Because stuff needs talking about.

Direct Line: Uncomfortableness in thirty seconds or less.

What if we gave you this much? Would you do it then?

Ok, it’s been going on long enough now, for what seems like an eternity, Direct Line and their bulging advertising pay packet have been ruining our viewing pleasure in regular, thirty second bursts. To promote their product they have forced us to watch bad insurance sales, with “hilarious” results.

Tired of seeing Stephen Fry and Paul Merton buzz about the screen as CGI phones, Direct Line thought it was time for a change, maybe spend a bit of money and get some famous faces on screen instead of just inside a red phone with wheels. What followed was a barrage of agonising meetings between the ”comically” misunderstood salesman (you know, that one off Mock the Week) and a variety of Britain’s comedians who were willing to sacrifice the respect and reputation they once had for some sweet moolah.

Voiceover leviathan, Alexander Armstrong, has milked the Direct Line cash cow the most, with his horrendous, bomber jacket-clad character, which as well as being astoundingly shit, is also just a watered down, wider audience hybrid of characters from his sketch show. This moustachioed fool must either be the most worrisome old-fashioned RAF squaddie in the world or obsessed with constantly hunting out new car insurance deals at the expense of the viewing public. Or maybe he’s just lonely. He’s clearly the kind of man that would be found sat at the bar in the pub on his own, “nursing a sherry”, talking at any unfortunate passer-by who inadvertently came within close enough proximity to trigger the clichéd pub spiel. Every pub has one of these men, they wait, perched at the side of the bar, like a spider at the edge of their web, luring us stupid flies in with the bait of no queue. And then they pounce and trap you in their threads of belligerent, bigoted views as you will the beer out the pump, and nod and agree with all of the most intolerant assumptions just to get the hell out of there a few seconds quicker.

Anyway, as you might have guessed, when it comes to a character featuring in a series of adverts broadcast incessantly, Alexander Armstrong’s caricature of himself would not be my favoured option.

Next up for the exasperated Chris Addison to try and fathom is the dysfunctional couple, perfectly designed to send hatred coursing through my veins at the first sight of that barnet. Actually, as a side note, isn’t amazing how quickly your mind can translate the image in front of you, understand it as something you recognize and make you react accordingly? I reckon when this advert comes on, I can fill with rage AND change the channel in less than two seconds. Pretty good motor skills eh? Anyway getting back to the point, why would anyone decide to sell insurance through the use of a couple who hate each other but are too terrified to be apart? All this pairing does is demonstrate one of the most solemn aspects of human life; the fear of being alone. Would these people really prefer to be stuck in a loveless relationship, bickering over the most frivolous of issues? Yes sadly they would and what’s worse is that Direct Line will parade this farce of a marriage in front of us for comedic purposes.

So there it is, Direct Line continues to entice Britain’s comedians with money, and they ashamedly take it as they step up to the guillotine, all in the name of a little red phone. I personally like to think that the theme of awkwardness that runs through the adverts was not scripted, but was merely a by-product of the clash inside the actor’s heads of happiness from being paid a load of money, and their knowledge of their reputation being left in tatters from a few thirty second bursts, in a deplorable situation. Insurance sales and awkwardness, how could it not be funny?

Enjoy!

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7 responses

  1. I’d say their advertising plan is working. It’s got people (you) talking about it. Remember, there’s no such thing as bad publicity…..

    May 18, 2012 at 10:15 am

    • True, it has got me talking about it, but is a good advert so much to ask for? If you’re going to spend the money getting famous faces in at least make it worthwhile. I don’t understand why they get comediens in in the first place if they make them act a different manner.

      May 18, 2012 at 10:43 am

  2. fh

    personally i think they are really funny they are the worst of marriage, but that’s what makes it funny, they are the best direct line characters in my opinion

    July 18, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    • They may well be the best direct line characters, but to me that’s like saying chlamydia is the best STI; they’re all irritating in different ways. It’s good to see someone with differing opinions though, hope you enjoy the rest of my posts!

      July 19, 2012 at 4:48 pm

  3. The Realist

    Considering the adverts have a fan page I would say you need to get a sense of humour, however looking at your avatar you are probably too young to understand these Direct Line adverts and so the joke always flies over your head.

    You will probably get the joke when you are old enough to buy insurance. Until then… I suggest you go outside and only write on the internet when you are bored in work, like me.

    August 1, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    • The Realist

      PS. The only two ratings for your article at the time of writing this gave it a 1 star, or Very Poor, as the pop up says. Why not whine about politicians? That’ll give you 5 stars! Even better, whine about companies and how they lie or how their products fail within 12 months… like Apple.

      August 1, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    • 1. Are you serious? By your logic a fan page dictates how funny something is, and that levels of humour are dictated purely by popularity? Does that mean you find everything funny just because other people do? Maybe you haven’t heard of individual taste so I’ll break it down nice and simply for you. It means that people like and dislike different things, it makes a person unique and creates conversation and debate. I feel sorry for you if you find everything that is meant to be funny entertaining purely because it’s branded in such a way.

      2. I don’t know how old you are and you don’t know how old I am or anything about me for that matter so why do you feel it’s acceptable to be patronising and condescending, especially about a personal opinion? You think I’m just some bored child filled with teenage angst and hatred for the this ‘unfair’ world when you couldn’t be much further from the truth.
      3. How can you possibly suggest that the adverts in question are even remotely clever enough to not get? The only aspect of ‘humour’ they try to employ is the awkward mismatch of people in a watered down hybrid of modern British comedy. I suppose though because it had famous comedians in it you just automatically assumed it was funny.

      One more point, why don’t you write about politicians or Apple or whatever you want to write about if that’s what you want to read. I write about what I want to, and I don’t need to listen to a bored old man (see I’m assuming as well) in a nothing job who thinks he has the right to tell people what to do.

      If you don’t like what I write, don’t read it. There’s plenty of people who enjoy it and understand the idea of a cynical view on pop culture, maybe it just flies over your head.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:01 pm

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