Posts Tagged ‘adverts’

Who will buy?

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

Anyone who has ever lived with me, been round to my place, or indeed had me in their house, while watching TV will know that I have a tendency to hit the mute button during the advert breaks. In fact, tendency is perhaps not a strong enough word. A compulsion, an obsession, a sine qua non if you will.

I just can’t help it. Come the quarter hour and the remote will magically appear in my hand, finger poised to silence the dire warnings of the lack of car insurance, lady products, or appropriate dog food in our sorry little lives. For me though, as I can’t drive, am not and do not possess a lady, and don’t enjoy the taste of dog food, these are unnecessary interludes.

I fear that moaning about specific ads may become a semi-regular feature on here, as they really do make me want to curl up and buy (nothing, ever again), but here are some of the adverts that have caught my eye recently…

Stella Artois: They’ve finally dropped the “Reassuringly Expensive” thing, as that only works if it actually costs more than any other beer. Which it doesn’t. It’s also not very nice. And makes you want to beat up women (allegedly) hence why it is know as “wifebeater”. Allegedly.

Their new advert features all sorts of exciting medieval/fantasy style computer graphics and people in costumes, and even has a voice over by Patrick Stewart himself, telling us that Stella is from ye olde days and is made with only the traditional ingredients of water, hops, and er… the other ones.  He even promises the excitement of some sort of online game thing. So basically, all the things that would normally draw me in. But it’s Stella. Even if Patrick Stewart came round to my house to read The Lord of the Rings to me, recreated my favourite scenes from I, Claudius, and said “Make it so” when I offered him a cup of tea, I still wouldn’t drink Stella.

Well. okay, maybe if he did all of those things. But it would have to be all three…

Hovis: This features a wee boy with something of the Oliver about him buying a loaf of ye olde breade from ye olde shoppe. But, shock horror, when he walks outside it seems to be slightly less olde. There’s a horse and cart in the street, but when he goes round the corner there’s suddenly motorcar. And then there are some World War I soldiers obviously heading off to war. And then returning (although they have too many limbs if you ask me…)

Yon boy (whose clothes have changed somewhat) turns a corner to find some ruined buildings - yes, you’ve guessed it, he’s now reached World War II. This is followed by a street party and some giggling girls (the 60s?) and then, rather strangely, he wanders between a large group of policemen facing off against a group of strikers. Is that really the best way to depict the 70s? Well, I guess it’s better than him bumping into Slade…

He eventually gets home and is all modern n’ stuff. Great. The point of the advert is that Hovis still make bread the way they used to. Which is blatantly not true. First of all, it’s hard to imagine that it’s baked by hand, otherwise half the country would have to be employed in the process. Even more so, the machines they use now are no doubt faaar more efficient and hygienic than even 20 years ago. Which is a good thing for all concerned as it keeps prices lower.

But the main thing this advert says to me is “British life in the 20th Century was just completely awful and depressing”. If these were our defining moments then I hope we manage something a bit better this century.

The thing is, it’s actually all rather impressive as an advert, and probably is quite affective and effectual for most people. I’m just ye miserable olde cynic.

To learn about the worst of them all, read this here article, which is far more eloquent than I could ever manage. What really gets me is that it’s a pretty good service that shouldn’t be too hard to advertise with just the basic facts. But these are overshadowed by the Hucknell Horror.

However, an extra note on this would be that they have followed Ginger Mick up with… Mel B. It’s got all the same problems as the previous, including a last line spoken by the bearded one himself of “Well, I spiced up her life”. Really? Is that really what you wanted to say? Really? I would have gone with something like “At least all that TV should keep her mind off having Eddie Murphy’s baby.” I’d buy that for a dollar…