Thursday, January 08, 2004


The New Year is usually a very poor time for quality adverts on television. Practically every ad you see is for holidays, sales, credit cards or products to help you quit smoking. There are two ads in particular at the moment that I really don't like, though for different reasons in each case.

Firstly, there's the latest Capital One credit card advert. The premise is a couple of work colleagues at a restaurant. One says to the other "I'll get this because I've got a special low rate on my Brand X card." The other one says "Ah, but will it stay low?". "What do you mean?", says the first, looking worried. Then the voiceover man starts going on about how, with the Capital One card, you get a rate of 3.9% on balance transfers, for the life of the balance. Fair enough, you think, that's quite good. The problem I have with it, however is that the ad itself is misleading. Paying for a meal counts as a purchase, not a balance transfer and the small print on the ad says that purchases are 0% for six months and then rise to more than 13%, which you can hardly claim is a rate that stays low. Getting a credit card can be confusing enough without this sort of crap giving people wrong ideas. Grrr.

The second ad is the new Government anti-smoking one and I don't like it purely because it turns my stomach, which, I suppose is exactly the point. For those readers who don't live in this country the new campaign focuses on the fatty deposits that build up in your arteries if you smoke. Not only do the have a tube that look like an artery from which they squeeze some disgusting, off-white fatty gunge but it also has shots of various people smoking and the same gunge is dripping out of the end of the cigarettes. The bit that really turns my stomach is at the end when a woman brushes a blob of the stuff from where it's fallen on her trousers. Absolutely disgusting. As an ad with a message it is very powerful and works very well. Thankfully, I do not need to take any notice of it since I'm not a smoker.

Generally, I like ads that don't assume I'm as thick as two short planks and present themselves in a clever and/or funny way. Not that they make me buy anything but they do lift the drudgery of having to sit through three or four minutes of crap in the middle of your favourite programme. Let's hope we get a few more of them soon.

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