Energie Fitness are rather keen to get you down the gym to deal with the post-Christmas bloat and avid Bitterwallet fanboy, Stu Heritage of Luv&Hat, got a text from them with an offer so good, you can barely see it.
He said “Join before 31/1/2014 and pay nothing until 1/2/2014’. The next day. Attaboy, marketing team of a gym I’VE ALREADY JOINED.”
Yes, it wasn’t just you who had pizza for Christmas dinner – it seems that quite a few of us had Dominos on speed dial during the festive period. The pizza gods have announced that Christmas like for like sales were up by 10% and overall sales for 2013 increased by 15.6% to £170.4m. That’s a LOT of dough balls.
Dominos, whose suspiciously moreish pizzas taste like rain soaked wedges of cheese cardboard, have put it down to online sales and their new lame ass ‘Americana’ ad campaign, which uses the theme tune to Champion the Wonder Horse.
In fact, before the ad campaign, Dominos was in the domindoldrums, after senior executive Lance Batchelor announced he would be leaving – the second big cheese to hand in his notice in six months. Their share price fell by 10% in December, but thanks to the brand update and the highly tempting Winter Survival Deal, it’s riding high.
Ok, so their food makes you feel greasy, morally bankrupt (Dominos are notorious for their right wing and anti-abortion stance) and spiritually unfulfilled – but sod it – we can’t be arsed to cook.
Sports drinks – and the people who drink them – are extremely annoying. All that streamlined, blue liquidy nonsense: it’s enough to put you off your pork pie. But the recent Lucozade Sport ad, claiming that it ‘hydrates and fuels you better than water’ made everyone’s eyes roll. Even, it seems, the Advertising Standards Authority, who have banned it.
The ban follows 63 complaints, one from the National Hydration Council – which say that Lucozade have breached the advertising code. Why? Because they used the word ‘fuel’. The EU code states that in order to advertise a product’s health benefit, the claim must be specific. What the copywriter SHOULD have said was:
‘Carbohydrate-electrolyte solutions contribute to the maintenance of endurance performance during prolonged endurance exercise’
So in the future, health companies like GSK will have to say their products contribute to the ‘maintenance of performance’ instead.
Also, on another slightly more pressing note, the Lucozade claim is kind of b******s, unless you’re Usain Bolt. The National Hydration Council said:
‘For the majority of people participating in exercise and sporting activities, water is all that is needed for effective hydration. The majority of sports drinks contain calories and may only have a positive contribution to make to professional athletes and those participating in high intensity, endurance activity.’
And that ain’t you, January fat man in the gym with a lycra wedgie.
Most internet ads are either annoying (splashy car ads that freeze up your browser) or suspect (‘Try this one WEIRD way to get rid of your belly fat!’). But at the weekend, thousands of Yahoo users were infected with malware thanks to a bunch of dodgy adverts inserted into the Yahoo site.
The ads have since been taken down, but on Yahoo’s European sites hackers managed to post ads that directed users to a page that hosted something called the ‘Magnitude’ exploit kit. By targeting vulnerabilities in Java, the kit installs a bunch of crap on your computer, including trojans and ad-clicking malware.
Yahoo thinks these ads have been up since December 30th but it could be for longer, and at the moment nobody knows how they got there or even the motivation for the attack. But what makes these malvertisements super evil is that you don’t have to click anything – you just load a trusted website and bad things start to happen. (Unless you’re a Mac user – your shield of First World smugness will have protected you).
On Friday around 27,000 people an hour were being infected in the UK, Romania and France. If you’ve been malvertised at, you need to uninstall Java or disable it in your browser. In fact, you should probably do that anyway, because it’s bloody annoying.
You should also run a software update and update your security software. Oh, and get the hell off Yahoo –do you live in 1994 and buy your coffee at Central Perk?
Burger buns. They’re made of bread. Lovely sweet ‘n’ savoury bread, with sesame seeds on top. They’re not – repeat NOT – made out of women’s arse cheeks, because that would be weird, not to mention a little bit unhygienic.
But try telling that to Australian company Goodtime Burgers. Their ad for a new store in Bondi Beach shows a woman with literally all the fixings, plus burger patty, wedged uncomfortably between her buttocks. Like the worst Christmas poo EVER. The tagline is: ‘The Freshest Fun Between The Buns.’ We can only hope, for everyone’s sake, that it’s Photoshopped.
It’s almost too damn STRANGE to be offensive, but the Australian Advertising Standards Board have acted on a number of complaints against the objectification of women, and the ad has been banned. Goodtime Burgers were adamant it wasn’t sexist (‘what’s wrong with being sexy?’) and countered that it could easily have been a man’s bum.
OH WELL THAT’S OK THEN.
Think I’ll just have a salad.
The Advertising Standards Authority have decided to start testing whether alcohol adverts are breaking the rules when it comes to exposing minors to the delights – I mean, dangers – of booze.
It’s in response to a report by Ofcom earlier this year that suggested that children may still be exposed to alcohol adverts – for example on plus one channels, or when gawping at Saturday night telly.
As a result of the report, the ASA has already been investigating 1009 possible breaches in the TV schedules. And from next year, it’s also going to assess the impact that changing viewing habits have on children’s exposure to alcohol advertising. As part of the clamp down, broadcasters will be given strict rules about what ads to run on time-shifted channels and shows that go on for bloody ever, like the X-Factor.
Maybe the ASA should also try to work out whether watching a lovely long glug of Baileys going over an ice cube makes kids mad for the booze in later life. Because I doubt it.
In marketing, what goes down well in the office ideas pod might actually be a teensy bit dodgy in real life. Like this alleged campaign by Intelligent Marketing Solutions (the clue is in the name), who are apparently paying people to pose as shoppers and demand that Typhoo is stocked in more stores. By generating a fake demand for it, they obviously hope that sales will increase.
But, er, isn’t this all a bit dodgy? Take for example, the email from IMS to its secret shoppers:
‘We have been asked by our client to contact Sainsbury’s by the following methods [email, Facebook etc] to ask why they no longer stock Typhoo tea in a specific store (the stores will be listed) and to ask if this product can be restocked. Rates of pay are £1.50 per call, with the exception of the letter and telephone assignment, which are paid at £2.50.’
The online ‘assignment’ involved stores all around the country, and shoppers were asked not to identify themselves as marketing lackeys. But the plan is now apparently on hold after the media got wind of the email.
It’s still not clear whether IMS is working for Typhoo, or on behalf of some crazy tea head who is willing to pay thousands to see their favourite brew back on the shelves. What’s the betting it IS Typhoo? After all, it tastes like pond water, and the only person who ever buys it is your gran.
Since Facebook took control of Instagram, it was clear that, at some point, the photo-sharing app was going to have to earn its keep. It didn’t take long for an announcement about adverts appearing on people’s timelines of sunsets, dead-eyed cats and dreary vistas of nights out.
Ads will begin appearing in users’ feeds this week and in a blog post, showed what they’ll look like. They picked two artsy-fartsy ads, but you can imagine ones for penis growth pills and weight-loss regimes won’t be nearly as tasteful. That said, IG will be hand-picking the early advertisers, with Levi’s and Ben & Jerry’s first in the queue.
The main difference is that these commercials and normal photos is that, in the right corner, users will have a blue arrow icon and the word “sponsored”, just so you don’t get confused. You’ll be able to tell IG to hide it or tell them why you don’t like a given ad.
Is this all a bit intrusive, or is it a fair trade-off for a free service?
The Advertising Standards Authority is looking at banning a bus thanks to a load of wimps complaining about an advert on the side for being too scary. The complaints relate to Tulleys Farm Shocktober Fest, which is currently on over one hundred buses.
Stuart Beare, organiser of the Tulleys Farm Shocktober Fest event, said: ”The image of the zombie girl on our advertising is no worse than many images you’ll see at this time of year in newspapers and magazines, on the Halloween costumes in the supermarket aisles and even on kids’ TV programmes.”
“We have been running our Halloween events for over 15 years, and they are extremely popular, with up to 5,000 people a night going through the six haunted houses and rides.”
“We are waiting for the Advertising Standards Authority to come back to us with their judgment to see if we have to take the ads off the buses.”
An Advertising Standards Authority spokeswoman said: “We have received three complaints about the Tulleys Farm Halloween bus ads so far. We had complaints about the same ad last year, and we did not find that there were grounds for an investigation. While it’s possible the outcome will be the same this time, we will thoroughly assess each complaint we receive at this point until a decision has been made.”
Some people deserve to be frightened to a very literal death for being too wimpish, so we can only hope the ASA ignore this pointless bluster.
Fairy Liquid’s age old claim that it lasts twice a long as other brands has been contested by its closest rival, Persil, who say that the latest ads for Fairy are false and their claims are unsubstantiated. But the ASA has overruled Persil, after they found that Fairy really DOES last twice as long.
Persil got in a lather over its new campaign, featuring the slogan ‘Fairyconomy’, and a picture of bottle of Fairy with an equals sign – followed by a photo of two bottles of the ‘next best-selling brand.’ According to Nielsen data, that brand is Persil.
Persil challenged the ads, saying that it was an unfair comparison, and no mention was made of the actual size of the bottle of Fairy.
But the ASA threw out the complaint, saying that Procter and Gamble could prove it: ‘We sought expert advice on the robustness of the evidence provided by Procter & Gamble. The expert considered the test reflected the practices of consumers and demonstrated that Fairy lasted at least twice as long as Persil. On that basis, we considered the claims that Fairy lasted twice as long as the next best-selling brand had been substantiated.’
Is this the beginning of washing up liquid war? Will there be a Persil Challenge? Either way, things are going to get nasty, and er…bubbly.
Tracking service, Renew London, had fitted their devices into 12 bins to collect footfall data by tracking signals from people wandering past with their phones. These smartbins are around the City of London and obtain a unique identification number (or a MAC address if you’re into that sort of thin) for anything nearby that has WiFi switched on.
With the information, advertisers can then send out targeted commercials on the bins.
However, people weren’t keen on this and privacy campaigners – Big Brother Watch – raised concerns to the City of London Corporation and asked them to put an end to these bins. Despite the strict cookie laws, tracking phones is still a legal grey area in the UK and many think that it is an invasion of privacy.
As such, they’ve been binned off.
Renew’s chief executive Kaveh Memari said the company had “stopped all trials in the meantime” and added that the devices had only recorded “extremely limited, encrypted, aggregated and anonymised data” and that the bins were just “glorified people-counters in the street.”
Just when you thought Ryanair couldn’t get any eye rollingly tacky, they’re now introducing plans to turn planes into flying billboards. As a spokesman explained, in typical Ryanairspeak, planes are going to double up as ‘Britain’s largest – and cheapest – advertising medium.’
The move comes after Ryanair announced an uncharacteristic 21% dip in profits last quarter, which the airline say was related to rising fuel costs and the early Easter. Michael O’Leary, never one to miss a money making opportunity, is frantically trying to claw it back. As a result, businesses will be able to advertise on the plane’s fuselage and its wings for 12 months at a time.
In another money saving bid, Ryanair pilots have also been asked to fly more slowly to preserve fuel and reduce costs by 15%.
So picture your next holiday. It takes you a day and a half to get to Fyzyzyzczyk airport, (300 miles away from your destination) because you’re going at 3 miles an hour. Not only that, but you are crammed into a tin can with ‘Barry’s Red Kola’ written on the side and ‘Carpet World’ on the wings.
Not exactly the golden age of travel, is it?
Finally, something to do with the ASA that isn’t just another example of Price-Drop TV misleading customers.
Independent brewery Brew Dog this week featured in the ASA rulings following a single complaint made against them that language they used on their site was offensive. Phrases used included:
BrewDog is a post Punk apocalyptic mother fu*ker of a craft brewery
Say goodbye to the corporate beer whores crazy for power and world domination
…and everyones favourite…
Let the sharp bitter finish rip you straight to the tits. Save up for a Luger, and drill the bastards
WHAT HAVE MY EYES JUST SEEN?! Just appalling. Vile. Repulsive. These guys should just apologise to that affected person and make assurances to the ASA that this type of despicable language will NEVER feature on their site or be associated with their brand in the future. According to the Herald Scotland, BrewDog co-founder James Watt had this to say in response to the ruling:
We actually just took down the statement on our website to make room for the equity for punks stuff. Soon, we will be putting the statement back on our website.
We believe in freedom of speech and artistic expression. We don’t believe in mindless censorship.
As for the ASA – those mother f*ckers don’t have any jurisdiction over us anyway.
This clearly raises many questions about censorship and context. Is it fair a company such as BrewDog can have the ASA dictate what is acceptable following a complaint by just the one individual? Does it make any difference that this individual was visiting a page dedicated to a brewery?
Do let us know and if you want to get involved in the discussion with BrewDog, their Twitter page is alive with thoughts and opinions. #KissMyASA