Friday, 23 May 2014

23/05/14 - Oddbins Wandsworth

My local branch of Oddbins, cheerfully nestled on the Wandsworth one-way system, has seen fit to do a thing that scratches at the irritation gland of anybody that works in advertising: they’ve made their own advert. And, in the same vein as Ryanair’s shite old press ads, it’s bewildering in its rubbishness. On a large black board attached to the wall, they have a sign which reads thus:


Now, just what do you suppose that’s all about?
OK, let’s take a minor leap and assume the sign’s referring to Justin Bieber, Jeremy Kyle, Simon Cowell and Piers Morgan. What do these four people have in common? Let’s look at them individually to see what’s what…

Justin Bieber
Here’s a shining example of Macaulay Culkin Syndrome – the worrying consequences that manifest themselves in a public way when a child is furnished with limitless cash, endless swathes of aroused admirers, and a team of people who shout ‘yes!’ in response to everything they say. Of course he went off the rails. Viewed as a squeaky-clean teen idol, it was only natural that he’d cover himself in tattoos and start dressing like a sort of comedy gangsta, all snapback caps and saggy-crotch jeans. He was arrested for vandalism in Brazil. He was arrested in Miami Beach for driving under the influence with an expired licence. He reportedly smokes weed and takes Xanax. He was arrested for assaulting a limo driver in Toronto. No-one was especially surprised when the news recently reported that he might have been involved in a robbery.
He’s not the sort of person that Oddbins Wandsworth want as a customer, even though he’s spectacularly wealthy and probably has a thirsty entourage. Hmm.

Jeremy Kyle
For the uninitiated, think of Jeremy Kyle as being a sort of unsavoury parasite who revels in parading other parasites in front of TV cameras from a position of assumed moral superiority. His agonising television show bristles with captions such as ‘I’ll never marry you if you fail the lie detector’, ‘Even if my son is yours, he’ll call my girlfriend ‘dad’’, ‘Prove I’m a dad, then I’ll prove I haven’t slept with my mum’, ‘Should I leave my violent, cheating wife?’ and so on (those are all genuine, by the way) – it’s basically a showcase of people who don’t look after their teeth, who feel that the best outlet for their personal problems is to have them judged and ridiculed in public by a fundamentally unlikable arse.
Nevertheless, for all his many, many faults, I’d have thought that Jeremy Kyle was just the sort of person that Oddbins would be interested in courting. He presumably has a bit of cash – why else would he do what he does? There are certainly no moral rewards – and the killer blow is dealt by his family heritage: Kyle’s dad was the Queen Mother’s personal secretary, so presumably there’s a fondness for gin within the family. I bet he gets through gallons of the stuff. Do your research, Oddbins.

Simon Cowell
Back in 2003, Channel 4 compiled a list of the ‘100 Worst Britons’ – Cowell placed 33rd. That’s a phenomenal achievement. Think of all the awful people that he’s considered to be worse than – hordes of murderers and paedophiles, all judged to be less bad than a man who’s become famous for being a bit abrasive in his criticisms of other people’s work or talents. He’s really good at making people think he’s a bastard. I suspect the widespread revulsion doesn’t keep him awake at night, as he reclines in luxuriant fashion on his dolphin-skin sheets, throwing clods of caviar at peasants through the windows of one of his many mansions.
He probably isn’t a bastard, you know. I bet if you met him in a social context, you’d probably find that he’s just some bloke. Some bloke who happens to have fabricated a hateful public mask, and has become staggeringly wealthy as a result.
Imagine the excitement if he were to wander into Oddbins Wandsworth. They’d be beside themselves.

Piers Morgan
Awful. Just an awful person.

So the thread that seems to pull them all together is that whoever made the sign considers these people to be the sort of unsavoury characters that they wouldn’t welcome in the shop. Oddbins are clearly picky about their clientele, and analyse customers on a scale of overall worth to humankind rather than merely their ability to pay. This is either laudably public-spirited or despicably fascistic, it’s hard to say.

My wife’s analysis of the sign is probably correct – it’s an embarrassing dad-joke, presumably come up with by the manager and nobody wanted to argue him down. It probably sounded amusing to him when he said it off the cuff, reeling off four random names that he’d heard on the news that week and thought people could relate to, but he appears to have mistaken a toadying absence of a ‘that’s rubbish, Steve’ (or whatever his name is) response from his employees for any kind of actual wit or cultural relevance. Poor bloke. Bit embarrassing really.

Of course, there’s always the possibility that the sign refers to Colin Bieber, Alison Kyle, Duncan Cowell and Brenda Morgan, four alcoholics from the nearby Winstanley Estate who’ve all been banned from other branches of Oddbins for shoplifting. That might make more sense. Perhaps I’m overthinking it.

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