I was 13 years of age the very first time I tasted Orangina, courtesy of a school trip to Dieppe. Back then, for me and my mates, drinking a carbonated concoction of orange juice and pulp out of a bulb-shaped, pebbly-textured bottle was the height of sophistication. After all, we were bred on a diet of intensely fizzy, scarily orange-coloured Fanta, Tango and own-brand supermarket orangeade – the kind so lethal to teeth, a year’s brushing wasn’t enough to remove all the sodium benzoate. This is how I remember the drink being marketed back in the 1980s (select link to play)….
How times have changed. Thanks to a controversial commercial conceived around the concept of ‘pulpeuse’ (which in French has a double meaning: ‘containing pulp’ and also ‘sexy’ or ‘voluptuous’), the Orangina advert of 2008 makes Campaign’s list of this year’s Top 10 Worst Ads. Personally, I think it should’ve been higher – it’s a shocker! What’s more, there are glaring omissions…where’s Davina’s Garnier Nutrisse abomination? Where’s Pierce Brosnan’s L’Oreal cheese-fest telling me, "You’re worth it"? Watch the Top 10, as detailed below. Do you agree with Campaign’s list? Let me know…
10. DFS – A load of people lip-synching to Nickelback’s song Rockstar (because we all live out our ‘rock star’ fantasies on the sofa, don’t we)? It’s bad enough to make me nostalgic for Courts. Funnily enough, the advert is now banned. According to The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the sofas looked too big "in relation to the actors". That’s the posh way of saying that the sofas were inflated (geddit?).
9. Samsung – Four Chelsea players play around with a ball and look like mugs (don’t they always? Sorry, that’s the Gooner in me talking). For non-footy fans, the South Korean electronics giant is the team’s sponsor, hence the presence of the players. The advert is for their LCD Series 6 HDTVs but the creative is woeful. It’s so poor, you’ll be left with the impression that Samsung is muscling into couture and flogging suits rather than TVs.
8. Premier Inn – Isn’t there a cruel irony in Lenny Henry fronting budget hotels? "Hey, I’ve found something small time!" he shouts to his manager in the advert. I’m guessing it’s his recent CV, but no – it’s the bill…
7. Orangina – Forget clowns, spiders, dentists and, if you’re reading this P Diddy, long second toes – this advert truly is the stuff of nightmares. A million times more terrifying than flying cockroaches, it’s a veritable anthropomorphic orgy of inter-species erotica. Or at least, that was the line complainants took when they contacted Ofcom and The ASA. Aside from viewers, the objectors included children’s charities and equal rights groups up in arms over its sexual (and sexist, they said) content. According to French agency FFL Paris, here’s what you need to sell Orangina in 2008: animals with bigger breasts than yer average page three model; pole-dancing creatures shaking their bootys; bikini-clad peacocks; gyrating giraffes; an octopus squeezing her ‘oranges’; a fig leaf-wearing bear and….I can’t do it justice. Watch it for yourself.
6. Kellogg’s Wake Up To Breakfast – Dame Kelly Holmes is a legendary Olympian, but she can’t read an autocue for toffee. She is human after all. Did I say human? After seeing her excruciatingly robotic delivery in this ad, I’m now convinced she’s a cyborg sent from the future to kill John Connor.
5. Country Life – It was The Sex Pistols’ Johnny Rotten who once snarled, "Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?" and as his alter ego John Lydon flogs butter to us, hordes of aging punks just might find themselves nodding in agreement with the younger incarnation…No wonder The Who sang the line: ‘hope I die before I get old’ in the classic My Generation.
MSN Music’s Tom Townsend defends John Lydon here
4. Warburtons (click here to watch) – Mr Hatano, a businessman from the Far East, arrives in Britain, only to find the Warburtons name everywhere. It’s all very Being John Malkovich and/or The Twilight Zone, but it doesn’t really convince and it’s barely memorable. I forgot I’d seen this ad until Campaign reminded me…
3. Renault (click here to watch) – It’s entitled ‘Le Cheque’ and it commits the cardinal sin of being hideously dubbed. Cheap as frites…
2. Specsavers – The great Edith Piaf, La Môme Piaf, (The Little Sparrow) and her iconic song Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien used to push glasses? Zut alors!
1. Gillette – Here it is. The worst advert of 2008 according to Campaign. Personally, I’d argue that the cheesier-than-a-Gorgonzola-factory creative has actually succeeded in giving both Roger Federer and Tiger Woods a personality. But maybe that’s just me and my warped sense of humour. Conversely, remember how cool Thierry Henry (we are not worthy! We are not worthy! We are not worthy!) was in those fab Renault Clio Va Va Voom commercials (refresh your memory here and here)? Well, the Gillette ads have sucked out every ounce of his je ne sais quoi-hipness. Instead, he comes across as the sort of person who shopped in Mr Byrite when he was a yoot. Hey Bobby, what’s the French for ‘naff’?
Today I am mostly lovin’ – I can’t get enough of Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory. This E4 US import about a group of geeks is getting better and better. The snappy script is a paean to the geek-hood. Take this snippet for example: the deeply anally retentive but vengeful-when-crossed Sheldon was described as: "one lab accident away from being a super-villain" – sheer genius. Then there’s Sheldon’s reluctance to watch The Clone Wars TV series because he hadn’t seen the film: "I prefer to let George Lucas disappoint me in the order he intended," he said. Ha,ha,ha! And best of all, the ‘rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock’ method of settling disputes….except it doesn’t, as everyone opts to be Spock! If you haven’t seen this show yet, check it out.
Today I am mostly hatin’ – Tabloid-fed hysteria over the various utterances of TV personalities. In some cases, it’s understandable – but in others, it’s ridiculous.
MSN Editor Coops
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