Like I've said in a previous article, one of the great things about the proliferation of TV channels is the ease with which you can avoid watching tiresome adverts. But, it has to be said, there are more than a few ads out at the minute that are quite remarkable. Although, remarkable doesn't always mean good. For instance...
The Diet Coke ad with the gal pal marionettes:
Presumably getting tired with using actual actresses in their adverts, Diet Coke decided to switch them for highly strung (high-o!) dollies who work hard and play hard for their latest salvo. The following blurb, which is possibly the most loathsome thing I have ever read, explains their rationale:
"Diet Coke is celebrating fun, fashion and fabulousness with a new advert that encourages consumers to 'Love It Light' and celebrate the lighter side of life. The light-hearted sequence shines the spotlight on three sassy girls who all embody the 'Love It Light' ethos. Savvy, sophisticated and witty, the three best friends Eleanor, Bernadette and Irene always try to see the lighter side of life and come out smiling. Working together at a fashion magazine, our feisty femmes are a breath of fresh air as they inject their own passion, style and spirit into their daily lives."
Jesus wept. And it doesn't even explain most of my burning questions about the ad. Why do they bring welding tools shopping with them? Why are they looking for a small-sized handbag in a shop clearly called "XXXL"? Did they think it was Roman Numerals or what? Do they really think it's OK to vandalise stuff as long as the shop attendant is a snooty French guy who needs to lighten up?
The Zoosk ad where the guy gets ink stains on his arse:
As a general rule, any dating ad that doesn't feature some bloke making up inane songs or makes patently ridiculous statements about gender imbalance on their sites is okay with me, but a recent and quite funny Zoosk ad perplexed me slightly. Why on earth does the guy at the door of the printing room say "table for two" suggestively, and not a small bit weirdly? Am I not as well-versed on euphemisms as I thought? As it transpires, that was inexplicably dubbed in on the UK version, whereas in the above US version he says "Aloha", though while making more sense is no less creepy. Why the ad makers thought we wouldn't be able to handle Hawaiian phrases or American accents, or why the girl in question couldn't wait and jump that lad in a place a bit less public, is beyond me however.
The Sure fragrance collection ad where a man says things:
Perfume ads have long had a tendency for preening pretension and tend to run pretty highly on the WTF-scale, but Sure's latest effort takes the garibaldi. It starts with a Karl Lagerfeld-type person in the back of a limo sporting a pimp cane and sunglasses even though it's at least nine in the bloody evening, on the way to a launch ceremony. While on the way, he explains, he notices how women never stop moving, eschews the launch party for his latest fragrance (no doubt called something like "Serenity" or "Angelsweat") and resolves to only make eau de l'armpit from now on. With a talent like that for spotting the blindingly obvious, small wonder he can afford a limo. What'll his next innovation be, after realising dogs are not people, that they should have their own kind of special food?
Of course, it would be unfair to suggest that the bits between programmes are all odd dubbing, lawless puppets and self-important perfume gits, there are some pretty scintillating ads out there. IKEA for example, unsatisfied with Scandinavian superiority in the field of social safety nets, catchy pop music and attractive womenfolk, have also resolved to win at adverts too, their treehouse fight the best I've seen since their kitchen party last Christmas.
But another region of the world that frequently surpasses itself in this regard, a land of early rises for sporting occasions and vowel safari, is the Antipodes, especially with automotive-themed ads. New Zealand's laconic Toyota Hilux ad is world renowned, but a quirky and ingenious drink driving campaign is getting much-deserved plaudits across the globe as well. Leeegend indeed.