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‘Our customers sound like wankers’

Not the latest inspired marketing campaign for Kleenex (sadly), but rather the new one for Norwich Union Direct – at least according to this week’s Guide:

In a regrettable attempt to ingratiate themselves with the nation’s youth, the shadowy dream-weavers at NUD’s marketing department have centred their latest ad on a joke about masturbation. The onanistic wheeze unfurls thus: a large-chinned twentysomething is engaged in an animated telephone conversation with NUD. Cut to a shot of his grandmother, who, by standing outside his closed bedroom door with a cup of tea, is an unwitting party to the climax of said transaction. “YES! YES! I LOVE YOU!” he bellows, as an unheard customer-service operative delivers the explosive news that his car insurance might cost him slightly less than he thought.

Of course, in normal circumstances, any grandmother encountering this apparently masturbatory outburst would be expected to either: a) stagger backwards in horror, clawing wordlessly at the banister before slumping, unconscious, to the carpet; or b) tiptoe downstairs and immediately set about cutting the pervert out of her will. But these are not normal circumstances. These are ad circumstances, which mean they bear no relation to real life and are, instead, wholly stupid and entirely nonsensical. Thus nan responds to the outburst by smiling enigmatically and caressing her ancient breastbone in the manner of a saucy Edwardian chambermaid fingering a colonel’s monocle. “Just like his granddad,” she says to a baffled Craig Cash before wandering off, possibly to the bathroom, whereupon she will spend the next 40 minutes tickling her support hose while thinking about her dead husband’s cravat.

What are we to take from her reaction? That her grandson’s decision to spend afternoons using his genitals as a mortar and pestle is grounds for familial pride? That her husband was as aggressive a masturbator as her grandson? That she gets off on the idea of a close relative roaring himself to orgasm? Who knows? And so another gag goes off in the trousers of advertising incompetence. Still, kudos to NUD for having the chutzpah to imply, however inadvertently, that their customers sound like wankers. Now that’s funny.

It’s definitely an original idea, if nothing else.

This post was filed under: Media.

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