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Singing the Praises of the Beautiful Banks

The Co-operative bank has had various scandals in recent years, financial and otherwise. The Co-op 'brand' has decided it needs to clean up its image. The result is a current television advertising campaign which is as preposterous as it is insulting to our intelligence. The television ads are voiced by Russell Brand’s former radio show on-air commentator, George The Poet, who utters ponderous platitudes as if these capitalist high-street banks and supermarkets were some kind of socialist utopia. In fact, of course, today’s Co-op bears hardly even a trace of the idealism of the Rochdale Pioneers of 1844. Like the John Lewis Partnership, it has long succumbed to the pressure to act just like any other profit-hungry, hierarchical corporation within a capitalist world.

Proper Gander: The Golden Swill Bucket Awards

Proper Gander

‘Advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill bucket’ wrote George Orwell in Keep The Aspidistra Flying. In the seventy years since then, advertisers have found ever-more sophisticated sticks and swill buckets to grab our attention. The slogans which Orwell satirised look twee compared with today’s barrage of commercials jumping out at us from websites, billboards, newspapers, magazines, and at fifteen minute intervals during the dross we watch on telly. From the girl in the Flake advert to the Go Compare opera singer, TV commercials remain the most striking, even in our world of targeted online ads. However annoying, manipulative or offensive the rattling is, what’s important is how much it gets noticed and talked about. They say there’s no such thing as bad publicity, so even a mention in the Socialist Standard might count as a small win for the ad agencies.

Supermarkets and Their Slogans

Adulterating food for profit isn’t a new story. 'The Old Testament' first alerted its readers to it with the shrill warning that there is, ‘death in the pot!’ (II Kings chap.4, verse 40). At the turn of the twentieth century The New York Evening Post even penned an ode to it:

Mary had a little lamb,
And when she saw it sicken,
She shipped it off to Packingtown,
And now it's labelled chicken.

David Cameron revealed his thoughts on the subject when he stated that it was a 'very shocking story, it's completely unacceptable. . . people will be very angry to find out they have been eating horse when they thought they were eating beef.’ So will those that sold it to them—the supermarkets. They’ve been caught out at their own game by their suppliers: horsemeat costs £300 per ton and beef £700 per ton.

Action Replay: Playing Partners

The Olympics will soon be on us, with their massive TV and press coverage and their never-ending opportunities for sponsorship and money-making, as well as some sporting contests. The International Olympic Committee is a brand in its own right and a very powerful one at that, as it can require host governments to introduce legislation protecting its copyright.

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