Saturday, 28 June 2008

Advertising, part the second.

Advertising, part two.

Hello folks. Here's the second bit, in all its slightly repetitive glory. I'm afraid there are no exciting revelations, other than that sometimes advertising is naff, and that's the most predictable ending since the last time the butler really did do it (1924, in my estimation).

Right, so, last I spoke, I was on the tube. Now I've disembarked, ready for work, and there, at the High Street Kensington underground station, are more posters than I can count (even if I use my toes as well), informing passers-by that Kuoni are opening their flagship store nearby. This message is accompanied by a picture of a magnificent expanse of dusty plain, across which gallops a lank of giraffes1. Lovely. Dramatic. Inspiring. But not a clue what it is that Kuoni are actually trying to sell.

My initial assumption was that they are a clothes shop. I mean, they're opening a flagship store on High Street Kensington, so it seemed like a reasonable guess. They could sell 'ethnic' clothes to the ra-ra residents. Clothes made by giraffes, or perhaps from giraffes, which would explain why they're all legging it in the picture. My second guess was an exotic pet shop. If the market exists at all, it's definitely in Kensington, and there's definitely a gap in it. If you asked me where to go in London to buy a large African land mammal requiring a forty-kilometre trot and at least half a tree of tasty and probably organic leaves every day, I'd never have had a clue until Kuoni appeared on the scene, serving all our absurd pet needs. Two for one on water buffalo? Buy a llama, get a capybara half-price?

Well, it turns out that they're a travel agent specialising in dusty and expensive holidays. Quite why a travel agent needs a flagship store is beyond me. It doesn't matter how big you make the shop, they'll never fit a holiday destination in it. Maybe it contains more brochures than have ever been seen in one building before? Or perhaps it has little taster rooms for different countries, where they fly in a scrap of land and install an authentic local to give you a taste of tourism before you buy a package?

Anyway, I hereby brand Kuoni 'loopy'. Why go to such trouble and expense to market yourselves without actually telling people what it is you do?

And one final oddness in this dreary double bill: my washing detergent. Blinded by the sheer range of apparently identical products, I picked one from the shelf at random and came home with Persil bio. The 'bio'/'non-bio' thing raises shedloads of questions all on its own: why do they cost the same? Is bio better or worse? What are its benefits? What are its ethical consequences? Is it alive? Is it wrong to conduct cosmetic experiments on it? Can you make it out of recycled cardboard? But that's so far from the point that it's bought a holiday from Kuoni and is at this moment riding a giraffe across the Savannah. The point is that this stuff, which does a perfectly decent job of actually washing, is cursed by a really silly label on the bottle. It says:

For that 'just washed' feeling!

Well I should bally well hope my four-hundred socks feel 'just washed' – I just washed them!

1 I'm fairly sure this is the correct collective noun for giraffes. It might just be 'a silliness', but I think this is already used for duck-billed platypussies, er, platipy, platipussati. Oh sod it. For more than one platypus.

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