Published on April 13th, 2011 | by Éilish Burke9
Ad Nauseam: Out of Character
Has anyone else noticed the rash of brand ‘characters’ in Irish ads recently? I’m not talking epic storylines acted out by characters like Papa and Nicole or those two heavily airbrushed ones in the naff Nescafe ’80s ads. I’m talking about actors playing employees of the company and becoming the face of the brand. There’s been a few and in this post we’re going to take a look at the good, the bad and the just plain annoying.
Jim in Eircom support
Jim has been around for a year or so now. He’s managed to hold on to his cushy job in Eircom customer support which sees him wandering about his fancy glass-walled office, nonchalantly tossing the odd screwed up ball of paper into a wastebasket and adjusting the tightness of his hands-free headset. Jim is a lucky man. He answers the phone to the right type of customer; some of them even seem to know him by first name. They’re easy-to-please folks who exist in a parallel universe where they haven’t spent the last half hour listening to a pan pipe version of Orinonoco Flow while being intermitently told how ‘valuable’ their call is.
Maeve from Eircom Phonewatch
Eircom love their bubbly staff representatives don’t they? Exhibit B is Maeve from the Eircom Phonewatch ad. Pushing the chirpiness all the way up to eleven, Maeve is the type of person I’d buy anything from just in order to escape from her manically sunny presence. She’s like the demented head prefect who could never leave the glory days of orating at school sporting occasions behind her and has now come to inflict her relentless optimism and organisational skills on the unsuspecting public. Probably the most annoying thing to hit our screens since the producers of Don’t Feed The Gondolas made the fatal mistake of putting Brendan O’Connor in front of a camera.
All the improbably-titled people from e Mobile
e Mobile are the new mobile phone company who pride themselves on treating their potential customers like retards. They’re all about simplicity you see; easy-to-understand pricing plans for customers who are too lazy to do some research and find out that although e Mobile are the newest mobile operator in the market, they are also one of the most expensive. It’s obvious that e Mobile are pitching themselves at an older audience; the kind of people who buy phones with giant buttons and get their adult children to set all of them to speed-dial the emergency services in case of a heart attack. These customers aren’t price sensitive and they just want to be given a nice round figure that they can fork out every month. e Mobile are staffed by a slew of lovely girls and boys like Aoife, Laura and Mark who are willing to do just that. They’re no-nonsense people with no-nonsense job titles; Mark is ‘Director of Simplicity’ for example and Karen is ‘Head of Doing things Differently’. I applied for the job of ‘Queen of Sitting on My Arse and Playing Spider Solitaire’ but unfortunately the ‘Head of Making Important Decisions’ didn’t think I was quite rosy-cheeked or patronising enough. Bitch.
No prizes for guessing who e Mobile are owned by either. Yes, it’s Eircom. One trick pony on the advertising front much?
Ferg from Spar
Ah Ferg. Ferrrrrrg. He’s been in the Spar ads for about a year now and is threatening to become a bit of an institution. Not bad from a pay packet point of view for his alter-ego comedian Fred Cooke but it becomes one hell of a tight pigeon hole after a while. Ferg is the idiot savant in red who wins praise from his boss and scorn from his workmates for unwittingly coming up with great ideas to sell stuff. His is the kind of village eejit character everyone loves to take to heart. There’s an extra edge to his personality that makes him believable. If it were Ferg up against any of the one-dimensional Eircom characters I’d vote for him any day. As long as the vote wasn’t for who was first to be thrown off a pier, then it’d definitely be Maeve.