September 28, 2012

A young couple tour the forecourt of a used car dealership. Operatic price-comparison avatar Giorgio ‘Gio’ Compario suddenly appears out of nowhere, serenading them vigorously concerning the money-saving virtues of a certain website.

Meanwhile a man dressed 80s-casual struts, George The Bear style, past a bunch of kids playing football in the park. Spotting Compario across the road, he clutches his shopping bag with psychotic intensity, asks if he can “have a taste” of the kids’ ball, snarls “Saving, yeah? Try saving this!” and thumps the ball with savage intensity into Compario’s luxuriously upholstered midriff. The tenor collapses in startled agony.

“Yes!” ejaculates an air-punching Stuart Pearce – for it is he, his fondness for kicking balls straight at people clearly not limited to international goalkeepers – revelling in his victim’s pain. So far, so peculiar. And incidentally Bankstone News would strongly recommend that readers do not wander round public parks carrying shopping bags and asking random kids for a taste of their balls.

But what exactly are we meant to make of this peculiar glorification of casual thuggery?

As we patiently explained – if only you’d been paying proper attention – in a previous edition of Bankstone News, GoCompare finally twigged earlier this year that everybody in the UK had either become, or in the majority of cases, very possibly, had always been heartily sick of “Gio” Campari and his wearisome antics.

Reluctant to wave goodbye to the countless millions they’ve spent thrusting him in our faces, however, they decided to carry on using him – but to pretend they hated him too. Their ad agency creatives picked up this ball of an idea and ran far and fast with it, promulgating a comedy fatwa on Mr Compario and enlisting a bevy of has-been celebrities as their would-be assassins.

The first ad in the “Saving the Nation” campaign saw an initially anonymous balaclava-clad terrorist (subsequently revealed as Sue Barker, whose psychotic tendencies were previously less well documented than Pearce’s) making an unsuccessful attempt to kill Compario with an RPG. It’s happy slapping taken to a whole new level – with added (minor) celebrities!

But does the nation really want to see Compario suffer and die, Bankstone News wonders, or merely to be rid of his tedious price comparison songs (sadly, he still gets to sing in the new ads). Seeking the authentic voice of the nation, Bankstone News turned, of course, to YouTube. What are viewers saying there?

AwesomeFan2010 approves, commenting “GO STUART KILL HIM” and Olivia says “I like seeing him get beat up because 1 hes ugly 2 hes fat 3 hes annoying.” But ****ingwiththestars expresses concern over that “awkward moment when a child watches and thinks violence is ok”. “Sometime violence IS the answer”, AwesomeFan2010 insists. But bobgold seems confused: “I don’t know why that no-class ****head would want to hurt that nice singing character.”

Could it be his sponsor’s violent betrayal of their erstwhile protégé, is winning newfound sympathy for Compario?

Might a simpler way of saving the nation not be to stop running annoying price comparison ads?

When young Master Bankstone News Junior first saw the billboard campaign created to look as though some witty hoodlum had crossed out compare and scrawled away, he reacted with immediate and spontaneous mirth. “I bet skateboarders did that,” he speculated. Keen to snuff out such innocent illusions, Bankstone News advised the nipper that they’d printed it that way and it was all a cunning advertising ploy. Looking suddenly sad, deflated and bemused, the mite asked simply: “Why would they do that?”

Bankstone News neither knows nor cares, but the whole thing leaves a distinctly bad taste in the mouth.


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