verybody hates banks and insurance companies. There's no reason to like them. Let's face it, they're evil, right up there with Osama bin Laden, Donald Trump and Janine out of EastEnders.
That's why all their advertising is defensive: Lloyds with their cute dreamy animation, Natwest with their Customer Charter BS and Halifax with their tortuous singing employees. They're human! They're cuddly! They're here to help!
A few years ago, insurance giant Aviva rebranded itself (or something) and made an advert filled with lots of famous people we all recognise and/or love, set to The Chemical Brothers amazing The Pills Won't Help You Now. It's a wonderful ad, beautifully manipulative; so manipulative, in fact, that you have to rein in your emotions and remind yourself Aviva is An Evil Insurance Company, and you can not, must not feel any love for them.
Anyway, the best bit of the ad comes around the 0.42 second mark, where we see Macaulay Culkin eating popcorn in an empty movie theatre. His face looms large on the screen in front of him, and over The Pills Won't Help You Now, he says, simply, "Remember me." Oh, eternity weeps...
It's utterly, utterly brilliant, mind-blowingly devious, and as moving as everything that's ever made you cry. Is he saying "remember me" to us, or to himself? Or both? Aargh! In an instant, we're transported back twenty years to a little boy Home Alone, and his subsequent annihilation at the hands of the evil whore that's show biz, to everything that was, and is, and will be. It's simultaneously on message, and yet so much more. The feeling is worse than Bodie shooting Wallace in The Wire, or seeing Gene Anthony Ray at his peak in Fame. That final, awful gunshot in Milk. This isn't an ad, it's arthouse cinema!
We're the same age, Macaulay Culkin and I, so it gets under the skin. But it's meant to.
Gee, I just love Aviva. So where do I sign...?