July, 2009 | Bad TV Adverts, Bad Ads

Most Annoying Advert in History

Filed under: Most Annoying Ever — Tags: , , , , — Carl Hepburn @ 9:35 pm July 22, 2009

What is the most annoying advert in history? An advert so bad that you remember it long after it has ceased being shown. My candidate has to be the AOL adverts. At this time the Internet was still a novelty and most people used a dial-up connection to get online.
To some people even connecting to the internet was a techie thing to do. AOL decided that they would guide people with a computerised Mary Poppins character called Connie that would appear, uninvited, in your house and take control of your computer. Much like the annoying bastard paperclip, ‘Clippy’ that used to appear when you began to type anything in Word except with an annoying bob haircut and whiny voice.

AOL Advert most annoying in History

AOL Advert most annoying in History

Unfortunately, the video can only convey a fraction of the patronising, annoying quality of the adverts as there does not appear to be a copy of the original ad on YouTube.

The reason why this advert is my nominee for the most annoying advert in history is Connie’s patronising attitude when ‘helping’ people. As I recall, I think that she tells the man in a rather stern voice, ‘click here’. For all she knows the guy could be a CPU designer with a PhD in computer science. (Although this does beg the question why he chose AOL in the first place.)

The other distinctive thing about this advert was her dress, which had scrolling screenshots of various different website. There was a parody of the advert in which the screenshots were porn websites.
Just like torture in a Chilean prison cell, the memory of this advert is still fresh in my brain even though the character was first shown in the late 1990s. If you can think of a better candidate for a more annoying advert then let me know.

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.

Discovery Channel Trailers/Adverts

Filed under: Uncategorized — Carl Hepburn @ 3:08 am July 19, 2009

When I started watching cable television on Virgin Media I thought that the programmes on the Discovery Channel were quite good but after a while I realised that it very US biased and actually very low quality television. The subject matter of shows is very limited and is intended to get the widest possible audience. As Rick Gervais said if you want to know about Sharks and Nazis then the Discovery Channel is for you. At the moment it is actually mostly about criminology and explosions. I feel that I am fully qualified to perform a forensic investigation of a murder. Need to look for blood that has been cleaned up? Spray Luminol. Shoot bullets from the suspect’s gun into water to test for characteristic marking on bullets.
There are very few types of programs and none of them is in the least bit enquiring. The only good programme that has come from Discovery has been Mythbusters and even then with many of the myths you feel that a bit of GCSE physics will answer the question.
But even more frustrating are the numerous ad breaks and trailers for other Discovery shows. They all have loud, compressed soundtracks which make the volume level jump to an uncomfortable level.
It all ends up making the channel un-watchable. Soon, I am just going to stop watching television altogether because it so annoying.

It makes me very angry to pay for a service and then spend most of the time waiting for the programmes to continue because they are showing poor quality filler trailers and adverts. The only Discovery I have made while watching it is that it is crap.

McDonalds Farm Advert

Filed under: Advertising Idiots — Tags: , , — Carl Hepburn @ 9:26 pm July 16, 2009

This advert shows children playing on an advertising exec’s idea of a farm, a free-range nirvana, all to jolly Bing Crosby singing, “Busy Doing Nothing”, with zero appearing as part of the scenery.

When I first saw this advert, I thought it was a public information film about children not playing on farms. This is probably because in the absence of health and safety litigation, when I was at school, we had a succession of people coming to scare us into not playing on the railways, building sites and with high-voltage electricity cables by showing us films of children being killed or seriously injured. A typical scenario being a child becoming fried after trying to fetch a kite when it became caught in a power line. I think that we even had a farmer visit the school to make us aware of the dangers of farms.

Hence, it is ingrained in my mind that farms are not idyllic places where young children can roam free. They are dangerous places where a child may have limbs amputated by heavy machinery, be run over by a tractor, fall into grain silos, crushed by animals and large bales of grass.

I guess there is no danger to children these days because they are driven everywhere in 4×4 cars and never venture outside the world of the Play Station 3.

Ford Focus

Filed under: I don't understand — Tags: , , — Carl Hepburn @ 10:40 pm July 14, 2009

I don’t know about you but when I am buying a car one of the things that I look for is how well it can be cut up and turned into the musical instruments for the Dagenham Philharmonic.
In this advert, pieces of a Ford focus have been cunningly fashioned into musical instruments. It might be unusual and pseudo high-brow way but it doesn’t say anything about cars. What are they trying to say? That their cars make better musical instruments than they do cars?
I can make a rudimentary guitar with a Tupperware lunch-box and some elastic bands. It doesn’t mean I want to drive around in it.

The tag line is ‘beautifully arranged’. Okay Ford, if you can just arrange it so that there is a wheel bolted in each corner to ensure maximum mobility that would be great. What next? Steinway building a car from a grand piano.

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.

HSBC Fishing Advert

Filed under: Hidden meanings — Tags: , , , , — Carl Hepburn @ 7:01 pm July 7, 2009

Picture the scene: a placid, misty lake in the early morning. A tourist is in a boat watching a Chinese man catching fish using a Cormorant. The birds dives in and catches a fish and brings it to the surface. The man then adds it to an increasing pile of fish that the bird has already caught. The Chinese man looks at the tourist and nods an acknowledgement which conveys, “Yes, I am a smart man. I am doing nothing except standing here and the bird is catching the fish for me.”

To me this advert perfectly captures the relationship between the employers and employees or rather capitalists exploiters and the downtrodden workers.

The Cormorant is an expert at catching fish. On its own it can survive by catching fish. There are plenty of fish. The Chinese man catches the bird, puts a ring around its neck so it can’t eat the food then makes it catch fish for him. He has a surplus of fish and feeds the bird.

It strikes me that the bird is not getting anything out of this relationship. It gets a fish once in a while but it would anyway. In fact, it has to work even harder to catch fish for the man.

What is the subtext of this advert? Is the kind of relationship we have with our banks? We earn the money put it in their bank and they make much more money occasionally feeding use with interest.
This advert is basically saying that banks like to fuck us up the arse with our own money.

Advertising is so Noisy

Filed under: Serious Stuff — Tags: , , , — Carl Hepburn @ 11:39 pm July 6, 2009

Apart from the fact that advertising is too frequent. It is always so loud when compared with the sound in the programmes. I almost always have to reach for the remote control to turn down the sound or mute it completely.

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) receives hundreds of complaints each year and yet they are found to be within the rules. Currently, the BCAP TV Advertising Standards Code states that: “ads must not be excessively noisy or strident.

The problem arises in the way that the sound is measured. When testing the level of sound it is the peak volume that is measured. However, advertisers in an attempt to make the advert as attention grabbing as possible compress the sound making the quite sounds louder but keeping the peak sound levels within the rules. The result is a sound that is subjectively louder than it would be if it had been recorded naturally.

More information can be found at ASA website.