The World of Advertising. Part two

20 May

Matt Webb

Drench

Water is water. We don’t need to over think this. It’s hot outside and you need something to cool down. A nice glass of cold water will do the trick. Your pee has turned a violent shade of orange and your head is pounding. Again, a nice glass of water or two will sort you right out there.

However, Drench (and let’s face it, every mineral water that is advertised on television) would have us imagine that there’s more to it than that. In the latest adverts from this company we are asked to suspend disbelief and imagine that there are a bunch of crazy scientists somewhere who are trying to work out how to best keep people hydrated by dropping gallons of water on them from a plane, and so forth.

Now, I understand completely that this advert is delivered with a certain level of irreverent humour. I have nothing at all against irreverent humour, nothing at all. In fact, I am something of a fan. There’s a “but” of course. The humour in this advert is something along the lines of “Ha! All these science types trying to imagine that there’s anything more to keeping yourself hydrated than drinking water. Pchah!” You’re God damn right, Drench!! In fact, there is no difference between drinking a bottle of Drench and drinking a bottle of tap water. Wait! Of course, there is a significant difference. A bottle of Drench will set you back £1.

Here is the Achilles heel of this advertising campaign. They’re telling you that keeping hydrated (which we all know is terribly good for us and essential for keeping a beautiful clear complexion, healthy shiny coat, wagging tail etc) is as simple as drinking this bottle of water. It’s no great leap of imagination for someone with any amount of intelligence to then realise that actually it’s as simple as turning on a tap and that, in fact, the whole bottled water industry is one giant racket.

How they can make ammends

An advert that shows them filling millions of bottles from the tap. For the fruity flavoured variety, an advert that then shows them topping up the bottles with Happy Shopper brand fruit squash while discussing the ridiculous mark-up on the sale price.

KFC

When Morgan Spurlock released his documentary Supersize Me, shit got real for McDonalds. He could have chosen pretty much any other fast-food chain and had the same result, but he chose them; the biggest, juiciest, nom nom nom-est fast-food outlet there is.

McDonalds, since then, have smartened up their act. You can go to McDonalds and buy a salad. A GODDAMN SALAD! Admittedly those salads probably contain enough salt and sugar to stop a charging Val Kilmer but hey! Salad!

The point is McDonalds adapted in order to shake off their evil, artery clogging image. Sure, they still sell the same old crap, but they also push their healthier options in their advertising. I’m not saying they’re saints. In fact, for the sake of my life expectancy I’m trying to stop eating there as much as possible. But I actually believe that they’re trying to provide a balanced variety of options and that this comes across in their advertising. (I am aware that I probably only believe this because they’re clever with their PR etc, but still.)

KFC advertise large buckets of deep fried chicken.

I don’t really think the food at KFC is any better or worse than what you get at McDonalds. The problem I have with them is that they advertise their products by implying that a bucket of KFC is a delicious, nutritious meal for families to enjoy together. Deep fried chicken. Cheers, KFC. Childhood obesity is on the rise and we need to do something to stop it, except on weekends when everyone gets together to enjoy the grease running down their chins and thump each other on the back to keep their hearts pumping.

The worst of their recent adverts starts with a chap of about 40 walking through a supermarket, looking at the produce and saying “Mmm, that’s just like what we use in the restaurant.” Restaurant? Are you sure?? I guess they couldn’t really call it a ‘greasy swill trough’ on television.

Later on in the same advert the guy claims to have been working for KFC for somewhere in the region of 18 years. Presumably he was heavily medicated when he said it because he didn’t cry or anything. I expect he’s really popular with the 17 year olds he works with. I bet they don’t laugh at him behind his back or anything. I expect they really respect him for sticking at the job for 18 years, even though he’s never made it any further up the ladder than front of house. He’s alone, you know. Cold and alone and living in his car after his wife threw him out because he spent the kids’ Christmas present money on Special Brew and ended up shitting the bed. But by God does he love working for KFC.

How they can make amends

Show us the chickens you use. Show us the freak birds. I heard that someone once ordered the Popcorn Chicken and one of the pieces was just a head. That’d be sweet.

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