Archive for the Adverts Category

Pretentious crap

Posted in Adverts, Venting with tags , , , , on August 27, 2008 by Apollo

If you knew me, you’d know the utter scorn and contempt I hold for “designers” and “designer labels” – as distinct from real designers, people who creates plan to be used in making something (such as buildings). Their “design” has nothing to do with real design, other than the design of a plan to fleece the weak-minded out of their money by brain-washing, or rather conning, them into believing that some piece of worthless tat actually gains some sort of almost priceless status because it has a “name” stuck onto it.

A worthless piece of clothing stitched together by the bleeding fingers of a child in India, grateful for the few pennies they are given for spending the daylight hours of their childhood assembling, is sold for hundreds or even thousands by a big name company fronted by lawyers who plead ignorance of these events on their behalf.

I won’t be seen dead in anything with a label on it, and if I pick something up in a sale, will happily sit an pick out the stitching, or obscure it some way if it is bonded on in some way.

The last piece of rubbish I picked up for a few pennies in a sale was clearly labelled by someone who had been playing in the Magic Mushroom Field, and the crazy label content is worth quoting here, before I throw the labels in the bin. I think the original came from some delusional copywriter employed by Tesco, if I’ve identified the brand correctly.

This was written on a lightweight jacket, and quite what it has to do with a piece of cheap clothing is beyond me, as is the mentality of the Sales & Marketing (and “designer” loony) that thought it added any value to the thing:

(I might add that the spelling of their as there below is as per the label, not my mistyping.)

A & H
by Angels & Heroes

ANCIENT MYTHS AND LEGENDS TELL OF ANGELS AND HEROES
PEOPLE WHO STOOD APART. ADMIRED AND WORSHIPPED
FOR THERE STRENGTH, COURAGE AND VIRTUES

PEOPLE FAVOURED BY THE GODS
THE AGE OF MYTHS IS NOT DEAD YOU TOO ARE COMPLETELY UNIQUE

YOU TOO CAN STAND APART
CELEBRATE YOUR INDIVIDUALITY WITH CREATIVE HAND FINISHING

AND CLOSE ATTENTION TO DETAILS. NO TWO A AND H
GARMENTS ARE EVER EXACTLY THE SAME

EVERYONE’S UNIQUE

What a pity that their “CLOSE ATTENTION TO DETAIL” doesn’t extend to spellchecking their own wording on their own labelling.

It makes you wonder if they also made a mess of the last line, and actually meant to refer to their garments being unique, rather then the wearers, and should have said:

EVERY ONE’S UNIQUE

I’d just like to know what ancient myths, legends, angels, heroes, and gods have got to do with a lightweight, summer, leisure jacket.

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Time to fire the ASA

Posted in Adverts, TV, Venting with tags , , , , , , on April 30, 2008 by Apollo

After reading an article that listed  the Top 10 most controversial ads, I’m even more convinced in my belief that the Advertising Standards Authority ranks amongst the most useless of organisations, and is chaired by a bunch of old women with nothing better to do, and no grasp of reality.

The top complaint (774 complaints) was about anti-smoking ad, of which we are told: “Many of those who complained said the adverts were offensive, frightening and distressing. The largest group of complaints related to the poster ads and the effect they could have on children.”

That sounds to me like the very reasons for creating and showing the ads, it was (or would have done) what it was supposed to do if the old women at the ASA hadn’t been around to interfere, and they proved they have no grasp of reality, when they upheld the complaint instead of laughing it out of the room.

There’s a time for “glove’s on” and there’s a time for “glove’s off”, and this was clearly  a time for “off”!

2. TRIDENT GUM – 519 COMPLAINTS

Upheld on basis of unintentionally offending a significant minority.

3. RUSTLERS – 219 COMPLAINTS

Partly Upheld as it was shown during a children’s film.

4. MFI – 217 COMPLAINTS

Upheld for showing actual domestic violence.

5. QUORN – 181 COMPLAINTS

Not upheld.

6. COCA COLA GREAT BRITAIN – 180 COMPLAINTS

Not upheld.

7. BRITISH HEART FOUNDATION – 122 COMPLAINTS

Not upheld.

8. JOHN WYETH & BROTHER LTD – SMA NUTRITION – 109 COMPLAINTS

Not upheld.

9. PEOPLE FOR THE ETHICAL TREATMENT OF ANIMALS (PETA) – 68 COMPLAINTS

Not upheld.

10. NEWS GROUP NEWSPAPERS LTD – THE SUN – 56 COMPLAINTS

Not upheld.

I’m not wasting time repeating the finding, you can read the original article for that, but look at the spread of numbers: 774 for the top item, down to 56 for number 10.

Given the population of the UK, isn’t it ridiculous that the old women at the ASA can influence ads, with only a literal handful of complaints? And just who are the complainers, individuals with nothing better to do than watch adverts (hell, there’s so many now I feel I’m having to work hard to avoid them) or is it groups with agenda’s, and reasons to make these complaints and have the ads pulled?

As I intimated at the start, the ASA’s little more than a joke, with no real purpose and doing nothing to maintain any sort of standards in advertising.

Witness the dreadful USwitch advert that typecast a black Gospel choir with a a bunch of black people miming (badly) to the words – I can’t believe that rubbish hadn’t generated more complaints than the above.

Then there’s the mobile phone and texting adverts that areclearly little more then procurement services for prostitution or sexual services. Near naked teenage girls filmed in extreme close-up with husky voice-overs encouraging the viewer to text and chat and meet etc etc, or to receive videos. If you are an insomniac, then you get bombarded with this  trash all night. Item 10 above, the Sun ad, is laughable by comparison.

As for standards, if the ASA was really maintaining any sort of standards within the industry then they’d do something about the sponsor tags that are repeated incessantly between the programme breaks and the actual adverts. On long programmes or films, these are little short of brainwashing, being repeated 12 or more times in a single hour when a particularly popular programme is broadcast.

The ASA should do a proper job, or shut its doors and stop being paid to do very little of any value.

F1 on ITV – advertsing gone daft

Posted in Adverts, TV, Venting with tags , , on April 5, 2008 by Apollo

F1 on ITV has to rank as the one of the worst slaves to advertisers, possibly coming second only to all the crime/drama programmes ruined by the endless AXA sponsor tags that ITV sold its soul to.

Qualifying has been mode boring enough by the change to this daft multi-session format produced to supposedly make it more ‘interesting’ (for which read ‘short sessions to allow adverts to be jammed in without having to find a gap in all that inconvenient qualifying stuff that is getting in the way of the ad breaks’), and what used to be a programme that took little more than the old ‘Qualifying Hour’ has now grown into a 2 hour plus grind of  tittle tattle about the drivers, teams, managers, and the sport (and of course, the ad-breaks).

Selling out to money-mad Sony as sponsors was never going to be good, and we now have the pleasure of eac ad-break being punctuated with a plug at each end for ITV, F1, some driver’s face, Sony, and some crappy piece of music they’ve chosen, which appropriately features the word ‘Madness’ in its interminably repeated showings.

The programme segments aren’t even worth staying still long enough to watch in some cases. I made the mistake of getting up to investigate a noise at my door just as one part of the qualifying programmed began after the blasted Sony music – I only had to wander to the door, check there was nobody there, or anything suspicious happening, and wander back to my seat – I don’t own a mansion, but in the time it took to do that, when I sat down again, all I was treated to was the blasted Sony ‘Madness’ score yet again, and another batch of adverts.

Why bother squeezing in a programme section of a minute or two? Just make it all adverts and at least we’d know we had time to go make tea or coffee, or write War & Peace, while the ads were on!

Bionic tat

Posted in Adverts, TV, Venting with tags , , , , , , on March 25, 2008 by Apollo

bionic w“Bionic Woman,” an updating of the 1970s show featuring Lindsay Wagner, first appeared on NBC in the fall. It was approved by something called the Family Friendly Programming Forum, a flock of 40 advertisers seeking more “family-friendly” programming.

In confidential casting information, the producers, seeking to add fresh concepts to a three-decade-old idea, had been searching for an actress to play the important role of Becca Sommers, teenage sister to the star (Michelle Ryan, pictured). Among the requirements: Caucasian and sexy.

That is, we guess, one description of “family friendly” – given it was decreed by advertisers, some of us might say something else.

For my part, there’s little on the small screen (or is that big widescreen nowadays?) that bothers or offends me, but the choice of a star that appears semi-naked in publicity shots would be something I’d expect a body called the Family Friendly Programming Forum to use as reason to cross her programmes off their list, unless their real agenda is something else, driven by dollars, and (shhhh) s**-appeal.

Formulaic Rubbish

One of the notable things about ‘new’ TV series, such as the aferementioned Bionic Woman, that marks the noughties is that it all seems to follow the same formula, presumably laid down by the marketing teams that want to catch the sponsor’s eyes and ensure they get their client’s a slice of the current round of funding.

I should be enjoying this series, and Blade: The Series, and The Sarah Connor Chronicles, but all seem to have been produced by the same mincing machine, and all I feel is that each subjects me to the same 50 minutes of shouting, screaming, fighting, arguing, and false moralising by ‘The Hero’, which varies only by the character. Close your eyes, and there’s little to distinguish them.

The other thing that’s noticeable is the desperate attempt by the writers to make their female leads ‘strong’.

The end result is more like a 1950’s B movie, based on typecast concepts of male/female role reversal, where rather than simply swap around the male/female dominance of the time, the scriptwriters created a dystopian society ruled by women, and enforced by thuggery. The modern equivalent with the New Bionic Woman and Sarah Connors gives is the same thing packaged up in character that refuses to be lead, and takes the lead ‘with attitude’, not interested in listening to anyone else, because they have decided to make a stand, and ‘Be Strong’, and if a man should dare to advise her otherwise, he’d better watch out, as he’s likely to get a thick lip, or smashed through a door and thrown out for his trouble. Our heroine is ‘Strong’, and doesn’t need anybody’s help, especially a man’s.

Maybe all these ‘formula writers’ and ‘sponsor whores’ will have died by the tens or twenties, and we might get some decent TV programmes again – if we don’t die waiting.

The sixties and seventies

This was brought home recently, when ITV started to show original series from the 1960s and 1970s, in between their adverts. The writers I refer to above mock these programmes because they weren’t produced on anything like the budgets they have, and without the technology (neither of which improve a rubbish concept incidentally). In reality, by not having more ‘Bang for Their Buck’, writers of that time had to get their sponsorship by providing an interesting theme.

Whereas programmes of that time had “A Beginning, A Middle, and An End”, a plot, characters, storyline, and theme that the viwwer had to make at least a token effort to follow, most modern series bow to the great god of the ‘Three Minute Culture’, and one can land anywhere in any programme and start to follow the (non-existent) plot, as there will be a noisy fight, argument, or special effect scene along in a few minutes, as these programmes are often little more than an excuse to string these events together.

Don’t believe me? Try it with the Blade TV series. I’ve been ‘watching’ this for weeks, since it started, and only with my one bad eye. The reason being the good one is busy working on some some software. I haven’t watched an episode properly, yet the plot is so shallow I’m still up to speed on the whole thing and its characters, even though I’ve barely watched more than 10 minutes of any episode.

Try doing that with vintage TV, written by proper writers, rather than sponsor magnets.

Fire the chauffeur

Posted in Adverts, Noteworthy, Transport, TV with tags , on February 15, 2008 by Apollo

The punchline from one of the ads shown below for the 928 says it all…

Interesting to note (in my opinion) that Porsche’s American adverts are currently long and imaginative productions, but as inspiring as Death Warmed Up, amounting to some 3 minutes of aspiration, and no inspiration.

They don’t even bother with adverts on UK TV now. A waste of time in a country where the motorist is demonised as the Spawn of Satan, and has no money left after the Government has slapped them down with punitive fuel and vehicle taxation, and taken every opportunity to issue fines with automated camera systems.

Who really wants to drive on Britain’s roads nowadays? Especially after a certain Chief Police Officer recently let the cat out of the bag and quashed the lie that speed cameras are used as deterrents, and not revenue raisers, after calling for the installation of hidden cameras. What a plonker, out to undo the work of those that have promoted the worthy safety camera campaigns. He’s the sort of idiot that should be forced to resign for making thoughtless and stupid comments in public.

Far safer just to fire up the online video, and wallow in the past.

New Jag XF TV ad hits the spot

Posted in Adverts, Noteworthy, Transport, TV with tags , , , on February 14, 2008 by Apollo

Reminiscent in some ways of the classic jeans adverts of many years ago, which provided something along the lines of entertainment, instead of the thinly veiled mindwarping, brainwashing tat that the likes of McGrotnalds and their kin sponsor, the advert being run to introduce the new shape Jaguar XF is almost refreshing in that it is a pleasure both see and hear.

And I don’t say that simply because it’s a Jag ad. While past offerings have been acceptable, they’re also a but boring, and don’t really rate a second look. Nor is it because it’s a car ad – I’m thoroughly unimpressed when Mazda’s more than tiresome, whispered Zoom-Zoom line makes yet another irritating appeatance, and Seat’s Auto-emicion clicky ads are less than inviting either, while Honda’s inspired, but tiresome a capella effort (where a group of ‘singers’ attempt to reproduce the sounds of a car journey) looks inspired the first time it is seen, but becomes increasingly corny and poor the more often it is repeated.

I haven’t managed to add a Jag to the stable, but I have been fortunate enough to get my hand on some for a while. I can’t get away from a certain favouritism for the XJ series, simply due to its appearance/shape, and the leather interior meant seat belts were compulsory, especially for those in the rear. More than once I had a pile of occupants in the rear (this was the time before wearing seat belts was compulsory) when powering round bends or roundabouts. Although I never had the chance to drive it outside the city centre, I also had hands on an XJ-S V12 6.0 litre, but never found a street where the ‘loud’ pedal could be pressed – such is life sometimes.

I don’t mind not having placed one in the stable, even second hand, the depreciation remains an atrocious cost of ownership. They’re still nice though.

Take your pick…

TV is Dead?

Posted in Adverts, TV, Venting, Vermin on January 14, 2008 by Apollo

TV is Dead? is the title of a series which began a run on Channel 4 this  morning with the observation that less people are watching each TV programme than ever before, and that the marketing people for each channel are working harder and harder to make viewers watch their channel – they say they are ‘Guiding the viewer’. Unfortunately, it also seems to be made by them, and is being broadcast in school hours – looks to me like they’re just grooming the kids to move into the industry promoting more TV promotion over content.

They seem to be too stupid to realise that they are alienating the very people they are ‘guiding’, and can’t grasp basic arithmetic – if they spew out hundreds of programmes, there is still just the same number of viewers to watch them.

These idiots are putting more and more effort into presenting their channel idents in the belief that viewers won’t see them as adverts. WRONG! They’re just adverts, waste millions, and waste everyone’s time and money (except the maker’s pay packet), and they ruin them themselves, with their interminable voice-overs. They call it ‘Brilliant Design’ – they can’t understand the concept that viewers just think it’s an irritating nuisance.

Then they fall back on ‘Talent’ – as if the only way they can get people to watch their programmes by fronting them with so-called ‘talented’ presenters, and for some reason gave a couple of pathetic examples like Ant & Dec, and Graham Norton. Why, both make me sick and I’d never watch (or ever have watched) a programme they were seen in. I wonder of the audiences would watch as happily if the channels were obliged to put a display on the screen that showed how much their ‘talented’ presenters were raking in from them while they were on screen. For example, the BBC is swelling Jonathon Ross’s bank account to the tune of £18 million over three years. Is this wally really worth £6 million a year of our TV License money? I actually have no idea how long he appears on screen, but estimate that each hour would see the little counter spinning around to accumulate between £100,000 and £130,000 for each of them. I’m sure the number’s wrong, but even if it’s out by a factor of 10, that’s still £10 k per hour – I’d like some that, thank you very much. And bear in mind he’ll be coining it in as a (spit) ‘Celebrity’, collecting  thousands of pounds simply for turning up somewhere, and letting the little people see them.

TV is Dead? would probably be a good series – if it wasn’t being made by the TV people themselves!

It’s on Channel 4, but if you watch it, you’ll see they come to the conclusion that the despite the millions and millions they spend on more and more intrusive channel idents, the viewer doesn’t give a damn which channel a programme’s on, as long as they can see the one they want. Shame that that result won’t stop them spending more and more on idents etc, and we’ll carry on until we reach the crazy position where we have 50 minutes of ident, interrupted and interfered with by 10 minutes of TV programme ‘getting in their way’!

(Remarkable, I managed to put that together without using the word ‘scum’ while referring to advertisers and celebrities… OOPS! damn!)