Belfast Telegraph

Why poorly dubbed adverts make me reach for off switch

By Gail Walker

Have yourself a badly dubbed Christmas ...

Just because there's a recession on is no excuse for subjecting us to adverts starring people who quite obviously aren't speaking English.

We're used to this, of course, for more workaday products like Calgon and Just for Men. But there can't be a lot of money in limescale removers and giving ageing men hair as black as the raven's wing - ie making eejits of themselves - so there's some sense in cutting costs. Still, there must be a limit.

But no. Uncle Ben and his rice. Mr Muscle. Perle Du Lait. Colgate. The familiar brands fall like ninepins. Most vexing of all is the old Gaviscon ad. What could be more seasonal than a remedy for chronic heartburn and indigestion? I always liked those wee firemen but now I know that they can't speak English, I'm not so sure.

I do know that 'if tummies could talk' their lips would at least match what they're saying, whatever language it is.

And now the habit has hit even the high-grade products. Renault's latest effort seems like the usual classy advertisement. Glossy Megane. Handsome guy. Sexy bit of totty in slinky evening dress. Funky looking city. But when the actors open their gobs to whisper smooth Latin nothings to each other, their voices are cut in from some noisy studio in London. Out goes a potential sale.

What's the psychology behind this? What we think when lips don't synch is 'this is a cheap nasty product.' How do ad execs not know this? Of course, it means manufacturers can shoot one ad to use all over the world. But all that says is 'See you lot, you're not important enough for us to shoot an ad for. Make do with this piece of trans-national tat'. Almost makes you think that David Cameron has a point about not getting too close to Johnny Foreigner.

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