them, and at least the girls built up a decent sweat. So an honourable mention goes to Stuff4Dudes. But the prize must go to Independence Cigars whose first viral featured a naked woman playing with her boobs, and whose latest has progressed to a naked lesbian romp. There’s something about cigars which encourages advertisers to treat them as a phallic object, more so than cigarettes (which are a bit effeminate, after all).

2. The Limp Dick Award
We should have expected better from Virgin, whose reputation for making reasonably good virals is let down by this mank. I had intended to rail against Lutwyche, whose original 2003 viral was dark, sinister and brilliant. The sequel was so crap that it's url has been withdrawn, so I can't feature it here. Don't worry, you're not missing anything. St. Luke's is evidently trying to deal with the trauma.

3. Happy Slappy Award
I reckon that there's an ad trend that sees the camera moving away from the upper part of the body to the much more accommodating lower regions. Bums are funnier than tits, and you can smack them too. Hence Old Khaki’s fish spank, and this odd chap being accosted for Doc Martens. The prize must go to the utterly pointless slap happy girls from Bennetts insurance in a post that generated the largest number of hits for this blog. You perverts.

4. Le Grand Fromage Award
For big brands trying something risky. A special mention to Marmite, for a quite disgusting viral which generated the second-highest number of posts in CMM News. But Marmite has been making hay with its love it or hate it campaign for a long time, and the progression to baby vomit was still in keeping with the slightly irreverent style of its recent TV work.
What was surprising was the sight of the previously viral-shy Procter & Gamble stick its neck out with this piece of work for Charmin which, although relatively safe, was bold for being the first toilet paper ad that properly refers to poo. Toilet paper may be nice for drying naughty puppies, but that's not what the stuff is made for.
In 2007 I’d like to see a toilet paper brand use the tagline “great for wiping the shit from your arse”
Yes, it has a certain ring to it.

5. Provincial Potty Mouth Award
Internationally accepted swear words are sometimes OK, but they lack a certain something. Hollywood has a lot to answer for. The word Fuck, for instance, has been McDonald-ised, and is almost safe. Yeah, Fuck is now the Big Mac of the world of the potty mouth. You wouldn’t bat an eyelid if grandma uttered it.
I therefore hope that the lighter Wanker (Greenpeace) and Tosser (Tories) retain their British flavour. Both words popped up in virals this year, but didn’t hit the same high as Bollocks (VW) did a few years back.
The mean-spirited Greenpeace viral wins it by default because a win for the Tories would undermine my credibility.

6. Swimming in the Gutter Award
Whereas Charmin tackled the poo issue whilst keeping its hands clean, a distinctly yucky viral for a very small retailer was responsible for the biggest gross-out of 2006. I suppose extreme toilet humour is fine when targeting spotty adolescents, but it runs the risk of alienating older consumers who might have been interested in the product.
Dog poo is slightly less revolting.

7. Best Surprise Appearance of a Knob
The Oatso Simple plasticine uncle of Windy Miller provided the newspapers with hours of fun in their hunt for the man-made willy. This Computer sign is a bit random (but amused me enough to post it), but neither comes close to the cheeky priapic charm of the mutt whose todger became an embarrassment for Ikea.

8. The Snurge Award
Snurge was the term we used at school for the teacher who used to hang around the bike sheds sniffing the girls' bicycle seats. The gold-painted saddle is earned by this Scampi snack in memory of those dodgy teenage years.

9. The Glass Cock (GC) Zombie Award
For an ad-related story that is continuously resurrected. I have nicked the GC concept from b3ta.
My vanity will not allow me to contemplate the possibility that I wasn’t the first blogger to add Bentley to this sequence of car ads. Either way, it keeps popping up again and again in a variety of blogs. Other bloggers: stop!

10. Best appearance by a chimp in an ad
Never mind Careerbuilder and the Trunk Monkey, the star turn of the year was the cheeky fella in the Sure ad with a finger up his bottom (46 seconds in).

Give that monkey a banana, but don’t shake his hand.

December 21, 2006

Sock it to them pesky elves

Having just finished a fine yet tiring piece of newbiz prospecting work, I was grateful to find an immensely satisfying and de-stressing little viral game from Churchill Insurance, they of the Vic Reeves-voiced bulldog.
Become Santa and lob snowballs at annoying little elves in Elf Attack.

Bagged and tagged

I’ve been roped into a meme which really is me me me (see what I did there?). This one’s a form of playground kiss-chase where you get tagged by another blogger. The idea is you then divulge five facts about yourself, and then tag five others.
Because I have been tagged twice (by Doug and OneWomanRunning), and I am vain, I proffer ten FishNChimps factoids.

1. I am allergic to avocado and lobster.
2. Although I have never seen him, I believe that Professor Richard Dawkins exists.
3. My children believe that I am a retired Jedi Knight and that I control Big Terry, the friendly robot who defends London from flying saucers.
4. As a teenager I was diagnosed as being moderately dyscalculaic.
5. I lost control when skiing and knocked a line of fellow students off a (low) cliff.
6. A hamster put me in hospital.
7. A school trip to a museum ended abruptly when I foiled one of the interactive exhibits, and broke it. The party was thrown out and the school was banned from visiting ever again.
8. Steve Ovett told me to fuck off.
9. I am descended from a pirate who eventually rose to command a fleet in the Greek War of Independence.
10. A television fell on my head

(One of the above is a lie)

I’m tagging the following bloggers, although I’m aware that some of you may be uncomfortable with the pyramid/chainletter vibe going on here. One reason I went along with this is that I see blogging as a community thing and sometimes it's good to spread some love around.
As I am a self-deified atheist, I will happily take on any bad mojo that you feel might come your way if you don’t want to join in.

Jetpacks – apart from having the best title for an ad blog, I’d like to see if this quirky commentator is as rednecked as his geographic location might suggest.
Scamp – will the most prolific creative currently blogging in the UK stoop so low as to play this game?
Bill Green – because the Make The Logo Bigger guru occasionally voyages into off-topic weirdness, which is good.
The MonkeyWatch blogger because I need to know more about the person spying on my monkey troops, and for writing gems like "The habits of various animals disposing of their dung is considered."
And finally greencan – because of the fine argument we had during one of copyranter’s posts, and for having a blog post that begins with the words “All I could think about was wrapping my lips around his cock”.

Tags: Online; Viral

December 20, 2006

Knobs and norks

Checkout the Scandinavian Advertising Awards 2007 and be reassured that the Northern European casual attitude towards sex in advertising remains unchanged. It's a tidy site with representatives from above and below the line.
The above link is for the awards shortlist, but you can see all the nominees here.

December 19, 2006

Fuckwits of the year

As if to prove that Jesus wasn’t born in Australia because the angels couldn’t find a virgin or three wise men, a group of numpties calling themselves the Federal Court have effectively outlawed the internet.
To quote BoingBoing:

Bloggers, MySpacers, and anyone else who links to copyrighted material without permission is fair game for legal action, a court in Australia has ruled. Not "hosts," not "uploads," not "downloads," but "links to."

The emphasis is currently on music but it’s the thin end of the wedge when a nation of Australia’s calibre takes aim at one major medium.
It’s a short leap to the banning of links to movie clips, TV clips and ads which would mean that I and virtually every other blogger would be up for prosecution. Time to check out your country’s extradition treaties, fellow bloggers.
But fuck ‘em. Here’s an Aussie underwear ad (again).


One of the best web ad juxtapositions I've seen.

via Streetsblog

Saying hello to strangers

I spent most of my school holidays in my grandparents’ house in a small industrial town in the North West of England. The town wasn’t pretty, but most of my happiest childhood memories are of that place. The simple reason is that everyone there was friendly. It was easy to strike up conversation with strangers because it was common to greet people with a question (usually something to do with the weather).
It’s not quite as nice now, but it is still a lot easier to get on with people there than it is in the South East. Our towns are so crowded that we try to ignore the people around us and never get involved with them. mp3 players make it even easier for us to shut out the world around us.
And yet, curiously, we see consumer technology that encourages to interact with strangers. There’s social networking and playing online games. What ever became of Freever, whose gadget (maybe it was an add-on for mobile phones) would alert you to another nearby Freever user whose profile complimented your own? And the Zune gives you access to another user’s playlist if they are nearby. It’s technology taking the effort out of approaching others.
It’s odd how we are supposed to be social creatures and yet we don’t speak to people, especially those strangers who we see every day. I was struck by this whimsical article from the BBC about a photographer who decided to break down the invisible barriers that separated her from these intimate strangers. After the initial effort, the exercise wasn’t as painful as you’d expect.
Maybe we are a little too precious about our barriers. Life’s so fast we don’t have time or the inclination to physically interact with others. We filter our emails, background noise, advertising and other people.
I guess that’s what we call progress.

December 18, 2006

Meet. Drink wine. Shag.

Look at the body language.
The distance between the pair suggests that they kind of know each other, or at very least have only recently met.
Her head is tilted, she is leaning slightly forwards, her left hand flat on the cushion. Her legs are pointing towards him. She is looking into his eyes, challenging him to look at her boobage.
His knee casually points towards her, his stance open. A furtive glance at her rack isn't going to satisfy him.
He's in charge - this is his pad (note the minimalist alpha male decor) and he has drunk a little less wine than his prey.They support their heads in a way that could easily suggest boredom, but there is no uncomfortable moment. Not now. Not here. The small talk is over.
If there was any doubt that this pair are about to launch themselves at each other, then check out this image from the advertiser's homepage:

OK, so what the fuck does this have to do with selling wine?
Note the copy.

"Les vins de Bordeaux. Some offer you just a drink. Others offer you a chateau"

Eh? As meaningless sentences go, that takes some beating. But it doesn't matter, because with the words Bordeaux, Chateau, combined with the image of pre-copulating strangers in a posh pad, the idea is sold.
What other alcoholic drink - no... what other country's wines - would even dare to connect drinking with sex in this manner, even covertly? If this ad were flogging wines from the New World or any other European country, the effect would be as cheesy as the canapes served at a librarian's party.
But Bordeaux is as French as white flags, onions and seduction, the randy fuckers, so they can get away with this.
Sometimes I wish I was French.

In the interests of research, I dispatched a brace of scantily clad monkeygirls to find a typical ad numpty, and ask her opinion:
“Oo-er, he looks a very frisky young man. In my day... I once knew a Spanish waiter who looked like him - used to shove a bread roll down his trousers but WHAT is SHE wearing? A skirt like that in this weather and she'll catch a cold. Did you know you can get all sorts of diseases by wearing a skirt like that if you sit too near a lake? Especially if you're French. Those glasses are far too big. I will complain. Is she wearing a bra?"

December 15, 2006

The tills they are a-ringin'

This is the cheerful chappy who helped me spend my last 50p last night at the Tesco on Bishopsgate. He is the resident whipmaster for the self-service checkout that now greets shoppers at the newly hi-tech store.
I only wanted to buy a newspaper so, being something of an old fart, chose to queue at the tobacco counter because there happened to be a human being behind it.
Unfortunately she was dealing with one of those city oiks (probably one of those £2m Xmas bonus recipients) who was trying to buy a box of matches with his American Express card. It would have been quicker to buy a house.
In the olden days, I would have waved my paper at the human(s), plonked the correct change on the counter, and scarpered. Bear in mind I was eager to move quickly to catch the last Vomit Comet train from Liverpool Street Station, so speed was of the essence.
Waving my 50p extravagantly at the tobacconist earned me a tap on the shoulder from the whipmaster, who directed me to the till. Too impatient to work out how to use the wretched device (this was straight after the agency Xmas party), I uttered a phrase in Greek in order to pretend I was not of this nation and couldn't read English. The whipmaster efficiently passed my Evening Standard through the brains of the machine and, three minutes later, I was on my way.
Is this progress? Tesco is the UK's biggest retailer. For every £7 spent in the high street, Tesco takes £1, such is its power. It has been blamed for the demise of the small independent retailers that used to be present on every high street and, not content with that, is now targeting the very people who work for it by replacing them with these machines.
If there were a rival, human-operated supermarket alongside this Tesco, I would have gone there instead.

December 14, 2006

H&M’s Christmas shifts to Halloween

H&M are beginning to scare me. Its Christmas press advertising gets more bizarre as the clothing chain shifts from psycho babies to flesh-eating dead-eyed zombie women in grey jumpers.
Remember the scene from Lord of the Rings where Frodo falls into the dead marshes and is accosted by watery phantoms?
One of them escaped.

See also:
Don’t mess with these babies
Mummy, the Christmas bunny isn't moving

Eggcentric advertising

I'm sorry, but seeing these fellas glaring at me as I open the eggbox on a dreary Monday morning would simply freak me out. It would give the kiddies nightmares too ("Eeeuuur - look at his yellow brains!").
The faces are stuck-on, courtesy of in-pack advertising by razor maker Wilkinson.

December 13, 2006

Coke nicks ginger's ninja

Rob Manuel, the ginger genius behind my web addiction, is unhappy. His b3ta site (read its Wikipedia description here) is required lunchtime reading for anyone tickled by creative piss-taking, mash-ups, and extreme toilet humour. According to Campaign, the site has a hit rate of 30 million per month. Some contributions to the site are breathtakingly creative; many are often politically incorrect. A lot of the satirical work that appears in its bulletin boards finds its way into newspapers and magazines, usually unacknowledged.
Mr Manuel has posted this video explaining how one of his associates' web videos has spawned a remarkably similar clone on Coke's Argentinian website without permission or reference to its origin.
Joel Veitch, a computer animator and commercials director contributed the Quiznos spongmonkeys, the Crusha kittens, and the Switch/Maestro penguins to the world of advertising. Veitch's work can be seen at
This could so easily be yet another story of how advertising has stolen ideas, unacknowledged, for its own ends (obvious refs: Honda Cog, Sony Bravia Balls). The fuss that b3ta are kicking up may indeed peter out and be quickly forgotten. There is, however, just a chance that this one could really turn around and kick Coke in the teeth. The b3ta community is web savvy, protective, imaginative, subversive and ready to cause mischief when roused.

This is the Coke link, and this is the original Veitch video with its similar animation, music and dancing.

See also: The stolen ninja - update

Beware false prophets

A quiet word to my loyal followers: ignore the Baboon King. He is a lesser being. There is only one true simian deity and it is I, the Chimp Messiah.
He will beguile you with images of hot chicks with their cute arses in the air. Take this example, from Amazon, where his disciples seek to sell unholy exercise machines. Roll your cursor over the image but do not fall for his false prophecies. The monkey invasion begins, and ends, with me.

The black stuff at the water cooler

Water-cooler paper cups mocked up to look like Guinness pint glasses. These images come from a beer-lovers' website and are unattributed, so I have no idea where this canny bit of marketing is from. Iran, maybe?

December 12, 2006

Land Rover rides over the numpties

At first glance, you see some posh totty, her expensive dress spattered with mud, and the Land Rover logo at the bottom. The presence of mud might imply some kind of upper-class rumpy pumpy in the hay with the threat of an irate lord horsewhipping the bounder who's squiring his daughter.
I liked this ad on Sunday morning, and liked it even more come the evening. The model is one Zara Phillips, aged 25 and an accomplished equestrian. She’s a damn fine looking woman who is naturally rather posh. On Sunday night she became the BBC Sports Personality of The Year.
Her grandmother also happens to be the Queen of England.
The Land Rover brand represents unattainability for most of the hoi polloi. There are few people who could afford a new Land Rover, and even fewer who’d get within sniffing distance of Zara Phillips, an outdoorsy girl who most certainly uses the full 4x4 function when riding over the peasants on her mum’s estates.
The ad projects just the kind of image Land Rover has been trying to cast – rugged and classy.
For me, the real pay-off came with Sunday’s BBC award to Phillips. The award is decided by viewers, so I was somewhat surprised by the pragmatism that saw them avoid the class envy that afflicts so many Britons.
Of course, it could be that they are too thick to realise that Phillips is royalty, but I doubt it. I prefer to believe that it’s the same young generation of text voters who participate in the reality TV polls who voted on Sunday. My view is strenghtened by my observation of the wonderful numptyism displayed by those who then moaned on the radio about the result (most of them sounded middle-aged).
You can get a flavour of it here, in the BBC article about the award. These are the same type of people who moan about 4x4s being driven in towns. I generally sympathise with those who say these cars are too big for our crowded roads, but I reckon the driving motive behind most of these complaints is envy.
The thought of Zara, resplendent in her muddy dress, neighing like a horse at the mighty vibrations as the Land Rover charges down Numpty High Street splattering the outraged unwashed plebs, is too joyous to bear.

Agency: RKCR/Y&R

Don’t mess with these babies

Today’s offering from H&M is a quartet of miserable-looking rug rats. I’m going to make a few enemies by saying this, but many babies at this age are too androgynous for the flouncy look. Face it, the three on the left wouldn’t look out of place with a Churchillian cigar in each of their mouths while flicking the Vs, and the tall one is asking for a fight with the bastard who nicked her teddy bear.

See also: Mummy, the Christmas bunny isn't moving

December 11, 2006

Up to his neck in it

British TV is awful. I don't bother arguing with the Domestic CEO in the evenings. Big Brother, I'm a Celebrity, Strictly Come Dancing, and a multitude of other brain-dead reality progs (from talent shows to celebrity hairdressing) have shooed me away from the telly. My meekness with the remote control comes from the certain knowledge that there's also bugger all else to watch, so there's no point in kicking up a fuss. Bloody hell, even the ads are shit (Scouse minger Kerry Katona flogging heart-attack fodder to fat families is #1 in my current ad recall chart).
In my jaded opinion, post-11pm is the best time to catch the occasional jewels. I desperately try to stay awake (often failing) during Bravo TV's Adult Swim, or [adult swim], should I say. It provides a regular supply of often blisteringly-funny adult-oriented animations. Anyone with an anarchic or a creative bent should check out the unshackled mayhem.
Here's one beauty that hits my spot. This filmlet is the FishNChimps equivalent of naked women mud-wrestling. Phwoooar.

Adult Swim's website might not be safe for work.

I am going to hell

Three pairs of feet thundering up the stairs is the reaction to my sudden, gut-hurting guffaw. By the time the chimplets have charged through the door, I have tabbed to a different window because it would be wrong, so wrong, to show them why I was laughing.
While the Queen of the Chimp Mansion is watching B-list celebs sail around a dance floor (zzzz) I'm trawling through the bulletin boards of b3ta, where someone has noticed a terrible juxtaposition.
There's a theory that humour is good gauge of prejudice. You can control your reactions to anything upon which you have an opinion, to the point where, over time, you can change your own prejudice. But humour is different. Something can hit you from left-field, catching you unawares and, no matter what your views on the subject being lampooned, you will laugh. Even if you feel ashamed afterwards.
The BBC recently aired a TV programme about a very unfortunate teenager with an obvious and debilitating problem. To understand the mirth, see this screenshot of the rotating banners at the bottom of the page.
Bad. Bad. Bad.

Spotted on b3ta

Tags: Evil; Media; Online

December 08, 2006

Belly belly belly

Another one of my most favourite ads has just cropped up on YouTube. A surefire indication of a funny ad is one that makes all three of my brood laugh, and this one had them in near stitches when I showed it to them.
This classic from 2001 had a huge hairy belly chasing a guy around town. What makes it stand out is not just its humour, but the in-your-face way it communicates the idea of forcing fat bastards off the sofa.
Reebok stuck two fingers up at the Nike / Adidas approach of celebrating excellence, and spoke to the common man. Perfect.

Agency: Lowe Lintas

Veiled woman delivers Xmas speech on Channel 4

Two current yet unrelated media stories with unusual similarities.
Channel 4 chiefs try to manufacture outrage at the thought of a fully-veiled Muslim woman delivering the channel’s Christmas message. Frankly, I’d be quite interested to hear what she has to say.
ITV are to revive anarchic 1970s Saturday morning TV show Tiswas for a one-off special. Fantastic – another chance to see the Phantom Flan Flinger in action (see picture).
Who’s worse: the cynical Channel 4 chiefs with their quest to stir things up, or the smug, desperate-for-publicity Tiswas presenter Chris Tarrant (on his affair: "I love my wife to pieces but there's also room in my life for lust")?

December 07, 2006

Mummy, the Christmas bunny isn't moving

This is yesterday’s completely fucking weird offering from H&M. You know how you see something that you feel instinctively is wrong, but can’t quite put your finger on it? My eye kept straying back to the press version of this in the Metro freesheet, a series of question marks fugging my brain.
OK, cute kid and all that, but I resolved to solve the problem by waving the ad in front of our tea lady while my chicken soup was redecorating the inside of the company’s microwave oven.
“It’s ridiculous. Why would you dress a child in fuzzy mittens and stuff while leaving her in only her indoor clothes?”
Bang on the money, madam.
“Besides,” said the mistress of tea, darkening the mood, “if you owned a large dog, it would take one look at her and rip her to pieces if it mistook her for a rabbit.”

December 06, 2006

Bang Bang. You're dead

I'm muchly impressed with this AIDS spot for MTV. The surreal and disturbing turn of events depicted here gets the anti-HIV message across to youngsters tempted to live only for the moment.

Found on Illegal Advertising.

He's no chimp

I'd had Bush down as a distant simian relative, but this lovely print job for a Mexican newspaper identifies the Homer Simpson gene in the crusading president. More excellent combinations in Technocracia.

December 05, 2006

The best YouTube mashup. Ever.

Oh sweet Mary, Mungo and Midge, here is a real gold-plated, A1 mash-up, demonstrating the occasional sheer brilliance of the YouTube medium. What the copyright nazis will make of this, I don’t know, but while it’s there enjoy the spectacle of Monty Python meets Star Trek. Genius. Genius. Genius.

See also: Silent Star Wars

Found on b3ta

Advertising just got harder harder! HARDER!

Sometimes I browse through Digg to see what other people think is news. It’s a terrific source for technology news (once you figure out how to hone your searches), but there’s also some awfully lame stuff there, especially when you Digg for “advertising”. Most posts tout some exciting new creative work which, at a moment’s glance, reveals itself to be a good few years old.
I did however find this old gem, which I first saw several years ago when I was fresh to advertising (boy did I get a culture shock!).
Portland agency Elvis & Bonaparte submitted this controversial “bumper” for a local advertising awards fest. It’s the sort of task that I understand creatives love: the chance to let rip without the usual client constraints and gain kudos from their community.
The organisers banned it for being offensive, which is, as we all now know, just the sort of appraisal a piece of work needs for viral success.
Not safe for work (unless you work in an advertising creative department)

Get off my bleedin' chair

I lent the Secret Mistress the keys to one of my country retreats and said I'd join her later, but I didn't permit her to bring her dogs.
Tied by his leash to the radiator, the bored Moochie Murgatroyd thought Sod It, This Floor's Too Cold - It's The Swanky Chair For Me.
This is its What 'Yer Feckin' Lookin' At Jimme look (remember this breed is Scottish) as I arrived. Just look at the bugger. He has Feck Off written all over his evil face while he rubs his worm-infested arse on my £600 designer chair.
As you can imagine, the sight of a hairy mutt occupying my expensive furniture was as inviting as being offered a sweaty nudist's bicycle. Secret Mistress was so astounded at my furious visage that she failed to notice her chihuahua dangling by its neck from the window behind her.
Naturally the thought of my poor butler having to defur my Ligne Rosets resulted in one swiftly-kicked arse heading out of the window, followed by her dog.
Women these days. No class.

See also: Are you sitting comfortably?

Tags: Press / outdoor ads

December 04, 2006

The best Christmas ad on the telly

This brilliant spoof of The Snowman for Irn Bru sets the bar high for any other brand wanting to raise a laugh with its Christmas advertising. The quintessentialy Scottish soft drink (whose sales are higher than Coca-Cola in Scotland) has enjoyed some superb advertising in the past. My favourites are the ramraiding granny and the transexual mum, although there are many more.
It's a pity the brand hasn't benefited from the kudos generated by its many years of top notch TV work; the drink has never really registered as a popular choice down south.

Agency: Leith

Badly designed sign

December 01, 2006

Carbon dioxide is good

At last, an ad I truly, truly hate. It has a crap script, crap imagery, crap message, patronising tone, and a dubious morality.
Do people really fall for the old Plinking Piano And Soft Female Voiceover trick?

This, and a similar spot by The Competitive Enterprise Institute aired in the US in May.

Keep your eyes on the wheel

"Is that a ladder in your tights or a stairway to heaven?" It's the lamest chat-up line I've heard of and I promise I've never used it, although Pretty Polly have unashamedly referenced it with this new campaign that unveiled what is apparently the largest ever outdoor ad in the UK.
This lively billboard on the busy Chiswick roundabout not only gives drivers an eyeful of slinky leg, but also the dubious thrill of an up-skirt view as the chill London wind ruffles the model's dress.
More here and here.

November 30, 2006

Find Jesus with your holy M&Ms

"M&Ms aren’t just for snacking anymore; they are part of an arsenal of prayer that is being wielded with ever increasing accuracy by the youngest among us. Following are a few ideas to help you and yours pray through a bag of M&Ms. Go ahead, shape the world with your prayer!"

Nothing I say could possibly express my feelings about this madness.

Spotted on b3ta

Push and pull, guaranteed

Chaps: need a quick energy rush? Left home without that important mutual pleasuring device? Forgot to resupply your post-coital nicotine injection system?
For those annoying times when opportunity knocks unexpectedly, those canny Swiss have thoughtfully provided The Guy In A Hurry's complete pulling kit in one easy location.
Take a closer look at this Swiss vending machine from Planning for Fun.

November 29, 2006

Fight! Fight! But not on Friday night

There's a big problem with this FCUK ad. It's not that it recollects the titillating TV ad that was a direct rip-off of a music video. Neither is it that the pugillistic females have too many clothes on. Nor is it the absence of sticky mud or cold water (wake up art director!).
No, the problem here is that this outdoor work can be seen plastered on the side of London's red double-decker buses.
As any regular traveller in London knows (or so I'm told, as I prefer to travel by private helicopter or chauffered Bentley) there are fewer more threatening places than our buses late on a Friday or Saturday night, especially when they're bound for the more dangerous outlying boroughs.
Some hot lesbian nookie would be just about acceptable to my conservative sensibilities, but I wouldn't want to be stuck on the night bus with a girl fight on the outside.
Not without my bodyguard. Especially in Peckham.

November 28, 2006

Coca-Cola, the elixir of life

I love the fact that this Flickr photo is titled "This Ad actually made me a bit angry!". I'd say this was a well-spotted faux pas from Boots whose look & feel better for less promotion is freely scattered throughout its shelves.
Of course, we all know what a marvellous healthy drink Coke is. It's good for your teeth, stomach, blood-sugar levels, dirty pennies and cleaning roads.
It's good enough to drink in large quantities, which is why I am baffled how some sad Russian woman managed to sue Coca-Cola after 5,000 litres of the stuff had passed through her kidneys over 5 years. Heartburn and insomnia? Surely not.

November 27, 2006

Anticipated Durex TV ad leaves one...

Chimp Messiah rule #43 for guys on the pull: avoid nicking other men's chat-up lines.
Chimp Messiah rule #11 for making ads about sex aids: unimaginative promotion of penis rings can make you look like a prick.
It started with a promise... excitement... anticipation... then the revelation and.... pffffft. This is the much-hyped ad from Durex that has just aired on British TV.

The gag (always a good response at the end of a first date - boom boom!) is quaint but the effort falls limp because it's been done before.
My feeling of deja vu when seeing this for the first time was confirmed by Brand Republic's revelation that Durex's vibrating penis ring is buzzing to the same tune as a similar product by rival Mates, whose viral ad has been flopping around the internet for months:

Stick this on your carrot, you sexy thing

Religion, when it's not the rightful worship of your Chimp Messiah, really bugs me. Or more specifically, organised religion really bugs me. Let people believe what they like, so long as it doesn't frighten the horses. My problem comes when religion promotes destruction and encourages ignorance. I therefore chuckled at the Flying Spaghetti Monster's challenge to the Creationists, and cheered when I first heard of its precursor, Russell's Teapot.
This week I cried an ironic "Hallelujah" at The Vatican's decision to review its viciously destructive doctrine against the use of condoms, which has so far condemned millions of people, especially in Africa, to death by AIDS (of the 2.8 million worldwide deaths by the disease in 2005, 2 million occurred in Africa).
I experienced mixed emotions when I saw these two viral (no pun intended) ads from a South African condom maker. If they are new, then their timing is uncanny.
Taken at face value they are sharp, funny and to the point. But also terribly, terribly sad.

November 24, 2006


So, nafness finds a new champion in James Bond as he's seen driving the distinctly middle class Ford Mondeo in Casino Royale. Daniel Craig may have revitalised the 007 franchise but its association with the least glamorous models in Ford's garage somewhat diminishes the Bond aura.
Here's one of several press ads and posters for Ford's Fiesta Zetec with the ubiquitous Bond imagery. As Campaign magazine has pointed out, the ads include an elementary spelling mistake ("Licenced") which agency Ogilvy sheepishly claims is deliberate.
Ford occupies the middle ground in the UK car market, by virtue of being the most popular manufacturer, and its consumers having the most average demographic profiles.
The world of Bond is special. It's a fantasy of dangerous luxury, occupied by eccentric tycoons and glamorous women. James Bond himself is supposed to have been educated at Fettes College, a place where a solid grounding in the basics of the English language would be expected.
Ford and Ogilvy have just made Bond a little less special and a bit more average.

November 23, 2006

Did he just say “Tosser”?

This is unusual. It’s what amounts to a public service announcement about the dangers of youngsters falling into debt. Very zzzzzz you might think but this has some curiousity value, not just because of the free use of one of my favourite terms of abuse, or because of the noble attempt to increase awareness of one of Britain’s fastest growing social and financial problems.

What makes this noteworthy is that this is a viral by the UK’s Conservative Party. There’s no Tory branding within, unless you visit the viral’s supporting site, where there’s a tiny copyright label.
I am puzzled as to how this viral campaign could succeed. The fact that it’s made by a political party would be regarded a turn-off, and yet it’s that association that gives it its premium curiosity value.
I’m no great admirer of the Tories (or of any of the major parties – it is I who should be in charge), but it would make a refreshing change if David Cameron’s new brand of fluffified capitalists managed to reach out to our disengaged and disinterested youth with this and forthcoming virals covering homelessness and racism.
As long as the kids don’t vote Tory, of course.
(Or maybe that’s too mean)

Click here for Guardian article and link to Quicktime version (may require registration).

Offensive terms OK on C4

Monday's Metro website carried this story about Channel 4's popular puzzle show Countdown. With the letters available on the board, both contestants spelled out this word (pictured).
That the contestants were told the word was offensive seemed to be enough to placate any sense of outrage that may have been felt by viewers, none of whom bothered to complain.
I'm the first to accuse this nation's plebs of numptyism whenever they take offence at seemingly innocuous advertising, but just for once it would have been good to see someone do the decent thing when complaining is really justified.
As for the gameshow, the terms were allowed because they're in the dictionary and the contestants picked up 7 points each. You can bet if the board had revealed the more robust Anglo Saxon words, then there would have been an almighty fuss. But if the words are racist, who cares? It says a lot about the demographic makeup of Countdown's audience.

via b3ta

November 22, 2006

Chop Chop

Yes, very lame, but this juxtaposition from today's Sun tickled me for about 2 seconds.

Dangerous and contagious

Holy rabid baboons - how times change. This gloomy public service announcement comes from a time when the USA was obsessed with alien invasion, communists and a terrible sickness of the mind called homosexuality.

November 21, 2006

Why British Airways is once, twice, three times wrong

A British Airways employee lost her fight to openly wear a cross necklace at work at Heathrow Airport. I am puzzled because there is a dichotomy between BA’s branding and its decision to stop this woman from openly wearing her crucifix.
BA’s argument was that the wearing of visible jewellery violated its uniform policy, yet it makes an exception for Sikh turbans and Muslim hijabs because they cannot be covered up.
Consider the logo on BA’s aircraft. The image heading this post is taken straight from the company’s front webpage, where you can see the stylised flutter of the Union Jack, aka the national flag of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
There are three Christian symbols on the flag: the crosses of Saint George, Saint Andrew and Saint Patrick.
BA is not a evangelical, crusading hyper-Christian organisation, but a business. Any business that uses the UK’s national symbol is referring to the Christian traditions of the country, and should have some sensitivity towards them. The BA flag is not just a logo – it is a national symbol. If it doesn’t like the flag, then pick a teapot, the V-sign, a plate of fish & chips, a raincloud or a pint of warm beer to represent its British origins.
If BA wants to stop this woman from covering up her cross, then it should cover up its logo too.

Tags: Culture; Politics

A whiff of conspiracy

The Metro, London's morning freesheet, carried an astonishing article about what might be a conspiracy by Big Tobacco to push smoking via YouTube. Here's a longer version of the story, which originates from Australia.

"Thousands of videos of sexy, smoking teens are appearing on the internet phenomenon YouTube, possibly being posted by tobacco manufacturers to recruit the next generation of smokers."

The phrase "dark marketing", as used within the article, elicits a shiver of intrigue at the possibility of such techniques being employed by the evil lords of the weed.
I was sceptical, until I YouTubed "smoking" and saw some of the videos emerging on the first page. Here is an example which, before I read the story, might have dismissed as a drab fetish film, but in the context of the claims from Sydney University it acquires a more disturbing quality. Note the unusual clarity of the film, and the pearl necklace.

It's worth pointing out that this is just one video amongst many. There may be nothing especially sinister about this particular video, but the existence of so many similar ones is certainly noteworthy.
There's an ironic footnote to the linked story:
Philip Morris, the maker of Marlboro, will ask the film industry to refrain from showing its brands in any future films, in ads to run in the industry magazines Variety and the Hollywood Reporter.

Sainsbury's heaven

There must be a story behind this image from The Marketing Blog. Sainsbury's or Milton Keynes hell? If you ever stumble into MK, then be sure to check out its sole attraction: concrete cows.

November 20, 2006

Clucking hell

This is about as off-topic as you can get, and I've desperately been trying to find an excuse or a suitable analogy to justify linking to this very short clip. Unfortunately, I can't, other than saying it's a prime example of the sort of fabulous nonsense that can be found on my favourite waste of time, the b3ta bulletin boards.
The clip is on a loop, and is best watched several times over to understand my warped sense of humour.

A cerebral interest in exercise vids

Eeegads my back is killing me. I know I have to lose weight, but there's not much point in trying until after Christmas. Swinging on my tyre and flinging poo doesn't really burn calories. So, with my 2007 health plan in mind, I decided to do a bit of research and have hit upon some good exercise videos.
I think you will find these promotional films as interesting as I did. I think I can just about see the benefit of being at peace with the world by taking up yoga. If that doesn't prove adequate, then these exercises as demonstrated by colourful athletes are another option.
These trailers relate to what are euphemistically called "Party Videos" and are from the Stuff4Dudes site.
Warning: these videos just happen to contain semi-naked babes and gratuitous close-up shots, but that's not why they are interesting. No, honestly.

Tags: Naughty bits; Viral

Don't drop the soap, sweetheart

Sweden is not a country normally associated with humour. She's given us ABBA, IKEA and Sven Goran Eriksson, all things that sensible Englishmen will regard with varying degrees of horror. Only once did a Swede make me laugh, and that was out of sympathy because it was one of the worst jokes I've ever heard (Why did the baker have smelly hands? Because he kneaded a poo).
Equally disassociated from humour is insurance, but there have been a steady supply of genuinely funny insurance ads from around the world. Here's a nice example, from Swedish insurer Länsförsäkringar, a name which just rolls of the tongue.

November 17, 2006

What every little girl needs at Christmas

It's unbelievable what they're selling to kids these days. This is either very subliminal or I suffer from a very warped mind.

Spotted on b3ta

Tags: Online

More Japanese weirdness

When a YouTube film is marked with the warning "This video may contain content that is inappropriate for some users, as flagged by YouTube's user community", one is led to think Wahey! Pr0n!
This mightily peculiar Japanese ad has nothing remotely rude (unless the strange raccoon-like creature is really sporting a pair of gigantic gonads), but there is something inexplicably disturbing about it. Perhaps those viewers who have flagged this video are sensitive to the allegories that have been attached to the Little Red Riding Hood myth.

Tags: TV ads

November 16, 2006

More than one Elvis connection

Over to the Hammersmith Palais last night for the annual pop quiz run by NABS, the ad industry’s charity. One of the more cryptic rounds was based on this astounding video from the late ‘80s, worth watching for the fun of celeb-spotting and the outside chance that you’d be confronted with it should you ever attend a pop quiz.

Try and identify all the members of the band. Answers here.

Tags: Ad industry; Celebrities

November 15, 2006

Brand 9/11

Hate this… no, it’s clever… sick… effective… My Anglo-Saxon conditioning is behind my confused reaction to this ad by Leo Burnett Paris for France’s VSD news magazine.
Our sensitivity to exploitation of 9/11 can’t be as great as it is in the US, but even here any media discussion of the event is still treated with sensitivity and deference.
A fortnight ago, we were scoffing at complaints that Sony’s paint explosions were offensive – the new Bravia TV ad supposedly recollected the terrorist attacks. We’ve heard the same nonsense with anything that might depict dual monolithic structures (some people said this of the design of the Coke Zero cans).
VSD magazine uses unmistakable 9/11 imagery to sell itself. I was tempted to consider whether VSD were suggesting that the smouldering towers are now an icon, maybe even a New York brand, just like the Big Apple and the Statue of Liberty. That would make a good argument. However, the banality of the other two ads in the “Live the News” campaign (the other two ads show a lively football stadium, and a street riot) tells me that this isn’t the case.
Media groups in the UK - I recall campaigns by the BBC and Channel 4 in particular - have used images of Middle Eastern war to promote their programming (not trailers, but ads); the tens of thousands of deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan have been like experiencing the death of a thousand cuts - there’s no single clear image that sums up the horror of what is happening there.
Unlike 9/11.

Tags: Media; Press / outdoor ads; Politics; Violence

November 14, 2006

Officially Britain's scariest ever ad

You've got to be careful at weekends if you're watching British telly. If you stray onto one of Channel 4's incessant "100 greatest..." programmes, you can find yourself beguiled into losing a good three hours of your life. Such is the allure of list TV, something that rival channel Five has recently got into as well.
The beguiling of the innocent was the theme of this, one of my most favourite ads, for Bacardi Martini's Metz alcopop. It's a perfect 50-second horror story that (supposedly) frightened the bejesus out of many a numpty, prompting complaints.
This video is Channel 4's extended piece on the making of the ad.
Such a shame the drink itself tasted awful.

Click here to see the uninterrupted ad.

Agency: HHCL

Tags: TV ads

Digging Australia

I know, I know. Very bad taste. But to me Outback = local nutters in pickup trucks knocking off foreign backpackers.

November 13, 2006

Old Khaki's kinky tricks

We much likey these naughty ads for South African clothing label Old Khaki. Using sex to sell otherwise unremarkable clothing is hardly news, but what's particularly alluring about these ads is the amusing kinkiness on display.
It includes another example of referencing man-milk (see Making a splash), as well as (ironically for South Africa) black-on-white police brutality, Ostrich humping (a new one on me; what's wrong with giraffes?, unless this is a local allegory for strangling the bishop), and a baffling fish-spanking.
Whatever floats your boat, I suppose.

Agency: Fox P2 Advertising

picnicked from Scary Ideas

A bunch of bankers

The difference between God and Bono is that God doesn't wander around Dublin thinking he's Bono. Somehow the holy spirit of the leather Irishman has infected a couple of Bank of America employees who... well, the result is too cringeworthy to describe. Ugh.

Tags: Online

November 10, 2006

Are you sitting comfortably?

Whilst watching the excellent second series of Planet Earth I happened to glance at my old aunt when I thought, dammit, there’s a rip in the sofa. Thankfully I realised she was wearing crotchless panties, so at least I won’t have to fork out a few grand on a new suite, like this very posh Natuzzi number. This range costs over £2,000, but the question I have is: if I paid that much for a new leather sofa, would I let a freakin’ dog sit on it?

November 09, 2006

A simple introduction to Web 2.0

Although I occasionally find some of its political opinions infuriating, I have a lot of respect for The Guardian, the quality newspaper favoured by the UK’s upper-middle, skinny latte and pancetta class.
It has an enlightened attitude to online availability. At a recent conference, a speaker from the Guardian’s website explained that they are a favourite of bloggers because they keep their articles permanently online and (crucially) free.
In my opinion, the Guardian Unlimited is the best of all the the UK newspaper websites. It sometimes includes some fascinating video, like this 5-minute overview of Web 2.0 from its technology section.
In this film, founders of some of the big sites of the moment such as Wikipedia, Flickr and del.ici.ous (all sites I regularly use) discuss the second-generation internet. If you’re already familiar with the subject, then you probably won’t find any revelations here, but the film is a good intro to those who are confused by the plethora of new big web players and how they are changing the online world.

November 08, 2006

The copyright naughty step

Oh blast, blip.TV have sent me an email saying “Dear Mr. Chimps, your playlist has been deleted because it contains material that violates copyright, you thieving shyster.”
Something like that, anyway.
That’s a wretched inconvenience because blip provides much higher quality playback than YouTube and I’d stuck a dozen or so ads on there (some of them virals).
The question is, should TV/viral video ads be treated the same way as TV clips and copied music? Arguably, the latter examples are a commodity and have an inherent value.
On the other hand, ads that are being watched (even outside a media planner’s control) are still doing the advertisers’ and the agencies’ work for them. Am I undermining either party?
And if you’re going to stop video embedding, shouldn’t the same rules apply to all adverts (especially scanned press ads) that are reproduced in blogs?

Tags: Evil; TV ads

Bend over, big boy

This cracking blog post from China had me chortling over my lunch. A health-related outdoor ad in an un-named Chinese city was hastily pulled down when someone realised the model on the photo was a Japanese porn star.
Linked article includes (sadly pixellated) original photo.

Make the logo greyer

Click to enlarge
Inscrutable logic from the Daily Telegraph's City banker.

November 07, 2006

I have seen the face of evil and it is a Hungarian sausage

Holy Brezhnev's teeth! There are still some gems left on YouTube, despite Google's apocalyptic scything of lawyer-unfriendly content. Here's something that's vaguely reminiscent of the bizarre Soviet-era Estonian ads that were so popular on the web a year or so ago.
This remarkable video is promoting Hungarian sausages which appear to be a Satanic-looking mix of pigs' lips and diesel oil. Even more disturbing than the food are the maniacs (including mutant children who look like they didn't get onto Santa's list) munching along to a truly evil soundtrack.
Amazing. Frightening.

Tags: TV ads; Evil

Old ladies’ stuff part 7

Click to enlarge

This ad ran in most of last weekend's Sunday papers. What it isn't saying is:
  • It's getting close to Christmas.
  • Feeling guilty for not visiting your old ma?
  • Milkman not talking to her any more 'cos she smells of weewee and cabbage?
  • Want to assuage that guilt by enhancing her relationship with her moggie?
  • Be safe in the knowledge you can now get away with two visits a year!
  • She's not going anywhere anyway!
Mind you, while we're on the subject, there's a message I'd like to communicate to next door's cats: Stop shitting in my garden.

Click to enlarge