What to bring, when you’re told not to bring a thing: Is the art of advertising dead?

I’ve always been an admirer of really good adverts, with classics such as ‘belly’s gonna get ya!’ and ‘BN,BN’ among my favourites, but things seem to have gone down hill since the creative advertisements of the ‘naughties’ died out. Over the last few years our TV ads have been overtaken by warning and awareness ads, some of which are duly appreciated, such as driving speed warnings and STI awareness ads, but with the increase of television channels comes the increase in terrible, annoying and frustrating advertisements, and it begins with the latest TV demon: PPI.

What seems to be an urban myth or some kind of non-existent financial demon, PPI has now gotten hold of our telephone numbers and emails. These adverts may have at first worried a few, but when the realisation kicked in that no one in recorded history has ever ‘taken out a loan when they didn’t want or need to’, we as a nation got severely annoyed. PPI is not an issue that should be broadcast as though it is a public service announcement, and should certainly not be clogging up our television channels.

However, as annoying as PPI ads are, they’re nothing compared with genuinely poor adverts, adverts that think they’re good, adverts which could be bettered by a group of Apprentice candidates. The first culprit: Heroes chocolates. Their latest (and I believe their only) advert can only be described as an abomination.

It’s the kind of text-book humour the nation would have found funny back in 2005 – a stereotype clueless husband and stereotype wife in control, struggling to decide what they should take to their friends party as a sign of courtesy, despite the host explaining to them that they need not ‘bring a thing’. Sure, it’s a situation British people find themselves in regularly, but it’s no issue. So we have a poor advert ‘plot’ to start.

After a series of cut-aways to ridiculous scenarios in which they arrive at the party with elaborate solutions such as a nacho dip hat on their child, the wife then decides that Heroes chocolates are the best thing to take to the party.She makes this decision with a sort of ‘these will do’ attitude, already displaying a blatant disregard for the quality of the product. And then comes the worst part of all, the tagline. A tag-line so unnecessarily simple, elongated and bland it’s as though it was almost written ironically. ‘Heroes, what to bring, when you’re told not to bring a thing’. That’s eleven syllables. That’s one less syllable than the longest non-technical or coined word in the English language (antidisestablishmentarianism).

All of these elements combined act as possibly the worst produced advert I’ve ever seen – even the Safestyle UK guy offering ‘buy one get one free’ windows is more appealing than this disgrace. The only feasible conclusion to come to with this advert is that the marketing guys left it late, went out the night before it needed to be finished and produced the advert last-minute to appease their superiors.

So the question remains, is the art of advertising dead? For now it is unclear, we’ll have to hope that somewhere out there, there are some real advertising heroes who know what to bring to our Televisions, when they have been told to bring something. Anything. Just not crap or PPI.

Witness the disgrace here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmGX1wKHdP8

Heroes Ad Blog Post 6.8.13


BN and Gone…But Now They’re Back

The return of BN biscuits has been met with nation-wide excitement amongst ‘90’s kids’, nostalgia junkies and anyone with a taste for catchy theme tunes. The smiley, chocolatey, biscuit sandwiches were sold in the UK between 1998 and 2000, but sales came to an abrupt end just as the country was getting used to the snack.

Along with their moreish taste and aesthetically pleasing appearance, the BN biscuit craze brought with it a theme tune unrivalled by any other catchy tune from the 20th century. The uplifting tune from ‘Mah Nà Mah Nà’ (originally used in an Italian mondo film) was used along with the lyrics ‘BN BN’ to create an advertisement that could provoke incessant humming among even the quietest recluses.

Despite their disappearance from the UK in 2000, BN biscuits were still being sold in Europe, and continued to be produced in France. This left many UK holiday-goers feeling cheated, knowing that just over the channel their favourite snack was being sold.

After the UK endured thirteen years without BN biscuits (which felt like a lifetime), United Biscuits decided to re-introduce BNs to the UK, and BN lovers took to social networking site Twitter to express their jubilation.

Tweets such as: ‘Apparently BN biscuits are back in the UK? All my dreams have come true at once’ and ‘Holy shit. Tesco have started stocking BN biscuits again. This is a great day for humanity. #FuckYes’ give a great insight into the effect the return of the biscuits has had on the nation.

Facebook had a hand in bringing BNs back to the UK, and a spokesperson at United Biscuits said: “We know that BN is a much loved brand (people have been telling us so on Facebook) and we felt that now was the time to bring it back to the UK.”

The rebirth of these iconic treats has left the country wondering, why did they go in the first place? In a similar fashion to what happened with Sunny Delight, the absence of BNs has only increased the nation’s need for them, and consequently, has provoked more questions to be asked about their disappearance.

The absence of BN biscuits was so appallingly unbearable for some UK residents, that online petitions to ‘bring back BN Biscuits to the U.K.’ were made and put online. The main petition site managed to collect 1,744 signatures, and a second petition site on ‘twitition.com’ mustered up a total of two signatures. Through the use of YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Piczo and Petition sites, BN fanatics managed to gather 1,746 signatures altogether since 2007 in a bid to bring the biscuits back to the UK.

These online petitions were noticed by United Biscuits, who listened to the online consumers and lovers of the BN brand. A spokesperson said: “We saw all the conversations and Facebook pages and could see that there were many people out there that loved BN.”

The biscuits are currently being sold in Tesco stores around the UK, and the grocery store chain has become more of a hero than anything else since the first sales of the biscuits. Tesco stores are currently the favoured choice of supermarket for BNs, and a spokesperson at United biscuits said: “We are launching them to start with in Tesco – we know that their consumer base loves this product”.

For all those BN fans who after 13 years still can’t get that advertisement out of their head – fear not!  BN ads are scheduled to re-appear as well, in a bid to further publicise such a momentous return of the beloved treats. “We will be supporting the launch of this product with in-store and digital marketing to make sure that consumers can pick up a pack of their loved biscuits!” said a United Biscuits Spokesperson.

BN Main Image2

Twitter Detectives Find ‘Suspicious’ Boston Marathon Evidence

Thousands of detectives took to social networking site Twitter yesterday in reaction to the horrendous scenes seen at the Boston Marathon. A series of bombs exploded at the finish line of the race, and two more exploded in the surrounding area of Boston.

As the story went worldwide, a picture of the race ‘just before the bombs exploded’ was posted online, but something wasn’t quite right with it. What seemed to be an innocent photo turned out to be key piece of evidence, as a tweet tidal wave took over the ‘Boston marathon’ hashtag. Thousands of expert detectives were shocked to discover what they described as the ‘suspicious man on the roof’.

A flurry of these tweets, each with more and more intense scrutiny of the ‘suspicious man’ included a series of professional Paint edits of the photo, in order to make it absolutely clear where the man on the roof was in the picture (on the roof).

The suspicious man was seen walking like a regular human being along what looked like a regular balcony of a regular apartment, but Twitter detectives found this far too suspicious considering the events that happened soon after the suspicious man was spotted.

Some of the tweets exclaimed the necessity to reveal this man to the Police, while others expressed a tone of worry along with self pride at the fact they were clever enough to spot the man, and then consider their suspicions of the suspicious man in a professional context, on Twitter.

It is likely that these Twitter detectives will be working long and hard scanning the internet for any terrorist or extremist news propaganda along with the search terms ‘man’ ‘on’ or ‘roof’ in order to put to bed what can only be described as the mystery of the year.

These are some of the pictures of the man on the roof + expert edits.

Original Man On The RoofMan On The RoofMOTRman on the roof arrow

Can Adkins Save Reading?

With the news of Nigel Adkins’ appointment as Reading boss making the headlines this morning, people will be considering whether or not it was the right move for Reading owner Anton Zingarevich. With eight games left and a maximum of 24 points up for grabs, Adkins has somewhat of a mission on his hands to keep the Royals up – but how has he done before?

When he was appointed manager of then-League One team Southampton, Adkins’ first eight games resulted in four wins, two draws and two losses. If he was to repeat that form with Reading, they would finish the season on 37 points, just 3 points off what is considered the average needed to stay up. The Liverpudlian’s final eight league games in charge of Southampton resulted in two wins, fours draws and two losses, a total of 10 points. So going by both his form as a new manager and his recent form, you would put your money on Reading being relegated.

However, this may well be part of Anton Zingarevich’s plan. As his career as a manager has proved, Adkins’ special talent is getting teams promoted. Having done it with Bangor City, Scunthorpe (twice), and famously bringing Southampton from League One to the Premier League in two seasons, Adkins could be just what the Russian is looking for.

Facing relegation this season will be a massive blow for the bottom three teams come the end of the season, as the Premier League has announced that there will be world-wide audio-visual broadcasting rights for the 2013/14 and 2014/15 seasons, meaning a lot more money going to the clubs. Anton Zingarevich has said that the appointment of Adkins was for ‘the short and long term’, which suggests that he anticipates the drop, but knows he has a man who can win them promotion again.

Should Adkins do the seemingly impossible and keep the Royals in the Premier League only to see the Saints relegated, Southampton Chairman Nicola Cortese may well have inadvertently shot himself in the foot.

Fuel-Gate: Was the Strike a Conspiracy?

‘Fuel Crisis’, ‘Petrol Panic’,’Pumps Go Dry’ are three examples of apocalyptic headlines produced in the nations papers over the past two weeks. As we were told by the government to stock up on fuel ahead of the potential strikes (of which had no planned dates and could only be announced a week in advance) everybody rushed to the pumps to fill up their tanks, which was later branded ‘panic buying’.

Panic buying was a trend that caught on all across the U.K., much like the bomb shelter trend in the 1940’s, and therefore caused pumps at most petrol stations to dry up in hours. Then, to cause even more panic and a potential public safety threat, Cabinet Officer Minister Francis Maude advised people to store petrol in Jerry Cans in their garages in case of industrial action.

With pumps drying up all over the country and worriers worrying worryingly nationwide, there was some good news to come of the whole catastophe – fuel stations’ sales had increased by 80% and further stats given by the Petrol Retailers Association stated that petrol sales rose by more than 170% and sales of diesel were up by almost 80%. woohoo.

But was this whole near-calamity just a ploy by the government to reap the economic rewards or to divert the publics attention from other important matters? Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls has accused David Cameron of playing ‘political games’ to try to distract attention from the budget and scandal over Tory donors. “I do think that political games were played. I think the prime minister woke up on Monday morning and thought, I’ve got the worst weekend I’ve had in government because of the Tory donation scandal after a budget which had been judged by the country to be deeply unfair, and he thought why don’t I try to divert attention?”

However, the fuel strike was a real warning by Unite (the union representing fuel tanker drivers) says the union’s assistant general secretary Diana Holland: “This is not a new issue. We have been alerting the Government all the way along.

“We want to put a floor in, under which no-one can fall. When the contract negotiations take place, we want the oil companies, the retailers, and the distribution companies to say no-one will fall below this standard.”

There were rumours that the potential stike was all in aid of taker drivers’ pay, which was revealed to be on average £42,500 a year, but this was not what the strike was about according to Ms Holland: “This is not about an increase in pay. This is about setting a floor so that when anybody bids for work in this sector there is a minimum standard which everyone agrees will apply,” she said.




Power-Puff Hitchhikers?

Enjoy meeting new people? Fancy a trip around Europe for free? Then you’re only a Power-Puff girl costume and a good cause away from doing both!

Nineteen year-old Warwick University student, Bhavik Patel is taking part in the university’s own annual charity event known as ‘Jailbreak’, which entails travelling as far away from the university campus as possible, without spending a penny.

Bhavik is keen to get on with the challenge and said: “The jailbreak event starts on the 5th and ends on the 6th (of November), we have 36 hours to get as far from our university as we can without spending any money.” The Charity behind the event is called Practical Action, an international development charity that helps to alleviate poverty in the developing world through the innovative use of technology. “They are usually underpinned by bigger names, for example UNICEF” explained Bhavik.

The student’s plan is go (along with two of his friends) dressed as Power-Puff girls – an interesting prospect, but an idea Bhavik thinks will put him and his friends in good stead for the trip: “When you’re out looking to hitchhike you need to be seen, three guys dressed as power-puff girls catches anyone’s eye. Last year we went as Robin and Batman, it worked pretty well, people looked at us simply out of curiosity and we were holding signs saying we were hitchhiking for charity, at times people approached us asking if they could be of any use. This year we’ll probably stand out even more.”

The main rules of the event are to not spend any money on travel, and what’s known as the ‘ultimate challenge’ involves not spending any money on anything such as food, accommodation etc. “We completed the ultimate challenge last year, surprisingly people gave a lot of food and drink, we usually slept in 24 hour petrol stations. Getting back is a lot harder since you’re looking to hitchhike to a specific spot, we ended up having to get a coach as my partner had a exam – we paid ourselves wasn’t too bad 30 quid each, a bargain for the time we had” Bhavik said.

Having done this charity even for a number of years now, students try to better previous student’s attempts every year, which provides a competitive side to event, making it a more desirable event to take part in. Bhavik explained: “The current record is someone managed to get to Thailand, another person managed to get all the way to New York as well. This year we’re hoping to either get to Amsterdam or head south to Spain or Italy. We will definitely make it out of the country.”

Being experienced in this kind of charity trip after making it all the way to Germany last year, Bhavik is optimistic about the trip and feels as though he has an edge of the other students because of this. “Last year we raised over £30, 000.00 for UNICEF who used the money to help victims of the flooding in Asia at the time. There were many insane moments last year, we managed to ride in a DB9, which was a highlight, there were also low points, on the way back a crazy German couple decided to stop in the middle of the motorway and kick us out because they were heading in another direction. We had to run off the motorway and walk for miles to get into the next smallest town” Said Bhavik.

Bhavik also explained to me how vital the costumes were in their attempt to travel across Europe as well as the ability to be persuasive and give off the impression that you are a safe person; “you only get a few seconds to convince a stranger to give you a lift, so you need to make those precious few moments count. You need to sound like a safe, nice person and obviously mention your doing this for charity. Another tip I learnt was as soon as people make eye contact with you – approach them, between us we got about 70 euros of food, and a lot of drink including alcohol to make those long hours waiting a lot more entertaining.”

Bhavik also revealed a few more hints and tips he used and suggested would be useful for anybody planning on travelling round the world on a tight budget. He said “Wearing the outfits that we were wearing, people approached us naturally just wondering what we were doing. My partner knows quite a few languages, a great asset, but for those languages we couldn’t speak we had a book which had a message saying what we were doing for charity and asking for whatever help people could spare. Quite a few people made donations once they read that, either in money or giving us a meal or drink.”

News and Magazine Production – Blog 1

It’s the start of the second year on our journalism course and as part of the News and Magazine Production module we’ve been asked to organise ourselves into groups and come up with an idea for a magazine. Our group decided on creating a travel magazine, for those looking to travel on a tight budget ( students, post grads). At first I wasn’t sure I would know enough about travelling to write much in the magazine but since doing my first feature (about a charity event involving travelling for free) I have become more enthusiastic about the magazine concept and I am looking forward to progressing with the group. I believe the design stages of the magazine will be pivotal to the success of the magazine, as the aesthetics will be what (hypothetically) sells the magazine.

I am looking forward to writing about cheap travel as it is not an area that I have persued an interest or have written about before. However, I am fond of the concept, and so I believe that this interest will motivate me to work hard and to enjoy my work. I am also looking forward to working with my team as they are close friends of mine, but are also hard-working and easy to communicate with. I believe good communication will be pivotal to creating a successful magazine.