Poet Felicia Olusanya in a recent TV ad for Laya Healthcare Ireland

Kevin writes:

A new poem inspired by the UK poet who did an advertisement for a building society/bank and the Irish poet who did one for a private health insurance company which is now owned by AIG, one of the largest financial services companies in the world (and the recipient of many billions of Dollars of U.S. tax payers bail out money in 2008).

The Acquisition

No longer exactly young
but still in a hurry
to board the bus bound for
what they call

Emerging poet acquires agent
so sang the update.
Or is acquired by,
it neglected to add.

From now on they
will focus less on the bits that don’t pay,
like putting one word in front of another.
Only the sentimental still
measure the world in syllables.

It’s time to move on to other currencies,
to stride confidently through the capital of –
it could be anywhere –
trying to persuade the affluent

to insure their eyeballs,
their coming arthritis,
their battle-hardened large intestines
against the vagaries of the public health system;

then graduate to be
the strawberries and whipped cream voice
propositioning the consumer
with artificial arms, cheap
easily flammable seat belts, electrodes
for use in enhanced interrogations
of those you, the consumer, want answers from.

Increasingly, when the future lurches at you
through some screen or other
to flash its hawker’s suitcase
of stuff it has in mind for you
will be its wide smiling face.

Kevin Higgins

Pic; Laya Healthcare

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18 thoughts on “Ad Verse Effects

    1. goldenbrown

      ugh indeed and in a very close 2nd place…
      is the other crowds one (that digi animated tiktoc cringefest)

      instant channel change the both of em

  1. Broadbag

    Never been a fan of Kevin’s work, but have to say he has nailed it here, bravo! These cynical ad-poems are revolting.

      1. ce

        Very much open to correction but I’d say ‘celebratty’ poet got more than a typical voice actor or jingle composer/performer

    1. Fergalito

      Longford I think – she came across very well, seems like a lovely person.

      Not too sure i’m that bothered about her making a crust from her lexical dexterity.

      How is it any different than Hollywood actors doing the crappy blockbusters to allow them to make indie, labour of love movies? Or The Pixies letting any ad company they like use Where is My Mind?

      Do poets have to be impoverished for their art to have any substance?

      1. ce

        If you don’t have rickets or TB I’m not even going to wipe my bum with your poem…

        It’s more about the fact that it’s for a private health insurance company… not a good look…

        But that’s the way of the world in general… not a good look…

        I can’t find the full clip of Bill Hicks doing his rant about pop stars selling things versus his favorite musicians not “selling out”… something to do with the Rolling Stones and snickers I think… they all advertised something in the end… anyways, this will have to do


      2. Johnny 'Diego' Keenan

        I agree with what Bill Hicks said. if you do adverts you’re off the artistic list.
        Something to do with not suckin corporate willy, or something.

  2. Himself

    Don’t forget auld Rob Doyle. Author of Here Are the Young Men and Threshold. From talking about pissing in some lads face in the Berghain and hanging out with the DMT machine elves to lending his vocal chords to some poxy car company for a TV ad. To be fair, he did write a daycent essay talking about how itll pay his rent for a few years over in Berlin.


  3. Tom

    I’ve been critical of Kevin here in the past but, I must say, this is good – and very, very good in parts. The less angry you are the better your writing is?

  4. Gringo

    Poets these days must be brave. And become a corporate slave. While the lines they must dash. Bring them pockets of cash. They will carry that shame to the grave

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