We know advertising breeds discontent. You’re strolling down the street when an advert makes you wish it was tree-lined. But has anyone seen the recent Absolut vodka advert? It’s like the 80s never happened; it’s like irony never happened.

Empire of the Sun provide the soundtrack, proving bands will do anything for money these days; after all, they can’t get proper jobs – beyond agreeing with management – they’ve become deskilled. Empire of the Sun have previous in this area, by providing songs for Dumb and Dumber to, but what else are they talented in besides wearing Indian headdresses and writing pop songs so euphoric that it’s advisable to pull over when they come on the car radio. Their latest song, Welcome to my life, is as excitable as a spaniel hearing the sound of a dog lead, while the advert is the usual ‘lifestyle’ nonsense. It’s to provoke comparison of your commuting, ironing pile and discovering the need for milk only once you’re in pyjamas, with toned, bronzed girls and boys giggling at unheard jokes on spotless dance floors. It’s basically a 16 year old’s idea of what clubbing is like; the sort of clubbing everyone hoped for, before tripping over clubbers lost in K-holes on the floor of Ministry of Sound.

The beautiful people are out-acted by the cocktails they’re clutching alongside swimming pools reflecting starlight rejected from Disney skies for being too perfect. Empire of The Sun claim their “music takes you to another dimension, creating an experience beyond the earth …that sticks with you long after the night is over, much like Absolut Nights.” Yes, they actually said that, presumably at gunpoint. I think the phrase they’re grasping for to describe what happens when the night’s over is ‘a hangover.’

The advert’s aim probably isn’t to challenge viewers in identifying one of the 100 most annoying things about it, but it’s the only thing it succeeds in doing. It’s the kind of ‘live like there’s no tomorrow’ lifestyle that in reality leads to homeless hostels and begging for money semi-conscious in subways. It suggests having no regrets, but my only regret is not discovering chocolate macaroons earlier in life.

Even ‘the Rock’, now rebranded as Dwight Johnson, understands that branding is everything. Someone in a recent M&S product development meeting even suggested their crumpets weren’t just crumpets, but Ultimate crumpets, which sounds like an abandoned porn mag from the 60s. Now, instead of laughing heartily and marching him down to the local pub to stretch out the joke, his colleagues actually rebranded their product, immediately creating inferiority in all those eating any other brand of crumpet.

As Welcome to my life fades, a fembot in the Vodka commercial, purrs that “A party is where you meet people,” presumably read directly from a dictionary, while another moron tells us, “If I had an epic night, it would have to be iconic.” This wouldn’t make sense regardless as to how many vodkas you’ve drunk to create an experience beyond the earth. Thankfully some adverts unintentionally make you pleased to be at home in your slippers.

My debut novel is out now on Urbane Publishing and can be bought at Foyles here:

http://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/fiction-poetry/the-life-assistance-agency,thomas-hocknell-9781911129035

And Amazon – 

(apologies for the blatant advertising)

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