Once every so often, an advert with a definite undercurrent of filth pops up on our screens or billboards. And every time this happens, a part of me wonders – did the client sign the concept off in the knowledge that it might be misinterpreted, or did they innocently miss the smutty connotations within?

Either way, it amuses me no end to picture the creative teams responsible for the bawdiness sniggering into their layout pads for the rest of their careers. Here are a few fairly recent examples of what I’m talking about.

First up is crisp-pedalling behemoth Walkers with their new ‘Deep Ridged’ range. Bigger, manlier and more filling than ever before was the intended consumer takeout. So you can kind of see where the line ‘Twice as deep for epic satisfaction’ sprang from – but it’s still unashamedly and undeniably dripping with base undertones. Even more so when a threatening baritone voice delivers the strapline in question:

Less overt, but arguably all the more cringeworthy, is the line attached to the newest Baileys TV spot. The ad itself is shot stylishly and is enjoyable enough – until, that is, the line ‘Cream with spirit’ pops up – and it becomes a whole lot more enjoyable. Like I said, it’s less overt, but a lot of the people (for ‘people’, read ‘men’) I asked about it agreed that it sounds like something an ageing Cockney porn director might shout at his cast:

It’s not always bawdy straplines that commit the offence however – there’s plenty of dirty visual gags knocking about too. One of the most amusing comes near the start of V05’s ‘Pageant’ ad. No prizes for guessing which scene I’m talking about:

I’ll end with my personal favourite – a Kleenex TVC that actually encourages viewers to go online and ‘Tell us what you’re wiping away tonight’. I don’t think this one requires much explaining. Strangely, you get the sense that this is intended to be the most innocent of the adverts discussed herein – but ironically the one that winds up sounding the most wrong:

It could’ve simply said ‘What are you wiping?’ or at least not mentioned the word ‘tonight’ – but the filth seems to have been really ramped up for this one, which brings me back to my original question. Why and how did the smut in these ads – whether manifested via visual cues or eyebrow-raising straplines – manage to see the light of day? Are the people behind them innocent, risqué, or just having a laugh at the rest of the world? I’ve made my mind up, but send your answers on a postcard please. Or, more helpfully, in the comments box below.

And if you’ve just realised that you’ve seen all the aforementioned ads without noticing the smut I’ve pointed out, then I envy you. Yours is a much purer brain than mine.

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