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.
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’.
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.