Remember everyone in Scotland mocking Microsoft, for their advert where they basically mentioned cricket? Of course, Scottish people don’t play cricket – they prefer backstreet wrestling and thumb-wars.
Here is the offending Cortana advert.
Well, Microsoft have decided to make things right in Glasgow, by providing them with a brand new advert, just for them.
Instead of saying “Cortana can remind you to see if James is up for the cricket this weekend”, which was roundly booed, the new advert – which Microsoft were hoping would go viral – has rectified it.
The new ad reads: “Cortana, next time I speak with Chris, remind me not to mention the cricket.” And here’s the new advert, in exactly the same position, and aimed at the one person who tweeted about it last week.
You might want to sit down for this, but it looks like adverts aren’t really delivering on their promises. We’re talking specifically about broadband commercials and the like, which promises all manner of speeds. However, they’re not coming good on their claims.
According to our pals over at Which!!!, up to three-quarters of UK households (up to? Is this another claim that won’t deliver too?) are not getting the speeds they pay for.
The watchdog reckon that somewhere in the region of 15.4 million households are paying for packages that have lower speeds than advertised, and in fact, have packages that will never, ever reach the speeds promised.
Ofcom are trying to help, by making it easier for us to ditch providers, if we’re unhappy with the service. However, if they’re all fibbing to us, then it isn’t really a sufficient solution to the problem.
Which!!! ran some tests, that suggested only 17% of homes were getting the average advertised speeds, and of course, around peak time, that’s even worse.
“We want Ofcom to ensure consumers get the speeds promised by providers,” said Which!!! executive director Richard Lloyd. ”It is not good enough that millions of homes are so poorly served by their broadband provider with speeds that just don’t live up to what was advertised.”
The current rules state that an ISP has to make sure that 10% of their customers can achieve a top speed if they’re going to use it in advertising. While Which!!! have shown that some packages can’t meet that, it’d be better for customers if broadband providers had to reach much more than 10% to advertise their maximum speed.
Which!!! found that only 4% of customers on TalkTalk’s 17Mbps package were getting the top advertised speed, and worse still, a mere 1% of those on BT’s 76Mbps deals could get the top speed. Of course, the ISPs disputed all this.
However, that might be changing as they’ve announced that they’re going to be testing pre-roll and post-roll adverts on some users. Obviously, if they deem it a success, they’ll roll it out at everyone.
It looks like the commercials will only be for Netflix’s original content – so shows like Orange is the New Black, House of Cards and that cartoon about a sarcastic horse.
Still, any worries of third-party adverts should be assuaged by Netflix themselves.
A Netflix spokesperson said: “We are not planning to test or implement third-party advertising on the Netflix service. For some time, we’ve teased Netflix originals with short trailers after a member finishes watching a show. Some members in a limited test now are seeing teases before a show begins. We test hundreds of potential improvements to the service every year. Many never extend beyond that.”
Can you cope with that while you’re binge watching boxsets of TV shows?
A Welsh bus company has pulled ads on its buses because they featured a topless model and a slogan that has been described as sexist.
The ads, promoting New Adventure Travel’s new cross-city service in Cardiff, first appeared at the weekend. Soon enough, people were very annoyed. As the picture below shows, the advert reads: ”Ride me all day for £3″
One person tweeted: “HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO EXPLAIN THIS AD TO MY PRIMARY SCHOOL KIDS?? Thanks but no thanks, won’t be taking advantage #everydaysexism”. Pop singer Charlotte Church referred to it as “atrocious.”
Of course, for every person angry about it, there was a swathe of people lining up to tut about “SJWs” and generally not seeing what all the fuss was about.
New Adventure Travel published this statement: “In view of the reaction to our bus advertising today we wish to set out our position: Firstly we have stated that our objectives have been to make catching the bus attractive to the younger generation. We therefore developed an internal advertising campaign featuring males and females to hold boards to promote the cost of our daily tickets.”
“The slogan of ‘ride me all day for £3′ whilst being a little tongue in cheek was in no way intended to cause offence to either men or women and, if the advert has done so then we apologise unreservedly. There has certainly been no intention to objectify either men or women. Given the volume of negativity received we have decided to remove the pictures from the back of the buses within the next twenty four hours.”
Now, it is your turn to complain about stuff.
We all know that businesses stretch the truth in adverts. Sometimes, they tell outrageous porkies too. So, with all that in mind, TalkTalk have had one of their adverts banned after they claimed its broadband connection was a “whopping 99.9pc reliable”.
The Advertising Standards Authority said they weren’t having any of it, and that the claim was in fact, misleading.
The TV commercial offered free unlimited broadband, and said: “TalkTalk would like to wish everyone a … free year. With totally unlimited broadband, free for a whole year, all you pay is £16.70 monthly line rental. Celebrate TalkTalk’s best deal. With sparkling speeds of up to 17 meg, and a network connection that’s a whopping 99.9% reliable.”
Seems the ASA thought it was more a case of a whopper, rather than whopping. The watchdog said that the evidence provided by TalkTalk to back this claim up represented an average of exchanges for its core network from January to August 2014.
The ASA said in its ruling: “We were concerned that consumers would not be aware of the distinction between a provider’s core network and a user’s overall internet connection. We considered most consumers would be interested in the reliability of their end-to-end broadband connection up to the point of their router or into their home, rather than the reliability of certain portions of the overall connection, when making a decision to purchase a broadband package with a particular internet service provider.”
“We also noted that there were external factors that would affect overall connection reliability, which we understood TalkTalk would not have control over. Because the evidence did not substantiate the likely interpretation of the claim, we concluded the ad was misleading.”
So there you go. Not a lie, but not at all useful for customers.
You’ll remember the Protein World advert which made a load of people angry – while the owner of the company said people who were defacing them were ‘terrorists’, they’re not the only ones who want to mock.
Carlsberg decided to do their own response on the London Underground.
While Protein World seemed to actively enjoy the negative attention for their ‘body shaming’ billboard, Carlsberg decided to paraphrase them with a ‘beer body’ ad, as you can see above.
The Carlsberg bottle even has a nice pair of yellow bikini bottoms on, just like the advert it mocked with the “Are you beer body ready?” slogan. This of course prompted “If Carlsberg did adverts, they’d probably do the best adverts in the world’ pun in everyone’s heads.
You may have seen the adverts that ask “are you beach body ready?” to the women of Britain, which has seen a lot of people getting really annoyed. Meal replacement and protein products are being flogged with the promise of thinness, which has seen people daubing the commercials in graffiti.
The irritation is so strong that there’s a Change.org petition, which says that these adverts are “aiming to make [individuals] feel physically inferior to the unrealistic body image of the bronzed model, in order to sell their product”.
Whether or not you agree with the vandalism/activism, one thing you’ll invariably find odd is the stance from Protein World Chief Executive Arjun Seth.
Arjun’s response is typically defensive, telling Channel 4 News the adverts are “aspirational”. So far, so typical – one camp being angry and the other saying ‘what’s the fuss?’
Seth then added something quite bizarre. He noted that he’d only take notice of the petition if it got 1,000,000 signatures, and then dismissed those that had already signed it, by saying: “They’re terrorists, you can quote me on that”. Terrorists! You can imagine that someone who has had their legs blown off by terrorists is thrilled to learn that Protein World feels that they’ve been the victim of terrorist action, by people drawing on some posters with pens.
Seth added that this controversy is good for business: “It’s good – we gained about 20,000 followers in the last few days. Sales have gone up significantly. What people like is we are standing up for our brand,” adding that campaigners are “extremist, they shout a lot, these people are irrational and extremist, vandalising adverts”.
Meanwhile, the Advertising Standards Authority are weighing up what they’re going to do about all this, with no immediate decision made.
The internet, as you know, is full of adverts. Websites absolutely need them to pay for themselves. However, should you be forced to look at them?
Well, you’ll also know that you can get software that blocks pop-ups and other ads, allowing you to read articles without being shrieked at by a loans company or an eye-melting animating thing telling you that you’ve won a prize.
Over in Germany, a group of media companies took AdBlock Plus to court. They said it was threatening their business and that the whole thing is anti-competitive and, of course, they wanted it to be shut down.
However, much to the dismay of the media outlets, a court ruled in favour of allowing people to continue to block ads.
“Now that the legalities are out of the way, we want to reach out to other publishers and advertisers and content creators and encourage them to work with Adblock Plus rather than against us,” said AdBlock’s project manager, Ben Williams. It makes sense that, instead of spending all their time fighting someone, it’d be more fruitful to work out another way of doing things, right?
Well, this is media and if there’s something that the media hates, it is change. Instead of working with AdBlock, the group immediately put an appeal in and they’ll continue to fight AdBlock. Their business can’t be under threat too much, if they can afford to keep forking out for expensive legal cases.
The group said: “We are still convinced that AdBlock Plus is an illegal and anti-competitive practice.” They added that they feel the blocking of adverts “infringes” on the freedom of the press and will “examine the prospects” of an appeal.
There was a fair bit of hubbub surrounding Amazon’s Prime and how it changed from a free trial to a paid-for service.
The Advertising Standards Authority have banned one of Amazon’s adverts, which was a direct mailing advert, which offered a “free trial” of the Prime delivery service, saying that it misled consumers on the now infamous subscription fees.
So what’s the beef?
Well, the ASA’s ruling came about after their were complaints about a card that crowed about a “30-day free trial”, which wasn’t prominent or clear enough when pointing out that a paid subscription would kick-in automatically if the service wasn’t cancelled during the trial period.
In addition to that, the regulator noted that the ad for the instant video element of Prime also didn’t point out the cost of a subscription.
The letter itself said: “Dear [name], I’m sending you this letter because I want you to know that you are eligible for a free trial of Amazon Prime … Start your 30-day free trial today and watch as much as you want … That’s all there is to it …”
It did say; “Paid subscription starts automatically after free trial unless cancelled,” in the small print, and Amazon pointed out that the advert repeatedly said the “free” element was time-limited. The company also pointed out that in all occasions bar one, the word “free” was preceded by “30-day”.
The ASA weren’t having it and said: ”We did not consider that it was sufficient to include the information about the automatic paid subscription in the small print of the ad only and therefore did not consider that that information was sufficiently prominent to make clear the extent of the commitment consumers must make to take advantage of the offer.”
“We concluded the ad was likely to mislead.”
The Advertising Standards Authority concluded that this particular advert for Amazon Prime was misleading and it mustn’t appear again in its current form.
It isn’t Wonga’s decision though, as Albion – the company that came up with loan laden nana – have decided to split from the company.
A spokesperson for Albion said that, while they think they created “memorable work”, there have been “certain practices that we now know went on… during the tenure of our relationship that we were unaware of and that we categorically do not agree with.”
Interesting. Creative agencies are morally dubious at the best of times, so if they can’t work with a payday loan company, that’s either particularly damning or they’re just trying to look good in front of future businesses they’ll be pitching at.
Albion are obviously referencing that fact that Wonga was fined £2.6m by the Financial Conduct Authority for using thousands of fake legal letters to harass their own customers. In addition to that, payday loan companies have had to cut their fees after a crackdown by authorities.
A Wonga spokesperson said: “We’re committed to building a responsible, sustainable business and to communicating with the right customers in the right way.”
It is incredibly difficult to get your adverts noticed above everyone else’s, but one crematorium has hit on something that’s got people talking about them – being so dark and weird that it chills people’s blood.
Adverts for St Louis Cremation, which ran in a magazine called Town and Style St Louis Magazine, have ended up online. For all the world, they look like bleak riddles left by a serial killer.
For example, look at this horrifying thing.
Honestly. It’s enough to make you cry all the water out of your body. There’s more too, and every single one of them feels like a coded message from someone who could strike again.
AAAARGH! THEY’RE HORRIBLE!
The St Louis Cremation crew have this to say: ”Thank you all for your feedback in regards to our marketing campaign. Our most recent advertisement was intended to be a lighthearted ad with no underlying message. We missed the mark on getting our intended message to the public. Our intent was for top of mind awareness, not a call to action. We plan to discontinue this campaign and to pour all of our efforts into what we do best: taking care of our families by honouring their loved ones.”
We’re now looking for secret messages in that too…
Imagine you’re on a blind date and you meet an attractive woman and, being a man’s man (in reality or in your head), you decide to impress her with tales of how much you like to party or whatever.
At some point, you get into her car and you decide to help her with her driving. In this Ford hidden-camera blind date, it is at this point when things get interesting.
As you can see, the men are taken on the razz of their lives and the lady in question reveals herself to be a professional stunt driver. Most of the men in the clip take it in the fun it was intended, which is nice.
We guarantee that the folks of Bitterwallet would’ve been filmed sobbing and then tipping our soiled undergarments out onto the pavement while the stunt-woman wrung the vomit out of our hair.
Well, after the Big Brother TV Sets debacle with Samsung, we now hear of one of their smart TVs inserting commercials into a video that were stored locally on a Plex media server. The Reddit user in question complained that a Pepsi ad played while they were watching shows and movies on his Samsung television.
Of course, this could well be a look into the future as advertisers try and get their wares into as many platforms as possible. However, in this case, it looks like it was an error Samsung’s part, with a bit of faulty programming.
It seems a few people have had this problem and it isn’t happening on sets made by anyone else. A recent software update seems to be the cause of this particular irritant.
The way to stop this happening, if you’re the owner of a Samsung TV set, is to click “disagree with the Yahoo Privacy Notice” in the options in your Samsung’s Smart Hub options.
However, this does appear to be something Samsung are interested in, as in 2014, the company said that they were looking at “interactive experiences” which will be offered to people on an ‘opt-in’ basis.
Both issues are have a similarity though – it appears that Samsung are treating your data with a reasonable amount of recklessness and, if they don’t get these problems sorted, they might find that customers are going to lose all confidence in them.
So with that, they’re continuing the fight against bad advertising practices, and Google’s Adwords platform, disabled over half a billion adverts last year. That’s a whopping amount! In addition to this, over 214k advertisers were banned and 250k sites were removed from the network because they’d been hiding malware, spyware and other forms of internet bleakness inside themselves.
Things that were most prevalent were 4.3m adverts that violated AdWords copyright infringement policies (over 4.3 million ads), adverts that employed trick-to-click approaches (over 43 million), advertisers trying to sell knock-off goods (in advance of 7k), those that practised phishing (more than 5k) and adverts for healthcare related violations (over 9.6 million).
That’s a lot of admin.
“Overall, we disabled more than 524 million bad ads and banned more than 214,000 advertisers in 2014″ said Vikaram Gupta, Director of Ads Engineering.
Sadly, you’ll still probably see weird muscle-men and women’s buttocks with blue dotted lines drawn on them all over your Facebook feed for the foreseeable.
London’s Boris Bikes are being deserted by Barclays and now, all set to be sponsored by Santander, who will be throwing £50m at the enterprise in a long-term deal.
They’re obviously trying to win some hearts and minds, after they recently announced that they were putting another £20m aside for PPI mis-selling, and providing money for London’s cycling scheme might be just the thing for them.
They’re inevitably hoping that everyone will start calling them Santander Cycles, but then, no-one called them Barclays Bikes and indeed, Ken Livingstone came up with the idea, but Boris was London’s mayor when they launched, so Santander can whistle.
That said, the bank is well known for advertising around things that are active – you’ll note that they have sponsorship agreements with Rory McIlroy, Jenson Button and Jessica Ennis-Hill. While there’s no formal contract signed just yet, it looks like Boris Bikes will be branded red, rather than cyan, next week.
A source says that Santander will be paying £7.5m annually for seven years on more than 10,000 bicycles across London. However, Coca Cola have been trying to sponsor the bikes too, so they might make a last minute attempt to scupper the bank’s deal.
Graeme Craig, TfL’s director of commercial development, said: “We are currently going through the final stages of the contractual process to appoint the new sponsor of London’s Cycle Hire scheme, and will announce it in due course. We’re at a really exciting point in the evolution of Cycle Hire, including record numbers of users in 2014.”
“The new sponsor will have the exceptional opportunity to be entwined within the fabric of London and help us deliver the scheme further to get even more people on to two wheels.”
This news occurs just as there’s suggestions that unused Underground lines and stations could become an underground cycling network in London, complete with a special pavement which would power the network with kinetic energy. All very futuristic.