In a word . . . advertisement

I cannot, simply cannot stand Rachel and Steve. Or Steve and Rachel. I would pity that silent guy they live next door to if it wasn’t for the red, antibiotic-ridden beard.

Besides, it’s so hard to feel for anyone in an advertisement for banks these days, even if they have the misfortune to live next door to a Rachel and Steve and have a mortgage.

Financial institutions in general seem to produce truly awful ads. I don’t know why, for instance, that attractive, intelligent woman in the AXA Insurance ad stays with that gom. He can’t see a red line when it stares him in the face and is so preoccupied with a dent in his car that he misses the number of the one that crashed into him.

The only insurance ads that had even tepid appeal for me were those No Nonsense ones which are so over the top they could provoke a subtle, Mona Lisa-like, barely discernible facial response.


Humour and style always work for me in advertisements, which is why I enjoy the Lotto ads, no matter how often I see them, such as the one with the elderly lady telling the pilot of her very own plane that she meant the Grand Canal even as they fly over the Grand Canyon.

And I like that wind energy ad that plays out against President John F Kennedy's speech about Ireland during his 1963 visit here. Similarly the Guinness Christmas ad with actor Stephen Brennan walking past the Customs House in long coat and hat as the snow falls all over Ireland.

I really do think there should be annual awards for advertisements of the year. The public would love that, and it might push up standards.

But I have serious objection to the HSE Quit smoking advertisement featuring 57-year-old Gerry Collins who died of lung cancer in March 2014. I cannot imagine what it must do to his wife and three children every time it is broadcast, not least as they feature in some versions of the ad. Besides, it's hardly necessary. At this stage we don't need a man from the other side to tell us that cigarettes are bad for you. And I'm sure his family doesn't need the grief.

Advertisement, believed derived from the Middle French avertissement, from Latin advertere, "to turn one's attention to".