Very handy

In a recent blog post I mentioned three ‘rainy’ ads that all came along at once.

And before that I posted about three ‘boxy’ ads that ran in sequence.

Now I’ve seen two ads close together, that both use human hands to make objects, shapes and letters.

The first is from the Learning Skills Council: ‘Our Future. It’s In Our Hands.’

The second is Vaseline Intensive Rescue Lotion.

I remember reading an interview with Jennifer Connelly, who played Sarah in Jim (Muppet) Henson’s Labyrinth movie with David Bowie. There is a famous scene with the ‘Helping Hands’. They catch her as she falls, forming faces out of palms and fingers, and talk to her. It seems her son refused to watch the film because he hated that scene so much.

I know what he means. The effects are very clever, but also slightly creepy.

Despite that, things often come in threes (there’s even a ‘Rule of 3′ in marketing), so I’m now waiting for another ‘hands’ ad. Handy Andies anyone?


Weasel Words

Have you noticed how advertisers and marketeers pay clever copywriters (like wot I am) to write words that sound good but don’t mean much.

My favourite example is:

Nothing works faster than Anadin

(So take nothing. Coz it works faster.)

Your task is to listen out for such meaningless slogans, and unravel them. Don’t be taken in by clever copywriting!


Hoover. Biro. Argos?

Today’s topic is ‘brand names that have become part of the language’.

Argos are currently using the slogan: ‘Don’t shop for it, Argos it.’

How much better to say: “Don’t go shopping. Go Argossing!”

So when Fred (or whoever) asks Wilma (or whoever): “What are you doing today?”, she can reply: “I’m going Argossing.”

I dunno. Do you think it might ever happen?


Shouldn’t be allowed!

I was driving along listening to the radio, when I heard a siren sounding.

I quickly looked in the rear view mirror, both wing mirrors, ahead and all around, but I couldn’t see where it was coming from. No police car. No fire engine. No ambulance.

Then I realised it was a sound effect in an ad.

That can’t be safe, can it?

It was lucky not to cause an accident…


Square peg, round hole?

I saw a van for a company called Circle Something, with a logo that comprised three squares. Just imagine the conversation.

Designer: Here’s your new logo
Client: But my company is called Circle Whatever-it-is
Designer: Ah, but the element of surprise will make people remember it better
Client: Hmm, you’re the experts I suppose…


We live in a busy world, where we are bombarded with advertising messages from all quarters. We edit out anything that is irrelevant to us. We take short-cuts to help us remember information.

So a circle-shaped logo for a company called Circle Thingy, means we’d code the information both verbally (where words are stored in the brain) and visually (where images are stored), giving us double the chance of remembering it.

Surely that’s what good advertising is all about?


Isn’t it annoying

“Isn’t it annoying when you take your glasses and plastics out of the dishwasher and they’re still wet so you have to towel them dry?”

No, Finish Extra Dry Tabs (or whatever you’re called), it isn’t.

There are a million-and-one things in the world that are more annoying than having to pick up a tea-towel once in a while.

And one of them is advertising that makes absurd assumptions.

P.S. Your customers are lucky to have a dishwasher at all! I don’t. Pah.


If music be the food of love…

I went to see the latest Harry Potter film recently, with my ‘sort of’ step-daughter. As always, there were screeds of adverts before the main feature. And the film was great!

But I do miss the Pearl & Dean theme music that used to introduce the ads.

Baba baba baba baba babada, baba baba baba baba … da!

I used to tap the tune out on my boyfriend’s leg.

Ah, happy days!

P.S. Buy it at iTunes


It’s not exactly an advert, but

Häagen-Dazs® load their delicious ice cream with tasty morsels like caramel, cookies and nuts, just enough so there’s always at least one piece showing. It encourages you to keep eating and eating until you find the next bit.

Before you know it, you’ve eaten the whole pot and have to buy another one.

Now, that’s what I call clever marketing.


What’s that all about?

There’s a kids’ ad currently playing on TV for Munch Bunch yoghurt snacks. It features a character called Bones, who’s red with a yellow tool belt that jiggles as he walks. Someone bumps into him and he says: “Hey, you squashed my squashum!”

Have I just got a dirty mind?

Make up your own mind


A tune that sticks in your head

There’s a TV ad running at the moment showing various families BBQing in their back gardens.

An ice cream van tinkles in the background, playing 5 familiar notes. The people race to get relish to squeeze onto their burgers.

I find it amazing that the ‘Bring Out The Branston’ jingle has sunk so far into the nation’s consciousness, even without the words.

It’s confident, clever advertising.

Watch it here