All companies make mistakes in their advertising from time to time (I recall roping in Nancy Sorrell in 2005 as a one-time model which generated very little awareness for us and cost a fortune) but most companies learn from their mistakes and react quickly to them.

2009 has brought with it a wave of repeat broadcasts of the Specsavers TV ad featuring Edith Piaf. I dont listen to her music, but like many people (especially since the recent film about her life La Vie en Rose) I am aware of her talent as arguablly France’s greatest popular music singer ever, and her tragic and premature death.

Edith Piaf would be turning in her grave if she could see this advert. This is a song that the French regard as something of a national anthem, about someone who was a chronic alcoholic and drug user looking back on her life, and saying that she regrets nothing; that all the pain was worth it for her to become the person she now is. It is poignant and heartfelt. (reference)

Whoever sold her out to Specsavers must regret doing so – I’m just suprised Specsavers hasnt stopped broadcasting this once it became clear how misguided it was. The Guardian called it ‘sacrilege, vandalism, and just plain wrong‘. I just did a google search, and it looks like it’s been shorlisted by someone as one of ‘TV’s worst adverts’ and someone else on page 1 of the listings calls it ‘evil’ . As I speak, the latest comment on youtube reads ‘I’m sure I’ve seen a worse ad than this. But I can’t think what it is. ‘.

Specsavers’ advertising can be impressive, like the viral Barclaycard style ad, but surely it’s time for these particular broadcasts to stop?