November 30, 2007
At last, a decent beer ad. It's reminiscent of the only decent part of any Star Trek film - the one where Kirk asks God why the hell he needs a space ship.
I thought beer ads were starting to disappear up their own arse what with that obtuse Stella monster boring the pants off everyone (although it does have a monkey in it, which is good), and Guinness jumping on the Cog bandwagon. That's society biting you on the bum, saying you can't make booze drinking look cool or youthful or trendy etc.
I guess the old wisdom about creativity finding new ways to express itself when its options are restricted have paid off for Carling. You see, it's not about the beer, but about standing by your mates. Alcopop brand WKD tried something similar but failed miserably because they were all about taking the piss out of your friends rather than supporting them.
And there's the rub: a funny, blokey ad that's really quite grown-up.
See also: Bounced out; International relations all ale and hearty - part 3
November 29, 2007
I know this makes me sound like a sad old git but I do still like to flick through the men's glossies. Funny that women's glossies are bought by females of all ages but there's something dubious about anyone over 40 reading the male equivalent. Anyway, I digress.
There are still some ads that leap out at me. Here's one, a relatively low-key effort nestling amongst the tissue fodder.
I'm an occasional online poker player - I'll have an occasional splurge, get bored, and then leave it for several months.
Whoever wrote the limited copy here must be a player. It's giving me itchy fingers.
The problem is, there's nothing here to make me defect from my usual online poker site.
November 28, 2007
The UK's two national grey-top tabloids have some long-standing obsessions. The first of these, the Daily Express, is primarily interested in a missing child and a dead princess (front pages will always be about MADELEINE or DIANA).
Its main rival, the Daily Mail, with a surprisingly high female readership, prefers scare stories that seek to terrify us. Modern Britain is dying because of predatory hoodies, bloody immigrants, nazi parking attendants, dangerous dogs, PC-obsessed council officials and smiling paedophiles, all of whom just happen to LIVE NEXT TO YOU.
The Mail hankers after the good old days when you could flog your hoodies, immigrants, parking attendants, dogs, council officials, paedophiles, and the people who lived next door to you if they looked at you in a funny way.
It is therefore quaintly amusing to observe the mock outrage in this article from today's paper which showcases some pre-feminist advertising - the subject of a book which claims to be new, despite Amazon showing it's been around for at least 8 years. That's the Daily Mail for you. Always out of date.
November 27, 2007
Ever had work constipation? It's that feeling you get when, coming back to work after a break, you find you have so much to do that you don't know where to start. Luckily, I have a large mug of tea before me and this magazine to read.
... really from the chap who created this.
November 22, 2007
So, England are out.
Frankly, I don't give a damn. That's because, being 75% Greek, I still have a team to cheer on at next year's European Championships.
The assumption that England have a divine right to qualify has always puzzled me because I could never understand what could possibly motivate complacent millionaires to win, especially when they're up against modestly-paid but passionate players from "little" countries.
I loved the irony this morning when this ad popped up just after the morning news. It's a prime example of the shit advertising on daytime telly (I'm off work this week to decorate Chimplet #2's bedroom), and has amazingly been around for three years. That's three years of annoying shouty woman haranguing smug git in fake courtroom. Sadly apt for those poor Anglo Saxons with injured pride. I doubt you could make a claim for it though.
November 20, 2007
The first time I saw one of WCRS's Phones 4U ads I was as high on a kite on industrial-strength painkillers. Since then, every time Jack appears on the box, a tiny cognitive strand shudders in the woollen ball of my brain; I see a suited Satan with an American accent teasing freaky sinners in Purgatory.
Do that thing with your fingers and I'll take you to a special place. Go on. Candyman. Candyman. Candyman.
November 19, 2007
Remember how Lucozade, tired of its medicinal claims, relaunched itself as a rejuvenating sports elixir and carved itself a new market? Here's something similar.
Clever clogs Nicole Kidman (brains and beauty, yet all the women I work with hate her; yes that Chanel ad was pretty disgusting but she did put up with a high-maintenance cross-eyed midget with a Napoleon complex for ten years, so cut her some slack) fronts a battery-operated puzzle system designed to make train commuters feel they're not wasting their travel time.
I'm not knocking it - but brain training is not new. I've been doing it for years.
It's called reading a book.
(BTW, who the fuck is Dr Kawashima?)
See also: Brain mash
November 16, 2007
We've all seen the news: kids watching the wrong stuff on TV; kids spending more time online. Here at Giraffe Towers, we wanted to see the implications first hand.
We therefore incarcerated a test subject in the basement of our (as yet unfinished) brand laboratory.
We exposed him to 140 hours of web TV nonstop, without sleep, and fed him a modern diet of blue Smarties and Dr Pepper. We then set him loose and monitored him using hidden video cameras.
One unexpected side effect is that the previously cheery little fellow started to speak in German, despite being a monolingual chav kid from Basildon. Remarkable.
November 15, 2007
November 13, 2007
It had to happen eventually. An ad that left me speechless for at least twenty seconds.
Those Orangina bubbles evidently aided the transit of peculiar substances through someone's nervous system. How the hell did they arrive at this? Bambi hits adolescence, smokes weed with Mowgli and dreams of furry animal sex. It's so off-the-scale in smutty weirdness that I can only approve.
There's even a giraffe in it.
Agency is probably Y&R.
**Edit** There's an even longer version here; plus there's a print campaign.
November 12, 2007
It's such a shame this never was aired. It has three incendiary elements which, when combined, mean that the ad almost writes itself: a petrol station, a surly chav oik and Harvey Keitel.
One can imagine Texaco execs horrified at the extremely negative image implied on the brand by this remarkable work. Oh yes, and the thought that it's OK to reward bad service by blowing something up.
November 11, 2007
It didn't help that I read Scamp's review of the new Guinness ad before I watched it. But no, I didn't like it either.
It seems that all the world's village idiots descended upon a South American shanty town to faff around with dominoes. This has nothing to do with good things coming to those who wait, but everything to do with wasting your time because life has no meaning.
Good things come... yes they do, to those who have earned it. That's the point of a well-earned pint.
November 09, 2007
Dancing chimps, part 1.
The boys from the mailroom celebrate a pay rise.
(See the original ad with surprisingly phallic logo)
Dancing chimps, part 2.
And in Man-Ches-Tuh, research groups interview the local youth.
(Non-Brits: Think Oasis, Stone Roses etc.)
November 08, 2007
Attention: Trends gurus!
Sellotape together some randomly gathered "facts", present them with some dramatic music and you will have a YouTube hit on your hands. This popular presentation already has over 2 million hits to its credit since appearing on the video sharing site in February.
Some of what's in it may be true, some may be tosh; without attributing any of this data to its original source, the presentation suffers from credibility failure.
Still, some nice talking points are here, especially if you're into scare-mongering futurology (or a Daily Mail reader).
To see where bad information gets you, see everything labelled Fuckwitapedia.
November 07, 2007
Many lifetimes ago I worked with the Dutch. I've never met so many people over six feet tall in my life. And their cash... their pre-Euro currency had the look of Toytown money. The men were heavily into checked and Euro-tartan suits. And this was after the 1970s.
Holland's a nation I've never quite got my head around, but maybe its armed forces advertising might give one a clue to the national character.
If you can handle the intense psychological trauma of a child's tooth falling out then the Royal Dutch Army would like you to launch yourself up a muddy wall. Equally, if you are disinclined to pretend bananas can be guns, then you are clearly the right sort of person to stand around in sandy countries wearing cool sunglasses. That's what's soldiering's all about.
But if you take out the soldiering references then these could just as easily be recruitment ads for a career in social services.
Maybe the hard nuts join the Dutch marines instead.
November 06, 2007
It would be wrong of me to recommend the cr3ation b3ta site because unscrupulous music fans would be able to instantly trawl the internet for mp3 files. You shouldn't use it because you might be tempted to find music and download it for nothing.
I use it only for research purposes, and so should you.
See also: This is my new toy
November 05, 2007
I woke up in the middle of the night to find a six-foot tall angry beetle looming over me. He started swearing, and then the bastard began to slap me on the head.
I was warned that there's a nasty bug going around.
Don't get caught out. Defend yourself.
Keep one of these beside your bed.
November 04, 2007
Regular readers will know how much I dislike my neighbours. It's bad enough that their growing tribe of inbred cats (just one generation away from finding them sitting on the porch, strumming banjos and brewing catshit moonshine) infest my garden.
Eskimos are said to have identified over a hundred different types of snow. By carefully traversing our lawn, I think I have achieved the same feat for cat turds. Previously indifferent to cats, I have since developed a deep prejudice against them.
This is because our neighbours are too sodding lazy to do anything about them. When I'm running the country, they'll be first off the benefits and down the yoghurt mines, doing something useful for the downtrodden middle classes.
You see, gentle reader, the neighbours are what I call the Plasma Poor. Neither of them have been observed going to work, and yet they miraculously appear to be materially better off than anyone else in the neighbourhood. Takeaway meals are delivered four times a week. Sky multichannel is available in all four bedrooms. Two of them are Chelsea season ticket holders. They have (at the last count) five multi-gened children clad in Nike trainers.
At the Future Foundation's State of the Nation conference last week, one of the speakers speculated as to why the middle classes haven't rioted over the apparent inequalities between themselves and the extremely affluent.
I'll tell you why: it's because the middle classes are in a state of permanent bewilderment over seeing their taxes being channelled to the Plasma Poor - Britain's secret underclass of workshy layabouts. By a counter-intuitive masterstroke from the god of improbability, the Plasma Poor are able to afford the sort of goods that the middle classes have to save for. They are the post-early adopters.
Think I'm wrong? Go to a Basildon Dixons on a Saturday afternoon and see who's in the queue.
Dammit, why can't these people be respectably poor, like my Northern grandparents, who were brought up on one lump of coal a day for breakfast, a piece of string for Christmas, and a deferential nod to the factory owner as he rode by on his white horse?
(Nostalgic sigh) It was therefore with mixed feelings that a fortnight ago, I observed the neighbours taking delivery of a 40-inch HD-ready plasma TV.
I'm not sure what to make of this technology. On the one hand, it's bloody amazing (having taken the decision to forego holidays for two years in order to buy our own Sony Bravia). A large flat screen somehow dominates a room in an understated way. Don't ask me how that works, but it does. And when you finally rig it up to High-Definition input, the results are staggering.
On the other hand, it's difficult to decide whether these things have the air of exclusivity that makes a new technology desirable. We've gone through the early adopter phase with flat-screen tellies without, say, the equivalent of the Apple iPod dominating the market. Sales volumes have hit that mass necessary to drive down prices, but which one do you buy? Which brand is going to give you that sanctimoniously smug buttock-tremble?
Sure, the Sony Bravia is probably the one brand name that sticks out because of the Balls ad (the Paint and Bunnies have been less memorable and I believe have somehow diverged from the brand; my own personal dinner-party research revealed that, at first, most people thought the Balls ad was for Hewlett-Packard).
Take this current crop of ads.
Philips' Aurea is an LCD TV with multi-coloured backlights. That's its USP. And its advertising suggests that backlights on a bloke's telly will dazzle foxy chicks into bed. It's a weird hybrid between Ikea-catalogue mood lighting and entertainment. You can achieve the same effect with a lava lamp. It's a lot cheaper too.
Now, I really do like this one from Toshiba. It's a boring picture, but the message is bang on for those wondering when to jump on the home technology bandwagon. The only problem is, the answer could just as easily be a telly from any other manufacturer. The ad might make me go to a TV shop where I'd end up buying a Sony instead.
OK, this is cheating a bit 'cos it's not a telly, even though it's a fine example of integrated technology i.e. all the bells and whistles and geegaws in the camera that are meant to help you make best use of your fancy new flat-screen TV. I can't be arsed to figure out what 3CCD is because, frankly, the image doesn't make me want to read the copy.
As Belinda Parmar (probably the most cheerful planner I've ever met) points out, it's not exactly feminine in its appeal, either. Do Panasonic only want men to buy this camcorder?
I spotted this ad in ES magazine, the Evening Standard supplement aimed at women, and it sticks out like a sore thumb.