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Chuck

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Now this… is how you make an advert.

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Updates

Apologies for the lack of updates recently. My lovely lady gave birth to our first child only a handful of weeks ago and my life has been filled with sleepless nights, mountains of dirty nappies and unadulterated joy.

Normal updates will return soon.

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Here we have a prime example of the advert outshining the product; it really is far too good to be wasted on Travelodge. They’ve got good design, a humourous concept and a charming delivery… things which Travelodge as a company have none of.

Anyone who’s ever stayed in a Travelodge knows that a good nights sleep is something you’re guaranteed not to get. I have stayed in hundreds of Travelodges up and down the country and have been subjected to all manner of overheated hotels, rude staff, cold breakfasts, failed wi-fi, loud noises, broken keys, echoey corridors, drunken guests, lumpy beds, dripping showers and the same bland uniformity that follows you everywhere like an episode of Neighbours on repeat.

That’s not to say that Travelodge doesn’t provide an important service. The fact that they’re cheap and everywhere is their main selling point; you don’t expect quality and class, you expect a bed in a room for a few quid. You can’t blame them for making an ad which makes them look brilliant – that’s the whole point of advertising after all – but as we consumers already know, it’s simply not true.

Now the Premier Inn adverts with Lenny Henry – that’s more like it. Low class, cheap ‘star’, bad gags – that’s a far more accurate representation on the cheap hotel market than the Travelodge ad. They’ve aimed above their station, they’ve developed delusions of grandeur, and they’re really pushing it in the honesty stakes.

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This commercial suffers from the same problems as the Peugeot advert that I mentioned a few months ago; namely that the product is the least interesting, least exciting, least appealing and least desirable item on screen.

Think about it, which would you rather have? A custom designed hot-rod or a mass produced mid-life crisis? No-one would stare in awe or be genuinely impressed by you driving a leftover 80’s poseurmobile, but one of those other cars… well, that’s real design and real engineering right there.

So once again we have an example of advertisers assuming that consumers would have anonymous expense rather than genuine style. Personally I rather like this advert, though, and if they’re prepared to undermine themselves to put it on screen then who am I to complain? It must have been a very fun shoot to be on.

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Firstly, I think you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn’t think this a great advert. It’s a strong concept, well executed and with a surprisingly low amount of actual product involvement; it’s charming and memorable and, much like the waterslide advert that preceeded it, withstands repeat viewing.

What’s with the shower shot though? Barclaycard contactless technology offers you convenience is the point of this metaphorical rollercoaster – it gets you there quicker and easier – so how come he’s also allowed to eye up a showering beauty on the way? And how come she seems to actively enjoy his perving on morning commute? Does Barclaycard take you into a Buck Rogers future where the technology is better and the skirts shorter?

When he arrives at work the first thing he does is flirt with his co-worker. I doubt very much she knows he’s a peeping tom and she certainly wouldn’t take any forbidden apples off him if she was aware of his predilection for using his credit cards to spy on chicks in the shower.

Obviously sex and advertising go hand in hand and using a bit of t+a has been a staple tool of directors since time began. I’m also not the prudish or objectionable type who thinks this sort of thing should be banned, or that the use of sex to sell is always bad – but the only roles for women in this are either raising kids, exercising or actively encouraging our lead character to sleep with him…

The shower scene – as with most shower scenes the film world over – is fairly gratuitous. That may not be a bad thing; I just thought it was a very odd moment and that there was something suspicious about how the benefits of using Barclaycard seems now to include spying on a naked woman (who enjoys this act of voyeurism) and flirting with co-workers.

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I’ve had little success with this blog in terms of reaching the targets of my oft-rage. A friend of Gio Compario got in touch to tell me how much he disliked my critique of his mates advert a while ago (you should read the whole exchange if you haven’t already), and someone who appears to know someone who was in an Ant and Dec advert also told me to stop being mean to his friends…. but that’s about it.

Until today, that is – when whoever is in charge of trolling Twitter for references to used cars for @webuyanycar got in touch in response to my article about how I actually quite like the webuyanycar.com advert.

A fair question, I thought. After all, if I’m to wax lyrical online about peoples work then I should at least be able to offer suggestions rather than just vitriolic criticism or grudging admiration. I am no ad-man, this is true – but I know what I hate and it shouldn’t be too hard to think of the opposite of that. Right?

So this is what I’d like to see. There’s multiple choices.

  • A continuation of the current campaign where the rave track and backing dancers spring forth from unsuspecting fake adverts – much like this classic (and rare) Carling Black Label advert from the 80’s.
  • Differing alternate readings of the webuyanycar.com lyrics – jazz verson, slam poetry version, operatic version etc, all performed with an exquisite attention to period detail.
  • A Grand Theft Auto pastiche where our polygon hero opts to check the value and worth of vehicles instead of stealing and murdering for them.
  • *something* involving dwarfs.

Hmmm. Not overly inspired. I’m sure my loyal readers can summon up something better. C’mon, there’s a couple of hundred of you a day now, someone must be able to help our 2nd hand car dealers with some natty ideas.

We have one suggestion so far, left on the original article, from edwardellison.

  • “Advertising that make no pretense to be anything other than a plea to buy their product is the way to go.”

Leave them in the comments section of this article and I’ll make sure they make their way to the @webuyanycar tweetbot. This is the future, and it’s happening one second at a time.

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