I don’t say things like that lightly. I don’t walk around, smugly declaring myself better at other people’s jobs. Most of the time I trust that if someone has a job they got it because they can do it.
But I make an exception for the people who write adverts for the tube. Most adverts on the tube are in the form of a jokey tube map. In the winter, every other advert is for cold medicine or cough syrup or something similar, and every single one for years and years has been in the form of a tube map-style line diagram with stops labelled “sniffly nose”, “tickly cough” and “aches and pains”. There’s no imagination. If you’re advertising on the tube apparently the only advert any advertising executive can come up with is a tube map.
All these adverts are crap, but I have now definitively found the worst one. It’s for one of those new companies whose whole existence is to make one kind of mattress that they claim is the best mattress in the world and which they only sell online. I don’t know how this is suddenly such an exciting business model but there’s a lot of them doing it. Anyway, here’s their crap, predictable tube advert.
Oh, look! It’s a fake tube line diagram. This one has tube station names on it, altered to make puns on words to do with sleep. I can live with that – in the same way I live with all the other crap adverts like this one, living with it while silently hating and resenting everything about it. What I can’t live with is how bad the puns are.
“Snoredon” is the worst. That’s the one that got me worked up. I’ve lived in London for 11 years, lived in all parts of it, done the Tube Challenge where you go to every station in a single day, and it still took me several minutes to figure out what that was a reference to.
Eventually I got it when I said it out loud. Morden, the southern terminus of the Northern Line. Morden, which ends “en”, not “on”. Morden, which is at the furthest extremity of the one line that goes a significant distance into South London, used in an advert on a transport network that exists almost entirely in North London and will be seen almost exclusively by people who will not be familiar with Morden at all. If you want a pun on “snore” using a tube station name, go for “Moorgate”. A tube station in Central London on four different lines that far more people will have heard of. A tube station with a distinctive ending that makes it easier to guess what the pun’s about. “Snoregate”. There you go, Casper. I did a better job than your advertising copywriters and I did it in about a minute.
I don’t mind that I can come up with a better crap joke than they can. What irritates me is that someone pitched that advert idea – the one that’s been used a thousand times before and which can be seen in multiple adverts for all sorts of products in every tube carriage already – they pitched it like it was their own brilliant original idea, and they got told it was a good idea, and they got paid for it. And then someone sat down and came up with four of the most half-baked, half-arsed puns on tube station names – so bad that at least one of them is obscure to the point of not working at all when a moment’s thought is all it takes to find a better one – and they put their pen down because they thought they were good enough. And then someone else agreed, and they paid money for it. People got paid for being this bad at their job.
That’s why it bothers me. Because I know I could do bedder. I just need snore of a chance.