Claire Beale: Offensive or not – total recall works
Monday 17 January 2011
I should begin with an apology. This column may ruin your day. It involves offensive material which could rattle annoyingly in your head for the next few hours. Sorry.
The main culprit is a mere two-word refrain. Alone, each word is innocent enough. But put them together and pay a fat man to belt them out opera-style and you have officially the most irritating commercial of the past 12 months.
"Go Compare, Go Compare": an ad that leaves TV viewers wanting to rip their ears off according to a survey for Marketing Magazine, with 59 per cent of people admitting that the gocompare.com advert starring faux opera singer Gio Compario irritated them more than any other last year. This is good news for anyone in the advertising industry worried that they may be becoming irrelevant. The survey proves that people still take notice of the ads. Even if it's because they hate them.
Advertising agencies will also take some comfort from the fact that the Gocompare ad is one of three commercials in the top five Most Offensive list that were made in-house. Should have gone to the advertising specialists.
A close second in the "makes me want to kick my TV screen in" stakes is Webuyanycar.com. And proving that websites really do manage to get our backs up more than those nice polite traditional brands, injurylawyers 4U.co.uk comes in at number three, hotly followed by Cashmygold.co.uk.
Halifax is the first non-dotcom brand to make it into the chart, at number five. The bank wants a new advertising agency and commercial strategy. So all those people who cited it as one of the most irritating can take some comfort from the fact that the singing bankers ("ISA, ISA baby") will soon be no more.
But will the brands in the chart be worried about the vitriol their commercials have inspired? Hardly. For most of them, total recall is all.
Clare Beale is editor of 'Campaign'
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