Thursday, September 08, 2005

Advertising Crimes

They’re at it again! Fresh from the triumph of the ASA over Boswelbollox, I had the pleasure last night of catching L’Oreal’s new advert for something including pro-Tensium with claims based on surveys of a staggering 50 or so women.

On top of this I found in my mail, a letter from my bank ‘pre-approving’ me for a large loan, get this, “because you’re you!”. I’m tempted to write back and enquire as to which aspects of my sparkling personality it is that particularly attracted them, but…

But fake personal touches, dodgy customer survey data and pseudo scientific terms are only a few of my pet peeves…and given I haven’t had a really good blog rant for a good while…I hereby present my list of annoying advertising cliches, you know the things that make you take a conscious decision to never, ever purchase the respective product:

  • Voice dubbing part 1 – you know when an ad was very clearly shot in a different language and they’ve fudged together an English overlay. Step forward Kinder Surprise – you were one of the first and remain one of the worst.
  • Voice dubbing part 2 – ok this one is the cosmetics/perfume/hair colouring one where they overdub the model/actress with her own voice. I mean…just why? Obviously when it comes to Andi McDowell I can understand the problems of getting a good line out of the women (no I’ve never forgiven her for “is it raining…I hadn’t noticed!”, accepted it was never going to be a good line of dialogue, but dear God did she make a duff line worse…), but they do it for all of them. A nice breathy over-dub that fits awkwardly on top of the visuals. Is it supposed to be the aural equivalent of soft-focus?
  • Appeal to the Mums – anything that perpetuates the myth that the home is ‘mum’s department’. Because Mums are heros. Mum’s gone to Iceland. Mum in a million. Bleurghh!
  • Men are useless – usually relates to household stuff. Oh and the appropriate response is to find this not only a truism, but also whimsical and endearing.
  • Your kids will love you if – oh the lovely ploy of buy your kids processed cheese snacks or additive drenched fruit liquids and the opening of their lunch box will ensure you their undying love and affection.
  • Part one in a series of – twenty two million parts at the end of which you’ll have spent three grand on a ‘collection’ that’s worth about 10p
  • Debt consolidation – no really, they’re not a commercial enterprise at all, they really are just doing it out of the goodness of their hearts
  • Credit Card Crimes part 1 - Active Fraud Protection – hmmmm so according to the terms and conditions I have zero fraud liability, so maybe you shouldn’t make out that this initiative to manage what is essentially your risk, is an additional customer benefit eh?
  • Credit Card Crimes part 2 – Morgan Stanley Dean Wanker – "My card is...." – look mate if you’re relying on your plastic to give you status in life, then it’s a lost cause already
  • Ringtones – if someone passed a law suggesting that the makers of this fucking ads were to be sentenced to a lifetime of imprisonment in Guantanamo Bay with Crazy Frog and Sweety the Chick played at them 23hrs a day...well let's just say it wouldn't be at the top of this liberal hanky-squeezer's Amnesty letter writing list
  • Michael Winner – there just really is no justification.

And before any wag says it: "Fuck off dear - I know it's only a commercial!".

Actually, I have to confess to having an insurance policy with that company - they seem to be one of the few that don't throw a hissy fit about a Manchester address. However, in my defence, when they asked if there was a reason I was hesitating to renew the policy, I did tell them that I was holding out hoping to find a similar deal, but without the associated Winner element.

They laughed.

...mind you I notice he seems to have been dropped from their latest adverstising campaign and even just redirects you these days.

I'd like to think it was something I said...however improbable.

Still I'm not the only one who views the world of advertising with suspicion. The BBC recently collected 'rules' as to how the world works, according to the adverts at least...worth a read.

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