Jesus - if you told me that Tesco Mobile's new national campaign would feature a crude play on the words 'shit', 'piss' and 'fuck', I'd recommend less booze for you.
"Seriously, put the bottle down and step away", I'd advise.
I mean, sure, nowadays, brands have to work harder than ever to cut through the unrelenting noise competing for our attention, but I would never anticipate gutter humour from a national treasure like Tesco. Well, it turns out you're not drunk. Behold...
Seriously, let's take a moment to digest the below ad, please...
Even I, someone who writes for a living, did a double take. Truthfully, it took me many, many seconds to untangle the subtlety at play here. Initially, all I saw was 'shit take', then, after a little head-scratching, the penny dropped; I made the connection with shiitake mushrooms. (In my defence, I've never bought shiitake mushrooms, hence being unfamiliar with their chuckle-inducing spelling)
Regardless, such was my hypnotic fascination with this campaign, that I desperately wanted to know which agency conceived it. You see, I'm a lifelong fan of naughty advertising. In fact, my university dissertation researched it. So, which agency is behind this public incivility? Step forward BBH London. (I wasn't even slightly surprised. When it comes to disruptive campaigns, they're a powerhouse).
My closing question, then, is could BBH have gone even further, harder and darker? Is there a more overtly despicable play on words that Tesco Mobile were not willing to entertain? It seems so, because the below ad - which is part of their campaign - is conspicuously tame when you consider which food could've provided infinitely more shock value.
Here's the actual ad...
And here's my version...
Is my version too coarse?
Is the phonic sound of 'Focaccia' too perilously similar to 'fuck'?
Did the creatives at BBH actually pitch 'Focaccia' and get a hard "No way!" from Tesco?
Or did Tesco say, "Hell yeah!" and it was the ASA that said, "That's a 'hell no' from us!"
Truth is, none of these questions matter. As a morally decent society, the only thing we must do now is list all the other food words that sound like 'fuck'. Over to you...
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