May 31, 2006
May 30, 2006
Like dancing dads and teenage boys posing with their first pint, here’s something that just ain’t right: whities trying on cool rasta accents. Other blogs are reluctant to feature “bad ads”, but then what’s the point of having a blog if you can’t slag them off? I’ve developed a Pavlovian reflex with this monstrosity and have wasted baskets of fruit having chucked them at the screen whenever this appears.
I wonder if the original script required these actors to blacken up and sing old slave shanties. Hell, this is embarrassing.
“Touch me,” he says.
I’ll bleedin’ touch you, you buffoon.
Agency: the otherwise top-notch BBH; Client: The Woolwich
May 25, 2006
A study showing that 61% of babies under 1 year old watch TV or a video every day is covered by Stay Free, who rightly sneer at the possible justification of the lazy parents. It is just possible that the US is a slightly more TV-obsessed culture than the UK, but not by much: The Mirror recently reported a study from the University of the Bleeding Obvious informing us that children who watch TV for more than two hours a day at weekends are in greater danger of becoming fat adults.
You think that’s bad? 40% of parents are so reluctant to take responsibility for raising their children that they want headmasters to set bedtimes.
Being a tyrant, I find the thought of eugenics quite attractive, but I’d rather sit back with my bucket of popcorn and watch the reverse-evolution of mankind as cathode ray-addled numbskulls switch off from real life, than raise a hand to save you. It’s really rather comical.
The dominance of the TV could be seen as symptomatic of the decline of western culture, but I’ll leave that dissertation for others while I keep the engines running on my private jet.
(Dave, get on the hotline to the waiting monkey hoards)
Shepherd Neame must be a fun place to work these days. Not only have they just seen a big rival shut its brewery doors but it is the place to go for laid-back advertising. Along with the amusingly xenophobic Spitfire ale ads (see here and here), it also brews the suspiciously named Bishops Finger, currently promoted by a series of press ads aimed at men who dream of romps in the hay with cheerful serving wenches.
I can’t say the name of the brand is especially attractive, but then again when you see a beer pump with Chimp’s Knob on the handle, have a pint for me.
Dave’s a dyslexic agnostic insomniac – last night he lay awake wondering if there was a Dog, which, he claims in his broken Latin, is as close a brush with divinity as he’s likely to have working with me, the cheeky sod.
Some people have delusions of divinity, except for me. I’d like to know which peculiar deity was in mind for a group of computer gamers who, in a fit of buttock-clenching self-importance, decided to conduct a cyber funeral for some unfortunate girl gamer who had died in real life. There are several versions as to who the poor girl was (one is that she was a Chinese teenager who had died of exhaustion after playing the Warcraft multiplayer game for several days non-stop).
Her many online friends – the result of online alliances where people tribe together into guilds - logged onto her account and took her virtual character to a frozen lake, where the memorial would take place.
Mistake 1: The friends posted notice of the funeral on Warcraft bulletin boards, asking other players to respect the cyber funeral.
Mistake 2: The venue chosen for the cyber funeral was in what is known in Warcraft circles as an Open Combat Zone.
The event was recorded. Here’s what happened.
May 24, 2006
Spitfire ale continues with the campaign that laughs at foreigners. The strategy is childish yet funny, and reminds us that for some people, especially Johnny Foreigner, the World Cup is taken as seriously as war, with the plucky Brits (i.e. English - the Scots don't count and the Welsh are never in it anyway) having to cope with devious Nazi-harbouring Argies, surrender-prone Italians and those pesky Yanks nicking their women.
The cartoon strips are by Graham Dury, whose distinctive style is familiar to readers of the un-PC Viz comic.
[Click on the pictures to enlarge]
May 23, 2006
A great philosopher once said: “There are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns - the ones we don't know we don't know.”
From where I was sitting at the time, it sounded like Donald Rumsfeld was talking out of his arse. But today my world flipped on its axis and his sage words make perfect sense. I have observed that there are things I knew I knew, and I thought I knew what I didn’t know, but I know now I didn’t know what I thought I knew, and things I think I thought I knew I now don’t know, I think.
Until very recently I would have counted on my banana supply, but I now know that bananas are going to be extinct.
But if that were not bad enough, it transpires that the French have gone off sex, which sounds improbable enough. And now (clutching head in disbelief) the First Direct bank is telling us that British women are unlikely to marry for money.
I don’t deny that having a hairy back and the ability to fling a piece of poo four hundred yards makes me attractive to the opposite sex and giraffes, but show me the female that says she isn’t impressed by a monster portfolio and a huge nest in the trees and I’ll show you a liar. As the great Mrs Merton said to Debbie McGee, “so what first attracted you the millionaire Paul Daniels?”, and this to a lady who married a man who looks like a monkey.
May 22, 2006
Some things just aren’t meant to be: McDonald's are dropping their healthy menus. Unsurprising really - if animals weren’t meant to be eaten then they wouldn’t have been made of meat.
The fresh fruit and pasta menus didn’t work because you go to McDonald’s for greasy burgers, not for a health rush. And so, the world’s greatest burger chain is going back to basics not with a whimper but with a glorious roar as a giant 40%-bigger-than-a-Big Mac burger storms onto the menu.
Meanwhile, if you’re wondering why today’s school class photos are wider than yesteryear, then the Department of Health probably knows: they are introducing obesity tests on 4- and 10-year-old schoolchildren. The incentive for the kids? McDonald's vouchers.*
*I made that bit up
An ntl:Telewest survey reveals that email and telephone habits can reduce productivity rather than increase it. Just over 2 hours per day are being wasted because of poor use of comms technologies. The finger is being pointed at men in particular, which seems a bit harsh considering how abrupt male social exchanges on the phone are (“Hello? See you at the Duke’s Head at seven? OK. Bye”) compared to women. This being a survey conducted by a telecoms firm, it didn’t delve deeper into internet habits, but I’ll venture that the internet is a bigger timewaster than phone or email.
And if you want to know what Britons are searching for, then The Times tells us that in St Albans they are obsessed with diets and gyms (the town has one of the highest concentrations of pubs and is quaint and posh); in Liverpool they want to know about fashion (planning the next shoplifting target); in Aberdeen money is a key concern (no comment); and in Gateshead they have a thing about Kate Winslet (who had to stop there once for a pee – the only major event in that town in the last 200 years).
While the Nike behemoth rumbles on, trampling poor East Londoners and Wayne Rooney’s foot in its quest for World Cup glory, another US brand proves itself a little more likeable.
Budweiser has launched a new series of ads that gets the tone about right: self-deprecating humour at the expense of American ignorance about the beautiful game.
Continuing with the “You do the football, we'll do the beer” campaign by Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R, Budweiser introduce us to a pair of grinning gorms who commentate on the championship via Budweiser’s UK website.
May 21, 2006
Witnessing good old-fashioned hypocrisy is a terrific means of getting the juices of righteous indignation flowing. Hypocrisy is compulsory behaviour for politicians but is slightly harder to stomach when big business squeals like a spoilt child when it thinks it’s being wronged, and then quietly turns around and does the very thing it was condemning.
And so we have Nike, quick to zap Olympian lightning at any sign of hubris against its brand.
Hackney is one of London’s poorest boroughs. Hardly awash with cash, it does nevertheless host a strong icon of the British working class: Hackney Marshes. It’s here, at any of its seemingly uncountable football (soccer) pitches that you can watch teams of pub louts, Cockney office boys and ‘ahs-yer farver roughnecks kicking seven shades of shit out of each other most Sunday mornings.
It was here that Nike set one of its best ever TV ads in 1997, when they filmed a collection of the big English premier league stars mixing it with the Sunday league riff-raff, gawd bless ‘em.
May 19, 2006
Got to be careful... saw this viral on Advertising for Peanuts. It had me jumping with glee. I just love a shot of sinister; it’s so much more refreshing than an espresso. Dave wondered what I was screeching about. Of course I couldn’t show him, and shoved him under his blanky, where he now sulks. If you have a teddy bear, then hide him away before you watch this.
Tags: Dave, Evil, Viral
Being a trend-setter, it’s no surprise to find me playing the secret chimp king – slumped in my Lazy Boy Chair, served drinks by my account management slave girls (I’m surprised it took the police so long to find my satellite coven). I even have a nice young creative bashing out some top notch giraffe porn – red bottoms and all. Still, running the world is tiring.
It struck me the other day, sleepily watching the cricket on one of the massive TVs in my basement HQ, that I couldn’t figure out who the hell was sponsoring the match. There the logo was: resplendent and red, but I couldn’t figure the name. I was on the verge of sleep. Here’s a vertically/horizontally-flipped pic that’ll explain the puzzle:
Jamodu? An online travel agent perhaps? A new musical in the West End? Yes, I know. Stupid ape. But anyone in need of a new brand name wanting some free advertising could easily piggyback npower’s sponsorship efforts, considering that half of the time, the camera is focused on the upside-down logo on the other side of the wicket.
Jamodu would be a good made-up name, and it would certainly be in good company. In the US, there are babies being christened Nevaeh, or Heaven backwards. It’s supposed to be clever and holy, a bit like turning crucifixes upside down or saying the Lord’s prayer backwards, I suppose. The fool who first named their child Nevaeh should change his name to Reknaw, for good measure.
[Superb chimp king thumbnail art image from Elreyart]
Tags: Human behaviour, Press/outdoor ads, Sponsorship/PR, Surveys
May 18, 2006
Make The Logo Bigger may well worry: if there was any doubt that a simian takeover of the world is inevitable, then doubt no more. It’s been proven that my monkey cousins can talk (they all work in media), whereas chimps have been enjoying the hedonistic life in advertising for a long time. This story, about human-chimp sex, is a few million years out, I think.
It's a perfect excuse to display this picture again:
The Monday online lottery (with weird little beardie chap – see earlier post) was such a success that their computer crashed. These three virals were made as a kind of apology. They’re freakish, like a David Brent S&M fantasy, and so very British.
(via The Guardian)
May 17, 2006
Those naughty monkeys at G4TV, a US channel apparently aimed at 18-24 year old boys, have drawn the obvious conclusion that subtlety is wasted on this demographic. Hence the reference to Spank and Monkey from which one concludes that the output must include a reasonable amount of smut. I could be wrong, of course.
Back in the UK, the way taboos are toppling, such a show would simply be called Wank At 12, or something similar. Still, the ad is quite funny, so hand shandies with lashings of gentleman's cream for all at BBDO, the agency who have tossed this into the mix.
Tags: Sex, TV ads
Heinz must really be onto something if they think people are really this lazy: they are going to launch ready-made Beans On Toast.
First thought is: make sure the fire brigade are ready for an inferno as the beans and tomato sauce slide into the nation’s toasters. However, it’s supposed to work in a way similar to Pop Tarts, in which case surely it should be described as Beans In Toast.
There must be a market for it, though: The Independent reports that the value of the baked beans market reached nearly £300m last year, that’s a 13% rise on 2001.
(Footnote: the concentration of methane in the atmosphere has almost tripled in the last 150 years)
May 16, 2006
Melons and peaches are more my thing, but if Consumerist is right about the death of the banana, then there'll be a revolution. Mark my words. At least the girl chimps will have an alternative:
(Click image to enlarge)
Tags: FMCG, Press/outdoor ads
Marketing magazine features a survey claiming that Pot Noodle is the UK’s most-hated brand. The brand must be doing something right: it has a near-90% share of the country’s instant noodle market.
Admittedly, most of the product probably ends up in a semi-digested state on many a drunken student’s floor. It is a cheap and handy emergency ration and ideal for the mid-hangover or pot smoking munchies.
The TV ads have been consistently brilliant for years. Here’s the latest one, taking the gentle mickey out of the Welsh (if you don’t live in the UK, the Welsh live in that little tummy-shaped bit of Britain that faces Ireland).
May 15, 2006
The British Olympic team are really buggered if today’s reports about the sport our women really excel at, shopping, are true. According to research by Conchango (which sounds like a Mexican villain from a spaghetti western), women no longer have time to go shopping and, get this, it’s damaging for their relationships. Not if they leave their men at home, it isn’t.
Still, we know the survey must be true, at least with music-buying because another piece of research tells us that women, put off by the hassle of record shops, are starting to outpace men with music downloading.
So, is shopping alone and downloading music part of a woman’s path to happiness? Not if you’re a housewife mum, ‘cos the chances are that you are fat.
Tags: Human behaviour, Online, Sex, Surveys
May 14, 2006
It's off to evening classes for Dave, my language bear. He's on a mission to learn Thai, so we can figure out this damnably daft idea of a Dog Radio Thailand. I can't figure out how to listen to it because of the beautifully squiggly but baffling Thai script that is scattered throughout the semi-English website. Neither of us speak Dog; it would have been interesting to see if Thai dogs woof in the same secret language as British and American ones.
Tags: Bigging-up, Media
May 12, 2006
Whooooah… my head. Aaargh brainfreeze. It’s the iced coffee donated to me to calm me down after watching too many wildlife films. Dave says I mustn’t give in to the urge to go to the zoo to lust after the giraffes.
He had a brainwave: show me a freaky film with horsey types. The woollen-headed fool doesn’t realise it’s those darn sexy long necks that do it for me. But this film… It’s from Thailand. Nice place, though the orang utans don’t like it much over there.
Ad's for a motor firm called Kia, which I thought was an orange juice, but what do I know.
There's poo in it, which makes this ad a winner in my book.
Tags: Dave, Poo, vomit & wee-wee, TV ads
As if things weren't already hot enough in the Darby & Joan club (see earlier post), The Sun reports a survey revealing that a quarter of Britons over-60 are still bonking at least once a week. As I mentioned before, keep away from the art galleries and museums, 'cos that's where all the action is, and you'll not want to be stepping over all those hastily dropped false teeth and support tights. Best place to avoid is the British Museum, with its new exhibition of ancient porn. No giraffes though, worst luck.
Tags: Human behaviour, Sex, Surveys
May 11, 2006
If you Google “Spitfire Ale ads” you’ll get an idea of the controversy they’ve caused about German-bashing.
Loudest complainant is the Mayor of London, the same man who accused a Jewish journalist of behaving like a concentration camp guard.
Telling football fans at the forthcoming World Cup tournament in Germany that they can’t joke about the war…. well, that’s going to work, isn’t it?
So, it’s good to see that the gentle art of xenophobia is still alive and well. To show you how disgusted I am at this new campaign (poking fun at other countries and not just the Germans, which seems fair and democratic to me), here are some appalling examples. Observe and be disgusted, while I retire to a corner, chuckling.
[Click on the pictures to enlarge]
There's nothing more boring than other people's babies. If it's your own baby, then everything about it is charming and worthy of comment. New parents in this mindset seem to have a mental switch that prevents them from realising that non-relatives couldn't give a fig for Baby's First Smile or Baby's First Poo.
With this in mind, Britain's foremost Love It Or Hate It brand, Marmite, have gone for major gross out points with this fabulous viral from agency DDB London. Short term, it won't encourage Marmite lovers to buy a new squeezy bottle of the tar-like spread. But this doesn't matter because with a heritage of several years'-worth of pro- and anti- Marmite ads on the telly, the brand has developed quite a character.
May 10, 2006
The perfect female mate should satisfy the four criteria to ensure she conforms to the Australian Ideal:
1. Is she rich?
2. Is she beautiful?
3. Does she have the sexual morals of an alley cat?
4. Does she own a pub?
See: life's simple when you've XY chromosomes. But with the supposed demographic shift taking place in the Western world (not that I believe it) where the human female:male ratio is tipping increasingly the female way, life surely can't be getting easier for women on the lookout for a male partner, be he boyfriend, husband, fuckbuddy or whatever.
Here are two surveys in The Times, one saying that women can tell whether a man likes children simply by looking at his picture, and the other that women are increasingly becoming the main family breadwinners.
The latter survey may be more believable, being based on statistics, although any progress on salaries must be hampered by the curious British taboo of discussing one's own earnings (how do you know you're being paid what you deserve if you don't know what your colleagues earn?), whereas the former survey is another piece of academic makebelieve nonsense dreamt up by some backwater university. Does it trawl out the same old "fact" that Leonardo di Caprio has a babyish face and attraction to it is determined by [insert theory here] ? Why, yes it does!
My opinion? It's all male dangly bits, i.e. bollocks.
Tags: Human behaviour, Sex, Surveys
The strange Heath-Robinson contraption I sit in when running the world from my basement is knackering to use. Run by hamster power and string, the old levers are tiring on the old arms. Now I've discovered the perfect solution: this stunning nuclear multi atom-splitting thingummy from Gillette that looks like a razor but doubles as a lightsabre and, with a few wires, could power a couple of small countries for a year.
Of course, the whole thing is blatantly ridiculous, and agency AMV must have a right laugh at this product which, along with other over-specced razor blades, is one of the most often-nicked items from supermarket and pharmacy displays.
But look, here's Publicis' new McCoys ad... admittedly this one went over my head the first couple of times I saw it until it clicked: they're taking the piss out of Gillette, although you wouldn't want to shave using a crisp.
Tags: FMCG, TV ads
May 09, 2006
What with organised religion, taxes, and excessively frequent ad breaks during Lost, it seems that all the fun is being sucked out of the world. And life has just got a little bit worse again.
Last year Nestle Rowntree killed off the Smarties tube. A sturdy roll of cardboard with a colourful lid, you could use it as a peashooter, a telescope, or a chimney on a home-made Titanic model. I've even seen someone stick it up their bum before lighting a fart.
The replacement is a flimsy hexagon with an annoying little flap inside that you need to rip out before up-ending the entire contents into your mouth.
But now we must bid farewell to the blue Smartie. Gone is pleasure of feeding them to small children, sitting back and watching the ensuing hyperactive mayhem. Smarties are going healthy and the blue ones are disappearing, along with their artificial colouring, to be replaced by white, pill-like Smarties. It looks like we'll have to look elsewhere for a cheap chemical rush.Tags: FMCG
May 08, 2006
The Independent tells us that museums and art galleries are fast becoming the stomping ground of singletons who are finding love while casting their eye over the latest exhibition. Add this to the recent study about the sexual habits of the over 40s and you are presented with a good reason to stay indoors, or to avoid doing anything cultural, if the thought of seeing all that wrinkly love is a little too much for you. If you're young, then it's best to just watch the telly. It's safer.
Tags: Human behaviour, Sex, Surveys
In the event of capture, I will distribute cyanide capsules which are to be placed under the tongue like so
May 05, 2006
Oh dear - things aren't good in the basement. Dave and I have had a falling out. He caught me with my giraffe porn, just as I was colouring in their bottoms with red crayon. He got all huffy; I got cross... and now I have to spend the rest of the morning sewing his arms back on.
I'm a lot calmer now, especially after seeing the English version of this dreamy 30" spot from Air France on one of my 50-inch plasmas with Dolby 5.1 sound. Simple, relaxing and pleasing, especially when nestled amongst the cacophony of noisy too-clever-by-half ads on the telly these days. There's even a little froggie in it - good to see the French can laugh at themselves. I do find the pontoon mildly disturbing, however. The thought of being over water. Chimps can't swim, you see. Urgh.
Tags: Dave, TV ads
May 04, 2006
There is a rule that any female wishing to spend time in my presence has to use received pronunciation. From your point of view it's a culty thing, but for me it just sends shivers up my spine in a good way.
It's a good thing that I live in a glass box in a basement 'cos today's accents are just a mess. My reception area has this video on a loop, for instructional purposes.
Aaah, they were the good old days, when secretaries were submissive and wives knew how to serve up a proper breakfast and get their just reward at night time. But now we're told that housewives are worth something in obscene monetary terms?
Her Majesty's Daily Telegraph has an unlinkable article saying that a full-time, stay-at-home mother would earn £72,609 a year if paid for all her work, which is big bananas in anyone's book. It's based on a US study which is frankly unreadable because it uses that weird word "mom" which sounds a bit too like some eastern mystical chant to me when said slowly.
But women shouldn't complain, according another story last month which revealed that the postmodern female has embraced housework as "mentally therapeutic".
A cuppa tea when you've finished, love. Cheers.
Tags: Human behaviour, Sex, Surveys, TV ads
May 03, 2006
Dave reckons this basement is making me mad. But I have a plan, which is surely the sign of a sound mind. The plan still needs some polishing, mind, so in the name of research, I sent my monkey minions out into the ether to look for giraffes, sex toys and Nicole Kidman (the three subjects strangely connect on page 87), and lo, doth emergeth the most singular masterpiece of advertising vitriol ever. The aptly-named Copyranter blog displays more anger than the wasp I saw stinging a bulldog's arse in Hyde Park last week. Now that was worth seeing.
Tags: Ad industry, Bigging-up, Online
I've got nothing against Americans (after all, they elected one of us as President), but they really couldn't find their arses with their own fingers. If proof were needed, here's a brand new study that I caught sight of just as I was papering the bottom of Dave's cage - six out of 10 young Americans can't find Iraq on a map. And (cue yet another excuse to show yet another ancient video) the same ignorance has been caught on camera too.
Having a filthy mind comes with the territory when evolution tells you to live up a tree. Life's all about waiting for something to fall on your head, shovelling fruit and small squeaky animals in your mouth, and humping. Oh yes, I really got the wrong end of the stick with this ad; I must admit that I'm partial to a bit of giraffe porn, even though I'm not the target market. Funny ad, though.
May 02, 2006
So, viral emails are now getting their own exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. I don't think this decision is unduly controversial, but what might cause some rancour is the choice of exhibits. What's left out is probably more important than what's included. We all have our favourite virals, and this one's mine. I can't help watching it 'cos I can't help but think I'd rather eat the cat than wash it. And yes, I know what a monkey looks like.