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June 9, 2008 / davebirss

I can’t help swearing at billboards

Both my fiancée and myself are former advertising copywriters – if there is such a thing. (I think possibly – like alcoholism – you can be in recovery but deep down you’re always a copywriter with an in-built weakness for playing with words.) So you can imagine that when we’re together and we see a bad ad, we can’t help but comment on it. And on the way home last night we saw plenty.

Here are a couple of images that I managed to get on my phone. I think the ‘creative’ team on each of these should come forward, confess their transgressions and beg the public, the client and their agency for forgiveness. Doubt they’ll get it though.

First up is an ad for HSBC’s Mortgage Rate Matcher. First of all, the product name feels as if it should have been the brief.  HSBC will match anyone else’s mortgage rate – presumably. So the ‘creatives’ sat down and thought ‘hmmm – let’s down a zany picture of a stretched house.’ WTF??!!

Penalty:     6 points on their Creative License and a £250 fine.

I’m not finished. There’s more.

What about this turd for the University of Westminster. OK – I know it’s not usually ‘real’ ad agencies that do this kind of stuff but if they want to play with the big boys they have to be judged in the same way. I just can’t get over how bad this is. It’s probably the second worst infantile pun in existence – second only to the word ‘egg-stravaganza’ at Easter time. The copy rubs course-ground sea salt into the wound by using the phrases ‘real buzz’ and ‘sweeten your career’. Bastards!

Penalty:     a night in the slammer and a 12 month ban

This kind of low-brow cerebral pollution makes me wish Boris the Mayor had as much balls as the Mayor of Sao Paulo.

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