December 1, 2011

Walkers Crisps Avatar Gary Lineker is branching out into the strange and frightening world of insurance and targeting young people. According to an advertorial in the Daily Telegraph this week, ingenie – the boxfresh brainchild of those fabulous Broughton boys, BA chairman Sir Martin and former RSA MD Steve – is an ingenious new telematics-based car insurance solution for motoring ingenues (a completely new way of thinking about motor insurance that is only slightly similar to Intelligent Marmalade et al).

“I was young once,” Lineker claims, not implausibly, on the promo video that takes centre stage on ingenie’s social media oriented website. Without the vaguely disturbing November face fur recently seen on MOTD, Lineker eerily resembles the real life Dorain Gray to Frank Skinner’s hideous attic-bound portrait.

Why Lineker? Young persons not interested in salty snacks or football may very well never have heard of him – but, crucially, if they have they’ll know that Lineker who played senior professional football for 16 years without once receiving a yellow, let along a red, card is, quite simply, good.

It is Lineker’s manifest wholesomeness that allows Walkers TV ads to pretend playfully that he’s bad, in the same way that PC World’s new commercials playfully pretend that Darth Vader and, by extension, PC World are not irredeemably evil.

So plausibly does sofa-bound Lineker plough through the artlessly contrived wordpuke scrolling up the ingenie autocue, that Bankstone News soon found itself wishing we were 17-25 again and could receive “simple twitter-style messages” on how we are driving, and maybe get a premium reduction if the “clever bit of kit” decides we are “one of the best drivers.”

Make black boxes compulsory for kids, says one hard-line comment on the Telegraph puff piece. Charge kids less but bump up their excesses, says someone else irresponsibly.

Some argue that telematics infringes personal privacy, but in the week when smart phone users learned that most devices routinely record and transmit their every move, why worry over trifles like that!


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