Sunday, 19 September 2010

Wayne Rooney, Orange Powerade

I first intended to blog about Wayne Rooney's Powerade endorsement in the lead-up to the World Cup. In reviewing a sportsman before or during a major event maximises topicality, but the main drawback is that opinion of the individual is in such flux that the blog can be dated pretty quickly. Conspirators of Pleasure is therefore grateful that Wayne was thoughtful enough to have some £1200-a-night dalliances so that the resulting tabloid revelations would provide topicality without such an immediate issue of shifting opinion.

Jokemakers have got to also be pleased about these transgressions. Historically most Rooney jokes have hinged on him being (a) stupid and/or (b) ugly. They can now add a third form of Rooney joke to the three, though they may also play on the previous two forms: Wayne is so stupid and so ugly, that he has to pay for sex.

In Nike's World Cup Mega-advert (directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, which rather explains the presence of Gael García Bernal), Rooney imagined that Ribery's interception of his ball would result in him living in a caravan park sporting a beard. Of course, neither player was ostracised in their respective countries for their actions at the World Cup, but rather their inactions, but that doesn't compare to the press treatment followng the hooker scandals the two have been embroiled in. I think it's this treatment which is more likely to lead Rooney to a beardy caravan existence (being pro-beard myself, the advert just serves as a reminder that Wayne doesn't have a beard, so I hope you can understand the resulting automatic points deduction).

Wayne's advert for Powerade sees a water-fuelled Rooney play against a Powerade-fuelled Rooney. For some reason the two Rooneys find it necessary to play shirts versus skins, even though there is only one player on each team (of course, this is Powerade's variation of the "Wayne Rooney's so stupid..." joke - I look forward to the sex-joke in the sequel). It doesn't make for a well-controlled experiment anyway, as it may be that it is wearing a top in those conditions that has a negative effect, rather than drinking water instead of Powerade. This is under the assumption that it is water, but for all we know it could be vodka, in which case it's fairly bleeding obvious that Powerade gives a better performance.

I like small print captions in adverts - it's basically a way of them saying, "Don't come crying to us when it doesn't work because we kind of admitted it might not work, even though we largely implied it would." The first caption reads, "Time lapse used to illustrate benefit during sustained exercise", which means (a) the time lapse has failed to illustrate this because they need a caption to point it out, and/or (b) they are worried that some people might expect Powerade to have a bullet-time side effect. "Prehydrating with Powerade before sports is scientifically proven to delay muscle fatigue and improve stamina in top athletes," we are told. From which we can infer that it may well do bugger all for mediocre athletes like me though? I suppose we can be thankful it can assist our top sports stars. Like Wayne Rooney. Who presumably does drink the official energy drink of the England team. Which is Lucozade.

I picked up the Orange Powerade because that was the one that had Rooney on the bottle. Drinking it I just felt like I had bought an overpriced bottle of diluted orange squash. I much prefer the blue and red flavours, even though their colour is a significant cause for concern. But, you ask, did it delay muscle fatigue and improve stamina for me as it would for Wayne? I wouldn't know, I can't really afford to splash out £1200 on a call girl.

'Beardless' Wayne Rooney: 4/10
Orange Powerade: 5/10
Total: 9/20

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Lionel Richie & Gary Lineker, Walkers Extra Crunchy

And lo, Conspirators of Pleasure opens its proverbial doors for the first time to a product being endorsed by not one, but two celebrities with the advertising campaign for Walkers Extra Crunchy as Gary Lineker is joined by Lionel Richie.

Lionel is singing an altered version of Say You, Say Me, his Oscar-winning song from the film White Nights. White Nights is about an American tap dancer and a Soviet ballet dancer who have defected to one other's countries. I've not seen the film, I'll just wait for the modern update, Street Tap 3D, which will almost surely feature a scene in which our tap-happy protagonist recreates Fred Astaire's tap dance up the walls and on the ceiling. He won't tap dance up any old wall though, he'll do it up the FOURTH WALL! TAPPING ALL UP IN OUR FACES! Anyway, White Nights has got Helen Mirren in it, so we can be fairly certain she takes her clothes off in it, as that's what she does in everything: Caligula, The Cook, The Thief..., Calendar Girls, The Queen. I'm fairly certain that her DBE was for services to boys' wet dreams. I'd say I guess her habit of disrobing is a result of education at a Catholic girls school, if my (non-Catholic) mother weren't educated at the same school, and she is thankfully not so prone to the same syndrome.

I'm not too sure about Lionel's appearance in the advert. While I can applaud that he is happy to send himself up, I feel that it seems to put him in the same ironic bracket as Mr. T (Snickers) and Ray Parker Jr (118 118). But this is the Lionel Richie whose Hello was number one in the UK at the time of my birth, so I don't see how I can score him anything over than a 10. If you doubt this judgement, one only needs be reminded of the classic video, about an arts teacher and his blind pupil, neither of whom have clearly heard The Police's Don't Stand So Close To Me.

Back to the advert: the first time I saw it, I thought that it signalled the end of the partnership of famous Leicester exports, until the face of Lineker appeared. It's a face whose complexion these days has me reaching for the remote to adjust the colour settings. The main problem with the Lineker Walkers adverts is that they've gone on so long that everyone's forgotten that the original intention of his villainous role was to sendup his 'nice guy' image. He has become so insufferably smug these days that I expect the adverts are now largely autobiographical. Further, his nice guy image was in part predicated on his never having got a yellow card in his football career. As Brian Clough once said, "show me a man who never got booked, and I'll show the guy the door for not trying hard enough"(or maybe I just made that up).

Lineker's pun in this behind the scenes video is less Walkers Extra Crunchy, more Walkers Extra Clunky, and as a result I can't possibly bring myself to score him even a single point. Way to bring the average down, Gary.

The marketing of Walkers Extra Crunchy focuses on how they are "made to share". How does their Extra Crunchiness (as a result of being sliced thicker and cooked longer) make them better for sharing? If these crisps are made for sharing particularly while watching television or a film, then I fail to see how Extra Crunchiness (and therefore extra loudness) can be desirable. I think that it's all rather a marketing ploy to corner the booming sharing sector of the crisp market while suggesting we shouldn't binge on their product to appease Saint Joliver. I ate a whole bag by myself in a single sitting just to spite them.

Flavour-wise I found even the more enticing Cheddar & Sour Cream and Flame Grilled Steak to be pretty bland and insipid, while the Extra Crunchiness doesn't deserve Lionel singing about it. I'll stick to Kettle Chips in future, thanks.

Lionel Richie: 10/10, Gary Lineker: 0/10, Average: 5/10
Walkers Extra Crunchy: 3/10
Total: 8/20