The Big V, the Big C and the Big WTF

by Johnny Debacle

The UK is a land of fear. Everything is geared to frightening the populace into a frenzied state. The free daily papers consist almost entirely of fear mongering journalism about violence in schools, poisons in foods, death by cellphone radiation, minicab rape, murders of Britons on Holiday, genetically altered crops. All of this is complemented by a steady torrent of T&A, usually on the same page. Mind the gap, mind the taxi, mind the man with the gun, mind the man about to violently rape you, mind the totty, mind the CCTV, mind the et cetera. Big Brother will never stop reminding you to mind while you are in the UK. Even the escalators have stop buttons positioned every few feet, as if escalator rides are a high risk endeavour.

This context will not help you when faced with the Creepy V.

No, this is not an educational ad warning about the dangers of “vagina” to young men (which are plentiful) nor is it an ad for outsourcing child molestation to letters of the alphabet. The Creepy V is the avatar used to market Virgin’s new Cancer Cover product which “can give you a cash lump sum to help you financially if you’re diagnosed with cancer in the future.” I’m not a big believer in insurance other than health and dental, but setting aside the dubious value of the product itself, the marketing is exactly the blend of creepy, offputting and cartoony that really doesn’t resonate with….anyone.

Not only that, but on the Virgin Cancer Cover page they let you watch their TV commercial (bottom left) which gets its fact completely wrong. It depicts Cancer as an entity which will do the following: pull the tablecloth out from your dinner table, steal your newspaper, take away your lawnmower and break down your door. As far as I know, these are not medical symptoms of getting cancer.

Recommendation: Virgin Group may be seeking to be the brand to rule all other brands, but when your advertising takes on an alphabetical theme similar to the Jedi Knights of Overstock (OSTK) and is creepy to boot, it may be time for you to be glad you aren’t public and Long or Short can’t back its truck up to a mountain of your stock’s put options.

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