Hello there. Goodness me, it’s been a while again, hasn’t it? Well you know how it is, sometimes there’s just not much to say about the advertising we wade through on a daily basis, is there? Well, nothing all that interesting at least.
There is, however, one new trend that’s been troubling me lately. And that’s the overwhelming desire in the heart of so many ad campaigns to almost, but not quite, say the word “fuck”. I suppose it all started with that courageous, ground-breaking, tiresome, ultimately soul-crunching French Connection campaign where courageous, ground-breaking, tiresome and ultimately soul-crunching ad agency BMB’s Trevor Beattie created that wonderful “fcuk” thing. Now there’s no denying that, at the time, that campaign gave a lacklustre brand a much-needed kick up the asre, spawned a thousand T-shirts and got BMB and particularly Trevor Beattie a whole lot of publicity.
However, many, many years later, that self-same breathtakingly original idea is now cropping up everywhere. The latest offenders being Booking.com with their “booking dot yeah!” payoff and, even more worryingly, Toyota’s “Go Fun Yourself!” ads for the previously swear-free and highly inoffensive Aygo. A cute little runabout that seems more likely to fetch your slippers than to tell you to go do anything remotely untoward to yourself.
What’s it all about though, eh? Is this what we’ve come to? Is this really what the best, and doubtlessly most highly paid, creative brains in the business can come up with? I mean, that Aygo campaign is by Saatchi’s for fcuk’s sake. And the Booking.com campaign is by an agency I’ve long admired, Wieden & Kennedy. Fortunately their Amsterdam office is ultimately responsible so perhaps we can put it down to the ready availability of cheap drugs around those parts.
The point I’m desperately trying to make though is, is this work actually any good? Is it really that creative, or even all that interesting? Surely we’ve moved a little beyond those days in the queue for school dinners when the rebels amongst us would ask for “A fork and knife” as quickly as possible, in the hope that it would sound like “A fucking knife”. Surely the client and, more importantly, the audience deserve a little more respect than a cheap playground gag.
Well that’s my opinion anyway, for what it’s worth, and I’m sticking with it. Feel free to disagree, obviously. There’s every possibility that you love both those ads and that’s your absolute right.
Of course, if you do, you can also go fun yourself.
Funning dot yeah!
Hello there. Goodness it’s been a long time since we hung out here together, isn’t it? Well I’m sorry. Really I am. I cannot apologise enough. All I can say by way of mitigation is that I’ve been like, really really busy. Had loads of work on, been to America again, been playing with my band and just generally being a bit lax on the old blogging front.
What can I do to make it up to you? How can I possibly redeem myself?
How about I do that thing of picking an ad off of the telly and having a right old go at it? I know, I know. That’s what I always do. But this time, THIS TIME, there’s a slight twist. This time I’m going to show you a current tv ad and make a few suggestions how that ad could work harder, be more effective and potentially win a SHITLOAD of awards. “How can you do that, andy?” I hear you say. “How can you, a lowly freelance copywriter from Manchester, make this lacklustre ad a REAL, SURE-FIRE, BONEY FIDO WINNER?” Well watch and learn, friends. Watch and learn.
First, watch the ad in question. (Sorry, you’ll have to use the link below. It’s not on youtube for some inexplicable reason)
CLICK HERE FOR ERECTILE DISFUNCTION. (Not literally, obvs.)
Now I know what you’re thinking. “That’s a very sensitive subject, Andy. How can you deal with this in a manner that is effective yet sympathetic? How can you, a man-about-town of some repute find the empathy to handle this particular subject?” Well, let me tell you. As a copywriter, I’m used to stepping into the lives of others. Inhabiting their world and sharing their experiences. Even in the field of erectile disfunction. A phenomenon I have never personally experienced. Honestly. This has never happened to me before. Sorry. Ever.
Right, on with the rework. First, let’s lose that enormous, elaborate flower arrangement. What’s it saying to us? It’s big, it’s unwieldy, it’s solid. In short, it’s wrong. Instead we have a vase of wilted tulips. Their stems limp, their heads hanging sadly over the lip of their receptacle. Next, the waiter. Instead of presenting those equally enormous menus, he’s now playing a small accordion. A squeezebox, if you will. He faces the camera, his left hand drops, allowing the concertinaed fabric to droop downwards in the manner of an elephant’s trunk in repose. He looks to our hapless hero, looks to the accordion, looks back at the camera and winks.
Suddenly, a light flashes in our male diner’s eyes, he quaffs his drink, furrows his brow and BAM! The tulips suddenly spring to attention, their deep red heads thrusting manfully skywards. Our waiter/musician looks on in wonder and backs away, awestruck. The female at the table licks her lips as she gazes upon our tumultuous tulips. At that exact moment, the table at our hero’s end begins to tilt upwards. As it climbs inexorably the dishes slide into his lady’s lap. Her eyes widen, her lips part. Our hero looks directly into the camera and winks. SCENE and CUT.
See? It’s easy, isn’t it? Just a bit more thought, a little more empathy and POW!
It’s a WINNER.
Hello there. Yes, it’s that time of the year when I add the annual whitewriting Christmas card to the blog. So here it is. You’re welcome.
Hello there. Yes, it’s me. Back again with more advertising related shenanigans. Now, I was going to start off with all my usual excuses regarding how long it’s been since I wrote anything on here. Busy, busy, busy, blah, blah, blah. Working in award winning Manchester advertising agencies, blah, blah. Popping over to America a bit, blah. But no. Today’s different. Today it’s something new. Today I’m just so bemused by a piece of advertising, (well, two actually but we’ll cross that bridge later), that I just want to get started. You with me? Good. Let’s go.
The reason I’m so bemused, nay bewildered, nay befuddled, is that the two pieces are for the same client. A client that, by and large, does fairly consistently good stuff too. And who is that client? I hear no-one in particular not asking. That client is Audi, that’s who.
Now I’m sure loads and loads and loads of you will have seen, heard or heard about the two Spocks one. And quite rightly so. It’s ace. I mean, just have a look.
Lovely that, isn’t it? I love the way the ad kind of steps back and lets the performances take the lead. The product really is secondary here. Obviously there are some beautiful, sexy car porn shots but come on, it’s a car ad and I, for one, love a bit of car porn if I’m honest. And let’s get this out there once and for all, I occasionally am. I also love the little twist that Merc Spock wins, technically. It just all feels like Audi having a bit of fun and sharing it with us. Funny, clever, grown-up, childish advertising.
Which is what makes the next ad even more bewildering. It’s the new Audi SQ5 ‘style or substance spot’ and it’s truly, madly, deeply awful in it’s awful awfulness. Have a peek.
Now I feel sure that it can’t be just me that thinks the camera is a bit too loving, a bit too leering, a bit too well, just vicious in it’s lingering, almost prurient, shots of the beautiful, elegant, aloof lady being brought down to earth with a bump, (and a very nasty bump at that), by a wayward heel. Isn’t it all a little cruel? And isn’t it a tiny bit voyeuristic too? Is that ripping seam exposing a thigh really necessary? And isn’t there just a touch of ‘serves you right, bitch’ misogyny about the whole scenario?
And then, as a final touch, the SQ5 cruising past our damsel in distress as she sits bruised and bewildered in the rain seems just like a final dash of humiliation for that self important slapper.
Well that’s how it feels to me, anyway.
And really, even if is just me who feels that selling a luxury motor based on someone else’s suffering is a tad distasteful, then the ad isn’t really doing a great job, is it?
So there you have it. A roaring success and a raw stinker from the same stable. Odd, isn’t it?
Now here’s a funny thing. Just a few days after I posted the above blog, I saw the Audi sQ5 ad again. Lo and behold, the lingering shots of the lady’s ripped skirt and exposed thighs are no longer there, the sQ5 doesn’t appear to drive past any more and the voiceover no longer talks about style over substance. This time it’s some guff about ‘truly good design should never let you down’ and ‘beautiful engineering’.
Here, have a look.
So perhaps it wasn’t just me who found the ad in it’s original form ever so slightly repellent.
Then again, perhaps it was just me and Mr. Audi boss man reads thatandywhiteblog, living in fear of my incisive reviews.
Maybe I really am that powerful.
Now that’s a scary thought.
Hello there. Just a teeny, tiny post today. You know, just to enter 2013 gently. No big fanfares, no loud noises. I mean, we’re all feeling a little delicate just now, aren’t we? So, in order to keep us all on an even keel, I’m just going for a little peeve.
It’s this new Compare The Market ad, featuring the currently omnipresent Robert Webb. See if you can spot what annoys a small-minded, obnoxious pedant such as myself.
Yes! It’s that bit where Robert/Maurice, (“Maurice”, crazy name, crazy guy!), says ‘They’re different words. You see they contain different letters…” WELL THEY BLOODY DON’T CONTAIN DIFFERENT LETTERS, DO THEY? ‘MEERKAT’ AND ‘MARKET’ CONTAIN EXACTLY THE SAME LETTERS! COULDN’T YOU MAKE JUST A TINY BIT MORE EFFORT WITH THE WRITING? COULDN’T YOU? COULDN’T YOU?
I feel better now.
All the very best for Christmas and the new year. andy x
Hello there. Well this is a turn-up for the books, isn’t it? A blast from the past. A proper funny old turn of events and no mistake, guv’nor. It’s a new blog post. I know, I know. It’s been aaaaaaaaages. hasn’t it? Well what can I say? What can I do? How on earth can I make this right?
Nothing. Nothing at all can make it right, can it? All I can possibly do is try to explain this unforgivable absence and build some bridges between us. It’s ok. We can burn them later.
Right then. First of all I’ve been very, very busy. Oooh so, so, busy. Busy, busy, busy. There’s been lots of work to do. Got some new clients. Went on holiday for a bit. Took my daughter shopping. Had toast. You know how it is. The time just runs away, doesn’t it?
So, what have I missed while I’ve been away? Well apparently, in the world of quality advertising, I’ve missed nothing. Nada. Zilch. Not a bratwurst. A big fat SOD ALL. Bloody awful isn’t it? I thought, to mark the momentous occasion of my finally writing a new post, I’d come back BIG. I’d find a great and/or terrible ad on the telly box and write a blistering critique of its greatness/terribleness.
But there’s nothing, is there? Well, there are loads and loads of telly ads, obviously. But they all seem to blend together into one, all-encompassing blandness. You know, like a great big flavourless blancmange of nothingness oozing relentlessly across the tv screen.
There may be the occasional dead fly masquerading as a raisin that sticks between the teeth now and again but there’s nothing to really bite into, is there? Nothing completely fantastic, nothing spectacularly terrible, nothing to write home about, nothing in fact to write a blog about. Which really has been part of the problem for me.
You see, if you read this blog, and as you’re here now I have no reason to believe you don’t, you’ll know that a recurring theme is my having a toothless rant at ads that offend me and which, by extension, really should offend you too. However, at the moment, I really can’t find any tv ads that stir me enough from my overwhelming adweariness, (it’s a word, ok? It’s a made-up word, granted but a word nonetheless), to even shout at the screen. Actually that’s not strictly true. I do shout at one tv ad on a regular basis. It’s that dreadful, dreadful Barclays ad for their new, personalised bank cards. You know the one. The one where we all forget about our crippling debts, mortgage arrears, impending home repossession and the fact that the despicable, hateful, thieving, feckless, money-grabbing bastards have been shafting us remorselessly for years, by getting a bank card with a little moustache on it. Oh bollocks. THIS ONE.
Yes. That’s the rascal. Now come on. We all shout at that one don’t we? You know, the bit where the happy, smiley voiceover goes, ‘Making it a bit less banky and a bit more…’
And it is, isn’t it? Very, very wanky indeed.
Hello there. Yes, yes. I know. BLOODY AGES. Yes. It’s really gone a bit beyond a joke now, hasn’t it? I know that for some time the standard starting point of any of my posts has been a groveling apology for not having written anything for a while but I really have excelled myself this time, haven’t I?
I do have a couple of excuses though. Firstly, December is traditionally a very busy month for me, due to my spectacularly lucrative sideline in performing as an elf in Santa’s Grottos in locations all across the North West. Secondly, in January I often act as a paid ‘first footer’ carrying coals over thresholds throughout the Greater Manchester region. I used to travel further up North but the old problems regarding my lack of Scottish ancestry reached a head with some quite ugly scenes in the winter of 2010.
Still, I digress. There have been other much more Advertising related issues which have kept me occupied. All the LE50 ads I’ve been doing, a couple of pitches and, notably a new business concern which is presently bubbling away and which I will tell you all about when I’m allowed to. That is if you’re interested of course. No? Thought not.
Anyway, now we’re both here, what shall we talk about? Shall we talk about the madcap life of a Manchester Copywriter? No? Then how about we do the usual and pick holes in an ad or two? I’m not bored with doing that yet, even if you are.
Actually, before I get into some really awful and often unnecessary slagging off, let’s try something a little more unexpected. Let’s talk about some ads I really like. Have you seen all the new ( ish ) TV ads that Aldi have running at the moment? I love them. And what’s more they’ve all been done by one of my past employers, McCann Erickson, Manchester. Here’s one to refresh your memory.
Now isn’t that rather lovely? Short, simple, strong message and absolutely perfect casting. I love the whole series of them, for a couple of reasons. The first ones, I’ve already mentioned but I should also add that I think they’re very clever indeed. They strike a perfect balance of being just smart enough, knocking the opposition gently enough and leaving us all feeling rather good about the Aldi brand. Not too far away from their position as a place for ‘bargains’ but just a little higher in terms of quality. Splendid.
However, it really wouldn’t be the same if I didn’t stick the boot in to at least one ad that gets up my nose would it? To be honest though the main one that I REALLY, REALLY hate at the moment, I can’t even bring myself to show on here. It’s one of those rare campaigns that tear at my very soul so much that I have to change channels or even, ( heaven forfend ), turn off the telly when they appear. It’s those godawful Wonga dot com ads with the geriatric puppets. What in the name of god were these people THINKING? The puppets are repellent, the dialogue bloody awful and I just can’t imagine who or what they’re aimed at. I mean, where the buggering bloody did that idea come from? “We have Wonga.com run from a 1970s office, by a bunch of OAPs in the throes of senile dementia, represented by badly executed and inexpertly operated marionettes! What do you think, Sebastian? ” “IT’S GOT WINNER WRITTEN ALL OVER IT, NATHAN!”
So, as I won’t actually show any of those ads, let’s have one that isn’t actually unspeakably awful but just leaves me slightly bewildered. Over to you, Kia.
There. Not nearly as bad as it could be I suppose but it simply doesn’t cut it for me. Obviously we’re going for the down with the kids, social networking thing with the facebook ‘likes’ but what’s with the stuff in between? Is it just me or does that, slightly too old, slightly too manicured of beard, in-line skater look like he’s performed a pied-piper style trick with all those poor skater kids and is about to hurl them into the back of the capacious Kia and make good his escape to an abandoned abattoir on the outskirts of town?
Followed through to its natural conclusion, the ” I *like* fun ” message that follows immediately afterwards is simply chilling.
Hello there. God, it really has been ages this time hasn’t it? Days, weeks, even months have passed since I last visited the blog and yes, I am deeply ashamed of myself. There has been a reason for this neglect though. You see, as well as my usual life of wine, women and song*, ( *arthritis, rubbish telly and crushing despair ), I’ve actually been doing lots and lots of work.
Yes, I know. Weird isn’t it? However, strange as it may seem I’ve been in quite a bit of demand in my capacity of hip-swinging*, ( *hobbling ), Manchester Copywriter about town. Done a couple of websites lately and lots of stuff on a rather nice project involving a dead swish updating of a classic British sportscar. The ads and stuff should be out soon so, the moment that they are, you can expect a suitably ‘”Looky, look, look. Look how clever I am, me.” post, plugging it all.
Anyway, enough about me. We all know what we’re really here for don’t we? Yes, that’s right, slagging off ads on the telly,even though I haven’t had anything on the telly for bloody years. Not that I’m BITTER or anything. PERISH THE THOUGHT. Obviously this time of year provides spectacularly fruitful pickings on the crap ad front. None more so than the crop of ‘men’s fragrance’ ads that inevitably spring, like tiny, shitty, snowdrops onto our tellybox screens every festive season.
So, let’s have a look at Diesel’s Only The Brave and Paco Rabanne’s 1 Million offerings, shall we?
Now, as an arthritic, overweight 40something,( ok , almost 50. But how can I put this? Oh yeah. Fuck off. That’s it. ), I’ll concede that I’m perhaps not in the target audience. But in all honesty, who the flipping flip is? I’ll tell you who. Fops. A bunch of bloody fops, that’s who. And who wants to smell like a fop? I don’t, for one. They smell all foppy, them fops.
I mean, for christ’s sake, who’s aspiring to be these two tossers? What’s more, where’s that ‘Only The Brave’ bloke running to? It appears to me that wherever he goes, everyone’s already left. And when he finally does meet up with the designated drivers, they all reverse the hell out of there as soon as they clap eyes on the sweating, breathless fool. Not that I blame them of course. In fact, if I was in one of those cars, I’d be banging it into the closest available forward gear and accelerating at great speed right at the ponce.
And as for 1 Million man, while I quite admire the fact that one smouldering look and a click of his beautifully manicured fingers can make a lady’s clothes fall off, I’m also well aware of the teachings of Saint Bono of the Holy U2. Now he says, and I’m sure that you’ll back me up on this, that every time you snap your fingers, a child in Africa dies. See? 1 Million man, for all his finery and olfactory magnificence doesn’t look quite so appealing now, does he?
The callous, callous swine.
Hello there. Been a long time, blah blah blah, busy blah, work, blah blah. Anyway. Shall we get down to business? ‘And what business might that be, Andy?’, I hear no-one at all ask, as everybody knows I’m just going to start taking cheap shots at the latest ad to irritate my jaded Manchester copywriter‘s palate. Yes, it’s same old, same old on thatandywhiteblog. I don’t like to rock the boat, me.
Today’s vastly aggravating ad is the latest from Sure. I’m fairly certain it was on a while ago but it suddenly vanished while I was still seething, rendering me unable to stick it on here. Now, however, it’s back. I neither know nor care why but it’s still bloody awful. Here, see for yourself.
Now what in all the name of everything holy is all that about then? “We attached bells to a selection of what appear to be normal, human, grown up women to make them aware of the fact that they tend to move about a bit.” Presumably, up until this point, these women have been in a state of perpetual bewilderment at their place in this world. Picture the poor creatures, ” What the? Just a moment ago I was in the lounge, on the sofa, watching television. Now I find myself in the kitchen, holding a kettle. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? WHAT GIVES?” Or, “What in the blazes is going on? How did I get onto this bicycle / Tennis court / Bus? My last memory is of washing my hair. WHAT MANNER OF WITCHCRAFT IS THIS?” Thankfully these new, motion sensing devices will alert the little poppets to the myriad things that may happen ‘twixt sofa and kettle, bathroom and bus. So, well done, Sure.
And not patronising at all. No siree bob.