Tag Archives: wretch 32

Adverts explained: Olympic tie-ins

The Olympics are coming to Britain! Oh have you heard already? Either way they’re about to become impossible to ignore. Advertisers have been clambering over each other to get an Olympic endorsement and the results of their efforts are starting to take over screens now. So how are Britain’s ads shoehorning in reflecting the core Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect?


EXCELLENCE: Holiday Inn are helping to run the athletes’ village at London 2012 and Shanaze Reade is 4x World BMX Champion, so that’s all fair enough. 4/5

FRIENDSHIP: Shanaze appears very much as a lone wolf in this ad. We don’t see any evidence of teamwork or global understanding. 0/5

RESPECT: Is Shanaze showing respect to Holiday Inn when she rides her bike through the corridors? Or “sneaks thirds at breakfast”? No, no she clearly isn’t. 0/5

Total: 4/15 [link]

VISA: “Flow Faster”

EXCELLENCE: Well you can’t accuse them of just jumping on the bandwagon. They’ve been on this campaign for over a year and with the main event getting closer the latest ad is an hysterical overload of London landmarks and British athletes (Usain Bolt’s been imported as the star, but we also see Louis Smith, Shanaze Reade (again), Khalid Yafai, Phillips Idowu, Aaron Cook and Stefanie Reid). Equating one of the fastest men in the world with the convenience of Visa’s new contactless card system is fair enough I suppose, but “paying for things” isn’t exactly an Olympian ideal. 3/5

FRIENDSHIP: Lots of athletes hanging out together – on the bus, at the barber’s – is a decent way of conveying “team spirit”. Sadly though, Britain’s welcome to Usain Bolt appears frosty at best: the man he races across London takes perverse glee in outsmarting him at every turn. 2/5

RESPECT: Respect for the rules and regulations of the Games is openly flouted here as Usain and the starter pistol man both turn up at the track with seconds to spare. It boggles the mind how many pre-race processes have been skipped or overlooked. If it’s any comfort, a Bolt victory in these circumstances would presumably be ruled void. 0/5

5/15 [link]


EXCELLENCE: Adidas have never made a bad advert so there’s nothing to take the piss out of here. And their product is the most relevant of all. 5/5

FRIENDSHIP: Another ad in which you can’t move for stars hanging out together, whether sporting, musical or Keith Lemon. 4/5

RESPECT: Wretch 32’s rap is all about making something of yourself. This zero-to-hero narrative is only slightly undercut when he brings millonaire’s daughter Stella McCartney into it. 3/5

Total: 12/15 [link]


EXCELLENCE: A classy piece of advertising which refrains from using the word Olympics or any athletic imagery or stars. The focus is on how BA will bring the world to London in 2012, with the commentary soundtrack left to evoke the big event. 4/5

FRIENDSHIP: Nice use of flags to suggest a closeknit global community coming together. 3/5

RESPECT: Yes, it – oh sorry I’ve dozed off. 3/5

Total: 10/15 [link]

OLAY: “Challenge what’s possible”

EXCELLENCE: On the one hand Jessica Ennis is a world champion heptathlete with an MBE for her troubles. On the other hand moisturiser is as unsporty and unachievey a product as you can imagine, despite some guff on the voiceover about how “daily discipline” is important to both. Actually I’m secretly impressed with how they’ve done that. Anyway on this evidence, the change from ‘Ulay’ to ‘Olay’ a decade ago now just seems like a cynical advance move to make their brandname sound marginally more Olympic. 2/5

FRIENDSHIP: Jessica is seen training alone in an empty stadium and only reacting to other people when the camera bulbs are flashing towards her lovely moisturised face at an evening do. 0/5

RESPECT: Well, moisturising shows some respect for your body I suppose. And, as for some reason the only video of this ad I can find is an adjunct to a Mail Online article about Jessica, if you do click through you can read for instance how Jessica confesses that she always ensures her skin is clean and moisturised, and insists that she never leaves the house without mascara and eye liner on. 2/5

Total: 4/15 [link]


  • Bronze: Visa
  • Silver: British Airways
  • Gold: Adidas

Tied up with string: January

What’s been tickling my fancy this month then?

A Song

Song of the month is Traktor by Wretch 32 featuring the ungoogleable “L”. Wretch says CHOO CHOO GO HARD GO FASTER in it, it’s made of an insanely good combination of beats, synth wooshes and surf guitar, and it’s stupidly addictive. I had it on repeat play ten times in a row at one point. Ahem.

An album

I already put it in my Top 20 of last year, but it’s only really come out in the UK this month, and it’s a big grower. Last Train to Paris by Diddy – Dirty Money is superb. It sounds to me like an electro-R&B sequel to Kraftwerk’s Trans-Europe Express, with a consistently hypnotic chug about it, a strange atmosphere of repressed minimalism, and some brilliant songwriting. Hear it on we7


How lovely was ‘Head Over Heels In Rats’? I am now broody for a rodent friend who isn’t my toy rat from Ikea.

A film

‘What about the King’s Speech?’ asked a colleague on the bus the other day, as I was confessing to my Black Swan addiction (I’ve seen it FOUR TIMES at time of writing). ‘Oh I couldn’t give a shit whether the King makes his speech or not,’ I replied. And I couldn’t.

I've been looking at you, you've been looking at me

I want 100 minutes of extreme close-ups, brilliant sound design (SO LOUD in the cinema!), paranoia, feathers, creepiness, crotch-grabbing, and mirrors, mirrors, mirrors. It’s Roman Polanski meets John Waters meets David Cronenberg and I can’t remember watching a film so obsessively and repeatedly since I got my hands on a VHS of Nightmare On Elm Street in the mid 80s. I suppose there’s my formula: give a girl an eccentric mother figure and throw her into a world where the boundaries of reality are always shifting, and I’ll love it for life (see also: Run Lola Run, Hellraiser).

Some adverts

I’m a big fan of the Which? advert with the ‘genuinely filthy dog’ in it. Why does it speak to me so much, this creature who starts out all clean and handsomely muzzled before going off to have adventures, lick tramps and rifle through bins? Who can say?

Genuinely filthy dog

I also admire Jedward’s well-judged self-mockery in the Money Supermarket ad; they’ve certainly managed to appear in the only watchable Money Supermarket ad I’ve ever seen.

And an honourable mention for holidaying in Jersey, not an amazing advert in itself, but I like that they’re now ‘The Warmest Place in the British Isles’. It’s a vast improvement on previous years’ Channel Islands campaigns which have proudly boasted ‘WHERE A POUND IS STILL A POUND’. That’s a revolting slogan which speaks only to the aspirations of Daily Express readers, who like the idea of going abroad but only if they don’t have to endure any foreign muck or funny money.

Animal of the month

Born to make you happy

And finally, a salute to the humble cochineal, whose pulverised remains are once more featuring in the ingredients lists of some of Britain’s favourite shop-bought cake slices. They went away for a while, but these days with ‘No Artificial Colours or Flavourings’ a big selling point, they’re back back back!

Thousands of these otherwise unloved beetles are dying every day to ensure that our cakes are just that little bit more red. WE WILL NOT FORGET.