Brands brought low

Parkinson's Prudential mouth
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.


  1. I’m absolutely with you. Bumpers are the dumbest marketing tools ever invented. They’re too short to tell an interesting story (or mostly even tell a good joke). They stop the viewer from getting to the programme and they let brands get on telly when they have no business being there. The only upside about them is that when you’re ff-ing through the ads in an episode of the West Wing those crap Citroen bumpers (is it Citroen?) tell you when to press play again.

  2. I bought the Times yesterday for the first time in years and it was atrocious. i kept flicking through it over and over again looking for news – there wasn’t any. It’s like the Daily Mail without the unintentional jokes.

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