Vote: Which is the most irritating Gormless Ad Man?

If you use any form of public transport in south-east or central London, it’s likely you’ll have encountered at least one of these gormless characters peering out of an advertisement. But which is the most annoying? I have my opinion, but you may have yours…

OPTION A: Gormless Oven Chip Advertisement Man
OPTION B: Gormless Horse Racing Advertisement Man

If it was down to me, it’d be Oven Chip Drip – “rustic farmer Ben” – as I can’t seem to be able to escape him. Every time I sit on a train to central London, he’s staring at me, holding a chunky chip that’s probably gone cold. And then he’s inside Tube carriages, still holding a cold chip. Just eat it, son. Maybe the copy doesn’t help, a sick-making appeal to women to “confess” things in the hope they’ll win a shopping trip to New York. (The suffragettes did not die in vain, clearly.) I’m not the only one to hate him, either.

But then what about similarly drippy Horse Racing Man, who’s been all over the Tube for weeks? Is it his bad suit? The haircut? That strange look on his face which actually looks one step away from pain? It’s almost haunting, as if he’s running away from something. Probably a bookmaker.

So it’s time to choose. Which of these gormless fools is the most irritating?

Please vote, and please feel free to vent your spleen in the comments below. It is Valentine’s Day, after all.


  1. Ben is sexy and im happy he’s around the tube, the man who looks like he’s about to sh!t himself, no thanks.

  2. Oven chip man! They’ve saturated the transport network to the point where the ad lost all effect or meaning. Nice one.

  3. The intriguing thing about horse race man is that he’s just the sort of stereotype that puts people off going to the races. Is this just bad advertising or is there some more subtle scheme at work?

  4. Without a shadow of a doubt, Horsey man. Drippy Chip Man is just that – drippy, and it annoys me that anyone thinks he could be mistaken for a farmer, but essentially, he’s just a drippy pretty boy. Horsey man has something of the dark side about him.

  5. Weirdly enough I was cogitating on this on the way to work today. ‘Rustic farmer Ben’ is clearly part of some advertising industry ploy (cf. those Yeo Valley adverts) to perform a makeover on the reputation of farmers from their usual associations with suicide, insurance scams, incest and general misanthropy at the behest of being born into a generally unsustainable way of life.

    I’ve always been puzzled about the horse racing chap (who definitely looks Irish) and his presence in the picture i.e. is he a genuine punter snapped during a feverish moment of nag coming in first or is it staged? If so, to what agency would you go for such a person?

  6. TGP, it’s even more interesting that if they see their target audience as men like horse race man, they’ve including a background of people laughing at him!

  7. I’ve always wondered why the horsey excitedly running man is plastered all over the walls of Cutty Sark station. Do people actually think, right, I’ve got to pop to Superdrug for some deodorant but when I get home the first thing i’ll do is buy some tickets for the Cheltenham festival. He is so annoying.

  8. Racing Man all the way – never has one man looked so much like he owns a Second-hand Car Dealership.

    He’s not cheering a horse, he’s about to beat the crap out of one of his salesman for selling a Nissan Micra below sticker price.


  9. John McCririck, for all his many many failings has one virtue. He always slags off this kind of horse-racing advert precisely because it only speaks to the narrow section of society who already go racing, ie white gobshites from – at a guess – Sanderstead. No, Coulsdon.

  10. ‘Rustic Farmer Ben’, his smug non-guilt and those absurd plucked eyebrows *shudder*. That ‘confess your guilty secret’ copy is horrible. Can’t believe how many more people are upset by horse man, who seems to me to be an accurate depiction of someone on a work day out at the races.

    Hey ho. I’m off to ‘confess’ to defacing a poster on the train.

  11. I’m also intrigued by the currency of “guilt”. Holding a conversation in a train carriage? Well, it depends how urgent that is really. Central Line was down tonight, had plans etc. does that outweigh someone repeatedly saying “Y’knaa”. Who’s to say?

    Guilt somehow suggests activity which trangresses the norm. Rather like “cheeky.” There was the Volvic ad with the waiter and his somehow “cheeky Volvic” during his legislated for break from work. In what way “cheeky”, exactly? Though I suppose the extent to which we read about people having a “cheeky pint” on Twitter we can but fondly think back to the swift half.

  12. On one of the Gormless Horse Racing Advertisement Man posters in town somebody has drawn a nosebleed on him, which I think really adds to it.

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