Thursday, 29 May 2008

Gordon only uses the best

What's the worst thing about Gordon Ramsay? The swearing gimmick? The fact he fakes catching fish to look macho? The public's ongoing penchant for being shouted at by pompous cocks until they can cook, clean or raise children to a dubious perfection? The bizarrely creased chin? Or maybe, here demonstrated in exhibit A, Mr Uncompromising's cheerful lack of qualms about sticking his face on any old product for a few quid?

His face is key, here. It fills half the billboard, because his unique combination of furrowed, frowning, smug little features has been shown in tests to be Britain's #1 most effective face at getting viewers to cook how he says, buy what he says, or believe that he's actually catching his own fricking fish. The look in this particular shot is "disappointed scorn". This image will flash past your eyes when you reach for an inferior spirit. Then, when you've recoiled in shame and regained your senses -- and the synergy is fantastic here -- the correct brand is called GORDON'S. Congratulations, you've finally lost your last fraying threads of personal autonomy. Enjoy the gin.
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Monday, 26 May 2008

Sky plus: why wait till old age?

I like the "Sir" in this one. It really gives it that extra bit of authority, no? If Sir Parkinson can't even face tomorrow without the ability to rewind live TV, what hope have you pathetic slobs got? Now sit down and stick The Apprentice on.

It just struck me that if you didn't know Parky to begin with (maybe my foreign readers can confirm this), this photo would actually strike you as a senile old man in a nursing home who really can't imagine life without the little TV blaring away in the corner. Sky's ideal customer, in other words, if only he had a little cash to spend. Get 20 and 30 year olds to do the same, and there's your paydirt.
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Friday, 23 May 2008

ING offer emotional fulfilment

It's good of them to tell us. I could have sworn this is what saving feels like:

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Wednesday, 21 May 2008

It's where the Trade go!

Some ads will sell you an aspirational image. Beautiful, stylish little things will sip the drink, drive the car, and promise you their youth, vigour and sex lives.

Some are beautifully honest.

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Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Slim Fast rattle the swill bucket

Dieting is a tricky sell, because eating less isn't much fun. You'd usually skim over that part; Special K go for slender figures in swimsuits, and Weight Watchers go for laughing women with extra energy and confidence. Slim Fast, bravely ploughing a different furrow, have gone for "CAKE, THIS WAY".

Recent research has indicated that "yummy food 24/7" is not effective for weight loss.

Thanks to Amy for the tip!
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Make a buck in the mugshot trade

An increasing number of ads are illustrated with nothing more than a long line of smiling, diverse faces. Maybe some people like to scan down and find someone that looks like them before they sign up? Anyway, this would be a pretty run-of-the-mill example if this guy didn't ring a bell:

Then it hit me. He was at the swimming pool too.

You know what? I'm not even sure he's an OCR examiner any more. No, I'm sorry, that was rash. He's an OCR examiner and he has views about the local pool, I guess. That's a lot more appealing than the idea that his poor, turbanned mug has somehow fallen into a national catalogue of grinning ethnics. Does he even know? Do any of them?
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Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Selly Deli: the result

Did you catch the one about my local sandwich shop and the Subway photos? Well, I went in and I tried one. That's right, folks. There's nothing I won't do in the public interest.

Not quite there, is it.

(Bitemarks author's own.)
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Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Don't talk back to London Midland

Assault our staff and this will be your next destination, buddy. The clanger. The nick. So think about that before you start trying any of yer physical assault, or, what's that..

..verbal assault? Yeah, buddy. Watch your mouth, or it's straight to the fucking chokey, you got me?

This is only the latest in a long campaign by the train operators to shame us for the scars we inflict on their beleaguered staff. This old chestnut's been hanging around for about five years --

-- which, apart from annoyingly misunderstanding the phenomenon of scrambling the middle letters of words (the point is that they're easy to understand), and begging the question "six rail staff? I bet more manicurists are assaulted on the job than that", includes the dreaded "verbal attacks" in the small print again. There was even one with a picture of some guy's black-eyed, beaten-up mug staring forlornly out at you. Presumably you're meant to remember the last time you argued with a snotty ticket collector, fall to your knees and cry "what have I done?".

I think the staff in question have noticed, cos now they're getting precious. True story: the other week, after two cancelled trains, some passengers went up to the driver's carriage and asked what'd happened. "The next person who says anything, I'm calling security," she bellowed at us, "because this is verbal abuse!" I nearly told her that no, it wasn't, but y'know, I didn't want to risk a night in the cells.
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Sex sells better than books


If you find yourself thinking "huh, these aren't a bad idea", watch out, I had a look in one. They're not just quick books, they're books for people who are -- how you say -- intimidated by real books? All the sentences are simplified and even the text is huge. It's like the junior novelisation. If they're a sex act, they're not a quickie, they're rutting at a hole in your mattress. Which, if you don't like books in the first place, might make a better afternoon.
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Monday, 12 May 2008

Selly Park Deli aren't helping

It must be hard for the independent cafe in a market rapidly being gobbled up by a few corporate giants. Heartening, then, when a new one opens up, like this one did down the road from me recently. I haven't had the pleasure of eating there yet, but don't those baguettes look delicious? Delicious and oddly familiar?

Oh, look at that. They swiped the Subway photo and stuck it right there on their sign.

Of course, I'd hate to see any legal action befall the old Selly Deli (as they should have called it). I'll guess I'll go and have a sandwich tomorrow and see whether it looks anything like the photo, or whether it's a crusty little roll with ham and a lettuce leaf slopped haphazardly inside. Hopes aren't high.

Update: the results
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Sunday, 4 May 2008

Bombardier speaks to your heart

Or a FAT DRUNK collapsing in a RAINY CAR PARK and throwing up CRAP ALE.

National association: not always great.
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Birmingham City Council gets down with the kids

Some middle aged council staff presumably sat in a boardroom and brainstormed the essential features this advert would need to alert today's yoof to the council's leisure services.
  • Jagged, uneven font on a graffitied-wall kinda background
  • Teenagers striking annoying poses
  • Funky web address with a "2" in place of "to"
But most importantly,
  • A string of snappy phrases belittling the reader in the slang of 1993

Just looking at it, I feel like I'm being bullied. Actually, after seeing it for a month, I've decided the quiet, pimply-looking guy on the left is being bullied. The gurning idiots next to him are shouting those catchphrases, the guy in the middle is laughing his head off, and dorky guy is just crying inside. It really is a nice impression of being 15.

Anyway, it's some comfort that in the unlikely event this advert peer-pressures any teenagers into checkin' it out, the web address leads here. If having to click "Child / Young Person" doesn't do it, the totally sad-case list of options (Family/Social support, Education/Learning, Disability Info?!) and the absence of anything so much as a jagged font will have them loggin' off before you can say Birmingham City Council is gay.
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Thursday, 1 May 2008

After 4 weeks... surprise

This, obviously, is one of those Chinese alternative medicine places with the bewildering array of ailments they can cure with herbs and the odd massage. Several thousand years of tradition sadly hasn't stopped them bowing to contemporary trends and sticking a hilarious weight-loss fantasy in their window. It becomes slightly creepier when you wonder who's holding the tape measure.
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TalkSport know their audience

So, where's the average driver when the penny drops?

(a) See red car.
(b) See blue car.
(c) Hitting an oncoming lorry in the tunnel.
(d) Wolverhampton.
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Stella is all natural goodness

No, really? So you're basically saying it's "beer"?

You can kinda track the craze for "all natural ingredients" by the increasingly improbable markets it starts to show up in. First it was chips. Today, booze. Soon, crack.
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The Money Shop promotes fiscal responsibility

Take a holiday? Pay off your debts? Or just go shopping!

You could be skipping gaily through the mall, throwing a £500 cash advance around on clothes and shoes. I mean, the thought bubble is pretty ubiquitous in loan advertising, but there's usually something a bit nicer in it than an adrenaline-fuelled retail binge.

Not pictured: girl skips home, reads her bank statement and cries.
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