Sunday, 15 April 2012

Advertising; or 'you can’t polish a turd, but some fancy editing can make it look like chocolate mousse'

Now adverts are rarely designed to be enjoyed. Their primary and only function is to convince us to lighten our wallets in exchange for some product. You can’t polish a turd, but some fancy editing can make it look like chocolate mousse. However, some adverts appear to have been designed to generate nothing but unadulterated hatred. Here, in no particular order, are five of the current worst offenders.

“The HTC One Freefall Fashion Shoot”

Being HTC is easy. All you need to do is make a phone that’s like an iPhone. But not an iPhone. Bingo. The marketing of said phone is also, not impossible. It should go something along these lines: “This phone is very much like an iPhone. It does all that crap the iPhone can do. But it’s cheaper. And you don’t have to sell your soul to Apple; just Google”. Easy.

But this is what they come up with. What a minute of hatred. Look at this pretentious prick taking photos of a woman who appears to have been caught in an explosion in a mirror factory. But fuck me, he’s doing it whilst falling from an airborne vehicle. And he’s taking photos of the human mirrorball on his mobile. So, if I want a phone to use in my everyday quest of photographing people plummeting to earth; I should buy a HTC. If I want one that has apps that can check email, make fart noises or send text messages; I should get an iPhone. That’s the intended message. Right?

“HSBC TV ad -- Lemonade Hong Kong Dollar”

Banks have had a hard time recently. After being blamed for the recession, who could blame them for wanting to present a more human face. SO LET’S USE A HUMAN. A REAL HUMAN GIRL. Which would be fine; apart from the fact that this girl has all the charm of an Ikea bookcase. The ruthlessness in business she demonstrates indicates to me in 30 years time she’ll be the CEO of United Tobacco and Landmines. The theme of the ad is the ease of globalisation, cunningly demonstrated through her ruthless fleecing of foreign tourists. That’s the spirit of global co-operation.

“Sensodyne Advert - Dr. Mark Hughes”

Science is wonderful. Unless you see it on an advert. To marketing men, science is no more than a bunch of buzzwords and complicated images that make it look like ‘something’ is happening rather than ‘not much’; which is usually the reality. “Novamin” sounds rather less than a magic tooth repairing enzyme thing; and more like a tatty cruise ship. Sensodyne decide to up the all-round debauchery of science by having a dentist talk to a shakey mobile phone camera (not a HTC One X as he’s not currently hurtling towards terra firma), before a fantastic stat informs us ‘9 out of 10 dentists recommend Sensodyne’. I wonder what that one dentist who didn’t recommend toothpaste would offer us instead. Toilet duck? Brillo pads? Canesten?

“Walls Talking Dog - New Sausage Roll Advert 2011 - "Garage"”

“He can’t really express himself, cos he’s just a bloke really”. What a phrase. The fact that this ‘bloke’ is the kind of guy who gets emotional at eating into cylindrical portion of meat-flavoured carcass engulfed in a layer of ‘brown’ is one thing; but to then make the viewer endure this ecstasy-induced nightmare of a teeny-tiny ugly dog playing a keyboard, singing about the joys of sausage rolls and the inability of anyone with a Y chromosome to express joy even at the prospect of garage-bought toilet fodder is just insulting. File it under the new category of ‘adverts for people who gather their knowledge of current affairs from what the Page 3 girls say'. Which appears to be an increasing section of the public.

“adidas presents Take the Stage: all 2012”

The pride. The glory. The sporting moments that will linger in the collective memories of the world, created on our doorstep. These are all things that this advert left me hating. The Olympics are something we should look forward to (and I am, you may be surprised to hear). However, adverts like this one are doing their damn hardest to ruin it before it’s even begun. Throw together a veritable smorgasbord of ‘of the moment’ celebrities into the same situation. Get one of them to make a fairly unlistenable 60 second soundtrack, whilst adding in the token ‘celebrity over the age of 30’ to try and appeal beyond the target audience of consumers aged between 15 years old and 15 years old. End with a rooftop party that only happens in these loud, neon enhanced advirtual worlds to complete the unlikeability. If this is a taste of the kind of turgid rubbish we have to sit through that is vaguely linked to the Olympics, I’m glad we’ll never host another major sporting event. Let Qatar have the World Cup, so long as they take our adverts as well.

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