March 30, 2007

Lose your house, family and mates with 888

This side banner is part of a campaign that caught my eye last night. There's a much more colourful poster from encouraging us to "Go Crazy" on their online BlackJack site plastered inside the trains on my route home. I thought the timing a little odd, bearing in mind the current arguments over our government's determination to foist supercasinos on us.
I've railed against many ads before, but this campaign is the worst I've seen for a long time. It's bloody irresponsible, and the fuckwits who dreamt it up should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.
I'm speaking from experience, being a regular online poker player, although I tend to stick to poker and usually do very well because I am competing against other people, not a computer program.
I've tried online BlackJack - aka Pontoon or 21 - and it's a simple game with the odds (like all odds when it's you vs the casino) stacked against you. It's also easy to lose quickly and very tempting to throw bigger stakes into the pot to try and recuperate your losses. It's addictive and after playing one round and realising I was down $10 within three minutes, I demanded that my access to non-poker tables be switched off.
Going "a little crazy" on BlackJack is a terrible encouragement to throw caution to the wind. There's no way you'll win with an attitude like that. You will lose, heavily.

March 29, 2007

Stoned again

Awful Online Ad Juxtaposition #3885. I heard of a recent US chart listing the top 100 sports films which included Gladiator, the reasoning being that men hacking each other to death was considered a sport in its day. I suppose the willing participants in the news story featured below must think they are going to have a good day out.

Embarrassment is behind the Trident complaints

Accusing someone of being racist is the nuclear option in any argument. It’s tough enough as an individual – if you express a view that's subsequently labelled racist, it would be very difficult to extricate your point from the cloud of doubt that surrounds you should you have the gall to stick to your guns.
It’s a done deal. Call you racist. Argument over. Get your coat. Go home.
When the accusation hits a corporate target then there is no hiding place, like Cadbury who had to back down in the face of over 500 complaints.
I’m going to put my head on the block by saying that the racial stereotyping within the Trident gum ads is not racist.
Most of the complaints seem to focus on the original ads featuring the black poet not, as some news stories suggest, the subsequent ads where white people mimic the poet’s accent.
This is puzzling, as the wave of complaints are targeting the performance of a black actor. The problem can’t be the accent itself because there are umpteen ad campaigns where West Indian intonation is very clear (quick examples: the Lilt ladies c.2001-2003, Malibu 2003 to date, even that awful white couple from last year’s Woolwich ad; plus a whole host of white people singing the Banana Boat song in West Indian accents for Kellogg’s Fruit & Fibre in 2004).
The first Trident ads are entirely cringe-worthy. They are teeth-gnashingly, toe-curlingly, poker-in-the-eyes-ingly embarrassing to watch (but everyone remembers the brand name – so job done). I believe it’s the aesthetic awfulness of the ads that have caused offence, and firing the Trident racist nuclear missile was just an easy way of blasting the ads off the screens.

In the interests of research, I dispatched a brace of scantily clad monkeygirls to find a typical ad numpty, and ask his opinion:
"OFFENSIVE! You say? Why, I say it is too. Why waste your life listening to POETRY like some weak Athenian? I don’t have time to listen to this yet I fear this will not be over quickly. What is your profession? Are you Persian? I like the manner of your dress. You ARE a Persian then. There's no reason we can't be civil.Yes, I do have some complaints. COME AND GET THEM because TONIGHT WE DINE IN HELL!
Madness? THIS! IS! SP-" [interview ends]

March 28, 2007

There's a world in my navel

I'm feeling an irrational urge to react to the spasm of navel gazing that is currently shivering through the world of ad blogs. I've posted 480 times and am just under a month away from my first anniversary. So expect a mega piece of self-absorbed ego boosting there. Like it matters.
I can safely say that at least 96% of posts here were shit. I don't know what I've learnt, other than I can't be arsed to correct my grammar and I have a turgid style that could be improved if I drafted my posts.
I've tried to avoid some things: repeating other bloggers' posts; using "I" too many times (except for this post); revealing my identity so that my agency doesn't fire me; swearing (sorry but am failing on that one).
I'm trying to amuse myself by doing this and don't have the patience to write truly insightful stuff, although there'll be another blog along soon that might just be that fucking good.
Wooo, and this has truly been an awful post.
I'm writing this at ten minutes to midnight. You can probably tell.

Picnicked from here

March 27, 2007

Brain cream

Warning: misuse of this cream may result in your brains leaking out of your ear.

Targeting one-handed boys only

Complaints about a new web campaign to recruit sperm donors strike me as a little odd. The site has a provocative name and is splattered with image of chesty girls summoning the priapic hordes to donate some of that surplus jizz for a good cause.
The Guardian reports that parents and potential parents find the campaign “offensive and that it risks perpetuating the tacky stereotype of donors they have fought to dispel.”
Maybe these complaining “parents” have too-high aspirations for the source of the coveted sperm. Perhaps they think the campaign should target mature professors quietly knocking one off in a leather armchair to the sound of a grandfather clock, or successful Alan Sugar types discretely locking the boardroom door with a box of scented baby-wipes, in which case yes, the campaign is wrong.
But the richest supply is in the hands of ten-wanks-a-day teenage boys who will not respond to a clinical campaign. These guys will be readers of Nuts, FHM and Loaded. Buxom sirens and cheap hand-shandy jokes are part of their world. I’d say the campaign is bang on the money.

The tag line has a smell like compost

This is a contender for the Naffest Tag Line of 2007.

March 26, 2007

Sports news

Pakistan has given up cricket and is taking up Bob Slaying.

Yes, I know. You don't have to tell me.

It's a trap!

This is one of my regular forays off-topic, courtesy of the bulletin boards from my favourite waste of time. Video mash-ups are the best things on YouTube, and here's one that'll appeal if you share my strong geek gene.
It'll be appreciated by fans of one of Star Wars' minor characters.

Pointless critter products

I’ve seen surveys which claim that our free time is dwindling and that we have to cram more activities into the same 24-hour box.
This is a handy argument for marketers who have to push the latest convenient and time-saving product. Innovation in increasingly crowded markets succeeds if the consumer is fooled into buying the latest version of something that was perfectly adequate in its original form. Look at razors, dishwashing powders, even food.
Does the latest Gillette laser-powered 8-blade vibrating razor give a closer shave that a single-bladed disposable? Does the plastic-coated tablet with sealed conditioning liquid clean better than boxed dishwasher powders? Do chlorine-cleaned and repackaged lettuce leaves taste better than the loose raw vegetable?
I was therefore utterly astounded when this short ad crept onto my TV screen. It’s just another example of a pointless 21st century product.

Cats are my least favourite pet since I have engaged them in a daily battle to keep them from shitting on my lawn. Observing the general behaviour of the feline-owning neighbours, I have developed a theory that cat ownership may have a correlation with IQ. One cat per household has a zero effect – there’s no recognisable decline in intelligence of the occupants. Once you start to increase the cat per household quota, then mental faculties decline.
Without jobs but with satellite TV in every bedroom, and take-away food delivered at least four times a week, my pikey neighbours keep at least a dozen of the critters.
I wonder who has the inclination to buy this wretched product. Maybe its multiple-cat owners who have more money than sense. But I guess the cat food manufacturers have to try something, when the UK cat population is about 8 million-strong, and the market worth £900m. Rich pickings.

Speaking of cats, this is the greatest cat picture, ever.

March 23, 2007

Our gay fascists are better than your gay fascists

Speaking as a classicist with a reasonably large drop of Greek blood, the green-screen gorefest 300 is bloody good fun. Soulless and ridiculous, it amuses me that some neo-cons would enjoy the prospect of seeing fine upstanding white men slaughtering the heathen proto-muslims in their thousands, while secretly enjoying the gayness of oily topless supermen in tight leather bondage underpants shouting that well known Greek phrase “Hoooo!” (as in “Hoooomosexual!”) at suitably macho moments. Funny that, ‘cos the ancient Greeks had no concept of sexual labels.
Equally incongruous is the occasional reference to Spartans fighting for freedom, the only thing that truly grates, because that tiny city-state in the Peloponnese grew powerful when interlopers enslaved the locals and founded Western Europe’s first truly fascist state, while its Attican neighbour Athens created a flawed and short-lived democracy (which excluded women, slaves and foreigners) that the cartoon-educated hold up as a shining ideal. The brainless, visually beautiful spectacle would have been perfect without the Braveheart bollocks.
Worst bits: Dialogue from the Brian Blessed School Of Shouting (bravo to Bill Green for his brilliant comment: “inspiring speeches straight from the Conan meets William Wallace motivational handbook”)
Best bits: Cruelty to trolls and rhinoscerii.

Sony's unlikely but brilliant PR stunt

I've found Sony's products to be robust and good value, being the owner of a 2 year-old steel Walkman mp3 player and a Bravia TV, but have always loathed the crippling jealousy with which they guard their licensing, undermining the value of the hardware. And so it is with some surprise that I find myself admiring their stunning PR initiative last night. Geeks who queued for hours to get their hands on the UK's first PS3 consoles at one store were rewarded with free HDTVs (worth £2,500 each), and a free taxi ride home. Incredible.

March 22, 2007

Japanese Axe virals - innocent fun or sinister?

Whooooah these are dodgy. I’m on something of a Lynx / Axe splurge at the moment and have stumbled across these Japanese virals for the brand. They’re worth noting because of the slightly innocent look combined with the sinister undertone when seen through Western eyes. The premise (get sprayed = get laid) is executed here with a naivety one might have seen in US or European advertising several years ago. I expect that in a country where men openly read porn on the train and buy used panties from vending machines, these virals seem tame.
But seeing the so-called Axe Effect on schoolgirls and on the PE field just seems a little too creepy. As for this one, with a priest thrashing Axe-crazed women with a large stick… don’t the Japanese have a word for “kinky”?

See also: BomChickaWahwah and More BomChickaWahwah

FACT! The 19th Century!

"The 19th century was the time period between 1800 and 1901. It was a busy time, because lots of things were going on at once."

For more wisdom, check out Fuckwitapedia

March 21, 2007

DraftFCB sex up a pig

Most car ads usually fall between two benches: petrolhead porn (images of the motor or its components with lots of fancy effects, or zooming around a spectacular landscape) and the delayed moneyshot (meaningful action or drama ending in the revealing of the car). This is a sweeping generalisation that I’m making after about three seconds of lazy research, so don’t flame me with examples of exceptions.
I’m muchly impressed with this spot from Australia for the Honda CR-V, which I file under “delayed moneyshot”, and it’s a fine example – the guy stripping in the street is just interesting enough to hold the attention until he reaches the pig-ugly car, made to look damn cute to Australian eyes by the simple trick of nailing a surfboard to the roof.
It’s a fine piece of work from DraftFCB Melbourne, proving that you can make a silk purse from a sow’s ear. Good soundtrack too.

Praise the toad

Those blasphemous swines from the BBC's Religious Programmes Unit have nicked a classic Chimp Messiah hymn. But really... it's another terrific Adam Buxton spoof.

March 20, 2007

FACT! Dinosaurs!

“There are a number of lines of evidence that point to dinosaurs and man coexisting. For example, explorers have reported seeing a live dinosaur.”

For more wisdom, check out Fuckwitapedia (aka Conservapedia).

Pic via

21st-century dilemma: Jimmy Choo vs D&G

Gang rape - or murder by drowning. Which is worse?

...and which one was banned?

Gimme that old motor

In Euro RSCG’s visually rich new spot for the Peugeot 207, an ancient predecessor transmogrifies into its modern-day equivalent. Every time I see this ad, I feel a twinge of sadness. The creamy 1920s model looks a darned sight more interesting and fun than its grey descendant. Could I have one of those please, Monsieur P?
Here's a French-language version of the same ad:

VW did time travel with a touch more pizzazz.

March 19, 2007

More BomChickaWahwah

It's no surprise that I'm an admirer of BBH's work for Lynx and its US equivalent, Axe. The premise of spray deodorant = babe magnet aimed at adolescent males isn't a particularly difficult one to deal with. However, BBH have applied humour and imagination.
There have been a few duds (marked down in my book for being too obvious, such as the Nick Lachey / Ben Affleck Click ads), but some flashes of brilliance too. My favourite one is "Getting Dressed", a Cannes winner in 2004. You wouldn't have guessed it was for Lynx, the joke was on the viewer, and there was an equality between the boy and the girl that was unexpected from this brand.
The new BomChickaWahWah campaign is utterly daft and scores with me because of the relationship between the guys (bewildered) and the women (temporarily insane). I do wonder if there's an in-joke here - Lynx smells awful and a woman would have to be mad to be turned on by it. Personally, I have always preferred Hai Karate.
I covered the first ad in the campaign a couple of weeks ago. Here are the next two, fresh from British TV.

I'm uncertain whether this one is from the UK - the campaign has also run in Austria:

For you, ze war is over

The copyright nazis are marching on YouTube. The "Channels I'm Watching" function allows you to monitor favourite YouTubers' videos. There were at least a dozen regularly-updated channels I was keeping an eye on; these guys had a good record for adding both recent and old ads, many of which I've featured here.
Within the last week, eight of them have had their accounts suspended. I can only conclude that the legal paranoia besetting YouTube's new owners is behind this.
I can think of a few reasons why advertisers and their agencies would object to the online sharing of intended-for-TV ads, all of them feeble (old campaigns might undermine new marketing strategies; bloggers like yours truly can take the piss; modern eyes would laugh at the hangups of yesteryear, and so on), but it would be a very odd day if YouTube were the target of an ad-related lawsuit.
I'll be keeping my own account, for now, but will start to use some of YouTube's rivals a little more often: DailyMotion, LuLu TV, Metacafe and Revver. I'm sure some of you lurkers can think of some others.

March 16, 2007

Put your tongue in, Becks

I usually avoid bandwagons, and am committing the added sin of jumping on this one late. However, I am amused by David Beckham’s artistic skills for Adidas.
He has become more cultured since living in Spain. Apparently he wanted to take a suitcase of books with him to the World Cup Finals last year, until Posh pointed out that he’d already coloured them all in.

Taking the p!$$

It's a tough job, but having to plough through the top consumer magazines to spot trends does have its compensations. For example, Nuts magazine, the juvenile weekly lad mag, does have a really good gadget section. The fact that 90% of the rest of the mag is just tits, tits, tits, is immaterial and utterly irrelevant.
This remarkable image is scanned from the letter pages (click it to enlarge). No, they are not real women but toilet furniture. I am at a loss to find a suitable adjective.

March 14, 2007

Man in a pub

An ugly feller walks into his local pub with a big grin on his face.
"What are you so happy about?" asks the landlord.
"Well, I'll tell you," replies the ugly man. "You know I live by the railway? Well, on my way home last night, I noticed a young woman tied to the tracks, like in the films. I went and cut her free and took her back to my place. To cut a long story short, I scored big time! We made mad passionate love all night long."
"Fantastic!" exclaimed the landlord. "Was she pretty?"
"Dunno. I never found the head."
To non-Brits, that was what is known locally as a "pub joke".
Now you're in the mood, enjoy this newly broken macho pub ad for McCoy's Crisps.

Agency: Publicis

Did someone say Bouncing Balls?

This isn't a spoof for spoof's sake, but a healthy reference to the most famous of Sony's recent ads. Bouncing and Balls probably have more relevance to the brand advertised here than they do to the one in the original.
Slightly NSFW if you work in a radical feminist commune.

High res version here.

Spotted on The Marketing Blog

When I grow up I want to work for


March 13, 2007

Fluffy finance for the gullible

This is what happens in the TV ad for Ocean Finance.

  • Colours are dull and washed out.
  • Dork Dad prepares to cut the overgrown lawn on his tiny 20' x 20' garden.
  • Sad Mum looks on pityingly.
  • Dork Dad struggles with tiddly lawnmower.
  • Sad Mum, children and dog look on pityingly
  • Voiceover draws a metaphor: overbearing lawn = nightmare finances
  • v/o: Cut bills down to size (see what they're doing here - no imagination spared)
  • Lawnmower explodes
  • Sun shines.
  • Lovely sharp colours.
  • Dork Dad drives tractor mower.
  • v/o: Bla bla bla raise money bla bla bla talk to us free.
  • Everyone smiles
It's clear that Dork Dad and Sad Mum are heading for a divorce. Unless she's an idiot, Mum will wonder why her lazy arse of a husband needs a tractor mower for such a little garden. By the same rule, spending a weekend going over their finances and actually talking to their bloody bank would negate the need to talk to a loan shark company.
Funnily enough, this particularly nasty subset of the finance industry was recently investigated by the OFT after complaints about hard-sell and lack of information (e.g. interest rates of over 10%).
A few years ago Ocean ran a dreadful little ad that has been much parodied. It was awful because of its forced friendliness, lulling the gullible and the desperate into making that one phone call that would propel them into a possibly worse situation.
But wolves can be fluffy and cute and still rip your throat out.

March 12, 2007

Calvin Clean

Poem by T.W. Chimps, age 13

Dad says teens need to shower
Every day to avoid the stinks
That’s why the girls wear Impulse
While me and my mates use Lynx
I’m not sure about that new stuff though
It sounds something like bird flu
Mum won’t let us eat turkey
And I’m not wearing anything called Chicken Zoo.

Old favourites, repeated

There goes another Saturday night... Inevitably, I was drawn into the umpteenth repeat of Channel Four's 3-hours-long 100 Greatest TV Ads. My 9 year-old, already up too late, harrumphed up the stairs to bed, muttering and wondering how anyone could watch anything so boring.
I don't blame him. You need to be old enough to appreciate these small slices of nostalgia. Together they form a patchwork quilt of social history. They are connections between us and the big world: I remember my grandmother urging me to eat more eggs because of an ad, the neighbour's kids calling me the Milky Bar Kid when I first wore glasses, and vainly hoping a girlfriend would give me a blow job if I bought her a Flake.
It's interesting to see how some brands have preserved their character even after decades have passed. There are a few such examples in the final list, but I pick this one because it resonates with me. I lived in South London at the time this ad came out - not a pleasant place then, and I had already had some experience of skinheads.

BMP DDB's spot for The Guardian in 1986 encouraged me to pick up that newspaper for the first time.
Twenty years later, The Guardian's message is still consistent. Just look at this current example spotted by Meme Huffer.

March 09, 2007


Sometime during the mid-1980s John Cleese stopped being funny. Fortunately, this relic from that era features a reliable comedy prop: yesterday's idea of cutting edge technology. Just look at that example of portability!

See also: Crack-smoking monkeys usher in Windows 386

Where's the logo

Found in Hamburg

Insert skidmark joke here

Heck, this is yet another bottom-related observation. Underwear firm Sloggi are launching their own beauty contest, but are focusing solely on the gluteal region. It heralds "a global campaign to find the most perfect male and female bottoms in the world. The competition, called ‘Show me your Sloggi's', is aimed at 18-30 year olds and will run in over 40 countries." - Marketing
Expect much arse-related above the line marketing in July.
Funny how this is supposed to be a global effort and yet is being managed from Britain, surely the most backside-obsessed country in the world.

March 08, 2007

D&G respond to ad critics

They're quick workers at Dolce & Gabbana.

Pic nicked from b3ta and slightly altered.

Match spank

Here’s a lovely bit of promotional tat that is just perverse enough to appeal to me. Strike a match on this hottie’s knickers. Leave a mark that looks like she’s either been kinky-whipped, or left with the result of a particularly wet fart.

via Adverbox

March 07, 2007

A million tiny violins

I have recovered from the painful stitch that occurred after laughing so hard, and the wee-wee has been mopped from my chair.
I have for a long time suspected that George Parker has something of the divine about him, but whether he is touched by angels or devils remains to be seen.
Latest evidence comes in the form of a post on AdScam where the great man daydreams over the rare Bugatti Veyron, not a marque that features in many news headlines.
And then, almost immediately afterwards, this happens.
Somewhere, deep in a rainforest, the Schadenfreude Butterfly’s wings tremble.

On a quiet day

While the scantily clad monkeygirls are outside playing on the swings, Dave and I like to dress up in our cat suits and watch telly.

Open top

Spotted in Monkey

It's a man's world

Here's yet another collection of old ads, this time, uniquely, an entire TV ad break from 1982. So what can we tell about life in Britain 25 years ago?

- Women served men breakfast
- Men didn't care about the healthiness of their cereals, as long as they were tasty
- Ads used to have jingles
- Food packs must dance
- Wives were expected to rustle up a dinner Just Like His Mum
- Babies talk like Brian Glover
- Tesco was pikier than Asda and Morrisons put together (and look at the bastards now)

March 06, 2007

Dad's an arsehole

This seemingly inoffensive made-by-numbers US TV ad catches my eye because it presents many of society’s ills in a neat 60-second package.

In a nutshell, these kiddies are excited because “Dad’s making dinner” which is another way of saying “Dad can’t be arsed to cook so he’s getting us a McDonald’s”.
In it we have:
- Workaholic society with dads who probably like using the phrase “quality time” to describe pressure-timetabled neglect.
- Hyperactive children going frantic at the prospect of a high-glucose, saturated-fat hit.
- The implication that the opposite type of meal i.e. mum’s home-cooking, is shit.

More Lynx naughtiness

Spotted in the intriguingly-titled Skirts in Advertising, here's a viral by a couple of Brazilian creatives for good old Lynx. It's a cute joke, but misses the mark if one were to speculate on the average age of married men compared with the average age of the Lynx wearer.

See also: BomChickaWahwah

March 05, 2007

Blame the wife

Every now and again, a collection of antique advertising emerges. It's a strange form of nostalgia - the posters and TV ads of yesteryear are capable of capturing the peculiar morals and moods of a time that wasn't quite so long ago.
This collection is a bit haphazard, but some examples do raise a laugh.
Warning: expect chauvinism and minor boobage.

More vintage ads:
Everyone else is mad
The past is a scary place

More fun than having a Wii

Women's toilet bits are a perpetual mystery to males of an adolescent bent. What could be more confusing to those minds than those cryptic feminine hygiene ads that don't actually explain what they're for?
Well, here's something as likely to elicit sniggers as one of those little cotton wool mice left on a classroom chair or, better still, flung into the back of the swot's head in the front row.
Found on the bulletin boards of b3ta, it's a sound-free illustration of a product that should do well at rock festivals. Just don't forget to wash your hands afterwards.
Here's the product's homepage.

March 02, 2007

Short straw deprives us of sex, piracy and giant monkeys

My first experience of the Dutch came many years ago, when I worked at Shell. Blue-eyed, serious yet benign seven-foot giants in orange tartan suits, gaudy monochrome currency and a language that sounds like a bear chewing snot.
There’s an updated version of the modern Dutchman in Shell’s epic new 9-minute cinema ad that I can’t help but laugh at.
For a long time, the Anglo-Dutch energy giant has tried to push its corporate social responsibility credentials with some dry and dull marketing. Still haunted by one of the most enormous PR fuck-ups in business history (which was going on at about the time I left), Shell’s new film is an attempt to show how sweet it is.
Now the friend of sandal wearing hippies, smiling stone-age natives and small fluffy animals, Shell’s ambassador is a scruffily handsome but pained engineer who just can’t figure out how to get to those inconveniently-situated oil reserves.
Now, call me a generally ignorant hairy fuckwit, but I don’t have a science or engineering degree yet I do remember Monty Burns in an episode of the Simpsons coming up with exactly the same solution as this fellow, and good old Monty didn’t have to rely on a acne-ridden brat for his Eureka moment.
It’s amusing that the hero is Dutch (OK, I know that the real-life engineer was a cloggie too, but some artistic licence should have been granted), because if he’d been English the audience might have expected the bounder to seduce the cute native reporter and roger her senseless under the palm trees before fighting off pirates and saving the local villagers from their giant monkey god.
The Dutch, you see, are an unknown cinematic quantity, so it’s safer to stick to an actionless moving picture postcard without any real suspense.
So here’s the film (click on “Eureka”), but don’t blame me if you have to sit through it again next time you go to the flicks.

Why press maggots love a bit of Apple

Bad marketing

Good marketing
The latest Private Eye magazine includes an interesting revelation prompted by the current batch of seriously irritating Mac vs PC ads.
The British press has always been particularly nice to Apple, more so than to any other techie firm. I quote:

"Apple products receive unerringly good write-ups and extensive coverage across all of the UK press. The recent launch of the iPhone, which will not even be available in the UK until the end of the year, was front page news."

Apple gives members of the National Union of Journalists a 20% discount on all of its products.

March 01, 2007


Angry today. Dropping the fluffy look of CMM News. Am off on the piss.
I may not return.

Walk into the light

The latest Boards email highlights a Snickers ad from Impact BBDO Dubai. All very nice and clever, with the glowing men on traffic lights kicking several shades of fluorescent shit out of each other. I heartily approve.
But... a simple but rather twisted website, Traffic Light Wars, seems to have been playing with this idea for an awfully long time.
Coincidence or rip-off?