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punter

Meerkat Forces

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is this a wind up?

Meerkat forces? Not good enough

Why do television advertisers think it's OK to parody eastern European pronunciation?

A few weeks ago, my girlfriend and I were watching TV at home when the advert for comparethemarket.com appeared on our screen. I had seen the ad before and not thought anything of it. However on this occasion, my girlfriend, who is Ukrainian, turned to me and said: "I don't like this advert, it is very offensive to me." I mentioned it to a friend who said his Latvian lodger also found it offensive.

The advertisement centres on the word "market" – a word that eastern Europeans/Russians pronounce "meerkat" – using talking CGI-animated meerkats. The sole point of this African animal's appearance is, it seems, to highlight the idea that east Europeans cannot pronounce the word market properly when they speak English. It struck me how racist it was to parody what is now a significant part of the British population in this way. It also occurred to me that were the ad to use stereotypical Indian or Caribbean accents in the same way it would never be allowed on TV.

Over the following week the ad seemed to be perpetually in our faces, the meerkat characters shouting "meerkats", "meerkats" in their stereotypical tones into our living room. I decided to complain first to ITV. When I looked on the ITV website, to my shock, I found that their business development manager Richard Chilvers was boasting that this was his favourite ad and that it helped to bring his "passion alive". I emailed my complaint. ITV responded that "the subject matter, content and treatment of all commercials are always given serious consideration to determine their suitability for transmission". They also stated that "particular care is needed to ensure that advertisements are not misleading or offensive". They then stated that I should contact the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) which I duly did.

The ASA informed me that it did not assess advertisements before they went out but responded to complaints. The initial assessment and clearing was done by a company called Clearcast which, I was told, conveniently did not deal with the public. I then emailed my complaint to the ASA, whose response stated: "Whatever impact the mild stereotyping of the eastern European accent has is undercut by the fact that it is a cartoon rather than a live actor. As such we do not feel that the content of the commercial is likely to provoke widespread offence." It said it had not had any other complaints.

I asked my girlfriend why that might be. She told me that people from eastern Europe were brought up in a society where it was not normal to complain, especially to such sectors as the government and the media. She told me that they would not expect to be able to do anything about it, they would not know of the existence of the ASA and the power to demand that an advert was taken off television. It is also the case that as so many people from eastern Europe were so new to the country that they would not want to be seen to be causing trouble. It then dawned on me that this ad was targeting a sector of the population who would be unlikely to fight back.

The irony of the situation is that those in charge at the ASA and ITV probably consider themselves the most politically correct in society. However, the evidence shows that they have only learned who not to offend, not how not to offend. It looks as though those from eastern Europe are going to have the same fight on their hands as people from India and the Caribbean did all those years ago.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/20...racism-meerkats

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Guest DissipatedYouthIsValuable

I am very much enjoink thees fread.

Summary - Journo banging Eastern European skank finds some pathetic reason to write to ASA, then writes about it.

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I actually thought the meerkat was supposed to be Italian.

That said, this article just shows how bizarrely out of touch the Guardian "progressives" are. We're an overpopulated, bankrupt nation with a collapsed financial sector and catastrophically depleting oil reserves, and the only thing that gets their juices flowing is a TV advert.

Their whole world is going to fall apart over the next few years, and they've no idea that it's coming. I'd feel sorry for them if it weren't for the fact their pomposity precludes any sympathy.

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Yeah he's got a point.

You could also argue that a lot of the ads in the UK are sexist and sterotypes men and women and nudity is widely accepted (but dear me swearing in daytime radio or TV is a horrible thing). Then again, this is what I actually like with England compared to Sweden when there are constantly discussions and complaints about everything that is not 100% gender neutral. I was quite pleased that I didn't have to recycle here either up until recently. I miss the swearing though.

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I am very much enjoink thees fread.

Summary - Journo banging Eastern European skank finds some pathetic reason to write to ASA, then writes about it.

how much ees a blowing yor job?

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I am very much enjoink thees fread.

Summary - Journo banging Eastern European skank finds some pathetic reason to write to ASA, then writes about it.

Has anybody given a thought to the feelings of Meerkats ?

Being portrayed as Eastern Europeans ?

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I actually thought the meerkat was supposed to be Italian.

No. Russianmeerkats

I love the ads. It is only racist is you think that having a different accent makes you inferior. I don't think Russians are inferior, and I would hope that Russians wouldn't think me inferior if I tried to speak Russian with a bit of a British accent.

Of course the Meerkats may think it is racist - but until they complain I suggest we just enjoy it and get a life.

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Guest DissipatedYouthIsValuable
Has anybody given a thought to the feelings of Meerkats ?

Being portrayed as Eastern Europeans ?

You wouldn't catch a Meerkat over here, doing the jobs that should be done by Guardianistas.

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miserable frackers, these meerkats. no sense of fracking humourmebob.

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i do find this ad particularly annoying, but more because its attempt at humour is sadly indicative of the dearth of original thought in advertising lately

now a Japanese karaoke of 'Love Me Tender'... that makes my ribs hurt - right or wrong.

likewise with any poor soul in a pub karaoke attempting Keane's 'Somewhere only we know'. you can forecast an EPIC FAIL with some certainty from stanza 1...

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I'm 99.99% sure the meerkat accent and 'simples' was taken from an Iranian Lecturer that the creator of the meerkat adverts used to know.

I might google for proof if I have time.

EDIT : Maybe I imagined it....

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The author of that piece had better not read this article then:

"Arsenal forward Andrey Arshavin has been dubbed 'the meerkat' by team-mates who claim he sounds like the star of a television advert.

The comical players claim the Russia international's heavily-accented English makes him sound like Aleksandr Orlov, the fictional Eastern European meerkat from the Compare The Market adverts.

Arshavin's mates apparently taunt the 28-year-old with Orlov's 'Eet's Seemple' catchphrase, according to a report in The Sun.

An Arsenal source told the paper: 'Andrey has been getting a lot of stick over it but it's all good banter.

'Andrey has seen the funny side - but I think he was a bit confused (.com?) at first.' "

http://www.metro.co.uk/sport/oddballs/arti...p;in_page_id=46

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It has raised the profile of meerkats no end.

And they do use Carribean accents on ads. I remember a Jamaican cyclist behind a minibus - the only other vehicle on the road - saying: to-TAL GRID-lock man, which I though was hilarious. I can't remember what it was advertising, must have been rum or perhaps cocaine. ;)

Simples!

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Click on the link and read some of the readers comments!!!!!!

Even the right on lefty touchy feely Gaurdian readers are slating Mr Jones for his second rate journalism. :lol::lol::lol:

So what accent should an aristocratic smoking jacket wearing meerkat speak with ffs?

The advertisers choose an Eastern European one (as meerkats don't actually speak.)

Mr Jones says the ad take the p*ss out of Eastern Europeans for saying meerkat not market....But they don't!?!?!? In the first ad in the campaign the meerkat is pointing out the difference and pointing humans to compare the marrrrket.com........There is no taking the piss out of how Eastern Europeans pronounce words in English. Have a look at the original ad (first link)....THe second link is some amusing meerkat bloopers!

This journo is a tool. Firstly for not doing his research, secondly for taking offence in such a wet liberal manner, thirdly for bothering to complain and then write about it in his newspaper column (Incensed of Islington) and fourth and finally for just being a tool!

Oh...and the bloopers are quite funny!!!

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Guest DissipatedYouthIsValuable
miserable frackers, these meerkats. no sense of fracking humourmebob.

The real story is that this sorry sensitive journo can't get it up any more because of his vegan lack of strength and his egalitarian respect for women which he actualised on a weekend of hypnotic rebirthing in Findhorn. His reformed heroin addict ex-stripper Lithuanian girlfriend doesn't respect him at all because he won't do her roughly while calling her a slut, so he's sitting around a moody frustrated bitch, trying desperately to make her happy with some twisted sense of cultural femo-sensitivity, writing to the ASA, when he should be leading her around the kitchen on a lead before doing her hard up the ****. And then writing about that. I might buy that copy of the Guardian.

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It struck me how racist it was to parody what is now a significant part of the British population in this way. It also occurred to me that were the ad to use stereotypical Indian or Caribbean accents in the same way it would never be allowed on TV.

The what now?

These eastern european who mostly moved here in the last few years (else they would have lost their accent) are BRITISH now are they? I think you will find they are RUSSIAN and UKRAINIAN.

In fact, I'de wager that if he refered to his GF as BRITISH he'd be sleeping on the sofa that night.

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It has raised the profile of meerkats no end.

And they do use Carribean accents on ads.

Simples!

My neighbour has two ornamental meerkats to keep my cats off her garden

Say beer can and think of a thnly sliced pork product for a different way of looking at words and accents.

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The real story is that this sorry sensitive journo can't get it up any more because of his vegan lack of strength and his egalitarian respect for women which he actualised on a weekend of hypnotic rebirthing in Findhorn. His reformed heroin addict ex-stripper Lithuanian girlfriend doesn't respect him at all because he won't do her roughly while calling her a slut, so he's sitting around a moody frustrated bitch, trying desperately to make her happy with some twisted sense of cultural femo-sensitivity, writing to the ASA, when he should be leading her around the kitchen on a lead before doing her hard up the ****. And then writing about that. I might buy that copy of the Guardian.

Insightful stuff. Can you write that to the Editor of the Grauniad and see if they print it?

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It has raised the profile of meerkats no end.

And they do use Carribean accents on ads. I remember a Jamaican cyclist behind a minibus - the only other vehicle on the road - saying: to-TAL GRID-lock man, which I though was hilarious. I can't remember what it was advertising, must have been rum or perhaps cocaine. ;)

Simples!

Malibu????

V funny, though I prefer the Fisherman one:

These ads portray West Indians as lazy shirkers........Do they get offended? Maybe thousands of complaint letters were written all over south London, but then they couldn't be bothered to go to the post office. To my mind these ads are potentially much more offensive than the meerkat ones

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Malibu????

V funny, though I prefer the Fisherman one:

These ads portray West Indians as lazy shirkers........Do they get offended? Maybe thousands of complaint letters were written all over south London, but then they couldn't be bothered to go to the post office. To my mind these ads are potentially much more offensive than the meerkat ones

West Indian shirkers take pride in finding themselves on the same plane of activity level as most property developers.

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