Crass television advertising is not dead. In fact we seem to be enjoying a renaissance. To begin with, there are the braindead sponsorship ‘bumpers‘ (I think that’s what they’re called) wrapped around Parkinson‘s new slot on ITV. Tightly framed mouths read ugly little poems clumsiliy themed on ‘plain speaking’ or something – about the silliest attempt to tie together programme content and brand values that I can remember. A very close second position goes to Leerdammer cheese, whose bumpers for Midsomer Murders (are you getting a picture of my weekend viewing?) are also stupid but at least have the self-knowledge to attempt a joke that probably works for the audience (the hard-of-hearing).
Worst of all, come to think of it, are those gut-wrenching ads for The Times, in which celebrities artlessly read scripted ‘conversations’ that are meant to suggest erudition, debate, robust to-and-fro, wisdom freely shared, blah blah. They’re embarassing and succeed in pegging the once-awe-inspiring Thunderer as a witless wannabe (a ‘used-to-be’, I suppose), tagging along behind its smarter competitors. I feel sorry for the handful of really smart and provocative journos who still work there (busy polishing their CVs as we speak, I should imagine). An important brand (and an institution) on its last legs. Sad.