Peter York on Ads: 'Way to go' for today's modern woman ... if she can find it

Diamond motor insurance
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The Independent Online

We all know that ladies lack spatial skills. It's all about their intimate wiring in the brain. Can't read a map for toffee, the darlings. And we know, though we're not supposed to mention it now, that they're scatty, utterly distractible. One minute it's the Stations of the Cross, next minute hair extensions. Which is why any laser-like focused intelligence will recognise in an instant that the new advert for Diamond motor insurance is actually concealing a covert positive-discrimination initiative. The Diamond people are claiming that on an actuarial, profit-maximising basis it's worth their while to charge the ladies lower premiums. "Diamond know that women's claims usually cost much less so they pass these savings back to me."

We all know that ladies lack spatial skills. It's all about their intimate wiring in the brain. Can't read a map for toffee, the darlings. And we know, though we're not supposed to mention it now, that they're scatty, utterly distractible. One minute it's the Stations of the Cross, next minute hair extensions. Which is why any laser-like focused intelligence will recognise in an instant that the new advert for Diamond motor insurance is actually concealing a covert positive-discrimination initiative. The Diamond people are claiming that on an actuarial, profit-maximising basis it's worth their while to charge the ladies lower premiums. "Diamond know that women's claims usually cost much less so they pass these savings back to me."

Given the two deeply incontrovertible facts I adduce above, this approach must fly in the face of reason. Diamond's business model makes no sense; its actuaries must be addled. Unless - and I say this more in sorrow than in anger - Diamond is actually a front organisation, a cover for social engineering actually funded by who-knows-what. It's all terribly plausible of course, designed for women with low self-esteem and to make a subtle point to male viewers.

A young woman with blonde, bobbed hair, looking somewhat like a younger Dame Joanna Lumley, sits in her artistically furnished home office, before a laptop she probably can't even use - the whole thing designed to give an impression of the modern independent woman. She tells women viewers exactly what they want to hear. According to her, Diamond customers save something like £125 on their car insurance and they can buy it on the internet. This gives her more money to spend on what she really wants, she says. Very wisely, there are no illustrations at this point or the screen would be covered in Victoria Beckham-style handbags. Another clue to the underlying motivations here is the logo device.

The "Diamond" is represented by three brightly coloured, vaguely diamond shapes drawn with no precision at all in that childish freehand style favoured by graphic designers working in the People's Republic of Camden. Which is where, I have to conclude, the young woman in question is meant to live. In the "establishing shots" of this "commercial" it is clear that she owns a goldfish, favours large irregular shells as decoration and has a lampshade that is, frankly, mauve. I think we can all draw our own conclusions here.

Peter@sru.co.uk

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