Bad day at the office 12


Advertising industry left scratching heads as UK challenger bank follows up ‘Pigeon’ spot with ‘Tortoise’

UK Cash Cowboys yesterday aired the second TV ad in its new campaign, following on from ‘Pigeon’, which showed a pigeon tap-dancing to George Formby’s ‘When I’m Cleaning Windows’.

The new spot shows a lame tortoise hobbling onto a roller skate beneath a ‘There’s tortoises…’ super – before it then embarks on an abstruse, mescaline-induced roller-coaster ride through a puddle, an intergalactic black hole and the set of a porn movie, to a backing track of Wagner’s ‘Ride of the Valkyries’, when the ‘and there’s UK Cash Cowboys tortoises’ super appears. As the Fast Show’s ‘Jazz Club’ host would say, “nice.”

Alongside ‘Pigeon’, ‘Tortoise’ aims to mark out UK Cash Cowboys as a bank like no other, accentuating its brand schizophrenia and firmly positioning the bank as an insane way for customers to manage their finances.

The latest ad is dividing the advertising community right across London. While the global head of Soushi & Soushi was gushing in his praise of the ad, calling it ‘pretentious bullshit on steroids’, the Creative Head at L.M.F.A.O. Breeze Steve Wittgenstein didn’t pull his punches at all. Wading in with a baseball bat wrapped in razor wire, Wittgenstein described it as “spectacularly pointless, game-changingly awful. No agency I ever ran would be seen dead putting out such unadulterated kitchen waste, unless all our pet rabbits were kidnapped and we received photographs of them strapped to dynamite saying, ‘run the ads, or the rabbits die’. They’re that fucking bad.”

The campaign was the brainchild of creative director Kurt Shytter from P.R.I.C.K.S. (Pratt, Rypov, Igo, Charlatan, Konman and Shytter) who apparently had a blinding migraine at the time, and since his release from rehab claims to have been completely cured of his addiction to nitrous oxide and crack cocaine.

“I really like what they’ve done with the puddle motif,” enthused UK Cash Cowboys CEO Cleopatra LeGrande, CBE. “It’s pregnant with deeply subliminal double entendres about our shallowness as a brand and the way we try to shower muddy piss all over our customers to bamboozle them into thinking we’re clever.”

When quizzed about the disturbing black hole and porn set motifs, LeGrande fixed the interviewer with a Jose Mourinho death stare, and said, “what other high street bank has deeply violent and troubling shit in its television ads, you fuckwit? Can’t you see what we’re doing, you stupid little worm? We’re changing the game, we’re breaking the rules, standing out from the crowd. Who are you anyway? A nobody. These pearls cost me eighty-grand from Yoko, sweetheart. I doubt you’ve ever seen that much money. Do you know how much I earned last year? Well do you? Three point six five mill, mate. Net. So don’t talk to me about gang bangs before you find yourself on the end of one from my security guys. As for black holes, do I really need to spell out what we’re saying? The black hole signifies the utter vacuum in meaning – the crushing, sucking weight of nothingness at the heart of our advertising – into which our target customers will all be sucked like helpless sheep. Now go and bother someone else with your grubby little questions you pathetic excuse for a common little man. I am Cleopatra LeGrande CBE, and yesterday I had lunch with Vladimir Putin. If you worked at my bank I’d have you hung by your balls in the deep-freeze until you begged for a pay cut, or death.”

The campaign is also supported by a series of press ads showing a hamster in a pair of gold lame y-fronts emblazoned with LeGrande’s initials, a three-legged llama sporting pink-framed Ray-Bans, a St Bernard guide dog humping a traffic warden’s leg and a zebra getting a BJ from a ho in a Soho alleyway. With photography from Courtney Cronenberg, these print executions are intended to help highlight the difference between UK Cash Cowboys and the more professional, upstanding, credible high street banks like Barclays, Lloyds and HSBC.

Uge Pratt, MD of P.R.I.C.K.S. said, “this has been a wack campaign to work on bro. The brief was like, the front page from The Sun, man, who somebody had blown their nose on then flushed down the toilet, which gave us complete carte blanche in terms of the cross-disciplinary mindshare, vacuous content generation and Poundland production values. The result is a totally nihilistic multi-media mind-fuck of a campaign which is really going to mess with the heads of anyone contemplating doing business with this pathetic excuse for a bank. We’re confident it will really set UK Cash Cowboys apart as it continues its exciting journey from a cheapskate financial services brand led by a deeply greedy and psychotic CEO, to a cheapskate financial services brand led by a deeply greedy and psychotic CEO. Peace, man.”

At the time of writing the campaign was rumoured to be under investigation by the Advertising Standards Authority for cruelty to animals, after the tortoise was filmed being physically glued to the roller skate as it hurled upside down into the ad’s black hole of nothingness, like a turd flushed down a toilet, never to be seen again.

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