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British TV in Spain, the first UK Christmas television since 2005!

Having been in Spain for over six years now I’ve never missed British TV. In Lanzarote, apart from BBC World, we’ve got by with a mix of Spanish, Middle Eastern and American programming. Recently though, due to a move to the mainland we found ourselves with a Sky dish. It’s been quite nice to see a bit of British television again. However, I’m re-thinking that a little having endured the joys of Christmas television.

boxNo, it’s not the bloody awful schedules that have me concerned. It’s Christmas, you know it will be crap! You expect it to be crap! And, you prepare in advance for it to be crap!

What has really wound me up is the advertising. My God what is going on over there…?

I can forgive the stupid slogans like;

“100% of women who tested out product saw results:” (May have actually killed them all, but it is a ‘result’ nonetheless!)

“Our diet pills – when combined with good eating habits and exercise gets results.” (No shit Sherlock!)

We’re all used to ad agencies talking to consumers like they are stupid. In fact we expect it.

I can even – almost – forgive Brad Pitt making an arse of himself by doing the Chanel advert. Who is giving that man career advice? He needs to sack his agent over that one!

What I can not forgive having seen a British television Christmas after so long, was the bullshit charity advertising and the prevalence of gambling websites.

Firstly, the charity advertising… Let me state categorically I will NEVER donate to the charities (usually with extremely well paid ‘fat cat’ executives) that think it acceptable to spend well meant donations on television advertising. No, I will not send two pounds a month to Cancer Research, or (whose advertising I found particularly offensive as it virtually pointed directly at me, the viewer, blaming me for the poor little African kid it was showing dying of malaria). Nor will the Jesus freaks at the Salvation Army receive anything (not that they ever would see my money), and nor will the countless other ‘charities’ I saw adverts for over the Christmas holiday. It’s an insult to the people who gave money to these causes to put their donations in the pockets of the TV companies.

In a similar vein, on to the Waitrose advertising, which I challenged them on, only to be fed a load of marketing bullshit.

Here’s my exchange with them via Facebook.

About your Christmas advertising budget ‘cuts’ – ‘So we can give more to charity!”. Can you quantify that statement – what is the percentage drop on previous years? There still seems to have been a huge budget spent on both time and the product advertising around the campaign. Did you pay Heston and Delia? Surely it’s not a complicated message – you could have just used a member of staff. I don’t buy any of it!

Waitrose Hi Alan, both Delia and Heston have decided to waive their fees in support of this idea. Our media spend is in line with last year, but by cutting our production costs, we’re going to make a difference to 1,700 great causes

Alan Gandy Will you be publishing the financial details at some point? Still not convinced – what percentage of your spend did you save on production costs? Fair comment on Heston and Delia.

Waitrose Hi Alan, Unfortunately, the information that you have requested is confidential to Waitrose. You can view our press release here:

The Waitrose Press Centre Waitrose keeps Christmas TV ad plain and simple to give more to charity

Alan Gandy Nope, still not getting it, sums don’t add up – the press release implies 1,000,000 in saved production costs. And alongside those ads you still ran the usual product advertising… But hey, thanks at least for an answer.

I will never enter a Waitrose store again. Waitrose, if you’re going to spout this charity stuff you should;

  • Not lie about the figures. A million pounds saved in production costs. Seriously! No way!
  • Be prepared to publish the figures to give some credence to your claims.
  • Not boast about you charity credentials without such financial transparency.

Now, the gambling!

Fcuking hell the UK must have a problem, if not it’s coming!

365bingo, robinhoodbingo, kittybingo (guessing this one particularly appeals to spinsters), cheekybingo, foxybingo and many, many others! Ladbrokes, stanjames, skyvegas… My god how many are there? And, all offering ‘free money’ to get you hooked.

Having seen the demise of an addict from respectability through to thief and inevitably on to convict I abhor gambling. It REALLY concerns me what a large percentage of the airtime between crappy Christmas programming was taken up with these ads.

I hazard a guess that 2013 may be the busiest year yet for Gamblers Anonymous!

Anyway, rant over, I’m off now to start my new business for 2013 inspired by the online gambling business model. Free heroin anyone?