Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Pieces of advertising material that have recently annoyed me. Part one of at least three.

A billboard for one of those firms that are sort of to do with money, but not a bank: a hedge fund tracking facility or a financial extrapolation service platform provider, or whatever the hell. Slogan ‘Challenging times mean a great deal to us’. Ok. Good. I imagine they do. Not sure why that means I should give them my money to look after (if indeed that is what they want from me; I have no idea) but maybe they can persuade me with some telling imagery. So, what picture have they opted for to drive home their message of challenging-time-meaningfulness-capacity?Ah. A zebra looking over its shoulder.

I mean, what? Is this some obscure extension of the already quite weird financial/animal symbolism system I’ve not come across? ‘Bull = boom; bear = bust; retrograde zebra = vague expression of foreboding’? Or is the zebra supposed to be clocking his own challenging times approaching from behind, and about to mean a great deal to him – an enormous lion in full pursuit, for instance? In which case, he seems a bit fatalistic about the whole thing . He’s certainly not making any effort to run away. So the company is representing itself as akin to a soon-to-be-devoured ungulate with a death wish. And frankly that doesn’t inspire me to tie my basket of tracker bonds to their base rate. Or whatever it is they want me to do.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Single breasted, two button? My, Sir is a regular Beau Brummel, isn't Sir?

Today, I had to order a suit; but because I am me, I've left it a bit late, so I needed to find somewhere that could have it ready in five weeks. I explained this to the man on the phone, and he hesitated, but said it might be possible. Then he said: 'Could I ask the nature of the event?' I couldn't quite understand what difference that would make. Was he checking to see it was worth his bother? 'The Duke of Devonshire's Hunt Ball? Why, of course Sir! The wedding of some non-entity you went to college with? ...One rather thinks not' Still, he'd asked, and he was a Man On The Phone, so I told him. 'Well, I've got a dinner on the tenth, and then a wedding the following day.'

To which his reply, word for word, was this: 'Oh! Quite the social butterfly!'

What? I mean, what? Am I wrong in thinking that a man has just taken the piss out of me for answering his own inappropriate question? And what's funny about the answer I gave anyway? That I said two events instead of just one? That was the answer! That's why I wanted the suit by then! Did he think I was trying to impress him? 'Oh yes, I go to dinners and weddings, donchaknow! Sometimes in the same week!' And even if that is what he thought, how is it ok to take the piss out of me for it? And with the phrase 'Quite the social butterfly'?! I mean, did I accidentally phone a tailor out of The Simpsons?

I'm still buying the suit from them. They were cheapest.