10 – The Paddypower.com Vanquisher Of Straw Men
“Cor, look at how ridiculous this is!” says our chummy everybloke champion. With one voice, we reply “Yes, of COURSE it looks ridiculous, you made it yourself with the express purpose of making it as ridiculous as possible!” On the other hand, the spoof advert is actually fairly nicely observed. On the third hand, it looks way more like a perfume ad than one for mobile phones which rather undercuts the point. And without recourse to hyperbole, that point seems to be “Adverts are pretentious, so why not have a bet? The illicit high of gambling will distract you at least temporarily from the depressing spectacle of Western culture mindlessly eating itself.”
9 – The Ladbrokes Shouty Commentator
Do you SEE? He is FOREIGN. And from thence the HUMOUR AROSE.
8 – The Bet365 Matey But Menacing Cockney Geezer
I like Ray Winstone. Everyone likes Ray Winstone. I’ve liked Ray Winstone ever since he was Lambeth walking around with the Merry Men begging the inevitable but frustratingly unstated question “what part of Nottingham did you say you were from, again?” But Ray Winstone is really testing our imaginary relationship at this point. We’re now several years into his We’re Mates So You Want Me To Be Happy Don’t Ask What Happens If I’m Not Happy corporate shill phase and it’s getting very old very quickly. What we are learning from this list so far is a that all adverts for bookies are absolutely awful, even if they don’t involve Paddy “Hugging” McGuinness.
7 – The Head And Shoulders Jensen Button
In which a man already compensated far beyond the value of his single skill – guiding a rocket-powered rollerskate along a windy country road – feels the need to pocket a relative pittance in order to turn up on my telly, admire himself in a mirror and annoy the wee-wee out of me. Without recourse to hyperbole, I defy anyone to endure Jensen’s delivery of the line “Wow, it’s bracing!” without wanting to smash in his stupid smirky self-satisfied face with a claw-hammer.
6 – The InjuryLawyers4U “Injury” “Lawyer” “For” “You”
“Hi! I’m Billy Murray. No, not that one. You probably don’t remember me from such movies as Strippers vs. Werewolves. I’m here today to try and reposition frivolous litigation as spiritual enlightenment. I know, right? Still, I’m going to get three solid years of work out of this gig, which will eventually culminate in a hilariously cliched ad that unfortunately doesn’t seem to be on YouTube. It starts with me swanning around the Gherkin, because that’s definitely where a company called InjuryLawyers4U would have its offices. Then I teleport to a random rooftop where I’m joined by the cast of an ultra-low-budget British remake of Ocean’s 11. Which coincidentally is my next movie project. Watch out for Seaside’s 5, available from the DVD rack of all good petrol stations, summer 2012.”
5 – The WKD Gaggle Of Sniggering Manchildren
This really would work better if their sickly-sweet alcopop slop was named ARSHL. Without recourse to hyperbole, if there really are enough people in Britain going “Ahahaa, YES. That’s EXACTLY like me and my mates! WE’RE inconsiderate, entitled, feckless misogynist hugwits as well!” to make this campaign a success then, without recourse to hyperbole, the total implosion of British society cannot be far away and I weep for us all. FULL DISCLOSURE – the Robocop one is alright.
4 – The Pepsi Max Gaggle Of Rapey Manchildren
The WKD ARSHLs might be obnoxious wastes of perfectly serviceable carbon, but at least they’re not actual psychopaths. To be honest, even taking aside this particular breathtakingly ill-judged ad in which a manufactured threat of apocalypse is used to manipulate an emotionally traumatised woman into sex these absolute huggers would still make the list for that nauseating self-congratulatory dance they do at the end of each advert. “WOO!! WE RUUULE!!! GO TEAM RAPE, YEAH!!!!”
3 – The BT Family Who Care A Bit Too Much About Telecommunication Technology
A chilling satirical vision of a dystopian future where enthusiasm for the tools that allow us to communicate with other people has supplanted any genuine feeling we might have for other humans. Friends and family drift aimlessly around us tethered by faint, brittle echoes of emotion but no actual affection survives in this weird, sterile, utterly alien world.
2 – The G- C-mpare Abomination Of Nature
There is apparently a school of thought in advertising which believes that it doesn’t matter if an ad annoys you or delights you so long as it gets an emotional reaction, because either way you’re likely to remember the product in question. Without recourse to hyperbole, it’s exactly that kind of pragmatic, careless, self-regarding workaday evil that’s causing the decline and fall of Western civilisation. Do not give in to it. Do not allow it a foothold. Do not permit something that was deliberately, callously designed to make your life just a little bit worse cause you to give a moment’s thought to a price-comparison website identical in every respect to the twenty other available price-comparison websites. Do not give it power. Do not speak its name.
1 – The BMW Singularity Of Smugness. And His Brother Freddie
Despite severe provocation I have carefully avoided using the word “smug” in the rest of this post to make sure that I don’t reduce its impact here. Because Adam Who Works With Architects and his brother Freddie The Actor And Model are, with due respect to Simon Cowell, the smuggest things to ever appear on British TV. They’re so smug it’s practically a superpower. They’re so smug that the sheer mass of their self-regard threatens to cause the fabric of the universe to collapse in on itself. It’s hard to put my finger on the single smuggest part of this smugathon, and if I watch it one more time to try and narrow it down I’m reasonably sure I’ll lose my increasingly tenuous grip on sanity. The line “Freddie on the other hand, he likes to play it smooooooth” makes me want to vomit until my lungs come out, but then the shot of Adam in black and white at the 0:20 mark looking oh so very pleased at his exquisite taste in automobiles makes me want to start walking and not stop until the waves close over my head and the water’s cold embrace drags me to sweet oblivion. And yes, I HAVE watched this hugging thing enough times to tell Adam and Freddie apart and that is knowledge I cannot un-learn.
G- C-mp-re might be indicative of everything that’s wrong with consumer culture. But at least I can fathom how it came to be. I can understand the train of thought that led to its conception, disgustingly foul and cynical though that creation was. I cannot say the same for this BMW ad. I cannot start to imagine the perverted fever-dream that might have led anyone, anywhere to believe that this advert might actually sell cars to anyone, anywhere. If the reaction they were hoping to elicit from the viewer was Pavlovian urge to slash the tyres of any BMW they happened to pass in the street, then that might be understandable, but making those cars seem more attractive? Surely that’s out of the question? This advert is grotesque, obviously, but its true horror lies in the implacable alien incomprehensibility of its mere existence. The G- C—— advert is Hitler. This BMW advert is Cthulhu. Why does it exist? What cosmic sin have we collectively committed that the universe judges this as a fit and proper punishment? I don’t understand. In his BMW parked outside R’yleh smug Adam and his brother Freddie wait dreaming of SOOOOOO MANY SKINNY LATTES. The STARS are RIGHT. I do not understand OH SWEET MERCIFUL LORD PLEASE HELP ME TO UNDERSTAND.
Without recourse to hyperbole, I don’t really care for it.