Wonders in Adland 2
It’s several years since the first in this occasional series, but now the burden of bizarre and random ads has once again become so great as to fuel another rant.
Let’s start with the anaemic world of Recliner Factory. All the products advertised are, I’m sure, invaluable for people with arthritis and mobility problems in general (I’m looking forward to having a go at them when my time comes) , yet the pair shown using the furniture in a number of separate advertisements are in early middle age at most, and apparently sound of limb.
They live in a house on which they have utterly failed to make any impression – the charitable interpretation would be that they have moved themselves and their recliner furniture into a show home. Everything is pastel and devoid of clutter – including their souls, no doubt.
But I forgive Recliner Factory everything, because in the one ad where you see Mr and Mrs Inexplicably Challenged By Mobility getting intimate (i.e. slipping into one of those beds where the two sides operate independently) features an exquisite example of the art of coarse acting: Mr ICBM wriggling and sighing ostentatiously as he settles into the comfort of his Recliner Factory bed. They don’t show this particular ad very often, so I’ve a feeling the company has spotted how ridiculous it is, but it certainly makes my day to see it.
Meanwhile, what is going on over at Gala Bingo? They are stuck in a time warp in which the last forty years never happened. In this deeply inconsequential ad a motley collection of quiz show contestants (including a few of the know-alls from The Chase) have to answer a series of questions to which the answers can only be ‘Bingo’ or ‘Go’. Mine hostess for this farrago is sporting a look not seen on these islands since the heyday of Duran Duran: a broad shouldered but loosely tailored jacket and an Annie Lennox haircut that you have to be Annie Lennox to get away with. The whole effect is weird and unsettling, as though we have entered a parallel universe.
On reflection, both of these series of ads come from sponsors of game shows, so perhaps they have not got much money left after the sponsorship to fund anything with even the most basic production values, or even anything remotely coherent.
The same can’t be said for the On the Beach ads, though, which feature a cast of thousands in various locations. In the industry this campaign has been dubbed ‘an unreserved celebration of holidays’. Everybody else sees it as ‘Brits behaving badly abroad’. It features an obnoxious family of Mum, Dad, son and daughter who clearly couldn’t give a toss about anyone else as they barge into the VIP airport lounge (On the Beach’s USP is that booking with them gives you access to it), swagger onto the plane, and literally create a splash at the pool.
OK, I get it that the company might want to convey the message that the frills of a foreign holiday – VIP lounge, luxurious pool and non-stop buffet – are accessible to all and not just the preserve of the discreet and sophisticated. But how do they account for the gratuitous loathsomeness of the son, who, when the top falls off his sister’s ice cream, gloatingly licks his own in her face?
I’m sure its creators would argue that they’ve produced a memorable ad that everyone is talking about, and they’re right – but I just couldn’t remember the name of the holiday company!
Thank you Verity, I loved all your comments. Further to the ‘On the Beach’ ad, how ridiculous is the small sequence where the man has just narrowly missed being struck by a frisbee. Presumably thrown earlier, by that dear little boy with the ice cream . . .
Thanks! I notice the new ad for Alton Towers has got an obnoxious child in it, too – a girl this time!
You’ve started something here Verity. I fully agree with all your comments. Making ads memorable for all the wrong reasons is counter productive . I would not buy the product on principle.
As for the new theme of dancing and singing on ads whether it’s a toilet roll or a car sets my teeth on edge.
Wouldn’t you like to see the presentation when the agency promotes their latest whimsical offering?
On second thoughts, perhaps not…
I’d noticed the rash of dancing ads, too! Kitchens, insurance, car sales, burgers – you name it, they’re dancing…
I to would love to be a fly on the wall at some of these presentations!