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Cricket – too many opportunities for ad breaks

February 6, 2009
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Summer.  Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.  No, that’s not right.  That’s autumn, and it’s still a month away.  While I wait for the mists and the mellowing fruit (in vain, it seems; the recent heatwave has dried grapes on the vine and stewed apples on the tree) I suffer through the end of the non-ratings period on TV and the moronic advertising that seems to match the programming.

The following is just a sample.

Johnnie Walker The ad is a sequence of captioned images: building the Harbour Bridge, climbing Everest, “One Great Leap” (space), reclaiming the Ashes in 2006 and saving lives (surf lifesavers).  I find it utterly offensive that JW appropriates these images to advertise their product.  The fact that I don’t much care for the product perhaps makes my irritation more intense, however I would still be cross even if the images were being used to advertise something I liked (although I find it difficult to see how the images could be used in an ad for, say, kittens).  Interestingly, the – presumably original – American version of the ad includes the following: “conquering” flight (whatever that means), building New York, climbing Mt Everest, the Civil Rights movement, walking in space, and unifying Berlin.   The Australian version is ever-so-slightly more palatable than the American, thanks to the excision of the Civil Rights march and Berlin Wall imagery, however the re-titling of the “building New York” footage as “building the Harbour Bridge” is a tad cheeky.

Crown Lager A gormless-looking guy in a pub starts tapping his Crownie.  Instead of reacting in a believable way – passive-aggressively (eyerolls; pointed glances; theatrical sighing) or aggressive-aggressively (a swift punch in the gob; glassing gormless guy with the shards of the very bottle he’s been tapping) –  the other punters join in.  Soon, the tapping seems to spread across the entire town, culminating in cries of “speech!  speech!”, whereupon gormless guy rises to his feet and the copywriters, having completely exhausted their meagre talent, script an abrupt “cut”.   This ad is not why I don’t drink Crown Lager (I don’t drink Crown Lager because it is horrid), but it has put me off Asahi (at least, in Australia).  Thanks, Fosters.

KFC Does Cricket Australia have any say over the way in which players are used in ads?  If not, it should seize control as soon as possible.  If so, they are obviously not taking the idea of protecting their brand at all seriously.  This particular series of ads running throughout the summer involves excrutiating voiceovers, with visuals from various one-day and 20/20 matches.  I would describe the scripting as execrable, however given Andrew Symonds’ recent behaviour, perhaps the writers demonstrated some genius in capturing the essence of the man.

Solo Either Symonds really is a brutish dolt (or doltish brute) or he needs to get better management.  In the Solo ad, a quartet of guys agrees on a dare – one dresses in a tutu and goes for a run, fuelled by Solo.  Poor bugger runs into Andrew Symonds, who shoves him to the ground and then smirks (probably because the victim is a bloke in a skirt and that’s “unAustralian” and worthy of the descriptor “lump of shit”).  The message is, therefore, drink Solo, act like a bit of a tit, and you’ll be assaulted?

Ford “Cracking Catches” I am left assuming that these ads are deliberately absurd.  That’s the only explanation for what are, essentially, narrated Powerpoint presentations that end with a non-sequitur from Andrew Symonds.

King Gee I acknowledge that I’m not the target demographic for this ad, but until broadcasting technology develops to the extent of only televising ads appropriate to each specific viewer I will continue to be annoyed by this one.  The heroic worker narration: “If you work in an office, you don’t tell your kids about the memo you wrote.  If you work as a dentist, you don’t tell your kids about the tooth you capped”, basically denigrating these jobs as trivial.  Of  course, if you put a few rivets in a bridge, you have something to be proud of.  I’m not sure why this grates so much.  It’s probably the studied Australian-ness of the narrator’s accent – it sounds completely un-natural – combined with the fact that the language used in the script sounds quite American.

And, in the words of Tom Gleisner, a dishonourable mention must go to all the programme promos spruiked by the cricket commentators.  The enthusiasm Mark Taylor can muster for “Farmer Wants a Wife” is truly extraordinary.   There really should be a Logies category for these spots.

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