Thursday, 21 January 2010

Adverts Reaction

When it comes to TV adverts I think it’s safe to say that they fall into three distinct categories: the good, the bad and the ugly, and when I say I ugly I mean so irritatingly awful that it makes you want to self harm.

For some reason since the new year I’ve been getting more and more riled up by TV adverts, maybe its due to the fact that as the schedules are somewhat light with good shows at the moment that my Sky+ isn’t taking the abuse it normally does and I’m actually watching shows as they air, horrifying I know.

If that is the case, then there is every chance that this epidemic of mind-numbingly stupid ads has been going on for quite some time and I’ve just been in a blissfully oblivious fast-forwarding world.

The biggest offender at the moment for making me want to put my head through the TV is the Halifax radio ad – didn’t think the Halifax could get any more annoying than the Howard Brown all-singing, all-dancing ads of the last few years, well think again.

At least the Howard ads were kind of catchy and got in your head and even had you singing along, not in public though obviously. This new ad though, I’m assuming is supposed to be funny, but it isn’t funny in any way at all, unless making the viewer want to rub poison ivy on their genitals just to distract them from the aberration on their screen is considered funny.

The Halifax could make a fortune if they put out a disclaimer that if 10 million new accounts are opened with them in the next month they would pull the ad – I’d be the first in the queue.

Also currently polluting your ad breaks are Jamie and Louise Redknapp, I know what you’re thinking – the Wii, right? Wrong.

They’re now flogging you holidays – is there anything these two won’t try and sell!? I used to quite like Redknapp in his footballing days but since his retirement he’s become a media whore and as for the ad itself, dumb doesn’t begin to describe it.

How Thomas Cook haven’t been done for false advertising is amazing – shirtless golf on a deserted beach, horseback riding (again deserted beach), kick-ups in a suit, again, you guessed it: on a deserted beach – that might be what the Redknapps’ holidays are like with all the advertising money they’re pulling in for attaching their names to whatever product throws the most cash at them but I doubt the average Thomas Cook package holiday is quite as glamorous.

They should have had the Redknapps having to get up at 5am to go and reserve a sun-bed, or had them sat on the beach with a load of screaming kids running round them or they could have had Jamie Redknapp sat on the toilet having explosive diarrhoea after sampling the local cuisine – now that sounds more like the Thomas Cook holidays we all know and love.

Oh and then there’s Martine McCutcheon and her heinous Activia advert which actually manages to make me dread hearing the opening bars of Gimme Some Lovin’.

Why is Martine McCutcheon the face of healthy living? I don’t know what it is about that advert but I fucking hate it!

Is it McCutcheon smugly telling you how to be healthy, maybe it’s her ridiculous Hamster like cheeks or maybe it’s just the fact that I’m an unhealthy pig and I don’t like being reminded I’m probably eating myself into an early grave by somebody who hasn’t been relevant in ten years!

Those three are not the only offenders (don’t even get me started on those Iggy Pop Swift Cover ads), they are merely the tip of the iceberg of the never-ending parade of veritable shit that I bear witness to every time one of my favourite shows goes to an ad break.

Don’t misunderstand me though, I’m not an advert-hater, there are some great ads at the moment, the recent Paddy Power ads as I documented last year have been absolutely genius; the Evian babies, no matter how creepy, still make me laugh and who can forget the ad that actually makes Arnold Schwarzenegger look like he’s made out of Austrian Oak – the California ad, when Beckham’s acting you off the screen Arnie it’s probably a good job you retired.

And of course there are those ads that are so good, they become part of popular culture and thus become infuriatingly annoying – and for some reason the current crop that fall into that category all seem to be for car insurance.

Do you think the boffins over at Go Compare decided that in order to compete with Compare the Market they needed to come up with an advert that achieved the impossible and was actually more irritating than Aleksandr the Meerkat? Because if they did, congratulations guys, because the Go Compare opera singer is more annoying than a talking Meerkat with a Russian accent and a smoking jacket. Kudos.

As I stated previously, not all adverts make you want to kill yourself and over the years there have been some stone cold classics; and as we are on the subject, and I don’t want to end this dissection of TV ads on a sour note, as a parting gift I thought I’d share two of my all-time favourite ads with you:

Other Musings:

- Gok Wan had a show this week that was a spin-off of his How to Look Good Naked show in which he was criticising people with disabilities – is there anything this guy won’t do!?

Talk about low, what’s next? How to look good naked and dead? Or how about: how to look good naked and under age? This has to be Channel 4 pretty much scraping the bottom of the barrel, why should attention be drawn to the fact that these people are differently able? The people featured in this show should have been featured as part of the regular show not paraded in some sort of ‘special’ edition.

The last thing these people need is that idiot Gok Wan trying to pimp their wheelchair.

- The unexpected TV highlight of this week has to have been Josh Groban’s cameo on Glee. After his appearance on Never Mind the Buzzcocks a while back I knew the guy was funny and could be very self-deprecating but his brief cameo on Glee was comedy of the highest order.

Essentially playing an asshole-version of himself, Groban stole the show on Monday night’s episode of a show that is really surprising me with how funny it actually is.

- Ever since E4 ended its purging of How I Met Your Mother weeknights at 7, my lovely girlfriend and I had been struggling to find something to watch while we ate our tea (or dinner to all you Southerners) because let’s face it, we weren’t going to watch The One Show were we?

(A typical One Show link: and that was Gyles Brandreth with a report on why your Washing Machine might be killing you, next up Dominic Littlewood meets a group of Holocaust survivors and then a little later Rav Wilding dresses like a penguin and has eggs thrown at him by primary school children).

So imagine my relief when I discovered double episodes of Two and a Half Men on Comedy Central around tea time. I’d had a few aborted attempts at getting into Two and a Half Men but ultimately never could (mainly due to the erratic scheduling by Paramount [now Comedy Central] of new episodes) however I have now come to realise just why this show is as popular as it is in the States.

The belly laughs come as fast as on any of the best sitcoms out there and the charm and chemistry of the three leads is something to behold (in particular young Angus T. Jones). Two and a Half Men really is a great show and deserves just as much praise as some of its more well-respected peers.

There’s no TV or not TV next week because I’m in Dublin, but we’ll be back in February.


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