When I was young, I remember watching all the commercials on TV in awe, thinking, “When I grow up, I wanna make ads too”. That of course was a time when advertising wasn’t vulgar, uninspiring or unintelligent. If you think back to series of ads/campaigns like Kelloggs Froot Loops , Jell-O, McDonald’s or Coca Cola, what is most evident is, that back then brands made a point of interacting with their customers. Twenty first century advertising doesn’t function like that. Both the ad agency and the brand focus on irrelevant factors like hiring famous people to make fools of themselves on screen, or producing ads that make no sense, with the main purpose of just looking “cool”. To be fair, advertising varies according to country, and some do it better than others, but I think there is definitely a general lack of creativity and depth worldwide.
In this post I will tackle the world of advertising in the UK and talk about some recent ads, in no specific order, that really get under my skin. It’s a shame when it becomes painfully obvious that people shouldn’t be where they are today. I don’t know what the criteria are when ad agencies in the UK are looking to hire employees. Is it a matter of networking? Looks? Sexual favors? whatever it is, it’s definitely NOT talent.
1. Swiftcover’s “Get a life. Get Swiftcovered” Campaign – I’m not sure where to begin talking about this one. I’ll start by saying that I feel sorry for 800 year old Iggy Pop for stooping so low, and at the same time I want to point a finger and laugh at whoever came up with the concept for this campaign. I like to think of it as a joint failure, made up of a team of “experts” from ad agency MWO and of course the Swiftcover.com Marketing Team. To further enhance the ridiculousness, they launched a new batch of ads starring Iggy and “little Iggy” which only cost £30million to make….! Verdict: STOP these ads before people’s heads start to explode……oh and Iggy, PUT YOUR SHIRT BACK ON (video)
2. Moneysupermarket.com – What can you get for a mere £15 million? Answer : A series of 30-60 second videos starring “comedian” Omid Djalili trying to be funny in his approach to criticize the British cultural norm of ‘not haggling on price’. I understand the concept…..I hate the way its been dealt with. The whole thing is crass, tacky and unrefined. Hats off to ad agency VCCP for giving the world Aleksandr Orlov the meerkat, and pants down to ad agency MCDB for going the complete opposite direction and proving once again that some people in their office should go work at Tesco.(video 1) (video 2)
3. Birds Eye Polar Bear – Well, we knew there was something wrong with Willem Dafoe when we tried to wrap our heads around the movie Antichrist (2009), but I don’t think anyone expected him to turn into a polar bear. He sounds like a perv, and the script is meaningless. Apparently, no one likes to cook chicken…?!#$? (video). Once again a “good” concept is butchered, proving that Mad Men really don’t exist anymore. I guess the kids over at AMV BBDO took the £9 million+ for the campaign and hit the pubs on what probably turned out to be a great night.
4. Virgin Atlantic “Your airline’s either got it or it hasn’t” – I will never travel with this airline just because of this ad. The part that gets me the most is the end where they ask if “that’s Linda”….why?! A failed attempt to produce a James Bond themed campaign has set Richard Branson back an insignificant £6 million. The creative team at ad agency RKCR must be saturated with ideas for now, but even so, my advice for their next project is to put their thinking caps back on…or just on. (video)
5. UK Snickers Ads featuring Mr T – …..?!@#$ BA Baracus (A-Team) has been MIA for a while now and I doubt anyone ever expected him to have a glorious comeback. Where on earth did Ad agency AMV BBDO get this mind-blowing concept from?! I love Snickers bars but I just don’t get this. This ad was never aired in the USA. Here’s a video and an article on why it was pulled Click here
6. Churchill’s Car Insurance – ‘Despise’ is not a strong enough word to convey my feelings for that dog. It’s an overall weird, obnoxious and creepy character that cant stop saying “Oh Yes…”. The ads themselves are unappealing and ad agency WCRS has manged to annoy rather than ‘advertise’. The agency didn’t do their homework when conjuring up this masterpiece. The ad claimed that customers could “make a claim without filling out a form,” which later on proved to be misleading. Every time the ad plays on TV, I either mute the volume or simply change the channel. (video)
8. “Goo Dares Wins” Cadbury Creme Egg – is there anyone out there that actually likes this 20 second spot? Nothing good comes to mind whenever I watch this….and I definitely don’t want to eat a Creme Egg at the time either. It’s part of Cadbury’s Spots Vs Stripes Campaign (which isn’t amazing) but I think it’s been done really badly. Cadbury is working with agencies Fallon, PrettyGreen, PHD and CMW. Fallon is responsible for this specific one with the Creme Eggs. I get the idea, I hate the execution and that ANNOYING voice in the end…. (video)
9. 118 118 “Who you gonna call?” – TACKY, OUTDATED, CHEESY, GROSS …I can’t believe The Brooklyn Brothers (ad agency) actually thought this idea was anything more than an office joke. Who comes up with this stuff?!?! (video)
10. GoCompare.com “Opera Singer” – ……………….nonsense and noise (video)
With a background in Communications, I can assure you that I’ve completed University projects that are more intelligent and FAR MORE creative than some of the work that these agencies spit out every now and then. Does all this mean that UK Ad Agencies are just a false reality of flashy websites, a plethora of shallow promises and stagnant teams of people with no depth? I think this will be the topic of a post in the very near future…..