Archives For Advert Reviews

Bullying in all forms should not be tolerated.

See that sentence? It’s pretty clear and concise, but unfortunately it doesn’t end the problem. It’s like saying, if we all turn our backs on Justin Bieber he’ll eventually get the idea and skip back across the border to Canada.

VH-1, the grown up home for grown-ups for grown up music like Maroon 5, has waded into the topic of bullying with a public service announcement aimed squarely at the bullies. ‘See that child,’ it cries, ‘See how you introduce his head to the contents of the toilet bowl in front of you. One day, oh one fine day, he will be an adult and you better brace yourselves. Because he is going to make your life a living hell.’

Yes, rather than pointing out that debagging someone for your amusement is a shitty thing to do and let’s be honest we’re all humans at the end of the day, so let’s just all get along; VH-1 is appealing to the menacing masses with the suggestion that what you do now will impact on you in the next life. Much like God did in the popular book, The Bible, but with the next life being eternal damnation in an office cubicle being crushed under foot by the girl you called Smelly Kelly.

One of the problems here, aside from suggesting all bullying is merely physical, is kids don’t work like that. As they’re writing another comment on Kevin’s Facebook wall about how he should just die, they’re unlikely to stop when you intervene with a glimpse of a future where Kevin is your boss and refusing you some leave. If anything, it’ll spur them on to punish them for future crimes like their Tom Cruise in Minority Report. I knew someone in college(!) who mocked me regularly because one day I might be rich like Bill Gates. In a future he’d created, I could have enough money to send a militia to his house and make him dance in his pants. This didn’t stop him lobbing bottles at my head. Well, jokes on them, I’m not rich. Ha! Bet they feel foolish now.

And there’s that other problem, where the ad suggests that bullying is just a right of passage with the dividends being a chance to spend your adult life being shitty to others. Again, this is not how bullying works. Victims do not all become vindictive with a thirst for their tormentors head on a spike. Often they become introverted and lose a part of themselves they’ll never get back.

VH-1’s intentions are admirable. Topics like bullying need to be addressed. But it needs to be taken more seriously than with a parody of Donna Summers. In real life, no matter how hard a child sings I Will Survive, they sometimes don’t.

About The Author
My name is John Noonan. I’m a freelance writer that specialises in arts and entertainment. From genre flicks to chick flicks, I love the stuff. So much so, I started a film review blog at earlybirdfilm.wordpress.com. I also contribute to online and hard copy press, including FilmInk magazine.

If you like what you see, I am available for hire. You can contact me via the social media channels above or the form on my home page.

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Over the last couple of days the new laws have been proposed in Australia and if they come to pass, cigarette companies will have to promote their cigarettes in olive green boxes with some form of reminder of the horrific damage those little things can do.

“We want to make sure that the glamour that might have been attached to smoking in the past is dead and gone,” the Health Minister, Nicola Roxon, said a couple of days ago. “Cigarette packs will now only show the death and disease that can come from smoking. The new packs have been designed to have the lowest appeal to smokers and to make clear the terrible effects that smoking can have on your health.”

In a way, they look like the front cover to a series of Stephen King novels.

So, anyway, I’m bracing myself for the inevitable public media battle that happened round about the time the UK began preparations for the smoking ban in all pubs and restaurants. What I’m talking about is the two factions of anti and pro setting up their camps, waiting patiently for dawn and then beginning their assault of hyperbole and conjecture against each other. And it is so very very boring.

‘We are smokers!’ cry the pro-league, ‘Everyone is entitled to live free and smoke hard. It is our right to smoke. To take away that right blah blah cough weeze figures and facts.’

‘We’re non-smokers!’ shout the anti-league, ‘Everyone is entitled to live free and live hard. We want smoking banned. Blah blah let’s go jogging blah!’

Both parties managing to cancel out each others arguments by saying that the very people they oppose have the right to do whatever they want to do.

And then you have the other party, the third one that no one really listens to…

‘Well, they should save the money and just ban it out right. That would help the problem.’

Well, yeah, like prohibition. That worked well.

Is there fundamentally wrong with shaming people into not doing something? Maybe. It could be argued that people should be allowed to make their own choices, catch their own diseases etc, but then you open the gates for the nanny state protesters and then we have to run for cover. That’s four parties filling up every internet forum and newspaper letter page until mid-2012.

So how we can end all this fighting. Just ban alcohol. Watch how quickly smokers and non smokers join forces then. Oh yes, we can argue till the cows come home about smoking, but to take away our right to drink?! Well, that’s just insane!

The thing is, that nothing is going to change until, and I swear I’m not trolling, smoking is banned outright. People will still smoke, people will still not smoke and the two parties will continue to resent each other. Because, and let’s be honest about this, black tar heroin has been around for a while and that was in plain packaging way before cigarettes. Hell, it even has the disability of being banned! It’s kind of like a narcotic cash cow, like cigarettes.

I’m 29 going on thirty
I know that I’m naive
Fellows I meet may tell me I’m sweet
And willingly I believe

Oh , 29, 29, 29, tweeeeeeenty nine. In a year’s time, I’ll be 30. Then before you know it, I’ll be dead.

Oh, I’m sorry readers (all two of you), I shouldn’t really start off in such a depressive tone this close to the start of the weekend, but it’s all John Lewis’ fault really. Their latest ad campaign has been described ‘an empowerment of women’, ‘breathtaking’, and ‘original’. Truth be told, I find it maudlin and depressing. I like my ads to be light hearted and witty. Not Oven Pride light. Just something akin to Cadburys and their minute and a half of joy adverts.

However, like some fashionista grim reaper, John Lewis fast-forwards through the life of a nameless woman from cradle to grave (Okay, so not completely to the grave, but she does, at least, have one well tailored foot in the grave). All the while, another easily exchangeable Mr Potato Head  with designer stubble and a guitar warbles through a Billy Joel hit. It’s like watching Kate Winslet in The Reader. Except with less Nazis. After the full minute and a half is over, I’m weeping into a bottle of red wine and pondering the futility of existence. A gorilla playing the drums this isn’t.

As for being original, well, I leave it to this advert for Italian fashion company, Calzedonia, which goes someway to showing that are no more original ideas.

Oxford Notebooks

September 20, 2009 — 3 Comments

There are many sure things in life. Megan Fox is a flash in the pan, Come Dine with Me is compelling viewing, Kanye West is a jackass and each new Sugababes song sounds more and more like a death rattle escaping from the cold blue lips of their career.

Another sure thing is that if you put an infinite number of advertising execs in a room, they will eventually write a sequel to Macbeth. In the mean time, whilst we wait, these same execs are pumping out ads for products that don’t need them. For example, Oxford Notebooks.

Who was the person they spoke to in the post tests that cried out ‘People need to know that they can write on paper!’.

When I first saw the advert, my initial thoughts were that this was for some form of zit cream. There sits our heroine, lonely on a park bench and in a ridiculous AC/DC top (CH/LD? FFS). Oh, she’s lonely, I thought, I’m sure Clearasil will help her. I was so very wrong.

Seemingly taking pity on this Juno cast off, Oxford Notebook begins shows her her future like some bastard spiral bound Nostradamus. We see her go to a club where she looks like she’s going to be approached by an unnerving elder gentlemen. Surely this isn’t how her life is going to end. But it’s okay! Oxford Notebook jumps forth and scrunches the man right out of existence and before we have time to marvel at the special effects, he’s replaced by a floppy haired git whose very smugness can only be compared to that of Simon Cowell when he spies his own reflection. Astoundingly, this chinless wonder is the very thing our child looks for in a man and soon Oxford Notebook is showing her getting married and having babies.

It should be pointed that despite the fact she appears to be growing up, hubbie and her don’t appear to actually age. Possibly aiming for the Twilight demographic’s opinion that wrinkled skin is uncool, husband, wife and child are merely shown wearing black rimmed glasses. A true sign that one has aged.

Comforted with the knowledge that her life is going to be nothing special, our heroine closes Oxford Notebook and sits back wondering how long it is before she meets her future smug bastard husband.

What makes the advert equally intolerable is the Diane Vickers sound-alike warbling over the top. I’m informed that Diane is in fact a popular Indie band from America. Well, let’s hope they stay there.  No punch line. Seriously, stay there.

After watching the ad, you’re left with so many questions. If Oxford Notebook is so clever why didn’t he give our heroine next week’s lottery numbers? Did he feel that Derren Brown had already stolen his thunder? Why, when her book began to flash images of the future, did our heroine simply sit forward and watch when she should have burnt the book for being the Devil’s tool it really is? However, before you can come to grips with all this, we are reminded that Oxford Notebooks aren’t just packed to the brim with divination, but they also  ‘allow you to write on both sides of the page’.

HALLELUJAH!

I cannot tell you how many times I have got to the end of a page and thought ‘where do I go from here?’. Thank you Oxford Notebook for finally answering this problem. Like our punky protagonist, the clouds above me have cleared and I realise that I don’t need to be afraid any longer, because I can now write on BOTH sides of the page. Soon, they’ll be researching re-fillable glasses.

In the meantime, let’s just get on with the task of selling ice to Eskimos.