The old ones.

November 30th, 2010 // 5:17 pm @ // 5 Comments

Hello there. Yes it’s another post on thatandywhiteblog and guess what? It’s late again isn’t it? Some things just never change do they? Well yes, actually they do. And they do right here, right now. There’s a great big change this week and it’s this. This week, this isn’t going to be a particularly advertising-based blog, oh no. The reason being that I haven’t really done much particularly advertising-based stuff this week. This week I have been concentrating chiefly on my mid-life crisis, which has consisted primarily of throwing myself back into the world of Rock and Roll and performance. Sadly there’s been no sex and drugs to speak of as yet but the Rock and, indeed Roll has proceeded at a fair old pace. The Saturday just past saw the first public appearance of the new line-up of popular beat combo The Weimaraners. When I say ‘new line-up’ I basically mean the old line-up but with the addition of me, standing at the front and shouting into a microphone a bit. I was going to say ‘singing’ but, as we are a kind of old-school, ( I would have said ‘old skool’ but that’s a bit new-skool ), ‘punk’ popular beat combo, the ‘singing’ part is open to question and debate.

Weimaraners. Grim, isn't it?

Now I realise that this is probably of very little interest to any of you, dear readers but it’s been a revelation to me. Well, actually not that much of a revelation if, like me, you’ve just clipped the hump of mid-forties and are lumbering headlong towards fifty- but a revelation nonetheless. And it’s this. There’s loads of us out there. Loads and loads of mid-forties people who lack the almost unbearably hep status of the check shirts, artful beards, avant-garde haircuts, macbooks and NHS specs that mill about the urban landscape, pinballing off each other to land in the respective high-score, extra ball, replay, bars of the Northern Quarter and beyond, yet have actually lived pretty interesting lives and probably played an active role in some pretty interesting times. A fair bit happened in the late ’70′s you know, not least in advertising and stuff. ( Oops. I said this wasn’t going to be an advertising-based blog. I lied. Sue me. )

Look around you at the iconography that’s colouring all those Northern Quarter bars. Listen to the jukeboxes, count the Clash and Ramones Tshirts then ask the wearers to name you three tracks and tell you the venues where they saw the bands play. You probably won’t get that far. You see, while this may sound like the sour grapes and flat snakebite of the elderly, past-it punk, there’s many a fine tune played on an old fiddle. Or to put it another way, there’s a load of great designers, art-directors, ( and copywriters ), out there who sometimes get overlooked in the pursuit of modernity, yoof and the next new thing. Yes, yes, I know it sounds bitter again but bear with me. The fact is, quite a few of those, ( us ), people were banging out ideas and concepts with marker pens on layout pads before it was possible to make the weakest thought look like the latest masterpiece with the aid of an apple mac and bit of photoshopping.

Don’t get me wrong, all the possibilities that these ‘new’ tools have opened up are doubtlessly fabulous and I’m not suggesting for a moment that we all adopt rose-coloured bi-focals to gaze longingly at the past. What I am saying though, is that all us creatives of a certain age stop moping around and moaning that the future’s too digital and hi-tech for our old bones and think about what got us into the business in the first place. Ideas. And, more than that, the skills that enabled us to make those ideas work without the aid of a gazillion megabytes of  technology nailed to our frontal lobes. There’s also the vague possiblity that in the years we’ve been in the game, we may have learnt some fairly worthwhile stuff too. Just a  thought.

In fact, here’s another thought. We may not fit into the skinny jeans anymore but we do still fit into the Creative Department.

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Category : Uncategorized

A fish out of context.

November 21st, 2010 // 1:42 pm @ // No Comments yet

Hello there. Well what can I say? I know you’re used to it by now but I really can’t apologise enough for the unforgivable absence of thatandywhiteblog for the past week or so. I’ve been working again you see. Yes, working. Doing a bit of that copywriting thing. It’s all very nice of course and it does mean that Harriet may get a change from the usual piece of coal and tangerine this Christmas but it plays havoc with one’s blogging you know. Anyway, least said soonest mended and all that so, on with this new post.

I’ve had a bit of a problem with it to be honest, you see I’ve got another TV ad that’s been driving me slightly mental for a while but I can’t find a bloody clip of it anywhere. It’s that new First Direct Bank ad. You know, the one with the Arthur Smith voiceover and that bloody woman prattling on about how no-one in her call centre is anything like anyone else who works in a bank call centre. It all starts off with a little school scenario and our call centre imbecile as a child, talking about how whales communicate. We’re then whisked forward through time to today, where she has surpassed all expectations of her natural gifts to attain the position of answering a phone in a call centre. Only an evolutionary step or two behind the whale song that perhaps inspired her to follow a career in communications. The point is though that, once she’s got her hands on said phone she seems to just want to have a bit of a natter, rather than perhaps doing a spot of banking-related stuff. I really don’t reckon her style is going to inspire that much confidence in the bank’s account holder. Here’s a little scenario.

Caller: ” Hello there, I seem to have a bit of a problem with my account, I wonder if you could help?”

Imbecile: ” Eeeee, I’m like a fish out of water me! ”

Caller: ” Oh, right, yeah. Well, the thing is, £164,000 seems to have been spent on my card in a branch of Argos and a Wetherspoons in Durham. ”

Imbecile: ” We’re not like all them people at them other banks us you know, hee hee hee hee! ”

Caller: ” ooooo kaaay. Is there someone else I could speak to? A manager perhaps? It is rather urgent.

Imbecile: ” Oooh, I don’t know who’s turn it is to be manager today. I thought it was Maureen but she’s got the cakes today so it can’t be, can it? It could be Julie but she’s doing Tracey’s nails so I don’t think it’s her.”

Caller: “Look, I really, really need to get this sorted. My overdraft is going to be impossible to pay back, I’ll have debt collectors at my door, I could lose my house and someone is obviously still using my card. Please do something, the stress is playing havoc with my pregnant wife she’s in tears now,  for god’s sake, help me.

Imbecile: ” We’re all as daft as brushes here you know. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Caller: Oh fuck it. *click*

You see, It’s all well and good having lovely chatty people working the phones at a Pet Shop or a Caterers or a Wedding Dress makers maybe but when I call the bank, I don’t really want some light hearted banter with a ‘fish out of water’, I want someone who’s going to sort out whatever I need sorting out, like now. I don’t actually phone my bank unless I really, really need to. So, when I do, I don’t want to shoot the breeze with a Jane Horrocks/Gracie Fields soundalike with an infant school knowledge of marine mammals. I want Judi Dench in full ‘Q’ mode arranging the painful, merciless death of whichever twat screwed up my direct debit to United Utilities, thus giving them the rights to take possession of my genitalia and first-born man-child. I want ruthless efficiency from my bank. I want a faceless, soulless, infallible machine, relentlessly grinding through numbers to make my pitiful income cover my outgoings every month. And beyond that I don’t care. I don’t care if my bank is populated by lovely, caring, funny individuals. In fact, that’s the last thing I want. I want a roomful of hugely unpopular, socially inept outcasts labouring over my account because that’s the only thing they have left to do with their wretched, empty, friendless lives. That way maybe they’ll bloody do it right every now and then.

And just one last gripe about that bloody ‘fish out of water’ thing. Apart from the fact that it’s just a stupid way to describe someone who’s going to handle your finances, if it’s meant to tie back to that ‘how whales talk’ twaddle at the start of the ad, it’s even more bloody stupid. Whales aren’t fish. They’re bloody mammals.

Imbeciles.

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Category : Advertising &Blog &Uncategorized

One for all and all foursquare.

November 9th, 2010 // 4:11 pm @ // 2 Comments

Hello there. Well, another week has passed and it’s time for another thatandywhiteblog post isn’t it? The thing is, I’m finding less and less to write about in this crazy old world of Advertising that we live in. I suppose I could go for some industry insider gossip or something but ‘The Drum‘ seems to pretty much have that covered. If you want to know who’s media spend is going where, which account exec has just jumped ship or which North West ( and Scotland ) Agency has just ‘restructured’ ( folded ), then that’s the place to go. If you want to know who’s hanging out where, why and with whom, then just take a peek at Twitter. Thanks to ‘foursquare‘ and such other meeja friendly iPhone apps, you’ll pretty much know which Northern Quarter bar will be packed to the gills with checked shirts, beards, shoulder bags, black-framed pseudo NHS glasses, avant-garde haircuts and ever so slightly too loud cries of recognition and slightly desperate bonhomie. I, for one, couldn’t live without foursquare. I haven’t got it of course but, by having a quick glance at Twitter, I can check on the whereabouts of those people who have and avoid those locations as I would the plague.

Twitter is also THE place to find out where the hip and happening events are taking place all across Manchester and beyond. There’s always a tweet or two from the movers and shakers, ( PR reps, ‘event’ companies and spouses thereof  ), squealing, ‘Totally in The Flouncing Ladyboy and it’s BANGING’ or ‘I’m ALL OVER a Manchester Egg in the totally vamped-out Pig and Herring, POW!’. So, if you want to be in the thick, ( and I do mean thick ), of the industry’s sweeties then you better get yourself there. In the interests of research, ( and the mistaken belief that there was a free bar ), a friend and I, ( Yes, I do have friends. Well ok, a friend ), decided to visit one such event last week. It was the launch of The North Pole Bar, a brand new bar in the shadow of the splendid Urbis building. Well, I say brand new bar. It was actually a bit like walking into a conservatory that had somehow been lifted from a garden in Prestbury and then had a Scout Hut nailed onto the back of it. My friend and I, as highly respected Manchester copywriters were, of course, VIP guests. Which means I’d had an email asking if I’d like to come and when I ticked YES I became a VIP. I’m still not sure what differentiated a VIP night from a commoners night though. I can only assume it was the free paper cup of mulled wine and the gaggle of bescarved and be-clipboarded people at the door taking names.

It was quite nice inside to be honest. There was a mock fireplace with tellies showing a roaring fire, nice sofas, arty white pretend moose, ( reindeer? ), heads on the walls and even a handy gibbet by the buffet for if it all got too much. In fact, it could have been lovely if they hadn’t let all those bloody awful people with checked shirts, beards, shoulder bags, black-framed pseudo NHS glasses, avant-garde haircuts and ever so slightly too loud cries of recognition and slightly desperate bonhomie in.

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Category : Uncategorized

Tweet talking guy 2.

November 2nd, 2010 // 4:38 pm @ // No Comments yet

Hello there. Well it’s been a funny old week at thatandywhiteblog towers. Not funny, hilarious you understand, just funny as in odd. Peculiar even. Nothing in the world of advertising has inspired me to write a blog post since my last little rant at SEO and stuff a while ago. I haven’t even seen any completely terrible TV ads to have a self-indulgent swipe at. Not that I’ve seen any completely brilliant ones either, of course. Oh, hang on. I do like that new one for HP Printers with the baby whizzing around in it’s little stroller thing. You know, this one.

Not that I’m entirely convinced that it’s a concept as such. I don’t really see how the whizzy baby relates to the product in any way, the line about ‘sending stuff from anywhere’ feels a little bit like a justification for the visual rather than a coherent idea. Rather like that idea had been knocking about in the creatives’ head waiting for a product to nail it to. Still, it’s a nice little film isn’t it?

In the absence of great advertising debates, I’ve been hanging about on Twitter a bit though. Hold on, let me rephrase that. As part of my duties as a Manchester copywriter, I’ve been doing a lot of research into social media and exploring how interaction on the net can influence brand directions and decision-making. There. That’s better. Bloody hell though, it’s been really kicking off on there. In between @chrisevans and @Lordsugar retweeting all the reviews about how brilliant/life-changing/inspiring their respective books are and all the Xfactor debates it appears that @stephenfry has made a bit of a dick of himself. As a respected expert on matters of female sexuality, ( as well as being a respected expert on everybloodything else in the entire bloody world ), he’s ventured the opinion that women aren’t really all that keen on sex, ( and there was me thinking that I was just crap at it ), and only put up with the whole hideous ordeal as it’s an essential part of getting a man and keeping a relationship. Well I’m glad we’ve sorted that out Stephen. This has, of course, led to the inevitable hysterical backlash, ( or is it a twitlash? Or a twatlish? I never really know all the Twitter terminology. Or is that Twerminology? Oh bollocks, you know what I mean ), with the result that Stephen has apparently thrown his iPhone out of his luxuriously appointed Silver Cross classic pram and decided to leave Twitter. This has, of course, led to another inevitable hysterical backlash/twitlash/twatlish/whatever, with the world of twitter, ( tworld? ), throwing up it’s arms in anguish at the horror of it all. How will they all cope without the musings of Stephen Fry? What will there be to talk about, to debate, to discuss without Stephen? Jesus. It makes one wonder, doesn’t it? Well it makes me wonder. And what it makes me wonder is this. What’s going on in people’s lives that they can spend all that time on Twitter anyway? And what is it that’s lacking from those lives that they can get so fired up about what totally unrelated people say about completely unrelated topics? That’s a rhetorical question by the way. Unless of course you know a totally unequivocal answer. In which case, please send it to me via the ‘comments’ thing at the top of this post. Smartarse.

There was one real bright spot on there though. If any of you have seen the new window displays that Selfridges have come up with, you’ll know about the ripples their new concept, ‘inspired by childhood memories and designed to awaken the inner child’, has caused. You see, that ‘inspiration’ seemed to consist almost entirely of the wholesale theft of Frank Sidebottom’s head.

'Inspired'

Not bad timing really, as Frank’s creator, Chris Seivey, passed away not so long ago. Well, thanks to sustained pressure from the Twitter community, ( Twommunity? No, that doesn’t work at all, does it ), Selfridges have finally buckled and, without admitting any form of plagiarism of course, have donated £10,000 pounds to Chris’ estate. Which is nice.

Oh, and I did tweet something myself while I was there. It’s my latest business venture, a venture I’m confident will finally eradicate all memories of my last, frankly disastrous, business venture, the mobile golf course. Here it is. For December I will be creating a whole new concept. It’s a marquee, fully kitted out with DJ booth, dancefloor, flashing lights and mirror ball. For now is the Winter of my disco tent.

So there you have it. My considered and ultimately worthless opinion on that whole Twitter thing. Told you it had been a funny old week, didn’t I? And I also told you it wasn’t funny hilarious so don’t give me a hard time about another fairly mundane post, ok?

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Category : Uncategorized

Teenage schoolgirls go wild.

October 25th, 2010 // 1:06 pm @ // 2 Comments

Hello there. Long time no read eh? Well stop your fretting and a’worrying, I’m back. Missed me? No? Oh well, suit yourselves. I had a lovely holiday anyway, thanks for asking. Right. Now you may be wondering about the headline and, frankly, I don’t blame you. A few lines in and absolutely no mention of teenage schoolgirls, wild or otherwise. Well there’s a reason for it and that reason is this. Since I got back, ( From Portugal actually. Portimao. Yes, lovely. Oh definitely.), I’ve been thinking long and hard about SEO. ( in fact, I put ‘long and hard’ in there on purpose, apparently that’s pretty big on the ‘keyword’ front. ) and I’ve realised that, by ignoring SEO for some time, I may have been missing a trick or two. ( Key ) word is, it’s the way to get the big hits on your website. Just shove in a few search friendly terms, Katy Perry’s tits, wet ‘ n’ wild, Pussycat Dolls get naked, and you’ll have people beating ( ooer ) a path to your site in their droves.

Now I’ve never really been all that keen on writing specifically to cater for search engines and ‘spiders’ and things, as I feel it can, win a Ferrari now, get bigger, last longer, drive her wild, really spoil the natural flow of your copy and generally, lose weight fast, claim your 50 million dollars, save £££££’s, ruin the ‘feel’ of a piece. However, it seems that it’s the way of today, tomorrow and a brighter future for YOU! And old stick-in-the-muds like me are just clinging to the past. Well written, carefully crafted copy is woefully old hat. No-one’s interested, no-one cares and, lets face it, no-one reads the words. Just ask any Art-Director, ( if he/she’ll listen, between playing with their iPad or hitting the shuffle on their iPod ), or Account Exec, ( if he/she’ll listen, between tweeting or fellating a client ), and they’ll tell you straight. Copy’s dead. Or at least Copywriters are. Anyone who’s ever written a shopping list can write, so why bother paying for a writer? Particularly since the client will want to change every other word anyway. In fact, why not just let the client write it themselves? Happy client, happy suit, shit ad, everyone’s a winner.

Anyway, I’m digressing now. Can you tell I’m feeling slightly bitter? It’s the holiday that’s to blame I reckon. A couple of weeks of an ad free life and one’s perspective changes ever so slightly. Then you get back to the reality of the advertising industry and it all crashes in again.

Meanwhile, back to SEO. Speaking as a Freelance Copywriter, based in The Manchester Area and Specialising In Websites, TV, Radio, Press and Print, you just can’t ignore it. No. Really. Much as you may want to you just can’t. The reason being that it’s the new Big Thing. The new Holy Grail. The thing that’s going to set your site apart from all the rest. That’s right. It’ll set your site apart from all the rest of those sites, by using exactly the same godawful SEO techniques and tricks as all the rest of those sites. Good eh?

Now, call me old fashioned, ( not all at once. Jesus. ), but I can’t help feeling that there’s just a whiff of The Emperor’s New Clothes about it all. Fine, maybe liberally dousing your website in keywords and links and clever HTML code is going to drag the punters to your site but what’s going to keep them there? Not bleeding SEO-tailored copy that’s for sure.

You see, people aren’t stupid, ( Well, ok. No, if that’s the case I can’t explain the X-Factor either ), or shall we say not everyone’s stupid? And surely you don’t really want stupid people coming to your site anyway? They can be terribly difficult to deal with. So how about we just temper the whole SEO thing a little? There are loads of clever SEO tricks that can be incorporated into the building of a website that needn’t encroach on the copy at all. Honest, loads of techniques for making your site come out tops in the search pages and point interested parties in your direction.

But wouldn’t it be nice if, when they got there, they had some really nice words to read? Some clever, considered, crafted copy that treats your potential clients with a little respect and makes the visit worthwhile. Satisfying even. Wouldn’t that be lovely?

Just a thought.

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Category : Uncategorized

Intermission.

October 2nd, 2010 // 12:32 pm @ // No Comments yet

Hello there. Now would you believe it? I’m starting yet another post with an apology. Yes, again. Right, I’m terribly sorry but there will now follow a short break from thatandywhiteblog. Why? Because I’m going on my hols, that’s why. I’m off to Portugal for the next couple of weeks so please talk amongst yourselves for a bit, I’ll try to write something interesting to make up  for it when I get back. Yes, I know that’ll be a first. Thanks for mentioning it. Really, Cheers.

I should also point out that it’s not even going to be a real holiday all the way through. It won’t all be lazing by the pool drinking chilled cocktails and leafing through a summer blockbuster. Oh no, as a freelance copywriter I’m constantly on duty, so there’ll be some copywriting work too. I’ve got to see a man about a website. Or a woman. Or a man and a woman. Or some men and some women. Look, I don’t actually know exactly who I’m seeing yet but I’m seeing someone. Or someones.

So, try to struggle through without me. I’ll try my best to cope without your support and all the lovely comments that you keep sending in. Thanks, both of you.

For now, I’ll leave you with a song. Take care and I’ll see you soon.

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Category : Uncategorized

Writer’s blog.

September 25th, 2010 // 12:26 pm @ // No Comments yet

Hello there. Today I find myself in the awkward position of again having to apologise for the recent lack of activity on thatandywhiteblog. I’m sorry. I really am. The terrible truth though is that I seem to have been hit by the curse/convenient excuse of all writers since the dawn of time, ‘writer’s block’. I know, I know, it all sounds a bit precious doesn’t it? Like sitting here being a Manchester copywriter and trotting out some inconsequential nonsense now and again was some kind of big artistic dilemma but it’s true. Sometimes it’s a bit tricky. Or, in the words of Run DMC, ‘it’s tricky to rock a rhyme, to rock a rhyme that’s right on time, it’s tricky, huh huh huh, it’s tricky, tricky, tricky, tricky.’ See? Even the big names of Old School Rap recognise that it’s not always easy. In fact, going back to that ‘dawn of time’ thing, I feel sure that on occasion you’d see prehistoric man gazing at his cave wall, sharpened stone in hand, thinking, ‘Bloody hell. I’ve done triceratops and velociraptor. I’ve done the bit with Dave and that wheel thing, what now? I should’ve stuck with hunting. Jesus, even gathering’s not a bad gig compared with this’. So, in a bid to get myself started, I did a bit of reading. A bit of studying to see what proper writers do to get round this big wall thing. And it’s interesting to see that they’ve all done it. Anna Quidlin, ( she’s a writer. Memoirs of a Geisha, Running with Scissors.  No I didn’t either. The Film? Oh yes, ), said, “People have writer’s block not because they can’t write, but because they despair of writing eloquently.” Fair point, well made Anna. Stephen King, ( Yes. Well we all have haven’t we? Oh about a trillion I think ), came up with this really clever metaphor to describe the process as he sees it, “If we think of ourselves as labourers, as craftsmen, it’s easier to sit down and write. We’re just putting words on the page, after all, one beside another, as a bricklayer puts down bricks. At the end of the day, we’re just creating things — stories, poems, or plays — only we use vocabulary and grammar instead of bricks and mortar.” Now that’s all well and good isn’t it? But be careful how far you take these things. I’d got really, really into it, right up to the point where I wrote a really nice extension onto the back of the house. It was lovely. Big sunroom, office, utility area, family bathroom and sundeck. Probably put about 20k onto the value and everything. Then, when the plumber arrived to do the pipework for the utility area, he had to explain to me the fundamental flaw in my thinking. Turns out that the whole thing was just, in fact, a fairly abstract concept. While he appreciated the literary value of the project and even pointed out that he found some of my grammatical flourishes quite enchanting he had to firmly state that, as an actual building or indeed as any form of acceptable reality, the whole thing lacked any real substance. So I say to you, Stephen King, get a bloody grip man. That’s about three days of my life I’ll never get back. Another handy tip was to ‘examine your working space. Find a place you’d look forward to being in and try writing there. Maybe a coffee shop or similar’. Naturally, I gave that a go. And I’m here to tell you that, no matter how attractive the idea of an opium den may be, it’s really hard to get anything done after the first day and a half. I’m sure I wrote a few things while I was there but when I came round in that alley, could I find any of it? Not a chance. Not only that but I still have no idea where my shoes are and I’m completely at a loss to explain why I’d have a tattoo there or indeed what it says. I’m not even all that keen on dragons. However, the one that really resonated with me was to just start writing whatever comes into your head and put it down on paper or, in my case, just get typing something and unleash it into the ether. Apparently it doesn’t even matter if it’s any good. The whole point is to just bang it out and move on. And with that in mind. See you later.

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Category : Uncategorized

Apocalypse. House!

September 15th, 2010 // 3:56 pm @ // No Comments yet

Hello there. You’ll never believe it. Today I find myself once again troubled by an advert on the telly. It’s that  that new ‘Jackpot Joy, Queen of Bingo’ thing. My god, have you seen it? It’s got Barbara Windsor, of  ‘Carry on, oops my tits have come out’ and ‘Eastenders, gerrrrrraaaaaarttttaaaaaamiiiiiiipaaaaaaab, Fiw, Fiw, why caaarnt you be maaaaaw like Gwaant ‘, fame and it’s deeply, deeply unsettling.

Filmed in a kind of Derek Jarman’s Jubilee / Ken Russell’s The Devil’s /  The Avengers c1968 dream sequence, mashup stylee, it seemingly all takes place in a subterranean concrete bunker, ( or underground car park ), where a post apocalyptic society cling to the last vestiges of civilization.

Following the devastation of all humanity as we know it, and for reasons which may never be fully explained, Barbara/Peggy, all done up in Elizabethan style dress, fashioned from fire curtains, the blankets of the recently departed, christmas baubles, ping pong balls and irradiated fruits has apparently become Queen of the World.  Now, surrounded by what we can only assume to be the strongest and most psychotic of the survivors, Babs/Peg holds sway over the remnants of the walking dead by way of a rudimentary economy based on the complimentary disciplines of brainwashing, relentless brutality and bingo. So far, so weird.

However, don’t get comfy, there’s more. As a seemingly drugged up, wigged out siren sings the praises of our ‘Bingo Queen so posh’, Bill the Butcher from Martin Scorcese’s ” Gangs of New York “, ( for it is he ), whips the shambling, dead-eyed Bingo junkies into a frenzy with his rallying cry of ” Oi, Oi, Oi! “, to which the only reply is, of course, “Jackpot Joy!” And woe betide anyone who  fails in their response. Have you seen Gangs of New York? Did you see what B the B did to Walter McGill with that big mad axe? Yes? Well, ‘whoopsy daisies’. Need I say more?

Now, I don’t know about you but I really don’t glean any of the benefits of a new Internet-based Bingo website from great Queen Babs, big huge massive be-wigged minders, spooky flame-haired singers or Bill the Butcher. Frankly, it just makes me feel a little bit uncomfortable. Slightly nauseous even. There’s something a bit too druggy, surreal and creepy about the whole affair. I mean, don’t get me wrong,as a Manchester copywriter I like druggy, surreal and creepy as much as the next man. In fact, I’ve spent a great deal of time and money on the pursuit of all three over the years. I’m just not entirely convinced that online bingo is its natural habitat.

Still, I suppose it’s better than that bloody fox in a purple velvet suit.

All together now, Oi Oi Oi!

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Category : Uncategorized

Vauxhall and die.

September 14th, 2010 // 2:49 pm @ // No Comments yet

Hello there. Today I’ve had a glimpse of my own mortality. Naturally this has left me feeling a little despondent, a little jaded, a little, well, mortal. Of course it’s not the first time I’ve been brought face to face with my impending death. It is, however, the first time the black abyss of eternal nothingness has been thrust into my face by an advertisement for a motor car. And not in a really great, ‘hurtling backwards through the pearly gates at 200 miles per hour in a blazing Lamborghini‘  kind of way. More in a ‘have we really come to this? In a grey family saloon, waiting at a roundabout, sucking on a Werthers Original’  kind of way.

And it’s all the fault of this bloody Vauxhall ad.

But why andy? Why oh why oh why? Why oh why oh why has this ad brought on an overwhelming feeling of despair rooted at the very core of your being andy? Why? Well, calm down a bit and I’ll tell you. Jesus.

It’s like this. It’s not just the overall dreadfulnes of the ad itself that’s done it. Although that bit about ‘not taking ourselves too seriously at times’, and thus undermining  the ‘c’mon!‘ campaign,  ( which was essentially a pretty nice piece of work, by Vauxhall standards, although not as good as the hide and seek Corsas ), is a bit grim.  It’s that ‘warranty that could last a lifetime’ bit that’s to blame. Yes, I know, a ‘warranty that could last a lifetime’ is a great thing and not necessarily a reasonable excuse for an attack of deep existential angst and overwhelming sense of the futility of it all. It’s when you look a little closer at the offer that the full horror of it all rears up and smashes you right in the face. That ‘warranty that could last a lifetime’ is limited to 100,000 miles. That’s right, 100,000 miles.

Now I’ve been doing some research into mileages and a few sums and, according to the AA, ( that’s the Automobile Association, not Alcoholics Anonymous. I tried them first and to be frank, they were clueless about the subject. Not to say a bit rude on the phone ), the average annual mileage of cars in this country is 15,000 miles. So, work it out. According to Vauxhall, our life expectancy is round about 6.6 years. Now that’s bloody miles off  ‘three score years and ten’ isn’t it? Now I don’t know about you but if I’ve only got 6.6 years to live, I’m not spending any of it in a bloody Vauxhall.

Especially not with the Grim Reaper in the back, saying “Are we nearly there?” every two minutes.

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The Ad Critic: In depth analysis and deconstruction of 21st Century Advertising.

September 10th, 2010 // 2:54 pm @ // 2 Comments

Hello there. Once again it’s time for thatandywhiteblog and me, a respected Manchester copywriter, to take a serious, considered look at a TV advertisement currently running on our screens. This week sees the welcome return of Richmond sausages and it’s consistently innovative use of television.

Now isn’t that just unutterably, irredeemably f***ing awful?

Shamus O’Twinkle and his band of similarly musical and whimsical twinkly oirish brothers return to the maternal bosom, seemingly drawn inexorably home by the magic and the aroma of sizzling Irish pork. But that can’t be it really can it? For a start, Accordion O’Twinkle in the Bedford Nostalgia van is quite obviously not the full shilling is he? You just have to look into those slightly glazed eyes to see that his needs are more special than a plate of sausages.  It’s a good thing that van door was locked or I wouldn’t have held out much hope for the girl on the pushbike. I’ve read some terrible things about men with accordions in vans.

Then there’s Double Bass on the bus O’Twinkle. I mean, people pumping out their bloody N’dubz through their bloody ‘phones are bad enough but some geezer playing an upright bass on the bottom deck would drive you to distraction wouldn’t it? Not only that but look where he’s standing. What happens when some poor single mother, struggling with a trolley tries to find a place to sit? And what of the little old ladies off to buy two ounces of haslet for their tea? Where are they supposed to go when some bastard with a bloody great double bass is blocking the aisle and the disabled seats? He’d be out the door, closely followed by a load of shattered mahogany and wire if that was my bus.

Then take a look at ‘Sticks’ O’Twinkle, beating out a little tattoo at the railway station. Check out those big leather straps on each wrist. Now, I’ve been around a bit and I’d put money on those straps being of the type used to manacle unruly patients to chairs whilst administering Electric Shock Aversion Therapy. There’s something deeply wrong with that boy and I shudder to think what’s in the suitcase he’s sitting on. I can’t see one in the picture but I’m pretty sure there’s going to be an abandoned pushbike, wheel still spinning, somewhere adjacent to that platform.

So there they are, the wandering boys beating a path to their mother’s door and tucking into a feast of sausages, mash and peas. Oh yes, it all looks so lovely doesn’t it? But who knows what evil lurks in the cold, black hearts of the O’Twinkle brothers and who knows why they’ve had to flee wherever they were staying to lie low at Ma O’Twinkle’s lair? The one thing to hope for is that they don’t reform the band after they’ve had their tea and release that bloody desperate song as a single.

That just doesn’t bear thinking about, does it?

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