Tag Archives: ad

Victory is mine! Or probably actually someone else’s…

5 Mar

I poked fun at Mainstay Cane Spirit the other day for their unintentionally-borderline-racist TV ad. That vitriolic little post is here. To their credit, they have entirely recut the ad to remove all potential for unkindly casting the ad as racist. The line about all citizens of the new republic being bronze skinned is gone. The involvement of other race groups only in service delivery has been nicely cut away, and what’s left is a tighter, punchier, inoffensive ad. Kudos chaps!

It’s almost as if they read my criticisms… But that would mean one of my ten or so readers would have to be a Mainstay guy, so I’m going with coincidence.


Is that ‘banker’ with a ‘w’?

5 Mar

It used to be a thing in advertising — at least when I studied — that certain industries needed to be marketed in a conservative way, because being too offensive, or even just too casual, could reflect badly on the institution and breed a lack of confidence among consumers. Financial institutions were the textbook example. Well, that seems to be changing pretty fast. It won’t be long before banks are using Cheezy the LOLcat to encourage us to ‘can haz ur monzies grw1ng by uz’.

Currently adorning my email provider (and now the right side of your screen) is an ad for Old Mutual that is really only a step or two behind LOLcats. Where to begin?

  1. Putting an ‘i’ before things when you’re not Apple is what mindless executives do to say, ‘We know about the computers (or gee whiz we’ll employ someone who does)!’, and ‘See how we’re down with the kids!’
  2. ‘Cute’ spelling is one of my pet hates, but in some words it’s inexcusable. Should we really trust the wisdom of someone who misspells ‘wise’ in two ways?
  3. Point 1 & 2 are nitpicky, I’ll admit. I could forgive the dumb branding, but they seriously sought out a guy wearing a ‘3 way’ t-shirt? The crassest, douchebaggiest, unfunniest possible ‘joke’ slogan shirt, pasted on the rugby-watchingest, douchebaggiest freshman, grinning like he knows his shirt is like the funniest thing.

‘Ja, bru, my pa bought me like tha sickest Alfa Romeo for ma twenty first, hey, so ja come an have a few drinks tonight an you can like check me doing burnout on this thing. An then we can fully pull some chicks, have some beers… Oh ja, hey, and I like luv ma wheels, hey, so you should also like insure with iwyze, maybru.’

I’m pretty sure that’s what it would say if the ad had a speech bubble.

I guess this is why we were told to go conservative with financial campaigns, because my life insurance is with these people, and it’s all I can do to keep myself from cancelling it right now.

Ella’va Nut Job

1 Feb

nutsNutella have started running an ad here that states that their product is a healthy part of a balanced breakfast (much like McDonalds McGrease Muffins or Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs) and that it is a low GI food that will stop children from falling asleep over their mid-morning maths lessons. They may well excel at sports in the afternoons too.

It all seems so preposterous that one wonders how these advertisers keep getting away with it!

Except that Nutella hasn’t really. A substantially similar ad was banned in the UK in 1998 for misrepresenting the actual health benefits of Nutella, which are in truth not too great.

But more remarkably, the one charge against them that seemed certain to stick — that Nutella falsely claimed to be a slow-energy-release product — was dismissed. Nutella is in fact a low GI food, and although it is high in sugar and fat, it has less sugar than jam and honey, and less fat than butter and margarine.

So although I choked when I saw their ridiculous-seeming ad, I reckon that Nutella have got a bit of a raw deal. For once, the company should have been allowed to shout from the rooftops that they have a product that tastes so good, it really shouldn’t be allowed to be as not-deadly as it is. You really truly actually can do worse than to eat it for breakfast. Like eating Cocoa Pops, for instance. [I think. Don’t sue.]

On the other hand, jam and butter will make you very fat too.

Low GI

Before we had kids — when we had the time and energy to spend on faddish diets — my wife and I had a go at eating healthy, low GI food options. The idea is that foods with a GI of <55 release energy slowly so that you don’t have spikes and troughs throughout the day (which means less hunger pangs and binge eating, and thus a thinner you). Foods over 70 are considered high GI. Although it seemed to genuinely do us good, I just now discovered how useless glycemic index is as a measure of healthiness.

Here now are some low GI foods and their indices:

  • Snickers Bar – 41
  • Sponge Cake – 46
  • Nutella – 33
  • Milk Chocolate – 42
  • Peanuts – 13
  • Corn Chips -42

Here are some high GI foods:

  • Pumpkin – 75
  • Parsnips – 97
  • Cornflakes – 80
  • Bran Flakes – 74
  • Coco Pops – 77
  • Rice Krispies – 82
  • Rice cakes – 87
  • Donuts – 76
  • Dates – 103

So I’m not sure we should be getting too excited about Nutella’s low GI claims. Just send the kids off with a Snickers bar wrapped in sponge cake and they’ll be fine.


Source: http://www.the-gi-diet.org/lowgifoods/

Sponge Cake 46
Nutella 33
Milk Chocolate 42
Hummus 6
Peanuts 13
Walnuts 15
Cashew Nuts 25
Nuts and Raisins 21
Jam 51
Corn Chips 42

Mainstay Ad’s Iffy Racial Comment

14 Jan

Mainstay Cane Spirits has not made a new TV ad in twenty years, but their new ad has been worth the wait, from an Ungenius perspective. It certainly seems to reflect attitudes from twenty years ago.

This link doesn't work anymore. Sorry!

Their new ad conceives Mainstay drinkers as belonging to their own republic, and it then spells out some of the characteristics of this new island nation. About half way through the ad, the narrator proudly says:

“Here, every single body is one colour… Bronze!”


Mainstay is white spirits.

So not black people then? I was going to point out that the ad does have a multi-racial cast, and so racism is not a fair charge, but upon watching it again, I notice that the token black guy is the pilot, and they wave him goodbye. At least they didn’t take him with to be the waiter, I guess.

So what do we have in this ad:

  1. The desire to form an exclusive republic.
  2. One of the entrance criteria is the ability to tan bronze.
  3. Characters use people of other races to provide essential services.
  4. Once the destination is reached, the homogenous race group waves black people goodbye.

And Mainstay’s final message to a previously white-oppressed country? ‘You can stay as you are for the rest of your life, or you can change to Mainstay!’ Presumably they mean, ‘or you can change back to how you used to be’.


Edit (2012): Mainstay produced another version of this ad that takes into account all of my comments. Coincidence? Or do I have… readers?

And shouldn’t I get some sort of consultancy fee? This criticism ain’t free you know!

Regretro: Do You Speak Micra?

10 Feb

Silly Micra AdBefore the Nissan Micra rusts from our collective memories, it is worth erecting some small monument to one of the worst advertising concepts ever to have money thrown at it. It makes it ever so much better that the ad was directed by everyone’s favourite genius/ungenius, David Lynch.

The ad is still available to view on YouTube, and long may it remain there.

It’s fine when you’re into Elves or Klingons that you should learn a special niche language, but only if you’re happy to be ostracised from society but for the occasions when the convention is on. So the idea that anyone should be concerned that they do not ‘speak Micra’ is doomed from the start. When that language (constructed by suturing two words together) resorts to ‘spafe’ on its third go… Well, how did it ever get past the Creative Director?

Perhaps it was one of those concepts that one presents to the client in order to make sure that he picks the other concept (that tactic always backfires).

However it got onto TV, we’re grateful that it did. Having seen the product, allow me to suggest some more appropriate Micra-speak: regretro.