In a Word . . . Pied

It was heartening to hear a Bank of Ireland shareholder rage at the obnoxious pair "Rachel and Steve" at that institution's recent annual general meeting. You may recall how I referred to that deeply irritating advertisement in this column sometime back. I do not suffer alone.

As esteemed colleague Cliff Taylor reported last month: "It wasn't just Richie (Boucher) and Archie (Kane) who drew the ire of Bank of Ireland shareholders at its grandly titled annual general court in UCD . . . Steve and Rachel got it in the neck, too. Or should that be Rachel and Steve?"

He recounted how a shareholder said he was sick of seeing “that stupid [TV] ad” for Bank of Ireland’s mortgage offers, which “seems to play several times a day every day of the week”. The man wanted to know how much the awful ad cost and what benefit it brought the bank.

Ever predictable when it comes to doing the unpopular thing, bank top brass defended Steve and Rachel. Birds of a feather, perhaps? It was explained that the bank is not allowed sell loans through intermediaries and so depended on advertising (through Steve and Rachel?) to get customers. The ad “gets noticed”, a spokesman said, it “was recognised by everyone”.

So is a bill, or summons, or fine.

He acknowledged it didn’t “appeal to all tastes”. Now there’s understatement. Have the banks not punished us enough?

Why can't they make an ad as stunning as that for Colourtrend paints, with actress Fiona Shaw intoning Gerard Manley Hopkin's poem Pied Beauty over sundry wonderful images all in 40 short seconds?

As well as creating a thing of beauty, Colourtrend have also been clever. The company is based at Celbridge, Co Kildare. Hopkins had connections with Clongowes Wood College there; the Jesuit novitiate at nearby Rahan; and of course with Monasterevin where there has been an annual festival in his honour.

Why can’t a bank be as inventive as a small paint firm?

Meanwhile, I believe there should be a special award at the annual Irish Film and Television Awards for advertisements such as art-full as Pied Beauty.

Pied, having patches of two or more colours. From Middle English pie, referring to the black and white plumage of a mag-pie. Earliest use believed to be to pyed frères, an order or friars who wore black and white.

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