Saturday, 30 June 2012
Go Compare - Go Fuck Yersel
Just to be clear, the point of this piece is that I want to live in a world where anyone can freely graffiti billboard adverts without fear of prosecution for vandalism or hate crime. We are bombarded by outdoor advertising with no choice as to whether we see it or not, if people could freely amend adverts as they see fit, marketeers would be forced to take into account the views of local communities.
It makes me gag with frustration, there are actually people out there who think that this is a spontaneous eruption of hatred and vandalism against one specific car insurance comparison site, and not just a slightly edgy marketing job.
I'm genuinely concerned that people think that out of all the things in modern life that a spontaneous uprising of graffiti could be about, it would be about one TV advert.
Not the Aleksandr from compare the meerkats, or Churchill the disagreeable/agreeable bulldog or that dapper Admiral.
A lot of people think that its genuine amusing vandalism, then so be it.
What I think would be awesome if if some lads with spraycans went out and cranked the Go Compare graffiti up a notch and added their own unauthorised graffiti. "Go Compare - Go Fuck Yersel", "Go to Compare the Meerkat", "Go back to Italy", "Go anorexic you fat fuck"
If this is the reality that folk think they live in, then embrace it. I eagerly await the same graffiti creeping into other adverts, a wholesale takeover of billboard advertising by lads with spraycans, inspired by Go Compare.
Especially around the Olympics
That would be awesome.
Any advert that annoys you or rubs you up the wrong way, just grab your cans, don't say it, spray it. If anyone stops you, tell them you have implicit permission from the PR company to purely and genuinely express the feelings of the local community towards advertising.
When I used to stay round Shields Road in Glasgow, an area with a large Muslim community, whenever the clothing companies put up posters of scantily clad women wearing £4.99 bikini tops, a few days later the skantily clad woman would find herself covered up. Someone had been out with a ladder, a tray of black Dulux and a paint roller, and covered her modesty.
I guess in a sprawling metropolis like London, it doesn't matter if an advertiser pisses off a large section of the eyeballs.
A few weeks ago the same thing happened in Walthamstow (and Tower Hamlets according to the Evening Standard), with this year's H&M £4.99 bikini tops adverts. By Blackhorse Road underground someone had tried to paint over the skantily clad women and failed miserably, only one of the four ladies was covered.
Our awesome MP tweeted about it, we have different views on this. I think its a pure and genuine expression of a community's distaste for advertising that's vulgar in their culture, and she thinks its a hate crime. Some people feel threatened by it.
I was tweeting about it yesterday and received this
I don't really want to invoke Venn, but it is possible for graffiti to be both vandalism and hate crime, and also for vandalism to look like hate crime when it clearly isn't, in much the same way that a marketing job can look like vandalism when it clearly isn't.
One person's hate crime is another's censorship. If you're going to mush all these concepts together to match whatever your worldview is, then you'll find me up a ladder painting beer bellies on posters of Olympic Team GB and complaining that they're already airbrushed to unrealistic perfection and encourage the youth of today to develop eating disorders.
We don't use ladders to deface adverts now, these days we use software, like on MyDavidCameron and the anti-terror hotline remix
Alas, if Go Compare created a macro generator website, no one would use it, no one feels strongly enough about their adverts to actually go out and vandalise them.
Only in the dreams of marketeers.