Sunday 3 May 2009

Iggy Pop and the Bollards

Iggy Pop and the Bollards

No, this isn't Iggy's new backing band - it's a strange connection which occurred to me when I read reports that the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is banning his Swiftcover advertising campaign.

We were out on the boat on Sunday with some friends and during our trip I had to explain a couple of rather odd aspects of the current warterways landscape:

Firstly, as we were being pumped out at Viking Afloat at Gailey, my friend noticed the split pricing being advertised for diesel. Why the two prices? he asked. My answer was a bit long, but boiled down to "its a stupid European Government rule which no one wanted, not even the Government who will receive the benefit".

Next up it was those lovely square bollards which adorn the Staffs and Worcester locks. Whilst I was to be found actually using one (for the very first time). He wanted to know why were there three? and why so large?, and why are they set so far back?, and why so non slip and square?
More mumblings but this time boiling down to "health and safety gone mad at BW".

So I was interested to see yet more pedantic correctness in the press this week. You may well have seen Iggy Pop's rangy form adorning the sides of buses and on TV advertising the benefits of Swiftcover motor insurance using the slogan "I got it Swiftcovered, I got insurance on my insurance". Iggy is clearly an actor / musician depicting an energetic individual with a "lust for life", one of his most famous songs.

This all seems fine to me but no, twelve fellow actors became incensed by this advert because Swiftcover (part of Axa Insurance) didn't, at the time, actually offer motor insurance to actors. They complained to the ASA and on Wednesday the adverts were banned.

At one level it is funny to see a big insurance score an own goal like this but on the other hand, how can the complaints of just twelve people result in such a ridiculous decision. My point is that all too often common sense seems to be abandoned allowing the mad minority to win the day.

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