Archive for the ‘ Advertising ’ Category

An ode to cant

I’m pretty sure every single blogger in Australia has had a crack at parodying the ‘Ode to can’ poem in the Commonwealth Bank TV commercial featuring Toni Collette.

In fact so many people have seen the ad, found it irksome, and decided to take the piss out of it, that there’s a very good chance the poem below has at some time been uttered, if not published, verbatim by at least four separate people in the last ten days.

But who said Haught Feelings was original?

There’s a four lettered word,
Something called a contraction,
That likes to create
‘Can’ and ‘not’ interaction.

“You can’t ride that hippo.”
“You can’t drink the sea.”
Can’t is a word that protects you and me.

She can’t throw that javelin
Inside the school hall.
He can’t ride a tank
Through the rich people’s ball.

Can’t is a word
That is good at forestalling
The death of known fuckwits
(Which can sometimes be galling).
But we all know deep down
In our hearts it’s much needed;
The directive “you can’t!”
Is why mankind’s succeeded.

Now, those four little letters
That CommBank reject
Used without punctuation
Make a word we neglect.

When we change can’t to cant
We remove much duress.
We get licence to use words
Like “dream” and “progress”.

We say “build”. We say “run”.
We say “follow the sun.”
(That last one sounds odd
But the first two were fun.)
They’re the ad’s own directions,
They’re cant to a T.
And cant is what big banks
Do best, don’t you see?

OK, now if you’re a well-known Australian film or TV personality willing to read my version while sitting in a forest clearing, reading a pretend book of poetry in front of a massive CANT monument, contact me at

Haught fact of the day:


1. Insincere statements, especially conventional pretence of enthusiasm for high ideals; insincere expressions of goodness or piety.
2. The special vocabulary peculiar to the members of an underworld group.
3. Whining speech, such as that used by beggars.
4. The special terminology understood among the members of a profession, discipline, or class but obscure to the general population; jargon.

Other ads I formally don’t like:
The Jim Beam ad where young people make different types of shrieking noises for no apparent reason.


My email to Jim Beam

Recently, you might have seen an ad for an alcoholic beverage company where young men and women shout noises at the top of their voices…

…and that’s it.

You know the one…

Recently, I’ve heard some disappointing discussions revolving around the ad and have often found myself the lone voice of reason, defending their subversiveness, wit and poignant underlying message, among a group of up to a dozen irrational halfwits.

This being the case, I decided to write a letter of support to Jim Beam. It went a little something like this:

Dear Mr Beam,

This is a short letter of support.

As a bourbon drinker, I sometimes use rocks to fashion rudimentary tools, but I don’t live under one and so I know what people are saying about your wonderful campaign. And it’s all utter crap.

Here are some of the repeated criticisms I’ve heard, followed by my rebuttals (which you are free to use, if you haven’t already):

1. These are the worst ads ever shown on Australian television – what nonsense. What about the Coles ad where Normie Rowe tries to sing a version of one of his old songs only minutes after having had a stroke? Or the ones where two prostitutes try to out-strumpet one another by doing Darth Vader impersonations and talking about tattoos in their respective underpantal regions?

2. These ads are just annoying – ever heard of all publicity is good publicity? Anyone who says these ads are annoying either has no idea what he’s talking about or is exactly right and doesn’t understand marketing. It doesn’t matter if the ads are annoying – as long as they’re getting people’s attention, they’re more brilliant than a peacock having sex with a bird of paradise in front of a bird of paradise (plant) on a beach on Daydream Island.

I remember once a dim boy in primary school by the name of Louis Carnegie picked up a condom that was lying in the quadrangle and put it on his nose. It attracted a great deal of attention. Oh yes, some teachers said it was “unhygienic” and “disgusting” and a “fool of a thing to do” and some classmates called him “Gooey Louis” and “Louis Franger-Snout” for the rest of his school days, but Louis got exactly what he wanted – I don’t know exactly what that was because he had a great deal of trouble communicating with others, but I know this for sure: if the internet had existed back then, his hilarious little misadventure would have ‘gone viral’ for sure.

3. These ads are incoherent; they dumbfound me – what’s not to get? A man makes a Tarzan noise in front of a cityscape and then another man opens the plantation shutters on the top level of his Victorian-era home and makes a noise like a monkey and then a man going up an escalator shrieks “Lalalalalalala” and then a woman waiting for a taxi in a busy place holds a high note and then an unseen man under a bridge howls at the moon and then the noises are repeated over and over again, faster and faster, and then a slogan from a 1970s political campaign comes up and then cans of Jim Beam positioned like bowling pins spontaneously explode and then start perspiring heavily before pulsating. I’ll ask again: what’s not to get?

4. These ads don’t make me want to drink Jim Beam – yes they do.

5. These ads treat viewers like idiots – viewers are idiots! Especially the ones who don’t like these ads! And anyway, who cares what viewers think? You’d think they were a crucial part of our economic fabric or something. Newsflash, idiots – simple economics tells us that there’s no place for consumers in a post-industrial society: large companies generate wealth by advertising their products using the media owned by other large companies. That wealth is then distributed wantonly – and thus perfectly – by the United States Federal Reserve, derivatives traders and Harvey Normal retail outlets. Where do consumers come in? THEY DON’T! SO SHUT UP!

6. I want to punch every person in the ad in the face and then step on their larynges – that’s just childish. I’m not going to descend to that level.

7. These ads are obnoxious – your bum is obnoxious and you’re a bum face and I hate you and your bum smells of poo.

8. It angers me that numerous people had to approve this before it went to air – I just told you how the system works. Only one person has to approve these kind of ads and that’s Ben Bernanke. Apart from the odd mistake (undead Normie Rowe) he makes excellent decisions.

9. These ads frighten children – I think Jim Beam will be the judge of what does and doesn’t scare children, thank you all the same.

10. There should be fewer of these ads on TV – if anything there should be more. Here are some ideas for ways of extending this brilliant campaign to eight or nine ads:

A man of about 25 is combing his hair in the bathroom. He suddenly fixes his own gaze in the mirror, opens his eyes very wide and makes this hilarious noise:

An attractive young buck is at a restaurant with some other attractive people. He puts down his knife and fork and makes this highly amusing noise to everyone in the vicinity:

A young bloke (with his collar up) is tending a rice paddy. He lifts his sedge hat and you notice his mouth is full of water. He makes this hysterically funny noise:

An insanely hot minx of a woman is in a deserted South Australian car park collecting cans to supplement her income. She decides to say over and over again the funniest word that comes into her head:

A fella is at a pub urinal next to two other blokes minding their own business and he starts to describe what he’s doing in a thought-provoking  monotone:

A strapping lad is on safari. He suddenly jumps off the truck, hurtles into the wilderness and begins making the same noise as the pack of okapis into which he’s ensconced himself (in a very witty manner):

A beautiful young lady is riding a zepelin. She randomly, and very humorously, shouts the names of characters from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series in the faces of other passengers.

I’m available to play any or all of these characters.

Anyway, there you have it: possibly the most sincere and heartfelt piece of correspondence you will ever receive.

With that I would like to say farewell and keep up the stupendously good work.

Your friend in fermented corn,

Jonathan Rivett

Yet to receive a response.