Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Bad Adverts - Thatchers' People Who Care About Cider

At least it's not 'People Who Care About Cidre', I suppose.

Really, this is more bizarre than bad: in a what-were-they-thinking kinda way.

I realise we can't all spin off the endless-summery-days-of-bullshit yarn Magners has bottled and sold, and I think I might possibly even like Thatchers, inasmuch as it's possible to like any cider brand that can afford its own billboard advertising, but...

I mean, look at it: it looks for all the world like an American horror b-movie: the sort of movie where a bunch of personality-bypass teens go on an unlikely road trip through some non-Democrat state then take a short-cut/wrong turn through uncharted dirt roads and end up breaking down inbetween gas stations and getting stalked by inbred mechanics before being picked off one-by-one in increasingly ridiculous displays of brutality, only for the last remaining actress (or actor, occasionally) to escape, bloodied and ragged, to a call box or a free-way or some other thing-we-have-over-here-with-an-American-name and then BANG: there's a shock ending that paves the way for a sequel, or some sort of unforeseeable TWIST that, likewise, paves the way for a sequel.

You know the ones. There are literally hundreds of them.

Except it's about cider, and therefore presumably set in Somerset: probably the least likely setting for a horror/road movie of that type on the face of this planet.

(Although our Proton did get run off the road betwixt Bridgwater and Taunton once and we all nearly died, but that would have made a pretty rubbish movie and/or cider advert.)

That silhouetted dude coming into his warehouse looks like exactly the kind of shadowy figure whose hideous features would loom above you, gurning from behind some rudimentary antique medical equipment glinting in the candlelight. So why is he being used to advertise cider? Am I missing something? I mean, I usually am missing something - if not, indeed, the whole point - but surely all you've got to do is replace the cider on that table with, say, a severed head, or a rusty cleaver in a pool of congealed blood, and then change the WELCOME TO THATCHERS logo to read something 'local' and 'creepy' like:

Goblin Combe
Shepton Mallet*

and the tag-line to read likewise, like:

People who care about MURDER
People who care about ENTRAILS
People who DON'T care about CIDER

And you've got an instant cult success on your hands.

If it was a b-movie.

As to marketing an actual cider; well, I admit I haven't the first clue about how one should go about doing that. Just... I dunno... don't go for a wacky horror movie angle for no apparent reason and/or possibly by accident.

Also, what's with that sun? Is it rising or setting?

If it's setting there's no excuse for the light not being switched on, and if it's rising methinks Mr. Leatherface cares a bit too much about cider.

No visible light source explains the cider itself, which consequently comes over a bit Peckham Spring.

Very odd. Not convinced.

Yours, disapprovingly,


* Actually Shepton Mallet is pretty scary, because Sidney Cooke used to live there. I know this to be true because when I was driven through at the age of 15 there was a large hand-painted sign advertising the fact. (I don't think it was in a "come-and-visit-our-amazing [attraction]" kind of way, either...

Friday, 5 August 2011

[Exactly] 150 Words on 'What Makes a Good Writer'

I found this while cleaning out my documents folder at work today. It must be from a job application or something, because I can't think I'd have written it for fun:

150 Words - What Makes a Good Writer

The ability to communicate any given message to any given audience using the fewest possible words and the most appropriate language – usually the simplest.

An awareness and understanding of structure, tone and rhetorical techniques; a love of some words and a hatred of others. (And a rational explanation for both, if pressed.)

A thirst for knowledge and a passion for the minutiae of the rules of language, tempered only with a realistic appreciation of its fluidity and that, ultimately, words come to mean what people use them to mean: a willingness to break old rules and make new ones.

An interest in and awareness of style guides and their influence on both editorial and – by extension – the expectations of the readership.

An appreciation of the reader, and the reader’s relationship with the writer, at all times.

The willingness to follow a brief to the letter.

A suitably jazzy waistcoat collection.