AdWatch

Noticed two adverts on the tube this morning. The first is by Refuge, showing a group of twenty-somethings at a dinner party, all laughing away merrily and not looking while one of the men smacks his partner to the floor. The caption is something like “Domestic violence: don’t look away”. Pretty powerful, I think.

Adverts that tell you something, not sell you something, tend to be more worth looking at, in my opinion. There was an online advert for Customs & Excise when they were cracking down on illegal cigarette importing – one of our designers created half a dozen fake “get your ciggies from Spain” websites (which were truly vile, and indistinguishable from the real thing), and when you clicked on an offer, a big menacing face popped out and told you off for being naughty. Although I’ll admit most of the enjoyment we got was in figuring out how utterly naff the designs needed to be to be convincing.

The other advert I noticed this morning was for the last series of Friends. It’s frankly awful – actually a series of adverts, each with a large picture of something associated with the series (a pair of reclining chairs, a duck and a chicken, a crowd of people asleep) and some slogan I forgot pretty much immediately. Although I’m not really the target market, so who cares? And it’s certainly better than showing photos of the cast.

I’m wondering if perhaps informational adverts are just easier to make well than ones that sell – selling things gets caught up with psychology, while conveying information is something people have done for thousands of years. Or maybe it’s just that Refuge have more money than … Channel 4?

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