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.