pg tips tea bag1 287x300 Pyramid bags are officially better than round ones, says ASA Tea aficionados have argued the toss about different shaped tea bags since the dawn of time (well, ok, that’s not exactly true).

But hotheaded tea drinking chimps everywhere are now going to have to concede that PG Tips pyramid bags DO let out more flavour than Tetley’s round ones.

Tetley were furious when Johnny Vegas and that godforsaken monkey appeared to trash their round teabags in a recent advert. They sit at the kitchen table and do a test to see which teabags are best, with Monkey concluding that:

‘PG Tips uses pyramid bags, so if we test one against a regular tea bag … you’ll see the tea has got more room to move, freeing the great fresh taste for a perfect cuppa.’

Tetley said that although they weren’t mentioned in the ad, it was obvious that as they are purveyors of round teabags, they were being targeted and ‘denigrated’ by a knitted primate.

BUT the Advertising Standards Authority upheld PG Tips claims, and enraged the Tetley teafolk by saying that pyramid bags WERE better, and that their round ones basically suck.

‘Unilever provided test results which showed that the infusion of tea, at 40 seconds and two minutes into brewing, was greater when using a pyramid teabag than when using a round teabag. We therefore concluded that the ad did not exaggerate the capability and performance of the advertised product and was not misleading.’

FIGHT!

Can Fred save Premier Foods?

July 23rd, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

fred Can Fred save Premier Foods?Premier Foods are relaunching Mr Kipling and bringing Homepride’s Fred back in a hope to reverse its fortunes, after revealing a £54.9 million half year pre-tax loss.

Sales fell 6.1% to £364.4 million in the first half of the year as difficult market conditions in the supermarkets sector hit the food group.

Along with Mr Kipling and Homepride, the company also looks after OXO, Bisto, Sharwoods, Batchelors, Ambrosia and, oh, Loyd Grossman.

As well as that lot, the company’s ‘support brands’ include Angel Delight, Birds, Saxa, Paxo, Atora, Cadburys (cakes end), Smash, Marvel, McDougalls and Lyons.

Or what they call in the trade ‘ambient grocery’. Amazing.

Basically, if you don’t own or use at least one of those items, then you’re a social outcast and deserve to have urchins point and laugh at you in the street.

Gavin Darby of Premier has tried to calm the unrest by saying: “We grew profitability and most of our ammunition is yet to fire. The second half of the year will see a number of new product launches.”

The company is rumoured to be ploughing £30 million into a marketing spend, with new Mr Kipling adverts happening in August.

Following that, there’ll be a number of other product launches, including Bisto gravy and casserole pastes, Batchelors deli-box cous cous, Sharwood’s mini poppadoms and Cadbury sponge pudding desserts.

Cous-cous. I ask you.

And jolly floury chum Fred returns Bowie-ly to our screens after seven years, for the first major Homepride adverts in a decade.

For the period Premier Foods said trading profit was up 2.1% to £48.1 million, better than analysts expected, and it said profit expectations for the year remain unchanged.

Gross profit margin rose from 33.2% to 34.6%. The pre-tax loss  was largely because of a write-off of financing costs.

Looks like they’re banking on a revival of ’80s food.

Deathwatch: Wonga puppets

July 15th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

Wonga+TV+advert 300x199 Deathwatch: Wonga puppetsWonga, the unethical and dodgy payday lending company, is having an image overhaul.

They’re planning to ditch the “cuddly” puppets too. Which plays havoc somewhat with the definition of cuddly, but there you go. They’re off.

Incoming Wonga chairman Andy Haste, former chairman of insurance giant RSA, has said he didn’t want Wonga to be associated with ‘anything which inadvertently attracts children’.

Which is a relief, because the only children who’d be attracted to those puppets are the sort that need counselling.

Mr Haste added that he wants Wonga to become more ‘customer focused’ and change its business operations, even if that means it makes less money in the near term.

It’s all part of the government’s attempt to put a cap on lending and stop these asshats from rinsing the vulnerable for all they’re worth.  As of July 1, lenders must put ‘risk warnings’ on television adverts. They are also banned from rolling over loans more than twice and must check potential customers can afford to take out debt before giving them loans.

The Wonga news comes weeks after Wonga said it had agreed with regulators that it would pay £2.6 million in compensation after chasing struggling customers with fake legal letters to pressurise them into paying up. Classy.

Mr Haste said the company, must review rates, fees and charges and no longer be seen as targeting ‘the young and the vulnerable’. We can assume they’ll have to stop sponsoring Newcastle United then?

He said: “Wonga is a company that needs to go through significant change if it is to have a sustainable future. Some serious mistakes have been made. The company admitted those mistakes and it has apologised for those mistakes. Wonga has understandably faced a lot of criticism and I know that we need to repair our reputation and regain our right to be an accepted part of the financial services sector.”

Which is all waffle as you can imagine, but ultimately the godawful pensioner puppets are no more. Now if we can convince Dolmio and Compare The Market that the puppet thing isn’t working, we can have a lovely big bonfire.

Warburtons overtaken by bears

July 11th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

warburtons paddington 300x225 Warburtons overtaken by bearsBread vendors Warburtons are to be renamed Warbeartons.

Don’t panic, it’s just as a promotional tie-in with the slightly creepy looking Paddington movie that’s due to hit the cinemas in November.

Six million ‘half-and-half’ products (sort of half-arsed ambidextrous white and brown bread efforts) will feature the marmalade sandwich loving bear on its packaging.

There will also be a roadshow touring the country in the form of a double decker bus, with freebies, goodies and adventure guides for families. And as we’re in the social media age, if anyone uploads a picture of themselves near the bus, they’ll be entered into a competition to win a family holiday.

No specification as to where the holiday will be, but it’s unlikely to be Peru.

A brand director named Megan Harrison reckons: ”Devoting our packaging to Paddington and taking him on a tour to visit families across the country is a great way to inspire families to go out and have their very own adventures like Paddington”

“Plus, they can get creative with innovative sandwich recipe ideas to help fuel those adventures on the way”.

Paddington half half range 300x212 Warburtons overtaken by bears

So that’s four months of branding ahead of a film about a bear that looks like an axe-murderer. Well done there, everyone.

websites  People confused by copycat ‘government’ websites Confusion reigns amongst consumers, who are regularly bamboozled and misled by fake websites posing as official ones – particularly copycat government websites.

Savvy web users might be able to spot a rubbish fake crown logo or a web address called ‘giveusyourdetails.gov.passport.’ But others are regularly being led down the garden path, according to research by the Advertising Standards Authority.

The ASA is so concerned about this that it’s launching a new awareness campaign, which will lead people to official government web pages and away from the dodgy ones.

It’s also considering tougher enforcement of fake sites and advertisers, pledging to work with Google and Bing to weed out the infiltrators.

Although 8 out of 10 people surveyed could spot the official passport application site, some of the other sites posing as government sites are quite convincing. Only half guessed that a site replacing Births, Deaths and Marriage certificates was actually a commercial website.

‘We’re focused on tackling any sites that continue to mislead, in support of other enforcement activity.’ Said Miles Lockwood from the ASA. ‘We’re also working with search engines and government to ensure the public are protected. In the meantime, always start at gov.uk to access a government service.’

Bitterwallet Facebook censorship Facebook will soon open advertising hellmouth From ’10 Great Tips to Reduce Belly Fat’ to irritating photos of Fitflops and exotic holidays, Facebook ads rank highly on everyone’s s***list.

So you may be interested to learn that Facebook is changing the way it tracks and shows ads. ‘Hurray!’ you cry, ‘No more crappy ads!’ Well, er, not quite. Because the two changes that they’re introducing appear to contradict each other completely.

The first new feature is quite useful. Firstly when you get an ad in your feed, you’ll see a blue arrow at the bottom. If you click on the arrow you’ll see a menu with a tab called ‘Why are you seeing this?’ It allows you to understand the Facebook tracking process – for example, maybe you ‘liked’ a page about sinks in 2008 and now you’re always seeing ads for sinks, etc.

You can then adjust your settings to opt out of ads for sinks by removing sinks from your list of interests.

So far, so good. But you’re not going to like the next new addition at all. Facebook said yesterday that they are going to do a Google on you and start tracking your web and app activity, then show you tailored ads.

If that makes you feel paranoid and itchy, you can opt out by adjusting the tracking settings on iOS and Android. However, Facebook might not be that interested in telling you about that, and annoyingly, they have said they will not be honouring the ‘do not track’ option, meaning you might get ads anyway. Hmm, wouldn’t want their users personal privacy to get in the way of a nice revenue stream, eh?

So the upshot of all this is that Facebook is about to get approximately one million times more annoying, but don’t worry – there’s a little blue arrow that you can constantly press to get rid of ads.

GREAT!

Ray Ban ask for nudes

June 6th, 2014 5 Comments By Mof Gimmers

In a weird marketing moves, Ray Bans – who make sunglasses – are asking for nudes online.

Seriously. Ray Ban have actually asked their customers to send in photographs of themselves in their underwear. What is this? Snapchat?

ray ban nudes 498x500 Ray Ban ask for nudesOf course, some people aren’t happy about it, while others think the whole thing is rather funny, if a little odd.

Here are some of the highlights from Twitter’s responses:

@danlucas__  said “loooool the thirst for nudes is real” while ‏@Harryh999 spat “idiotic idea”. Meanwhile, ‏@JWard113 says “why are you encouraging people to post photos of themselves in their underwear? that’s pretty inappropriate.”

‏@CivicCentrePL1 pointed out that this campaign is “not really appropriate to advertise thise on the D-Day anniversary. #DDay70″

Perhaps the most blunt response (at the time of writing) was from @Dick_Bastardly who simply got in touch with Ray Ban and Bestival to say: “you dirty c*nts.”

green houses 300x225 ASA ruling to open floodgates for anti Green Deal claims?There could be more bad news for the Government’s blighted Green Deal scheme. A new ruling by the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) could mean that Green Deal operators face having to hand back tens of thousands of pounds to consumers after the Green Deal Finance Company was found to have mis-sold the cash-saving benefits of the scheme in their advertising literature.

The ASA ruled on three separate issues- marketing claims that the Green Deal payment plans are the cheapest on the market, assurances that the so-called Golden Rule would deliver “peace of mind” with financial savings that were equal to or greater than the costs attached to the energy bill and the failure to publish details of hidden charges, including arrangement and assessment fees, as well as exit penalties.

While the ASA ruling itself does not affect Green Deals already done- it merely requires the offending advertisements be removed or revised- consumer lawyers are warning that the ruling could set a precedent for disgruntled consumers to seek redress for Green Deal mis-selling.

Consumer law solicitor Kerry Gwyther, a partner at leading national law firm TLT, explained that while the ASA ruling does not necessarily mean potential Green Deal mis-selling cases are in the bag, it is often a good starting point for claims of misrepresentation.

“The ASA normally use Trading Standards’ levels of determining misleading claims and its rulings do go a long way in helping to present a successful case. While there is no automatic right of action, the ASA ruling very often means the advertising is in breach of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations that can lead to further action being taken,” he explained.

“A consumer is entitled to take proceedings using Common Law and some parts of the Consumer Protection legislation if, as a result of this ruling, they feel they have been misled into signing up for the Green Deal. If a consumer has been induced to enter into an agreement by misleading claims, a court may well find in the consumer’s favour and they may well be able to walk away from the contract without further payments or seek damages for any losses suffered” he added, sagely.

Advertising law specialist Mike Northern agreed , commenting that consumers would now be able to use the ASA ruling in any future court action, suggesting that “a judge would be influenced to find in favour of an application supported by an ASA adjudication like this.”

The complaint was brought by South East-based Crystal Home Improvements, who were very concerned that consumers were being treated unfairly, and not at all concerned that Green Deal alternatives might be cutting into their profits.

A spokesman for the company told ClickGreen: “We are happy with the ASA decision that confirmed our suspicion that the Green Deal was being mis-sold to consumers. This is not the first time we have successfully challenged the Green Deal and we will continue to highlight the many disadvantages of this poorly run scheme.”

However, before getting too excited, it is important to note that the Green Deal Finance Company itself is a business to business organisation, and the ASA noted that leaflet ruled as misleading was probably not viewed by a vast number of people. Any claims of mis-selling would have to be made as a result of being fraudulently enticed by advertising using similar claims to those outlawed in this ruling.

You’ve got to hand it to Pepsi for creating a pretty cool World Cup marketing ploy – a vending machine that dispenses freebies if your footie skills are up to scratch.

The #futbolNow interactive drinks dispenser is fitted with motion sensors that track your movements as you try to play keepy uppy with a virtual Messi, Van Persie or David Luiz. If you can keep the ball in the air for 30 seconds and face a series of skill challenges you can earn bonuses – including a free Pepsi Max.

Pepsi have toyed with interactive vending machines before, including one which allowed you to buy drinks for your friends via Facebook. But this is a lot more fun.

So expect to see a lot of slack jawed people in front of vending machines this summer, jiggling about and making arses of themselves in public for a free can of pop.

We’re sure failed attempts will go viral, and there’ll be a few lols when a fat lad hits the deck and ends up with his head wedged in the drinks drawer…

Everline is Wonga under a different guise

May 12th, 2014 No Comments By Lucy Sweet

If you live in London, you might have seen some nice ads on the tube for a quickie loan company called Everline. Their clean design and helpful, understanding text is very appealing, offering to give a hand to people who are just struggling a bit with cash flow – like small business owners, or the self employed. Maybe you should phone them, because they seem like a fairly decent bunch.

everline 300x187 Everline is Wonga under a different guise

BUT WAIT! It’s only bloody Wonga, in Guardian broadsheet fancy dress. And of course, Everline don’t want you to know they’ve got anything to do with that so-called ‘toxic brand’, so there’s no mention of Wonga either on the ads, or the website. Unless you scroll right down to the teeny weeny print at the bottom, where there’s a cryptic acronym ‘WDFC’, which stands for… ‘Wonga Digital Finance Company.’

Everline came to the attention of investigative journalist Willard Foxton, who decided to dig a bit deeper and found the connection – and also found that their MD wanted to ‘differentiate the two brands’. YA THINK?

MP Stella Creasy has called Everline’s ad campaign and enigmatic branding ‘like putting lipstick on a pig’, but even so, there are plenty of satisfied customers – just like Wonga – who borrow and repay their short term loans without running up huge debts.

But to be on the safe side, if you’re a small business in a cash flow crisis, don’t be taken in by the ad. Their APR is 180%, so if anything goes wrong, you could soon find that your small business will be selling your own kidneys from the back of a Transit van…

Morrisons launch ‘I’m Cheaper’ adverts

May 8th, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

Morrisons aren’t doing very well on the high street, but they’re determined to turn things around. They will be opening new stores around Britain – that’s how confident they are.

They’re also pushing out a new advertising campaign under the ‘I’m Cheaper’ name, which is rather direct. And not entirely true if you look at their budget competitors.

They’re pretty confident these new ads will stop the rot which saw like-for-like sales in the quarter to 4 May slumping by 7.1%. How are they planning to win you all over? With scones.

The stillness and winking going on in the new Morrisons adverts remind you of anything? All those Aldi averts? They’ll be having nanas on the gin next.

Either way, the supermarket will be cutting the price of 1,200 products by an average of 17% as part of their £300m investment to win everyone over.

As well as the two new supermarkets and 11 convenience stores, they’re also going to beef up online sales and see if that works. What do you think? Still more likely to shop elsewhere regardless?

While children might be taken in by those healthy, bouncing blackcurrants, everybody else knows that it’s just purple sugar liquid which has the potential to create a dental apocalypse.

ribena plus big 300x300 Ribena isn’t as good for you as it thinks it is, says ASA

Apart from, it would seem, Ribena itself, whose latest promotion has been banned because they’ve over-exaggerated health claims. The website for Ribena Plus, which has no added sugar (that’s ‘added’ sugar), went a little bit over the top about its vitamin content.

By saying ‘vitamin A… helps keep your vision in tip top condition’ and ‘Vitamin C… it helps immunity’, they flouted EU guidelines and have found themselves in hot water with the Advertising Standards Authority.

The ASA has ruled that they failed to convey the meaning of the EU’s health claims to shoppers, because they implied that vitamins optimise the body’s performance rather than just maintaining it.

‘Ribena Plus – maintains normal function!’ – catchy, eh?

This is the second brand formerly made by GlaxoSmithKline that has been in trouble with the ASA for overstating health claims. Lucozade Sport’s ads were banned when it claimed that it ‘hydrates better than water.’

Still, you can’t really blame them. Attempting to translate convoluted EU health guidelines for the average consumer is a copywriting minefield – let alone trying to make it jolly and rhyming and blackcurrant-y…

Tinder: Putting adverts in your lust

May 2nd, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

tinder Tinder: Putting adverts in your lustTinder has proven to be a popular app with men who think it is a straight version of Grindr, and women who think it’s a place to find a partner. Unlike Grindr, Tinder rarely results in a hook-up. Or is that just the case for our butt-ugliness?

Soon, when you’re swiping left and right and wondering whether or not it is okay to chat-up the hottie from the office, you’ll now get adverts in there.

Tinder have said that they’re looking for ways to make money so they can keep the app free, with chairman Greg Blatt saying that “the nature of the Tinder user experience presents itself with real opportunities for native advertising that certain of our other products don’t.”

Of course, Tinder has featured adverts before, although not officially. There’s the usual webcams and mucky sites that have gotten in there, and Domino’s Pizza used the app to deliver ‘cheesy’ chat-up lines and ‘saucy’ talk. The latter was toe-curling.

With Tinder being all about your personal data and your likes, there’s a feeling that it is a strong app in terms of specified ad-targeting, so all adverts are relevant. It goes without saying that people will be hugely irritated either way. Who wants to be targeted by salesmen when you’re indulging in massive bouts of sexual frustration?

If there’s a spate of mock profiles that will interact with you, that might be fun, but that’ll start grating after 5 minutes. Users will be able to swipe left or right, but how grim is it to think of some lonely widower talking to automated messages from Burger King?

mcdonalds logo McDonalds to become largest book distributor in the UKMcDonald’s marketing team are forever coming up with ideas that annoy people who like to slag them off. Unhealthy? We sell loads of salad, dufus. Too much salt? We have removed more salt from food than anyone else, ever! We’re bad people? Have you seen how much money we give to charities and hospitals? Making people fat? We don’t patronise our customers and we let them choose to eat what they want! The photos on our menus look different from what you buy? Here’s why.

They’re so sly they should be applauded.

And now, they’re about to become the biggest book distributor in the UK by replacing Happy Meal toys with books.

That’s right – McDonald’s have just launched a new Happy Meal promotion with Kobo, the e-reader and e-book company. Until June 17th, McDonald’s will be offering a code for a free e-book and, on top of that, you’ll get an additional voucher on the side of a Happy Meal box for a £1 print book or e-book series.

Your child (or you, if you’re an adult who likes Happy Meals) will be able to get books by Enid Blyton from the Secret Seven and The Famous Five series. Maccies will sell around 15 million Happy Meals in the UK during the time of the promotion, which will make them the biggest children’s book distributor in the country this year.

And the moaning hippies? What have they done to help 15 million kids to read? Squat.

There is a slight drawback – this giveaway requires you to have a smart phone or an e-reader, which some parents will be irked at. However, this is another smart move for McDonald’s as they build up ammo to throw back at detractors.

Sneaky.

Wine rebrand gets patronising

May 1st, 2014 3 Comments By Ian Wade

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz1234567 300x212 Wine rebrand gets patronisingBlossom Hill have had a bit of a redesign as to make their labelling a bit clearer.

In association with Bloom consultancy, the new labels should help wine drinkers ascertain what is best for them. Other than it being three for a tenner or something like that.

Boozers will now be able to distinguish what wine is which, by a variety of graphics and types of font that changes as the drinker can select from good, better and best.

Good is your entry level crisp and fruity wines. Better is the ‘sun-kissed’ option, which covers the likes of rosé, and the Best selection engulfs Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Grigio and Merlot.

As you progress through the ranges, the lettering gets fancier and graphics poncier. Bloom planning director Ed Hayes that the new labels would make it “easy, unintimidating and keep people within the brand”.

“There is a misconception that because of the low price the quality isn’t high, so we’re using design to communicate the benefits of cost purchasing”.

He continued, in a way that pleases yet also baffles the client.