An off-topic but wonderful story from this week's Popbitch.
In 1998 a man watched his son soundly beaten in a go-kart race by a very fast young driver. He went to the bookies and asked to put a bet on this kid winning a Formula One race before he reached the age of 23.
William Hill laughed him out of the shop, but Ladbrokes gave him odds of 200-1.
After this month's Montreal Grand Prix, where 22 year-old Lewis Hamilton recorded his first victory, a man called up Ladbrokes to claim his £40K winnings.
June 29, 2007
An off-topic but wonderful story from this week's Popbitch.
June 28, 2007
This is a more wayward and rambling post than usual because, quite frankly, I don't have time to work through the material I have set by for this blog.
I am partially pissed off because our chav neighbours' kids are still having a night-time bounce on their trampoline (it's 10:25 pm - don't those little bastards have school in the morning?).
Firstly, I require that those of you who are aged 30 or over and work in advertising (any country, client or agency or whatever) to get your arses over to Facebook and join the group called "Ad Farts: old gits in ad agencies".
Campaign magazine had the raw cheek two weeks ago to infer that the group was rubbish because hardly anyone was in it. But the group had only been running for a couple of weeks. I happen to know the fella who started Ad Farts very well and he's a top bloke, so make him happy. Actually, it was me. There, that's got me a step closer to being fired.
The second job I require you to do is vote on the poll on the right hand side of the page. It's probably the most important poll you'll face all year, because I have determined, after much meaningful analysis, that there is a pro-baby conspiracy to keep ducks out of advertising. I'm not talking about rubber or plastic or CGI'd ducks, but the real thing.
Too many babies. Too few ducks.
Folks, we have a new Prime Minister and I want to present him with the evidence.
June 27, 2007
I'm trying to tune in to the zeitgeist of 1993 to figure out why this Gateway ad wasn't taken out and shot. Maybe the shock of the recent ERM crisis immunised the almost-bust British population against crappily-presented price messages.
Gateway, if memory serves, eventually became Somerfield. Not an improvement, if the Lady of the House's opinion is to go by ("We're out of milk - off to pikey old Somerfield then").
Observing how it has since become a sadistic freakshow rushing headlong to its first televised suicide, it is sobering to recall how relatively well received the first series of Big Brother was in the UK. There was the vague feeling that, back in 2001, it could be passed off as a social experiment. The housemates were relatively normal, not too young, and the "nastiest" character was vilified for being clever enough to manipulate the other inmates.
Without a clear memory of the first series, you might find some of this Star Wars BB spoof from Adam & Joe flying over your head, but I think it's still funny, even if you had forgotten about the great tableside confrontation of Nasty Nick, that annoying fella who always fed the chickens, and the hyperactive skinhead girl who liked to paint on walls.
More Adam & Joe (but mostly Adam):
Driven by dicks
Praise the toad
"He's the luckiest twat alive"
The future of British TV
June 26, 2007
You are fucked.
It will be compulsory for each household to keep a genetically-enhanced monkey with cyborg-technology surveillance devices embedded beneath their fur. You may carry on your everyday business as usual (for now), safe in the knowledge that Chimp Empire Inc. is benignly gathering data on your habits in order to ensure the most specific monkey products are advertised to the most relevant consumers.
Rumours that the monkey spies are rigged with C4 explosive are rigorously denied.
So you think I'm kidding, eh?
"...by combining currently available high-resolution imagery, geospatial data (e.g., parcel data or structure data), and other related online data sources (e.g., property tax data or census data), it is possible to automatically generate highly targeted direct marketing leads for a variety of markets"
Read more here.
June 25, 2007
Something very curious is going on with Bryan Ferry's favourite bank, Barclays, who are trying to buy Dutch finance house ABN Amro. Some commentators, aware of Dutch sensitivities about Naziism, have complained about Barclays' Teutonic-looking logo, which bears a close resemblance to the eagle emblem that frequently accompanied the swastika.
Here's the Barclays eagle:
Barclays are likely to drop the eagle in the Netherlands (should the takeover of ABN Amro go ahead), but I'd be very surprised if it disappeared in the UK. According to the BBC, Barclays have been using the eagle logo for over 250 years.
This isn't the first time we've heard of such comparisons.
The London 2012 Olympics logo, which I still like, had a heap of criticism dumped upon it. One of the less regular complaints was that if you squinted really hard and looked at it from the side while standing on your head with a halibut in your mouth, then the logo looked like a swastika.
I would like to apply my mighty marketing brain and (on the Red Adair principle of using an explosion to blow out a fire) suggest Barclays become the main sponsor of the 2012 Olympics. This would show the world that Barclays is a truly global brand interested in promoting joy and good health and healthy competition.
Here's my design for a new logo. I'd go for a monotone approach, because I think grey colouring would evoke the calming effect of England's skies. And I know our dear mayor Ken would like it.
A bill for £750,000 is in the post.
June 22, 2007
It’s a scientific fact that conservatism increases the further one descends below sea level. It’s perfectly acceptable to see semi-nakedness on outdoor posters, street furniture and on the side of buses, but woe betide the careless advertiser who decides to display flesh on the London Underground.
A couple of years ago, Lastminute.com had its edible bikini banned. The same thing happened to Napster, with its jolly poster of five people frolicking on a bed. Even further back in time, House of Fraser had its rather sweet poster featuring a stylised erect penis banned.
The reason usually given by the Underground sex police is that its passengers are diverse and they wouldn’t risk offending any of them, although these same people are free to be offended at street level. I think the sex police are affected by seeing all those trains going into tunnels. Constantly. Every day.
I’m devastated that I cannot rest my eyes on this new poster, above, when I’m in troglodyte mode. It's supposed to be promoting Living TV's series of 'Britain's Next Top Model'. I see nothing wrong with the picture. The poor girls appear to be rather tired and are having a nice rest.
What could possibly be wrong with that?
June 21, 2007
Both spotted on the same day, and posted for no other reason than its accidental use amuses me. Why is it widely recognised as the worst swear word in the English language?
Did you know...? The "c" word was once in common use in England. A small street near Cheapside, in central London, used to be called Gropecunt Lane.
From Private Eye magazine
"…feminine traits include being emotional, demure, affectionate, sympathetic, sensitive, soft-spoken, warm, tender, childlike, gentle, pretty, willowy, submissive, understanding and compassionate"
More wisdom in Fuckwitapedia.
FACT! Religious War!
FACT! Chuck Norris!
FACT! The 19th Century!
June 20, 2007
June 19, 2007
If you dare to watch this then prepare to wake in a cold sweat as night terrors attack you in your sleep, turning your brain into boiled noodles.
If you press "play", then I will not accept responsibility for the consequences.
Where did she get that clock? Hell. That's where.
He throws a bag of nails on the counter and says, "Can you put me up for the night?"
A nicely observed bumper sticker coincides with the greatest website in the world's current image challenge: Creationism, which, along with its sister subject, religion (except when I am worshipped), also happens to be one of my pet peeves.
June 18, 2007
This is my crude storyboarding of the current Mastercard TV ad haunting British telly. The tale is quite simple: youngish couple go to some Balkan country (Bulgaria?) as part of a world tour, have ethnic adventures, blahdy blahdy blah, to the tune of something that sounds like Jose Wossname (the fella that did the Sony Bouncing Balls tune). All very soft and warm and good for those cockles that inhabit mawkish hearts.
It's nice and politically correct and inoffensive and annoys the hell out of me.
Let me explain.
One of the simplest tasks in my everyday existence is making sure strategic planners look clever. I'm absolutely shit hot at a pretty basic research tool called TGI, which I frequently use on their behalf. This (bear with me, non-marketing people) is a much respected survey of about 25,000 Britons' everyday habits, attitudes and brand preferences. There's lots more to it, but put simply, is a quick means of describing groups of people based on whatever criteria the researcher chooses.
The 25,000 people are, it is claimed, a good enough and large enough sample to represent Britain's 45 million adults (I'm taking a wild stab here at the numbers cos I'm writing this from home and refuse to be so sad as to consult the survey from here). The single, biggest fatal flaw in the survey is, in my opinion, that it doesn't represent the views of people who don't like filling in surveys, but I'm frequently being accused of being churlish when I point this out.
Anyway, what really fucks me off about this Mastercard ad is that it is clearly aimed at a TGI segmentation that emerges whenever one researches a mass market brand.
Pick any damn mass market brand that dominates its sector in the UK and you'll be guaranteed to find that something like 15%-25% of its consumers or target consumers fall into that group who, on TGI, are aged 25-34, ABC1, read The Guardian or The Independent, have vegetarian tendencies and (get this, it's absolutely true) "prefer holidays off the beaten track".
This young, hot & hip group always emerges, and any researcher worth their salt never stops there. It takes umpteen TGI runs, drilling down into the data to find anything truly useful. It's all about finding that "wow moment" rather than just grabbing the numbers that confirm the obvious prejudices. That's when you find the niche groups who are missed by big advertisers. That's when you work out the best innovative marketing to reach them.
To pick on this group and target it with this type of advertising is unremarkable, obvious and lazy.
June 15, 2007
Advergirl's back, revamped and refreshed. I'm glad I've beaten AdRants to this, cos I know Steve Hall's a fan of hers.
Leigh's blog was one of the first I started to read long before I considered getting into this lark - I liked her wisdom and easy style - but then there was a several month gap between posts followed by a lengthy absence sometime last year.
I hope she sticks with it.
June 14, 2007
I remember first seeing "Free Hugs" on Adrants, which speculated that this supposed free love had a marketing message behind it.
The Free Hugs video later went on to be a winner in the first YouTube awards:
Come on, you didn't expect this post to remain serious, did you?
Here, at last, is a Second Life version that I suspect has no marketing message behind it.
Not safe for work.
June 13, 2007
I'm peeved that I missed this - both the story and a chance to encounter this litter on the streets of London. Back in April the Independent reported how Saatchi & Saatchi scattered £1,500-worth of cash around the capital, each note with this cheeky Carlsberg sticker. I wonder if any pavements near pubs were picked?
Pic from Flickr
June 12, 2007
This is so bloody awful but I love it. It's a bit like watching "Our Family" on BBC1, which my kids love, and is also cheesy, naff and slightly embarrassing to watch. That sitcom has had me snorting Pepsi out of my nose in an attempt to avoid laughing.
It's sacrilege to take the piss out of Darth Vader, but I'll tolerate it here. Woolworths is the working-class hardware store with middle England aspirations. Over the years its stock has become so varied that it doesn't know whether it's Arthur or Martha.
But it's still the first shop my own family visits on the high street for their odds and sods - DVDs, sweets, plants, stationery, lightsabres...
I'd say that BBH has just made the best ever Woolies ad.
June 11, 2007
There's nothing wrong with a bit of light misogyny, and this laddish ad for Danish bacon (in a lads' mag, where else?) did make me chuckle. After all, we poor chaps have to put up with endless surveys showing how women prefer chocolate to sex.
A couple of weeks ago, shoe brand Brantano claimed (after an excruciatingly naff bit of research) that the average woman's heart rate reached 120 beats per minute upon finding that special pair of stilettos. To put this into context, the average heart rate when a woman reaches orgasm is 115 beats per minute, according to the American Heart Association. How does that make you feel, guys? Women walking all over you, eh?
Being something of a fat old git, the sight of this bacon sarnie probably got my heart racing to a rate higher than that one might have expected upon seeing a lad mag's usual fare. And that's the problem with this campaign by WCRS - it makes me want a heart-busting bacon buttie, but not necessarily a Danish one.
I defy anyone to get the average British numpty to differentiate between one type of bacon and another. You might find a preference for smoked versus unsmoked, but how can the Danish brand convince a shopper to choose it over a supermarket label?
In the olden days, the Danish brand did mean quality. Apparently (so I was once told) this was built upon the knowledge that the bacon had a long journey in which time the meat had a chance to mature, unlike British-grown bacon which was probably a little too fresh.
Times have changed. Last week we were told that many British people are unaware that the ingredients for bacon, sausages, porridge, bread and beer come from farms. I'm confident in the knowledge that the intelligence of the Great British Public (by definition - if you are British - that means everybody else but you) is around 25 points lower than the average IQ of my readers. It’s a relatively reliable world view that I have yet to be disabused from.
So, what does that mean for Danish bacon?
Brand Republic reported how the Danes are trying to rebuild this brand after the "public relations disaster" of the Prophet Mohammed cartoons last year. This is something I am very puzzled about; the status of a bacon brand amongst Muslims strikes me as being a peculiar consideration.
I'll have to increase security at the secret entrance to my underground media centre by suggesting this: to build affection for Danish bacon amongst Brit numpties, the brand ought to
with lashings of butter, and a nice cup of tea.
Two great works of fiction get their own theme parks. Harry Potter and The Bible.
Roll on the monkey invasion. Those whom the gods wish to destroy etc etc.
Flickr tour of the Creation museum.
See also: my Fuckwitapedia pickings.
Thanks to Thinking in vain
June 08, 2007
The latest race row on Big Brother was so disgusting that an extra million people tuned in to be appalled as Bob Geldof’s lost daughter called another attention-seeking brain donor a taboo word.
This from the same channel that just knew that there’d be an audience for a programme with macabre Diana-death pics.
Quote of the day comes from Lord Puttnam, deputy chairman of Channel 4:
"I am not proud of the Big Brother row - I am not even proud of Big Brother. But Big Brother accounts for 15% of the total revenue that keeps Channel 4 afloat."
June 07, 2007
Having been converted to 24 by catching the bug during series 6, I’ve started watching it from the very beginning, on DVD. Right now, I’m up to episode 1, series – or “Day” – 3.
A particularly hard bit of this endeavour is trying to get longstanding fans to shut the hell up about what happens.
“Ooh, have you seen the bit where…?” What IS this power that people think they have when they already know the plot?
Day 6 has come to a close on Sky One, so it’s interesting to see the overlaps with Day 3.
Ep 1 is notable for the first appearance of Moany Faced Phone Girl, and she’s still a miserable-looking urk. But at least Jack’s giving her a hard time. This is a good thing.
Wayne Palmer. I liked him in Day 6, despite fans around me saying he’s weaker than his dead bro. Frankly, I’m tired of David Palmer’s Mufasa act and prefer his more complicated sibling.
JB’s duck-faced posh bird from Day 2 is there. I hope this dullard gets knocked on the head early.
I’m worried about Tony Almeida. He’s too happy in this first episode. Surely, he’s gonna die.
And Kim Bauer – actually in CTU!? Hardly the safest place, eh daddy? And just HOW old were you when you spawned this brat? This one’s gotta die. Shame, really. Nice norks.
There’s a monobrowed techie chap giving her a hard time. Knowing the character development tendencies of this drama, he’ll probably be a good guy by teatime.
And the whole terrorist-germ-warfare thing? That’ll evolve into a evil corporate plot sometime before midnight.
See also: My DSE affliction has blown up
June 06, 2007
I am reliably informed that oral sex was illegal in Soviet-era Estonia, which may explain the innocent joy of this milky ice cream gem by legendary director Harry Egipt (clearly inspired by the Cadbury Flake girl).
I've been waiting for an excuse to post some of Harry Egipt's work, and the occasion of tonight's Estonia v England qualifier for the Euro 2008 finals seemed as good an opportunity as any.
I have seen the face of evil and it is a Hungarian sausage;
More evil from the East
June 05, 2007
It's good to see unknown brands fight their way into mainstream advertising. I've not heard of Seabrook, a brand of crisps apparently based up North, but good luck to them and their agency Propaganda in their fight for market share. In a nation obsessed with brands' health and environmental credentials, its refreshing to see one of them stand up and just go for simple slapstick.
It won't win awards, but that's not the point. I'd like to see how well Seabrook slips under the radar with its sponsoring of an obscure political party (according to Brand Republic) and with its presence in MySpace. The latter troubles me slightly, because the jungle drums tell me that youngsters, being fickle about social networking, are starting to see MySpace as just so 2006.
June 04, 2007
"We don't do bland." Thus spaketh Lord Seb Coe, officially the third blandest sportsman this country has ever produced (according to the CMM league table the wooden broccoli award went to Nigel Mansell and Tim Henman, both in joint first place), about the logo for the 2012 London Olympics.
I'm going to buck the obvious trend and say that the official logo is a damn fine piece of work. The fact that the great British public hates it proves its worth (as any despairing planner will reluctantly agree when those ignorant numpties blast that fabulous idea in pre-testing). I know it's good because my 13 year-old said so.
I like the logo because it says a loud "Fuck Off" to the way the rest of the world has branded previous Olympics. It's extremely difficult on the eye, looks like a car crash in Mr Man world, and is the gayest shade of pink (a provocation in the offing to homophobe Tellytubbie-hating Poles and Bible Belt Extremists).
I sincerely hope that Mr Bland doesn't cave in to the tide of disgust and change it.
Back from my jolly to Edinburgh, I have a hangover, a streaming cold, and an ulcer in my other eye. I'm a real fucking mess.
We found a chip shop that sold deep fried Mars Bars but upon looking at one of the offending items I realised that it would be a shame to vomit on the gentle streets of Scotland's most civilised city. So I gave it a pass and stuck to pie & chips with gravy, followed by a stream of whiskies (for medicinal purposes).
Back home, it's funny to see the figurative stream of vomit splattering upon the most excellent logo for the 2012 Olympics.
The best story comes from good old b3ta (the greatest website in the world), one of whose regular contributors managed to get this goatse logo onto the official BBC site. The Beeb had asked for ideas for an alternative logo, and the b3tan's effort appeared there long enough for it to appear on the telly during a BBC news item, before it was removed (the mean bastards).
Here's what the logo looked like on the BBC before it was taken down.
June 01, 2007
I'm forsaking the glow of the plasma screens of the chimp media centre today to scout the streets of Edinburgh. Firstly, to sample that Scottish delicacy - the deep fried Mars bar and secondly, to foment rebellion in the hope that independence from England is declared. It'll make the monkey invasion a lot easier.
With no time to prepare anything profound, I'm simply regurgitating this cute Carlsberg ad made by DDB Denmark in 1999. It has a few ingredients that give it an interesting flavour: light conflict, embarrassing parents, beer, and a hint of naughtiness. Watch out for the furtive bollock fumble. Thank heavens for the Danes.