Economical with the Truth

Nat West Helpful Banking

Filed under: Advertising Idiots,Economical with the Truth — Tags: , , — Carl Hepburn @ 6:13 pm March 27, 2011

I haven’t written much recently, but there are a few adverts that are really pressing all the right buttons at the moment. Halifax is running its series of moronic radio station ads about ISAs again. Go Compare is still making me rush for the TV remote with their stupid advert concept of the wailing baritone opera singer in all its guises. Nat West too have really annoyed me by the their arrogant advert for more helpful banking which is trying to pull an impossible PR stunt of turning bankers into great, friendly, caring bunch of people. I especially hate the patronising way that they actually believe that by saying they are going to be more helpful that we will think they are great. Given that ordinary tax payers have had to spend so much money to sure up the banking system and the country as a whole will be suffering for the next ten years, I think we can do without helpful banking don’t you? Consider, what does ‘helpful banking’ that actually mean anyway? If bankers did their bloody job, instead of pissing everyone off by bringing the economy to its heels while at the same time paying themselves obscene amounts of money; if they paid their way by not avoiding corporation tax then that would be helpful but instead it is none of that. Helpful banking just seems to be pretending to be nice to their customers while still fucking them over at both ends of the saving-borrowing spectrum.

Citroen C3 Swinging Car Advert

Filed under: Economical with the Truth — Carl Hepburn @ 10:14 pm August 22, 2010

This stupid advert has a couple in a Citroen C3 driving in a dockyard and for mischievous fun they decide to swing their car from the cables of a gantry crane using an adapter that just so happens to exactly fit the wheels of their car. The car accelerates, goes up into the air and they swing happily enjoying their shiny new car like it is fairground ride.

I am calling bollocks on this advert and a quick back of the envelope calculation can show why. The relevant physics is that of the pendulum and the conservation of energy. The conservation of energy is very useful in problems like this as it says that the sum of the kinetic energy and the potential energy is a constant.
When the car reaches its maximum height we can say that all its energy is potential energy. Similarly when the car is moving and just about lift off the ground it has it maximum kinetic energy. Anywhere in between there is a mixture of kinetic and potential energy.
At the top of the swing, the potential energy PE = m g h, where m is the mass of the car, g is the acceleration due to gravity and h is the maximum height. Looking at the specifications of the car, the mass is 1360 kg. The height of a gantry crane I would estimate to be about 30 m. In the advert the car seems to go higher than this but let’s be generous and say 30 metres. g is taken as 9.81 m/s^2.
Therefore the potential energy is 400,248 J. The car must have this amount of energy when it takes off also.
The equation for kinetic energy is KE = 0.5 m v^2, where v is the take off velocity. So we can calculate how fast it need to go before it takes off. It turns out that it is around 24.26 m/s or (56 mph).
Looking at the specification of the car it turns out that the 0-100 km take 14.2 sec or an average acceleration of 1.9 m/s^2 so I think that it would need quite a run up to reach this speed.
Remembering my high-school physics of linear motion, the distance required is s = v^2/ 2a, where v is the take off velocity and a is the average acceleration. Plugging in the numbers once again gives a distance of 154 m. Which is substantially longer than the height of the crane. In the advert we only see the car pull back a short distance. Which I think proves the case not to mention that the cable would need to be slackened and then pulled in as the car reaches the take off point which is not going to happen.

Of course with a pendulum or a swing repeated application of energy at just right moment can hit the natural frequency of the pendulum and make the amplitude increase dramatically. However for a car on a crane to do this it would have to go change gear to go into forward and then reverse on the return journey and I don’t think that the car would be able to go that fast in reverse.
I know the advert is made with computer graphics and it is supposed to be describing its big windscreen but it still doesn’t stand up to scruitiny. You might as well say that the car is rocket powered and it can drive in space.

HSBC Bank, Conscience over Profit

Filed under: Economical with the Truth — Carl Hepburn @ 9:10 pm November 15, 2009

In the aftermath of the banking crisis it is interesting to see how banks are using advertising to make us believe that they are fluffy, caring and not greedy, grasping, ruthless businesses run for their shareholders.


Filed under: Advertising Idiots,Economical with the Truth — Tags: , , , , — Carl Hepburn @ 6:44 pm August 21, 2009

This is such as stupid advert it makes me wince every time I see it. It is a succession of idiots trying to persuade you consume more in the guise of saving the planet.
A succession of media created characterless morons, including an annoying Essexified woman out of Eastenders, explain how sending your perfectly good phone is a good idea for the environment and will help you make some extra money. Worst of all is a stupid spiky-haired effeminate punk with red hair, a goatee beard and a gapped tooth like Terry-Thomas, who says, ‘Soooo last year’. It makes my blood boil.

The worst thing about the advert is that it is completely at odds with the concept of being good for the environment. The first principle of environmental thinking before reuse and recycling is to cut back on the consumption of resources. Surely this would mean don’t buy a new phone because it is, heavens, a year old. Carry on using your phone until it is so outdated that it no longer works. The idea of sending an almost new, perfectly usable phone to be resold is morally wrong.
If you do have a phone that is more than a year-old, then the chances are you won’t be grinning inanely with a cheque because it is worth almost nothing.

Nintendo DS Family Advert

Filed under: Economical with the Truth — Tags: , , — Carl Hepburn @ 9:45 pm July 21, 2009

Ah, the well known connection between family life and video games. This is the view that Nintendo has of how its DS will be used in this rubbish advert. How we laughed. Playing an annoying kid’s sampled voice saying, ‘Are you trying to turn me into a robot?’
Played at high-speed, sounding like he has been kicked in the balls while played at low speed it sounds like he is on Mogadon. Family fun and we have to thank Nintendo for this great family product.
You might say, Terry, you cynical old fool. Don’t you understand, the Nintendo has these recording features that make it into a family product.
Ah, yes but these things have been around for years and after the initial, puerile humour of having your voice played at different speeds you are essentially left with a video game console.
It is not the Nintendo itself that is a bad product (although maybe it is). Rather, it is the idea that Nintendo encourages a saccharin sweet family-life of conversation and laughter and joint entertainment. This is fundamentally flawed. Surely, the whole point of a personal video game console is that it is essentially a device for transporting you away from your current (boring) environment into a personal space (which may be inhabited by other people playing the same game) but does not involve anyone else in the immediate vicinity. (Unless they also have a Nintendo DS.) It’s an annoying advert anyway.

Buxton Water

Filed under: Economical with the Truth — Tags: , , , , , — Carl Hepburn @ 7:57 pm July 12, 2009

As someone with a scientific background nothing is more likely to get my back up than people messing with the laws of physics in the context of reality. This is not exactly the same version of the advert I am describing but it suffers from the same problem at the very beginning.

It shows an extreme close-up of a drop of water hanging on the side of the water bottle, in the background is a blurred roller coaster, with an in focus image of the roller coaster in the water drop. I don’t have problem with the focusing issue that is just the depth of field of the camera lens but rather the image within the drop itself. Even the magnification of the image in the drop would have been to trivial to write about.
If you look at the physics of spherical lenses, which is a rough approximation to a water drop, it will produce an inverted image if the object is beyond the focal length and for a large object such as a roller coaster, it is so the image should be inverted. (Have a look at the image formed in a raindrop on a pain of glass.)

If advertisers are willing to play with the physical reality of the world, then one has to ask what other facts would they would distort to sell their product. It is just wrong.

Mazuma Mobile Phone Recycling

Filed under: Economical with the Truth — Tags: , , — Carl Hepburn @ 11:35 pm June 30, 2009

Do you have an old mobile phone knocking around? Why not turn it into cash. Simply log into Mazuma Mobile  type in the make and model and we’ll tell you how much it is worth. Well no need because I can tell you how much it is worth. Fuck all in most cases.

Unless you have an up-to-date mobile phone, like an iPhone or Nokia N95 that is still perfectly serviceable, it is worth bugger all. Try it. Sony P800, a very advanced smart phone in its time. It cost about £600 when new, it is worth £3 last time I looked.

What do you think happens to these phones? They go to third-world countries and are sold on at huge profit. Having any mobile phone  in these place can save lives and spawn new businesses but the advert is quite sparing in the details. Phones that cannot be reused are scrapped to extract their materials.

Recycling is a good thing but what about when these mobiles can no longer be used? Will they end up on rubbish tips in places where there are no environmental laws. It is questionable whether this is truly an environmental solution. I am not singling out Mazuma in particular,there are many companies that will take your phone off your  hands for money but they are all based on the same business model.