am writing

Bad day at the office 12


Advertising industry left scratching heads as UK challenger bank follows up ‘Pigeon’ spot with ‘Tortoise’

UK Cash Cowboys yesterday aired the second TV ad in its new campaign, following on from ‘Pigeon’, which showed a pigeon tap-dancing to George Formby’s ‘When I’m Cleaning Windows’.

The new spot shows a lame tortoise hobbling onto a roller skate beneath a ‘There’s tortoises…’ super – before it then embarks on an abstruse, mescaline-induced roller-coaster ride through a puddle, an intergalactic black hole and the set of a porn movie, to a backing track of Wagner’s ‘Ride of the Valkyries’, when the ‘and there’s UK Cash Cowboys tortoises’ super appears. As the Fast Show’s ‘Jazz Club’ host would say, “nice.”

Alongside ‘Pigeon’, ‘Tortoise’ aims to mark out UK Cash Cowboys as a bank like no other, accentuating its brand schizophrenia and firmly positioning the bank as an insane way for customers to manage their finances.

The latest ad is dividing the advertising community right across London. While the global head of Soushi & Soushi was gushing in his praise of the ad, calling it ‘pretentious bullshit on steroids’, the Creative Head at L.M.F.A.O. Breeze Steve Wittgenstein didn’t pull his punches at all. Wading in with a baseball bat wrapped in razor wire, Wittgenstein described it as “spectacularly pointless, game-changingly awful. No agency I ever ran would be seen dead putting out such unadulterated kitchen waste, unless all our pet rabbits were kidnapped and we received photographs of them strapped to dynamite saying, ‘run the ads, or the rabbits die’. They’re that fucking bad.”

The campaign was the brainchild of creative director Kurt Shytter from P.R.I.C.K.S. (Pratt, Rypov, Igo, Charlatan, Konman and Shytter) who apparently had a blinding migraine at the time, and since his release from rehab claims to have been completely cured of his addiction to nitrous oxide and crack cocaine.

“I really like what they’ve done with the puddle motif,” enthused UK Cash Cowboys CEO Cleopatra LeGrande, CBE. “It’s pregnant with deeply subliminal double entendres about our shallowness as a brand and the way we try to shower muddy piss all over our customers to bamboozle them into thinking we’re clever.”

When quizzed about the disturbing black hole and porn set motifs, LeGrande fixed the interviewer with a Jose Mourinho death stare, and said, “what other high street bank has deeply violent and troubling shit in its television ads, you fuckwit? Can’t you see what we’re doing, you stupid little worm? We’re changing the game, we’re breaking the rules, standing out from the crowd. Who are you anyway? A nobody. These pearls cost me eighty-grand from Yoko, sweetheart. I doubt you’ve ever seen that much money. Do you know how much I earned last year? Well do you? Three point six five mill, mate. Net. So don’t talk to me about gang bangs before you find yourself on the end of one from my security guys. As for black holes, do I really need to spell out what we’re saying? The black hole signifies the utter vacuum in meaning – the crushing, sucking weight of nothingness at the heart of our advertising – into which our target customers will all be sucked like helpless sheep. Now go and bother someone else with your grubby little questions you pathetic excuse for a common little man. I am Cleopatra LeGrande CBE, and yesterday I had lunch with Vladimir Putin. If you worked at my bank I’d have you hung by your balls in the deep-freeze until you begged for a pay cut, or death.”

The campaign is also supported by a series of press ads showing a hamster in a pair of gold lame y-fronts emblazoned with LeGrande’s initials, a three-legged llama sporting pink-framed Ray-Bans, a St Bernard guide dog humping a traffic warden’s leg and a zebra getting a BJ from a ho in a Soho alleyway. With photography from Courtney Cronenberg, these print executions are intended to help highlight the difference between UK Cash Cowboys and the more professional, upstanding, credible high street banks like Barclays, Lloyds and HSBC.

Uge Pratt, MD of P.R.I.C.K.S. said, “this has been a wack campaign to work on bro. The brief was like, the front page from The Sun, man, who somebody had blown their nose on then flushed down the toilet, which gave us complete carte blanche in terms of the cross-disciplinary mindshare, vacuous content generation and Poundland production values. The result is a totally nihilistic multi-media mind-fuck of a campaign which is really going to mess with the heads of anyone contemplating doing business with this pathetic excuse for a bank. We’re confident it will really set UK Cash Cowboys apart as it continues its exciting journey from a cheapskate financial services brand led by a deeply greedy and psychotic CEO, to a cheapskate financial services brand led by a deeply greedy and psychotic CEO. Peace, man.”

At the time of writing the campaign was rumoured to be under investigation by the Advertising Standards Authority for cruelty to animals, after the tortoise was filmed being physically glued to the roller skate as it hurled upside down into the ad’s black hole of nothingness, like a turd flushed down a toilet, never to be seen again.

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Bad day at the office 11

General Election 2015: UK Bank CEO Cleopatra LeGrande wants a strong leader who will back bullying

Cleopatra LeGrande General Election

Cleopatra LeGrande is chief executive of UK Cash Cowboys

 Every day until the final week of the election campaign Jeremy Trough, Political Editor at The Daily Profit, asks a business leader to say what politics would entice them to vote for a particular party.


CLEOPATRA LEGRANDE, CEO UK CASH COWBOYS: “I will vote for the party who has the most ruthless leader. A psycho, basically. Callous, cold-hearted despotism is essential for success – whether in business, crime or politics. I want to be represented by a total bastard who couldn’t give a toss what people think about them, both at home and on the world stage. And I desperately want a leader who will represent the few – not the many – in a greedy, cut-throat, pitiless United Kingdom.”

JEREMY TROUGH: “So more tax breaks for millionaires then?”

CLEOPATRA LEGRANDE: “Quite. It is also important to have a government which will champion sadistic, iron-fisted business leaders like myself, and encourage bullying and intimidation in all sectors. I want a government brave enough to repeal the slavery act and the minimum working wage, tackle all this nonsense about equal opportunities and paternity leave. Oh, and treble tuition fees for working class students, so we take a broom to the low-life plebs clogging up our universities. Education should be for rich, arrogant people like me who are in a position to use it to maximum advantage. And so end once and for all, the anti-competitive, altruistic cancer eating away at Banks’ profits. I mean, a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay? What creepy little PC turd came up with that bunch of crap? Gandhi? Get a life, for Christ’s sake. The truth is we cannot afford not to introduce despotism if we really want world class bullying that works for bank bosses like me, my cronies and filthy rich people in general, like our Chairman Sir Rich Pickle.”

JEREMY TROUGH: “I’m guessing that rules out the Lib Dems then.”

CLEOPATRA LEGRANDE: “Is that supposed to be some kind of joke? You only have to look at their logo, it’s like someone’s chucked up on the pavement, and nobody’s going anywhere near it. When they talk about fairness to me, they’re radioactive. I will vote for you only if you put terrifying, remorseless greed at the heart of all you do. With policies that ensure a strong and growing salary and bonus package for bank CEOs, with a tax regime and immigration policy that lets me absolutely treat my staff like concentration camp trash. I think we can destroy health, education and the other deeply wasteful public services that are a drain on my personal wealth, absolutely, yes. Next question.”

JEREMY TROUGH: “What do you think about the Conservatives manifesto pledge to reward more cut-throat, sadistic leaders like yourself with awards in the New Years’ Honours List?”

CLEOPATRA LEGRANDE: “Well, it’s progress obviously. Next level thinking. I think those kinds of forward-thinking policies are essential for a thriving economy. Feel my face, that’s stubble, that is. I didn’t get my CBE by tickling employees under the chin, big boy. I got it by destroying their lives. Squashing them flat. Humiliating them. Working them til they dropped and rubbing their faces in the dirt. Government policies should incentivise a bullying culture across all disciplines from senior bank management to internet trolls. That means encouraging vindictive, callous management practices by people from a wide range of backgrounds. It also means investing in staff demoralisation, indoctrination, disengagement and alienation, to address slackers and get the engine room of my massive salary firing.”

JEREMY TROUGH: “You are notorious for imposing impossible performance targets on your staff, for suppressing their pay and bonuses, and generally treating them like low-paid vermin while giving the impression that you’re actually a caring employer. Would you vote for a party which endorsed those kind of two-faced, double-standards?”

CLEOPATRA LEGRANDE: “Absolutely. But Christ, which party? I mean, you can’t put a cigarette paper between them when it comes to double-speak. I say, let’s find a way to tackle fair pay across the UK. A generation of young people have grown up thinking work should be fun and they should be paid a fair whack if they work hard. Complete bollocks. Clearly changes are needed to the bullying system and more can be done to exploit first time employees. I feel privileged to work in a banking sector and a country where bullying can be practiced openly and where we can vote against issues such as human rights and personal dignity. And in the end I want a government which lives by the knuckleduster and the jackboot. Only by cleansing ourselves of the weak and the poor in positions of power or responsibility can we make this country great again. This seems to me where true leadership and true integrity lie.”

JEREMY TROUGH: “So you’ll be voting Conservative then?”

CLEOPATRA LEGRANDE: “At least the Tories know how to keep the scum in their place and look after rich billionaires like me. Scrapping inheritance tax, for instance, brilliant idea. I own property all over the shop and have billions stuffed in offshore bank accounts. When I pop my clogs I want my kids to be like pigs in shit, not for all the riches I’ve spent my lifetime bleeding people dry to acquire, wasted on garbage like social services and education for the poor. For fuck’s sake.”

JEREMY TROUGH: “So Ed needn’t hold his breath on your vote then?”

CLEOPATRA LEGRANDE: “Is he really a person? Or a waxwork dummy wired up to a cliché generator? Higher tax rates for the rich? Mansion taxes? Show some imagination, Ed. Same old classic mean-spirited commy dirty tricks to rob the rich and feed the scum. What sort of cunt does he take us for? How am I supposed to keep my private jet and fleet of limousines for my personal use on the road? Those things don’t run themselves you know. I tell you, if red Ed the teenage mutant gets in and starts wading into bankers’ bonuses and obscene profits and shit like that, if he’s not careful I’ll have to pass all his extra taxes on to customers, through higher charges, fees and commissions. You start eating into my massive personal wealth, buddy, we are going to war mate, make no mistake. You will not believe how nuclear I can go. Don’t worry though, I’ll get my accountant Dave to fix it. He’ll sort it. We headhunted him from the EU.”

JEREMY TROUGH: “Okay, so we’ve established you’re voting Conservative. Any advice you’d give David Cameron about areas the Tories can do better on?”

CLEOPATRA LEGRANDE: “I’m not happy about this raising the minimum wage nonsense. Every penny extra I have to pay my employees is a penny off my multi-million pound bonus at the end of the year. What kind of incentive is that for talented despots like me to run businesses in UK plc, if we can’t screw our own employees? Brain drain? You ain’t seen nothing pal. They might change their tune when we’ve all left, switched off the lights and all they’ve got left is the scum running the country. See what that does for your GDP.”


CLEOPATRA LEGRANDE: “Plebs, working class, ordinary people. Scum.

JEREMY TROUGH: “You mean, like your employees?”

CLEOPATRA LEGRANDE: “Your words, not mine. But since you mention it, yeah. I’m the big cheese around this bank. I’m the brains behind all the important decisions, got that? Nobody dies without my say so. It’s me who has to bang heads together when aggressive sales targets aren’t met, and heads need to roll. When profits fall and my end of year bonus is under threat, someone’s got to sack family breadwinners, break up homes and encourage feelings of hopelessness and despair. It’s a tough world out there. I’m not running a bloody charity here. You fuck with my money and I’ll turn your bloody lights out.”

JEREMY TROUGH: “Since you mention charity, what about your charitable arm, UK Cash Cowboys Giving? And your new company strapline, Everyone’s Getting On. Isn’t that supposed to include employees, customers, society, good causes, the environment…?”

CLEOPATRA LEGRANDE: “Sweetheart, watch my lips. Two words. Public relations. You think I really give a mouse’s fart about good causes? Ask any of my employees, they’ll tell you what I’m really like. A complete and utter ruthless bastard. You know who’s picture I have hanging on the wall of my office?”

JEREMY TROUGH: “Churchill? JFK?”

CLEOPATRA LEGRAND: “Heinrich Himmler. Let ‘em bloody work for their soup, I say, like every other pleb. When I see someone begging on the street I think, bring back flogging and National Service. Corporal punishment would be too good for some of these parasites. I’d sort the buggers out, never mind all this free hand outs crap. Still, I suppose it’s good for the brand so I shouldn’t knock it. If it wins us a few extra customers and keeps the cash register ringing, every cloud as they say.”

JEREMY TROUGH: “I should have thought with all the PR your bank has been putting out about environmental responsibility, you’d at least be supporting a greener agenda.”

CLEOPATRA LEGRANDE: “Ha ha ha. The Greens? What’s that all about, windmills? Ha ha. Lol, as they say. Don’t, you’ll give me the giggles. C’mon love, get real. Wake up and smell the Frappuccino. Twenty-first Century, hello? What am I supposed to fly my private jet on, fresh air? Sod that. Green means higher taxes sweetheart. Higher taxes are bad for business, and bad for my personal fortune. Who needs the rainforests anyway? You can have ‘em. Waste of good car-parking revenue. Do you know where I can pick one up cheap?”

JEREMY TROUGH: “Politicians have been talking a lot about ‘red lines’ in this election campaign. Do you have any personal red lines?”

CLEOPATRA LEGRANDE: “Tax havens and tax loopholes for the rich are an absolute deal-breaker for me. That’s a purple line that is, with flashing lights and a klaxon. I’ll say it again. Fuck with my banker’s bonus and I’ll kill you and eat your children.”

JEREMY TROUGH: “Which brings us neatly to UKIP. Breath of fresh air or a bunch of right-wing bigots?”

CLEOPATRA LEGRANDE: “They have some good ideas, like closing down the NHS and sending all those scrounging foreigners back.”

JEREMY TROUGH: “You’d support closing down the NHS, really? Isn’t that a sacred cow in the eyes of the public?”

CLEOPATRA LEGRANDE: “No good to me, is it? I’m the CEO of a bank, love. I’ve got more health insurance than I know what to do with. I always go private. Biggest drain of all on the public purse, is the NHS. It pisses literally billions up the wall every year, for what? Giving poor people cancer treatment and heart transplants? They cost an arm and a leg those things. Let ‘em die, I say, and cut the pension burden at the same time. The fewer old people you have, the faster you can shrink the welfare state, scrap the higher tax bands and raise net take home pay for senior bank executives like me. It’s a no-brainer.”

JEREMY TROUGH: “Can I pick up on your reference to sending all the scrounging foreigners back home…”

CLEOPATRA LEGRANDE: “Well, first off I believe, like UKIP, in an Australian-style points system of immigration. We shouldn’t be letting all these talented bankers, nurses and business entrepreneurs into the country. There’s only so many fat million-pound bonuses to go round. No, we should only be letting in cheap and nasty foreign mercenaries from Eastern Europe who’ll basically work 23 hours a day on half a slice of bread for ten pee a week. I personally exploit thousands of the fuckers in our call centres in Newcastle, Edinburgh and Chelmsford. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, what. They can’t speak a word of English mind, but Christ do they know how to extort money out of our customers. Brutal, they are. I’ve already promoted Stanislaw to my Board as Director of Money Laundering and Internet Fraud. Big guy with a crew cut, scar across his left cheek. Lives on raw potatoes and cardboard. These are the kind of talented thugs we need to get this country back on its knees.”

JEREMY TROUGH: “Wow, radical.”

CLEOPATRA LEGRANDE: “But UKIP are right, we definitely need to address all the benefit and health tourism as an absolute priority. Did you know that for every African who comes over here with HIV, it takes twenty-five grand a pop to treat them? That’s coming out of my pay packet that is. Foreign scum. Every grand I pay extra in tax is a person I have to lay off, and double the hours of the remaining staff. As for your foreign aid budget, you know where you can shove that. Until we can properly reward high-powered bank executives in our own country we shouldn’t be squandering money keeping foreign trash alive abroad. Let them eat worms, I say. It’s good for their immunity. Ebola? Do I look like I have Ebola? Fucking foreigners.”

JEREMY TROUGH: “But isn’t your husband foreign?”

CLEOPATRA LEGRANDE: “What did you just say?”

JEREMY TROUGH: “I, I just said, isn’t your husband Indian?”

CLEOPATRA LEGRANDE: “Did you just use the ‘N’ word about my husband?”


CLEOPATRA LEGRANDE: “Right, that’s it, I’m having you. Where’s my solicitor’s number?”

JEREMY TROUGH: “Mrs LeGrande, I only said…”

CLEOPATRA LEGRANDE: “Okay, listen up. I’ll say this once and I won’t repeat it. I want five hundred grand in used notes, stuffed inside a duffle bag, left on top of the litter bin at the junction of Eagle Place and Jermyn Street at nine o’clock in the morning. Do I make myself clear? This conversation never happened.”


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Bad day at the office 10

Pigeon Ukulele Blues

Opening and closing stills from UK Cash Cowboys’ brilliant ground-breaking new TV ad, ‘Pigeon Ukulele Blues’

UK Cash Cowboys challenge the big banks with… a pigeon

UK Cash Cowboys set tongues wagging in the advertising world today with the launch of our bold new TV campaign, ‘Pigeon Ukulele Blues’.

The ad, rushed out by our new agency Pratt, Rypov, Igo, Charlatan, Konman & Shytter, is being hailed as a masterpiece of post-post-modernist film-making by everyone from Quentin Tarantino’s neighbour to the bloke who lives down the road from me, who hammered on my front window this evening and silently mouthed the words, ‘WHAT THE FUCK?’, then wondered off into the darkness shaking his head.

BBC art critic, member of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and all round cultural sage Mark Kimodo, called UK Cash Cowboys’ ground-breaking TV spot the advertising equivalent of Tracey Emin’s ‘My Bed’.

“It’s right up there with James Joyce’s impenetrable masterpiece of gibberish, Finnegan’s Wake,” said Kimodo, “which nobody in the western world still understands to this day, even though it was written almost a hundred years ago”.

There is talk of bringing the World War II code-breaking centre of Bletchley Park out of mothballs and inviting Benedict Comberbatch to stand in for the late great code-breaker and father of the modern computer Alan Turing, to help crack the deeply puzzling, “unfathomable” ad.

The ad, which features a feral pigeon pogoing up and down on a wet pavement, rapping to a ska version of George Formby’s ‘When I’m Cleaning Windows’, leaves a tantalising clue in its tagline – ‘There’s pigeons, and there’s UK Cash Cowboys pigeons’, but early efforts to crack its meaning have defeated philosophers and Times Crosswords experts up and down the country.

A superficial reading of the ad might be taken in by the brilliantly cheap, tacky, tawdry, cheesy, kitsch, low-budget, low production values, and the dramatic tension between the anthropomorphic overtones and punk rock undertones, to infer subliminally that UK Cash Cowboys are positioning themselves as a bunch of shitty pigeons on a wet pavement in the middle of nowhere. But as cultural gurus around the globe are already pointing out, the flaw in that analysis is that UK Cash Cowboys are supposed to be a bank, selling banking products to customers.

As Kimodo proclaimed, “if you were a bank trying to build your brand, I can’t think of many TV ads that would have been less effective than this. If you sliced up every TV ad that had ever been made in the history of advertising, threw them all in the air and spliced together random bits of ads in no specific order, the result would probably make more sense than this. Perhaps, after all, that is the ad’s true genius.”

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