I’m almost tempted to turn AdBlock off when I browse YouTube. There’s enough mind-blowingly silly ads on to keep the blog going indefinitely.
As you might be aware, Ray Winstone’s been hawking us bet365 for some time now, but it really only just hit me when I’d seen this ad before a couple of YouTube videos that something seemed horribly, horribly off:
Well, okay, a couple of things. The giant, wireframed Ray Winstone head that reminds me of Professor Kawashima from the Brain Training games. The now very stale notion we associate being able to do simple internet tasks with our phones or tablets as the coming of a Minority Report-style future where we live in houses made of polygons and almost get hit by flying transparent screens. The fact that its music seems to be very crudely imitating that bit of The Dark Knight where Lucius’s screens can show Batman all of Gotham through phone signals and such. But it wasn’t that. It took three views until that penultimate line (“now that’s a proper tool”) hit me – I’ve sort of heard him say it before. Viewer discretion advised for the next video…
Yes, somewhere along the line, the marketing of bet365 decided that there’s nothing more they’d quite like to invoke in their high-tech, lens-flared-to-death adverts than one of the more recognisable bits of dialogue – not to mention one of the most brutal scenes – from what remains one of Britain’s most uncomfortable films. Scum was a 1979 film, in which a much younger Winstone is forced to fend for himself in a boy’s borstal. Packed to the gills with unglamourous violence, male rape and racism, it’s one of those films that, while getting on in years, never really loses its sour taste. For me, the closest to that feeling you get watching Irreversible you can get here, and very little else.
I couldn’t shake it. And it’s no coincidence – here’s an earlier ad in which the “where’s your tool?” dialogue exchange from Scum is used almost completely intact (save for the profanity, obviously):
I can’t tell what’s weirder – the fact that bet365 seem to think that people who remember Scum particularly well or fondly (if such a word can be applied to it) are the sort of people who’d be interested in internet gambling on their portable devices; or the fact Ray Winstone seems happy to have this exchange with a giant CGI version of his own head. I mean, hell, you’re this invested now, bet365: go the whole hog! Retell the entirety of Scum via these 30 second ads. Looking forward especially to the bit where Ray puts some of those virtual snooker balls in a sock and beats someone with it. Or one where he loses thousands on a Man U v. Newcastle game and slits his wrists in bed, but can’t finish the job and so has to summon the giant floating head for help, who simply lets him die.