This post is part of the Overthinkery Reclamation Project, an effort to reclaim some very old posts that I wrote a long time ago. This particular post was first published on January 7th, 2011, and is a spiteful rant about a man whose name is not really Barry Scott. It’s rather timely, in fact, because this advert is now back on the telly and still grinds my gears, though not as much as it did back in 2011. I was pretty ranty as a teenager, apparently.
I’ll just let that sink in for a moment.
Bang! And the dirt is gone. Or, to quote the entire advert: ‘HI I’M BARRY SCOTT AND I’M HERE WITH JILL WHO..’ Aaargh. I’ve listened to four seconds of this man’s voice and I already hate it. Does something strike you as odd about this advert? A certain claim made by the not at all creepy or pushy host? Well, if not, here it is: Who is Barry Scott?
I don’t know. I’d be surprised if anybody did, since having done my research I can reveal that Barry Scott is fictional. A fictional character. It strikes me that a celebrity endorsement for a product is only really of any use if they’re… not fictional. After all, the entire advert hinges upon two things: a weak, albeit memorable (if only for its delivery) slogan, and Barry Scott’s endorsement. That’s right, the gurus in the Cillit Bang marketing division have decided to base the appeal of an entire advert upon the recommendation of a fictional being who sounds like Brian Blessed trapped in a box. (He really does!)
I think the question on everybody’s lips here is ‘WHY?!’ Why would anybody choose to base the entire selling point of a product upon the plugging of it by a man who is not only NOT REAL, but also about as friendly and welcoming as a bull with a red-hot poker up its arse. Perhaps some people genuinely find Scott endearing. To these people I say only this: Give up. There’s no point for you any more.
If I had the time, I would rage about advertising for… a long time, I suppose, but since I don’t, let me
viciously target and bifurcate with a rusty fork I mean disembowel brutally I mean have a little go at one in particular. British readers might remember the (now rather dated) Esure car insurance advert featuring Michael Winner. Like dear Barry, he opens by telling us all who he is. A nice touch, since I admit I didn’t know who he was, but, it seems to me, slightly superfluous. In fact, it kind of ruins the point; if you’re going to get a celebrity to endorse your product, then there would seem to be two main rules to follow: 1) They should be real, 2) They ought to be famous enough that introductions aren’t necessitated, since it would seem equally profitable to put an average, gormless member of the public in their place if nobody knows who they are. Speaking of members of the public, Winner then proceeds to mercilessly interrogate some on their insurance policies with a toaster welded to a baseball bat.
Not really, but it would make it so much more interesting.
Anyway, said members of the public look suspiciously as if they might have rehearsed their lines because they’re getting paid for this. Perhaps they’re actors – no, surely not. Michael Winner wouldn’t deceive us with false promises! (At least, I assume he wouldn’t. I still don’t know who he is.)