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What have they done to the Honey Monster?

Outing rubbish advertising is just like shooting fish in a barrel, especially with so much crap around these days polluting the airwaves. We've tried to keep a lid on our outbursts recently but office consensus is that we should go public on the nonsense that is the new Honey Monster makeover.

Mr Monster is undoubtedly an advertising icon, created by the legendary John Webster back in the day to sell some sugary breakfast cereal. Many famous commercials were made. Many boxes of sugary cereal were sold.

Now, we all know the advertising business has changed beyond all recognition since then but I think this new commercial is an excellent exemplar of some of the things that are wrong with our esteemed profession.

For starters, they've "updated" what was a great brand property. "Updating" means taking all the joy and charm out of the character and pandering to the PC brigade who might be concerned about how such products are advertised to children.

Hence we see Honey Monster transformed from a heroic, bumbling, clumsy, knockabout figure [the "embodiment of childish mayhem" aptly put by Campaign] into something what the press release has painfully laboured to describe as "more athletic, responsible and reflective". A reflective Honey Monster? Jesus wept.

It gets worse too. Apparently, the new Monster is inspired by Maurice Sendak's Where The Wild Things Are. But, as far as I can tell, there's certainly no evidence of that judging by the new execution where the Honey Monster seems to be relegated to playing the bit-part role of a hairy extra.  The ad seems to be just a lot of kids straight out of central casting skipping around demonstrating a rather sanitised and cliched view of what "fun" constitutes totally unrelated to the breakfast cereal in question [water balloons, since you ask].

And is there anything less fun that the fact that they've even taken away Honey Monster's voice and replaced it with that a voiceover that lamely repeats the word "fun" several times? And to appeal to Mums and kids they've also ensured that the ad contains a Mum and loads of kids.

Rather than using Sendak as inspiration for the new Honey Monster they would have been far better off using Webster's old Honey Monster. What's happened is some sort of reverse shit alchemy where gold has been turned into base metal.

As you can see from the ad below, the interplay between Honey Monster and Henry McGee [as his 'mummy'] seems so much smarter and more appealing than the honeymonstrosity of this new ad. And who, from that generation, can forget the "Tell 'em about the honey, Mummy" line? Something still so memorable almost forty years on. Now the honey is relegated to a fleeting cut away shot in a jar before the obligatory 'child eating a bowl of cereal and really enjoying it' moment.

I know which ad my kids would much prefer and it's not the one that looks like an outtake from a CBeebies programme.

#FUNMONSTERFIED is the new hashtag.

#UNMONSTERFIED would be far more appropriate.




Human Technology


Beretta have released this lovely short to demonstrate the extraordinarily high level of manufacturing that goes into making one of their luxury shotguns. The film does a great job of bringing to life the impressive combination of traditional craftsmanship and state of the art technology that combine to produce one of their guns.

The intense, atmospheric feel, and undercurrent of menace are spot on too. At the end of the day it's a killing machine and the film doesn't shy away from that.

Great work by Paola Manfrin and Ancarani Studio.

Are We Witnessing The Return Of The Business Bellend?

I've read here and there about a regression back towards the horrific greed is good days of the 80's; the increasing gap between rich and poor, a new wave of yuppies, selfish, chest-beating bellends barking at each other about BUSINESS! whilst eating sushi or playing tennis, their whole happiness based around the relative movement of a few numbers on a spreadsheet or whether or not someone thinks of them as a formidable business person. Looking at some commercials that have launched recently (see below) I'm starting to worry it might be true. I find it hard to believe that there are still people out there in the world who act like this, but I guess there must be. We've seen this kind of character or lifestyle depicted in movies – American Psycho, Wall Street, Fight Club or Wolf Of Wall Street etc. as part of the telling of a dystopian story or dark, troubled character, but now it seems marketers are seriously expecting us to see it as aspirational. The idea that there are some advertising people who see this as something good to put in commercials is weird enough. But that a brand like Virgin Atlantic would want to align itself with this kind of business bellendery is completely perplexing. "Fly with us if you're a complete moron" appears to be the message. Is this a reflection of the regression of society a whole, or is it more likely a reflection the cultures of modern ad agencies and marketing departments? What do you think, dear reader?



Commercial for One Blackfriars (link to the story only, unfortunately the ad has been pulled).

A bit of Newcastle Brown Super Bowl gatecrashing

Newcastle Brown Ale have gone early in the SuperBowl advertising buzz stakes and maintained their maverick streak by producing a couple of new spots that pokes fun at the approach other brands take to try to steal the limelight at this marquee event.

One is a blatant attempt to infiltrate the Doritos User Generated Video competition. The other is a call for other companies to help fund the Newcastle Brown Ale Superbowl campaign as  they can't afford the $4.5 million asking price of the airtime.

Despite crying the poor tale, they've obviously spent a pretty penny on these well-executed gems to try to generate as much coverage and noise well in advance of the big day. It's a smart move to go early and whip up PR in the calm before the storm.

It's refreshing to see a beer brand with balls making mischief and being irreverent in a category which is increasingly losing its edge and falling under the dangerous spell of bland lifestyle advertising.

Good on Droga5 for publicly taking the piss with this work.



The People Who Ask New Questions – They're The Geniuses

Lovely short from The RSA featuring John Lloyd and animation from the talented together.ca. I particularly liked the line "Any fool can find answers, the people who ask new questions, they're the geniuses".

New York by drone


Start your week with an amazing tour of New York's five boroughs.
Hard to believe all the shots are from a drone.