You have to pity British Airways. The airline has always sold itself to us with a simple deal: we give it money, and it flies us somewhere nice. But now that Covid-19 has robbed us of the latter, BA has been forced to come up with a brand new USP. And what it has landed on is this: British Airways loves you more than the other boys do. No, really. Its Covid ad is formed of an open letter to the country, in which various socially distanced members of staff say how proud they are of us. We’re coping well with lockdown, they say, and they’ll be waiting to take us on holiday again soon. And then, as a weird final flourish, they literally say: “We love you Britain”, three times in a row.
No you don’t. That isn’t what we had, BA. You overcharged us and lost our baggage, and we boarded you after getting aggressively drunk on Wetherspoons breakfast beers. This is nothing like love. I demand you reshoot this video with the truth: “We are in a state of toxic co-dependency with you, Britain.” SH
“Insta for aunties” social media titan Facebook is in a uniquely powerful position. Not only are we Herriot-deep in a crisis where information can literally save lives, FB also provides access to family, friends and vital cat videos. This ad is thusly engorged with Zuckerbergian self-regard: Kate Tempest’s People’s Faces purrs over shots of, er, people’s faces, with Facebook cast as the thread holding them together. And you think: this is nice. But then, a company that paid £28m tax on £1.6bn of UK revenue in 2018 can afford nice ads. And isn’t Facebook rife with 5G truthers? Why yes it is, as well as all manner of other tinfoil-hattery. Facebook now directs users exposed to Covid-19 disinfo to the WHO. Which doesn’t solve the problem: it’s like farting in a lift on the ground floor and then telling other passengers it’s fine because there’s a joss stick on floor 200. It should have gone with the more accurate “We’re never lost if we can find a list of Trump’s Top 5 DIY Covid-curing suppositories.” LH
It is rare for an advert to use a twee acoustic cover of a classic song, so let’s salute the visionary Jack Daniel’s, whose new ad soundtracks drinkers having nights out over video calls with a cooed version of Cyndi Lauper’s True Colours. While some of the ad’s nights in look fun, others just look incredibly boring and weird. One bloke has made a lifesize doll of his mate to cosy up to … what happens after a few JD and Cokes? After two-and-a-bit months of lockdown, it’s best not to think about it too much. Nobody wants to be in A&E with paper cuts because you’ve been dry-humping a pile of clothes stuffed with newspaper. Not in a pandemic, anyway. Ostensibly, the ad is about “making social distancing social” but as anyone who’s done a 14-person quiz on Zoom knows, the subtext is “you’ll need booze to get through this”. And it’s doubtful that free-pouring spirits at home will end up in a game of chess or a Zoom singalong. You’re more likely to wake up with a hangover so bad it kicks off a full-on existential crisis. Still: cheers! IS
Forget aspirational: these days ads need to be #relatable. It’s “out” with Beckham brooding in a body of water (waterfall, shower room, rain), and “in” with adverts inspired by reality. Enter Maltesers, whose latest features four gal-pals in a Zoom grid chatting, except one is in the dark. “Steph, where are you?” says bottom-right pal. Steph explains she’s in the under-stairs cupboard because of the kids. “Are you playing hide and seek?” asks pal. “No, I’m just hiding,” replies Steph, deadpan. Ho ho ho, kids are such terrors. But watch the ad long enough – and you will, it’s being pre-rolled hard on 4OD – and the darkness becomes clear. Everyone is laughing but Steph. The blue light of her device shining on to her face screams Blair Witch Project. Why does Steph have wifi in the cupboard? Is she there often? Now it’s feeling a bit Law & Order: SVU. Just who are Steph’s children, and what are they doing to her? “We’ll get through this,” reads the closing message, presumably meaning us as a nation. The question is: will Steph? CK