And now to the Adverts, Badverts and just plain Madverts!

‘Tis that time of year again, and in the days prior to the holidays, adverts hitting our screens will try to terrify us into buying, at ever inflated prices, the must have toys, DVDs and CDs, as if to refuse is to risk being reported to Childline. The powers that be will attempt to convince us that we have to watch that programme ‘the whole country is talking about’. That is those of us who aren’t to busy worrying how to pay for this annual madness. Dinnae fash, there are ad’s to tell you about that too!

Since the days of soap opera starting on radio (a vehicle to advertise what? well soap actually), the ad men have been involved in defining what we ‘need’, in the gentle, and not so gentle, task of retail alchemy – in this case turning something we never considered buying into something no self-respecting viewer could, or should, live another day without.

A good ad or a bad ad?
Well, that depends. Levi’s 501s was a great ad – a mini drama, great product placement and a memorable, if revamped, song. It pushed all the buttons, including the ones that held the jeans up! Ferrero Rocher gave us the most naff ad of its time, but their sales rocketed! In selling terms it was a great ad; you can’t argue with sales figures.

Sadly, the ones we chat about as “Did you see that great ad?” Very often are not, simply because they don’t do what it says on the tin. We love them but can’t actually remember what they were advertising, far less the specific product or maker. That one with an orchestra playing car parts, great ideas, images, music etc, but does anyone remember what carmaker it was for? Nor me.
The ads that I confess have me screaming at the TV are the ‘celebs’ waxing on about ‘sort it all with a call’ loans. Aye right! Only two parties will do well from your taking out a huge consolidation loan and, trust me, you ain’t either one of them. It may involve lower monthly payments, but have you ever noticed that exactly how many months is never mentioned? Oh, and despite the caller’s onscreen experience, more debt doesn’t actually give you a nice hairdo, decorate your flat or change the weather!

So, onwards and downwards to the just plain bad, sometime ago whoever does Kellogg’s ad made an easy buck. Lots of nice animation, bird flying over corn field etc and the cop out lyric that the benefits were “so hard to put in rhyme” (!) My favourite of the moment has to be Spam. Not content with worldwide coverage via Monty Python, they had to make a pig’s ear of it (Freudian slip there). Next time their ad invades your screen, listen to the words -“Spam up just to please you’re man”- I kid you not. It is a wonder that the Women’s Rights troops haven’t stormed the Complaints Commission! Well, I suppose that it keeps someone in a job – though why is another question.

It was summed up by American comedian Dennis Leary who related the story, in the year of Coca-Cola spending $42 million on marketing alone, of being at a ball game and standing in the hotdog queue. The guy in front asked for two hotdogs and two Cokes. The vendor said, “I’ve only got Pepsi.” The guy’s reply? “Whatever.”

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