Friday, 20 July 2007

Ad Hominem

You know what annoys me about adverts? When they cut them and edit them and change them about for no immediately apparent reason. I've seen an advert which, after running for a few weeks, underwent some kind of weird voiceover gender reassignment surgery, quite for no reason that I could see. Possibly it was done to make people notice the advert. It worked, although I couldn't tell you what the hell product it was for. The NatWest advert running at the moment has been changed, and a new, far inferior, "check the lining" sequence has been pasted over the original one, to create a pale imitation of the advert's previous glory. I've seen TV adverts translated into print adverts so poorly that the end result is nothing more than a statement of fact about the service, the phrase "that's better", and a photo of a woman of unclear relevance. (I'm looking at you, Direct Line.) I've seen countless rather good adverts cut down to a shorter length and lose all their meaning in the process — I think this is an attempt to, rather than show you the whole story again, simply jog your memory of having seen the real advert, so they can get the same effect in a shorter timeframe, much like showing you the end of an episode of Coupling without the build-up: you already know all the details, so it's not just a bunch of nutters claiming to be Dick Darlington. But this doesn't work, because in real life people really don't pay that much attention, and those that do will notice that your new advert is nonsense. Even the Sheila's Wheels advert is somehow more annoying in its shorter form, just because the structure of the song doesn't work properly any more. It jumps half a bar without so much as a key change. (I'm picky about these things.)

The other day this was taken to a new level. The Lotus advert that Steven (quite rightly) loathes so (first, let me point out that the lotus is a plant whose leaves are of scientific interest only for their unique inability to keep hold of water and therefore is a rather stupid thing after which to name a brand of paper towel) was cut down to nothing more than the spurious explanation of how the towels are full of tiny elephants which "shlurp" up all the water.

It's really hard to know where to draw the line between false advertising and averts which merely contain false claims about the product they advertise.


Stephen F said...

Also, why did they feel the need to get rid of David Mitchell as the voice of Bonjela Cool?

Andrew said...

I was never sure if it was him or not. Same as I was never entirely sure if Rik Mayall was doing the Andrex puppy. It would seem a bizarre casting decision if he was, mind.