Sunday, 30 December 2012

The Worst Advert of 2012

At this time of the year, it is customary for people with opinions to write pieces about the preceding 12 months. As I lack the conviction to go through and write a full review of the year, but I have got the energy to write about my least favourite advert of 2012. Although I wrote about some least favourite adverts earlier in the year, this one didn't feature on my earlier list. It may appear innocuous to the casual viewer, but it is actually such a hive of evil that it needs to be tackled. The advert is...

DHL TV Spot - Partnership with Manchester United

Now, before anyone accuses me of a scorning hatred for Manchester United, I will point out that this advert could feature any team, and I would dislike it. Hell, even if it featured Dan Harding prancing on a big screen TV in the middle of Tokyo or Matt Derbyshire creepily leaning out of the side of billboard to stare at a beach, I'd hate it.

Why is it so bad, some of you might be asking (others will presumably just shrug, and get on with their lives). Let's start with, sensibly, the beginning. Sir Alex is in his office at Old Trafford, presumably returning from Carrington after a hard day's training (he is, afterall, in the DHL branded training kit).What you also may not be aware of is that SAF, the best manager currently in English football, is also responsible for a raft of secretarial duties at Old Trafford, including outgoing post and arranging couriers. Hence his playful shooing of the delivery driver; this shows they have a fantastic relationship forged through regular contact. Maybe they often spend their days off together at the Trafford Centre. Good to see Sir Alex is keeping it real, despite his success.

After the DHL van transformed from a vehicle, forged of steel and plastic, to a pulse of light and pure energy, we emerge into Tokyo to see Ryan Giggs interrupt an interview during a training session at an international stadium (DHL kit again), to receive the pure bolt of energy, run with it, before firing it out. The bolt of energy flashes round the world to Rio, where some street children are playing football. They're not inspired to play football by the fantastic national side, some of whom grew up playing street football like those kids do; instead inspired by that renown Brazilian player, Javier Hernandez. Next, we pop over to a branch of Comet in some Dubaian Meadowhall, where a slightly shifty looking Rooney checks to make sure the coast is clear, before smashing the ball/pulse of raw energy so hard it travels from the Middle East to Old Trafford again, before engulfing Old Trafford in some kind of halo.

Now, it's undoubtedly bad, but is it the worst advert of 2012?


It appeals and glorifies everything I dislike about football. I understand in the modern world of sport, a global appeal helps to shift more merchandise and allow you to pay your footballers a little bit more; but it creates a group of supporters who only follow a foreign team thousands of miles away. Why support a local Japanese side, when you can buy yourself a United/Chelsea/Liverpool shirt and claim to be a fan, because you watch them on TV and follow Rooney/Cole/Downing on Twitter. It's the globalisation of football; and the homogenisation of everyone following the same dozen or so big European teams, at the expense of local sides. Reminds me of someone I knew at college who said he was a 'Real Madrid fan', and would join in discussions of football; following stories of 'Forest beat Port Vale 2-0 at the weekend' with 'Real were sick this weekend, thrashed Seville'. How can you be a Real Madrid fan when you've never visited Madrid, and your family have no ties with Spain? It's good to take an interest in football around the globe, but it begins to appear slightly strange when you support a team playing in a league on the other side of the globe instead of one in your own country.

The advert also demonstrates the trend of more pointless commercial exploitation of football. I know even Derby had training kit sponsors, but DHL shelled out £40m for a deal that would see their shirts prominently displayed in private, and on Sky Sports News during their weekly 'footage from Carrington showing footballers practising football' slot. Unless the supply chain/logistics managers of several big companies happen to watch a lot of midday Friday Sky Sports News, I wonder if it isn't £40m wasted.

And the music's bad.


Just read that the Glazer family bought out their contract with DHL, as they believe they can get more than £40m. So the advert isn't just bad, it's also out of date - so a massive waste of money. At least it won't be on t'telly no more.

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