Bad day at the office 15

Never mind the buttocks low res

New card design triggers Anarchy in the UK Cash Cowboys

Anarchy in the UK Cash Cowboys

Vicious internecine warfare has broken out again in the offices of UK Cash Cowboys where I work, about the new designs on the front of our credit cards. If you haven’t seen them yet, I guess you’ve not been on social media today. The artwork, which sends up the iconic album cover of Never Mind The Buttocks by 1970’s punk legends The Jizz Rifles, was created by our London agency PRICKS (Pratt Rypov Igo Charlatan Konman & Shytter), who were responsible for our recent TV ads of a ukulele-playing pigeon and a tortoise on a roller-skate. For anyone unfamiliar with the famous Never Mind The Buttocks cover, it features a picture of a guy with a rather prominent erection in a pair of tight swim trunks. Our CMO Dick Holder described the radical credit card design as “one in the eye for the other banks”.

Dick announced the strapline – Bring a bit of hypocrisy to your wallet!  that would support the ad campaign to me and the rest of the in-house marketing team yesterday, before it all went live today.

Stig Chuchwarden, the designer who sits opposite me in the creative studio, summed it up nicely when he threw me a baffled look over Dick’s shoulder, silently mouthing the words, “what the fuck?”

Apparently a veritable shitstorm has broken in the press today after several newspapers took offence at the use of the word ‘buttocks’ on a credit card. Marketing Week called it “utter cock”. While even PRICKS own Managing Director Uge Pratt went slightly defensive, describing his agency’s campaign as “a breathtakingly audacious piece of advertising bullshit”.  It caused our CEO Cleopatra LeGrande to rush out a hasty press release this morning defending the crass artwork that will be shoved into the faces of unsuspecting shop assistants across the world from today.

The card cock up comes at a sticky time for UK Cash Cowboys and our Rottweiler of a CEO, who have come in for a barrage of criticism this week. First when it was revealed that our crap pension actually blocks customers from being able to get at the money they’ve saved up, when they come to retire, a story which The Telegraph first ran last Friday. And secondly when a rumour began going round the office that LeGrande was being investigated for insider dealing. Woo fucking hoo. Fist pumps all round the studio were the order of the day when that little baby first popped up.

In an article last week in the Daily Rail’s, ‘Mafia Bank Bosses’ supplement, it was revealed that:

“LeGrande had worked for the disgraced Fred Goering, who she helped steer the Royal Bank of Snodland to the brink of collapse during the financial crisis. For five years she ran its calamitous £65bn mortgage business, lending money to destitute nutters like it was going out of fashion. Finally, when she got wind that the bank was about to go tits up, she phoned Sir Rich Pickle, who had always told her she would be welcomed back at the Cowboys. The timing of her departure in 2007 was immaculate, coming little less than a year before the bank went over a cliff.”

There was a little graphic in the article showing how Cleopatra had sold her RBS shares for £21.98 each in 2007. They subsequently fell to 50p in the bailout, and are still only worth £3.50 today. The headline in the graphic called it ‘Good timing’.  However, there’s a rumour going round that someone has drawn LeGrande’s ‘immaculate timing’ to the attention of the Financial Conduct Authority, pointing out that it appears to tick every box in the definition of ‘insider information’.

“A non-public fact regarding the plans or condition of a publicly traded company that could provide a financial advantage when used to buy or sell shares of the company’s stock. Insider information is typically gained by someone who is working within or close to a listed company. If a person uses insider information to place trades, he or she can be found guilty of insider trading. Insider trading is illegal when the material information has not been made public and has been traded on. This is because the information gives those having this knowledge an unfair advantage.”

Watch this space, as they say. But if anyone’s expecting to see our haughty CEO in chains any time soon, don’t get your hopes up. Cleopatra LeGrande’s CV lists a diploma she received from the Sepp Blatter school of bribery and corruption among her professional qualifcations. Not for nothing is she known in the banking world as the Teflon Tracy. Brushing off all the criticism her press release began in typically bullish mood this morning:

“No, the credit card designs aren’t a pathetic marketing gimmick, you fuckwits. They’re just the latest step in our quest to cheapen and debase UK banking. For a long time now UK banks have been professional and business-like, with the same attitude towards their financial products and customers. At UK Cash Cowboys we’re aiming to change that, by completely mugging everyone off. In launching these cards we wanted to celebrate the Cowboys heritage and difference, by commemorating the iconic punk band 38 years after they first signed to Cowboys Records. The Jizz Rifles challenged the establishment. They swore and spat in people’s faces. Just as we are doing today in our quest to drag UK banking into the gutter. Did people really think we’d let them have their pension savings back when they reached retirement? How the fuck do they expect me to cream off a fat profit to pay my bonus if they take all their money out, FFS! If you’re all too thick to see that it’s not my problem love. Now get out of my way, I have a lunch appointment with the Chancellor at twelve.”

For those who don’t know, The Jizz Rifles were first signed up to Cowboys Records in May 1977 after being dropped by both EMI and A&M Records. Their loud trashy music, foul-mouthed lyrics, obscene gestures and torn clothes held together with safety pins were at the forefront of the iconic punk rebellion in the late 70s.

When the band’s lead singer Jimmy Gangrene sang the words “I am a paedo-phile, I am a paedo-phile!” all those years ago, I bet he never imagined The Jizz Rifles’ name would one day be used to endorse our credit card at the Cowboys. Then again, I bet he never thought he’d appear in the reality TV series I’m A Failed Celebrity Who Nobody Remembers Anymore Get Me Out Of Here, or on a TV ad for Downton Margarine. Strange times we live in.

The Jizz Rifles are an important part of Cowboys’ history,” said our Global Group Chairman, Sir Rich Pickle, fighting a stiff rear-guard action from his Caribbean retreat Slapper Island this morning. “Okay, UK Cash Cowboys might be a total joke as a bank, run by a psychotic CEO who’ll kill anyone who stands in the way of her obscene end of year bonus, but the Cowboys’ brand has a long and distinguished track record of pretending to be on the consumer’s side while completely mugging everyone off, so I love the fact that the team have chosen to fuck the public over again in this way. Even after nearly 40 years the Rifles’ power to jizz all over your face is undimmed.”

Apparently Cleopatra, who received a CBE for services to bullying in this year’s New Year’s Honours list, was locked in a two-hour conf call with Sir Rich this morning, cooking up some bullshit story to try and deflect the storm of criticism that the lame marketing gimmick has attracted. Afterwards it was agreed Sir Rich would post a statement on the Cowboys’ blog, under the headline: ‘Never mind the buttocks, we’re still being censored!’  Here’s what he posted, word for word.

“When Cleopatra LeGrande, the CEO of our Cowboys banking franchise in the UK, suggested celebrating Cowboys’ unique music heritage by launching Jizz Rifles credit cards, I thought it was a blinding idea. I was looking forward to seeing the classic Never Mind The Buttocks slogan loud and proud across our advertising again. It’s fun, iconic and the guy in the Speedos with the huge erection will certainly catch the eye. However, as we began to book in advertising slots we discovered some newspapers still took offence at the word buttocks and asked for censored versions of our ads. The Jizz Rifles clearly still have the power to provoke nearly 40 years on. As Jimmy Gangrene would say, ‘It’s deja vu all over again!’

“Did you know that apparently buttocks is the eighth most offensive word in the English language? I really don’t see what everyone’s problem is. Only last year I emailed Cowboys Atlantic’s CEO Ben Dover using the word buttocks and his IT system blocked my message for being ‘profane, vulgar or offensive’. WTF? Fucking sort it Ben, you muppet, I told him. Or you’re out. When Ben protested I smugly reminded him about the time we won a court case proving the word ‘buttocks’ was not rude or profane. If you remember, the Bitchfield police in Norfolk once took us to court for advertising Never Mind The Buttocks in our Cowboys Records store windows back in the 70s. They argued ‘buttocks’ was a derivative of ‘arse’, FFS. How ridiculous can you get. I contacted the linguistics professor at the world-famous Bitchfield University, who soon put them straight. ‘What a load of shite,’ he said. ‘Buttocks has clearly nothing to do with arse. What are they thinking of? Fucking amateurs.’ On the contrary, as he went on to prove through scholarly argument, ‘buttocks’ was a popular nickname given to 17th Century nuns. As it turned out, the professor actually turned out to be a transgender nun himself, and appeared as our expert witness in court – complete with his dog collar and bra. The case was thrown out. ‘Thanks for clearing that up,’ said Ben.

“That was back in 1977. Who would have thought the word ‘buttocks’ would still be censored in 2015? Then again, who would have thought the guy who brought you The Jizz Rifles would own a bank? Radical huh? I’m such trendy guy even though I’m a hundred and thirty four years old. That’s what money can do, pal. Hey, thankfully, my bank is a bank unlike any other. That’s what this campaign is saying. We’re a bank committed to mugging everyone off, taking the piss out of the public by pretending to be young and trendy, a consumer champion on your side, while selling you rank financial tat that frankly I wouldn’t recommend to my nineteen year old Swedish au pair’s dog, Randy. We laugh in your faces, losers. As we like to say: There’s Cowboys, and there’s UK Cash Cowboys, so buttocks to that! Fuck you!”

I’ll perhaps give the final word to the Daily Rail’s financial columnist Oprah Purse. Referring to our new gaudily-designed credit card’s hefty 2,348,099% interest rate, Oprah asked the question, “Never mind the artwork, what about the APR?”

It’s a good question. And to be fair, one I had flagged to my boss Norman Shylock in a meeting a few weeks ago, but he slapped me down, saying nobody would notice if we put a nice picture of the front.


We’re apparently also under investigation by the FCA on suspicion of producing financial advertisements while under the influence of illegal substances. The news just broke on Reuters after images of our Jizz Rifles credit cards started going viral on Twatter.

Yawn, I’m off to lunch.

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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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Bad day at the office 10

Pigeon Ukulele Blues

Opening and closing stills from UK Cash Cowboys’ brilliant ground-breaking new TV ad, ‘Pigeon Ukulele Blues’

UK Cash Cowboys challenge the big banks with… a pigeon

UK Cash Cowboys set tongues wagging in the advertising world today with the launch of our bold new TV campaign, ‘Pigeon Ukulele Blues’.

The ad, rushed out by our new agency Pratt, Rypov, Igo, Charlatan, Konman & Shytter, is being hailed as a masterpiece of post-post-modernist film-making by everyone from Quentin Tarantino’s neighbour to the bloke who lives down the road from me, who hammered on my front window this evening and silently mouthed the words, ‘WHAT THE FUCK?’, then wondered off into the darkness shaking his head.

BBC art critic, member of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and all round cultural sage Mark Kimodo, called UK Cash Cowboys’ ground-breaking TV spot the advertising equivalent of Tracey Emin’s ‘My Bed’.

“It’s right up there with James Joyce’s impenetrable masterpiece of gibberish, Finnegan’s Wake,” said Kimodo, “which nobody in the western world still understands to this day, even though it was written almost a hundred years ago”.

There is talk of bringing the World War II code-breaking centre of Bletchley Park out of mothballs and inviting Benedict Comberbatch to stand in for the late great code-breaker and father of the modern computer Alan Turing, to help crack the deeply puzzling, “unfathomable” ad.

The ad, which features a feral pigeon pogoing up and down on a wet pavement, rapping to a ska version of George Formby’s ‘When I’m Cleaning Windows’, leaves a tantalising clue in its tagline – ‘There’s pigeons, and there’s UK Cash Cowboys pigeons’, but early efforts to crack its meaning have defeated philosophers and Times Crosswords experts up and down the country.

A superficial reading of the ad might be taken in by the brilliantly cheap, tacky, tawdry, cheesy, kitsch, low-budget, low production values, and the dramatic tension between the anthropomorphic overtones and punk rock undertones, to infer subliminally that UK Cash Cowboys are positioning themselves as a bunch of shitty pigeons on a wet pavement in the middle of nowhere. But as cultural gurus around the globe are already pointing out, the flaw in that analysis is that UK Cash Cowboys are supposed to be a bank, selling banking products to customers.

As Kimodo proclaimed, “if you were a bank trying to build your brand, I can’t think of many TV ads that would have been less effective than this. If you sliced up every TV ad that had ever been made in the history of advertising, threw them all in the air and spliced together random bits of ads in no specific order, the result would probably make more sense than this. Perhaps, after all, that is the ad’s true genius.”

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