Ad Nauseam: De DAA Made Me Do It

Sometimes advertising can elevate itself to the realms of artistry. It can lift your spirits. It can raise the hairs on the back of your neck, make you drop your forkful of pasta with stir-in sauce and pause for a few seconds to contemplate the bigger things in life. Sometimes it tries to do this and it fails: God help them really, the DAA. They’re trying to create a Riverdance moment but it’s hard to conjure up that kind of magic when the general mood of the populace is in such tatters. They’re just not going to win us over by telling us how marvelous we are as we wheel our luggage trolleys towards Departures. The construction of Terminal 2 has been mired in controversy since day one with overspending and airline in-fighting played out in the public eye. The project got the go-ahead in 2005 at a time when … There’s more

Ad Nauseam: Terrible Song (for a mobile phone ad)

You know when you really like a band and then one of their songs gets used in an ad and you feel kinda cheated? Well that’s how I felt when I saw the new Vodafone ad which uses the song Terrible Love by The National. It’s partially (okay well, mostly) the music snob inside of me rearing her ugly head. “How dare they…” she humourlessly pontificates “…use a song with such depth of meaning to soundtrack an ad for a mobile phone company”. What Little Miss Music Snob actually means is “Oh no, this vaguely non-mainstream band which I have loved for years will now become known by lots of people with generally worse taste in music than me and they’ll refer to them as ‘that band who had that song on the Vodafone ad’ and my previous love of them will somehow become diluted by this bigger audience of … There’s more

Ad Nauseam: Just Do It

Okay, so I’ve been a bit of a grouch over the past few weeks, railing against ads for biscuits and telephone companies and the like, so this week I want to dust off all that negativity and start off with an ad that is so brilliant it quite literally gave me goosebumps. Yes dear readers this week we shall be mostly looking at ads for sports brands. Of course it’s no wonder that these companies can produce amazing ads; they have deep pockets from which to stump up for hotshot directors, music rights and celebrity endorsements. Pity the poor local advertiser who has their meagrely-financed ad placed beside the celeb-packed roller-coaster ride that is this Adidas commercial. I saw it in the cinema last week in its full two-minute-long glory and it was a spine tingling experience alone worth the movie entrance fee (though I recommend the film I saw … There’s more

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 … There’s more

Ad Nauseam – Never a copycat be

The thing about great work in any sphere is that it inevitably inspires a slew of poor imitators. Having not so long ago praised Jacob’s for good advertising work for their Christmas campaign I’m sorry to say they haven’t kept the standards up with their most recent one. Take a look yourself, though be warned; you may have to watch it from behind a cushion: I can imagine what the client / agency meetings were like in the run up to this ads creation. I’m sure they were peppered with phrases like ‘a viral sensation’, ‘modernising the brand’, ‘advertising made for social media’, ‘creating a music video, not just an advertisement’ and the like. In short, Jacob’s are trying to pull off what Cadbury’s did with Glass & a Half Productions; create branded content that is enjoyed outside of its role as an advertisement. I’ll bet a few of the … There’s more

Ad Nauseam: Betting on a One Trick Pony

If you’re interested in learning about the art of advertising I can recommend no book more than ‘The Advertising Concept Book’, which is not only something nice to put on your coffee table, but is also chockers full of sage advise, beautiful pencil illustrations and campaign deconstructions from author ex-Ogilvy adman Pete Barry. The byline of the book ‘Think Now, Design Later’ sets out Barry’s stall; that great advertising is only great if its roots are in insight-led ideas. I was reminded of one of the lessons in the book recently when hearing and seeing some recent Irish ad campaigns. Barry talks about the difference between having an overall concept which leads to lots of different ideas and having one idea which gets spun out into lots of different versions. The latter circumstance is common in short-lived advertising campaigns, but it is a route which is often taken as the … There’s more

Ad Nauseam… De do do do do doooo

I’m still emerging from my Christmas holiday coma and fighting the acceptance that it’s actually now mid January. Hence I haven’t written a proper post this week. But there has been one ad on telly in the ‘deliberately shit but awesome’ category which got my bells ringing. De do do do do dooo… I don’t understand why Pat Shortt’s programmes are so successful (actually that’s a lie, I do – they’re watched by middle aged counthry people such as half of my family) and on a personal level I’d rather poke my eye out with a splintered twig than watch an episode of Killinyourauntiewhoisactuallyalsoyoursister or whatever it’s called, but I do have a soft spot in my heart for the Pat Shortt of the D’Unbelievables era. The man clearly has dramatic talent too, as shown in his nuanced performance in Garage, the fact that he chooses to ride the RTE … There’s more

Ad Nauseam …and a box of USA Assorted

I’m continuing on the Christmas ad theme, ‘cos it’s pretty unavoidable at this stage. Like the thundering hangover and shame spiral that awaits after the office party, Christmas is just around the corner, waiting to bludgeon your wallet and liver in one fell swoop. There have been a few decent additions to the canon of Christmas ads this year. M&S have continued their winning streak with an all-dancing, Peter Kay-starring, Bee Gees number and this cute addition to their tear jerking Taste of Home campaign from Denny is worth an honourable mention. But my favourite new Christmas ad is for Jacobs biscuits. It’s 22 seconds of pure silliness but it also manages to tap into lots of truths and shared experiences about Christmas; the boredom, the sense of familial claustrophobia, the repetition of jokes and stories you’ve heard so often you know them by heart. Essentially it’s about tradition, and … There’s more

Ad Nauseam’s Top 5 Best Ever Christmas Ads

Ahhh… Christmas ads. Who doesn’t have a love/hate relationship with them? Love the ones that are such classics they’ve been airing for over twenty years. Hate the ones which browbeat us immediately after Hallowe’en with Christmas Sale – Buy Now! messages, made-on-PowerPoint and with a relentless sleighbell soundtrack (yes, I’m looking at you Harvey Norman). But fear not, for this post shall be focusing on the best of the best Christmas ads. I’m going to lay out my Top 5 Christmas ads of all time and tomorrow I’ll be asking you, dear readers, to vote for yours. A word of warning in advance: this is going to be a no-holds-barred, rose-tinted-glasses, nostalgia-fest. So Grinches, you’re probably best averting your eyes right now. Whether you’re a believer or not, Christmas is a time of year wrapped up in a complex weave of meaning and emotion (much of it created by advertising … There’s more

Ad Nauseam: What the F**k?

I saw this bus poster (a T-side to be precise for y’all poster pedants)  for the first time this evening. Now I’m no prude (having a preponderance to sprinkle my conversation with that most controversial of cusses, the ‘C’ word), but it was still a bit of a surprise to see the polite, Irish version of fuck on the side of a bus. The poster is for Just Mobile a new prepaid-only mobile phone company. New mobile phone companies are all the rage these days, what with e! Mobile‘s recent entry into the market. A cursory look at Just Mobile‘s 40-shades-of-green website reveals a brand squarely focussed at the young mobile phone user with a tongue-in-cheek begorrah, begosh, diddley-i tone of voice. ‘Pog mo Phone’ indeed. Actually, I quite like the branding (though I do wonder whether the shamrocks might get a little limp after a while). In any case, … There’s more

Ad Nauseam: Charity begins on Daytime TV

Being self employed affords me the luxury of making the last minute decision to work from home in my pyjamas, on the sofa with my laptop on my lap and the TV on in the background. Yesterday was such a day. Apart from my mid-morning hit of The Gilmore Girls, I normally avoid anything broadcast pre 6pm though. It’s usually such a pile of mind-numbing poop as to warrant avoidance. Unless it’s a repeat of Project Runway that is. Oh, I’m such a girl! Not watching daytime TV, however, means not seeing all the ground breaking advertising targeted at pensioners, stay-at-home parents and the unemployed. I miss out on all those ads for Vanish Oxy Action, denture adhesive, chair lifts and cash-for-gold rip off merchants businesses. And I also miss the majority of the ads for charities because for financial reasons charities mostly buy the cheapest airtime available (the ‘direct … There’s more

Ad Nauseam: Toothy Smiles All Round

Greetings readers. I hope you are all shiny happy people this Wednesday. I hope you have big toothy grins on your faces and I especially hope that there aren’t any rotten teeth in our midst. That’s because this weeks post is all about advertising in the exciting area of dental hygiene! I know, you just can’t contain yourself, can you? I’m not sure why, but I have a bit of a thing about dental ads. It’s probably because they are on telly all the time. No matter what the economic climate, people still have to brush their teeth (unless they’re Shane McGowan who by all appearances has never knowingly walked past a toothbrush), so advertisers have to keep on convincing us there’s a reason to buy Colgate over Aquafresh. Toothpaste manufacturing is a pretty recession proof business come to think of it. Let’s put it on that list alongside fast … There’s more

Ad Nauseam: Poll – Your Favourite Guinness ad here

It struck me today that I let Arthur’s Day pass by last week without theming Ad Nauseam accordingly. How remiss of me, dear readers. Let me make amends by dedicating this weeks post to the black stuff. Now, everyone knows that Guinness have been producing advertising par excellence for the best part of 80 years, ever since the days of the iconic posters created by John Gilroy featuring steel-beam carrying workmen, toucans, seals and of course, the proclamation that “Guinness is Good for You”. I know that my favourite part of the Guinness Storehouse is the section dedicated to their advertising (coming in a close second is the cooperage exhibition which is strangely hypnotic) and I’ve spent hours trawling through the brilliantly archived displays there. The brand are famous for making epic, big budget, “big idea” TV ads and boy do they win awards for it. In fact, their 1999 … There’s more

Ad Nauseam: Mad for Mad Men

Mad Men is one of those TV shows that are adored by critics but generally ignored by the masses. Kinda like The Wire or Freaks and Geeks. People who love these kind of series will generally bend your ear endlessly about how amazing they are and how watching them will literally change your life (I’ve seen David O’Doherty add this to his Beef 2010 song once to great effect). I know, because I am one of those annoying people. I love, love, love Mad Men and have been watching it since it started about 3 years ago, when it was scheduled at some godawful hour on a Sunday night on BBC3. I did wonder if that was why the show has never garnered a mainstream audience, because it has always been banished to the farthest fringes of late prime time. But then I asked someone who works in TV about … There’s more