The World According To Damien
in a World gone mad – one sane voice emerges…

Damien on… UK TV Ads

Having escaped cold, wet, miserable Britain twelve years ago, I have not seen too many of their TV ads during that time. But those which I have caught have featured a trend which is DEEPLY annoying; a line of qualifiers, links and disclaimers – in a compressed font – running across the bottom of the picture.

Now, given I have rarely watched LIVE television since obtaining my first VCR in 1982, ads are not a major problem for me – obviously, I skip over them. And since my current PVR allows me to progress in thirty-second hops, these days I am rarely even troubled by the brand-names.

However I have watched the few BRITISH ads that have come my way, just out of curiosity. And those ever-present lines of compressed print are a major DISTRACTION. It is like trying to look someone in the eyes when they are wearing an absurd wig – or have a disgusting wart – or big tits.

In fact my first thought when I saw “T&Cs apply” was that the letters STOOD for the naughty bits of a woman – but then I decided they must mean “Terms And Conditions” – right?

Anyhoo, I suppose at least SOME of this crap is forced upon the ad-makers by the Advertising Standards Authority (or whatever they are called today). It was those guys who were responsible for one of the LAMEST series of ads ever, back in the Nineties. I am referring to the Whiskas’ “Eight Out Of Ten Cats” campaign.

For those too young to remember; around 1988, an ad premiered that featured a “panel” of ten people whom we were told had taken part in a “test” where they had had to determine which cat food their pet preferred.

And like on some mediocre game-show, they pressed buttons and ten screens lit up – two of them displayed brand X, while the remaining eight came up Whiskas. Thus the slogan – “In tests, eight out of ten cat-owners said their cat preferred Whiskas” – was born.

This slogan was then used for YEARS – until someone blabbed to the ASA that during the tests, their cat had eaten anything put in front of it – at which point, the ASA acted.

But instead of finally DUMPING the whole dreary campaign, Whiskas’ ad-men simply CHANGED the slogan to “In tests, eight out of ten cat-owners – who expressed a preference – said their cat…(etc.)” – how lame was THAT?!

Eventually, the whole thing collapsed when a rival company began a far more MODERN and infinitely BETTER campaign simply featuring a cute girl feeding their product to an even cuter cat.

Which nowadays leaves “Eight Out Of Ten Cats” solely as the title of a comedy panel show – which it uses ironically.


2 Responses to “Damien on… UK TV Ads”

  1. Ten out of ten cats (pet ones in the human home or giant ones in the jungle and savannah) are merciless, violent, killers. And that is all I need to know about cats in order to decide what ‘owners’, or the population as a whole, ought to do with the cats of this planet.

    Ten out of ten humans are capable of being trained to choose Love and Peace as their way of life. And I have yet to hear of a cat who helped make the planet a better place.

    Ten out of ten advertisers are capable of telling lies. And I never heard of an advertising industry worker who had a change of heart and walked out in the middle of a work day churning out crass cobblers BUT it would not surprise if one did. THAT is the difference.

    What? You were not talking about the difference between cats and humans? Oh, sorry, I’ll go back and read it again…! (Did I ever tell you that I do not like cats? Or dogs? Or humans over the age of about twelve unless they are Blues fans? Or, worst of all, myself?)

  2. OUCH! But LOL.

    My newest animal companion is called Ginger (now just about grown up). I’ve never had a male cat before. Who knew something so CUTE could be so VICIOUS? Only slightly, to me – but to the household geckos he’s a ruthless KILLER. I’ve managed to rescue a few from him, but the rest…

    But then, they know no better – ad-men on the other hand…

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