It seems, by an almost impossible coincidence, that I’ve spoken to “Uncle Angus” from the Money Mart ad. I learnt from a copy of Penguin Eggs, a Canadian folk music magazine, that the part is played by Scottish-Canadian singer Enoch Kent.
Back in May 2002, before we had a place to live (and probably long before Enoch knew he’d play this part on TV), famed Toronto Glaswegian (well, okay, from Busby) Tam Kearney and his wife Lynn very kindly offered their place as a house-sit. Tam and Enoch were working on a recording at the time.
Just before Tam and Lynn got back, I answered the phone. Enoch, getting a Scottish voice on the line, very quickly launched into a torrent of things they had to do before the recording could be released on CD.
It took me a while to convince Enoch that, no, I wasn’t Tam, and yes, he’d be back in a couple of days. That Scottish accent of mine can really get me into trouble at times.
Maybe Enoch needs the money from the ads. Buy his CDs instead!
After sending in a complaint, I got this response from MoneyMart’s Director of Corporate Communications, Lorne DeLarge:
Dear Mr. Russell;
Thank-you for taking the time to provide us with your comments regarding our
television advertisement. Let me say that it is not our intention to
offend, demean or disparage any individual or group of people with our
advertising. In fact, we take great pains to ensure that this does not
occur. Money Mart prides itself on being a responsible corporate citizen
and a responsible advertiser. We do not condone discrimination of any sort,
nor would we knowingly engage in it.
We would like to describe the process that we followed for creating and
approving this commercial. We feel that it is important to know the extent
of due diligence that we undertake prior to releasing a commercial.
We have three goals when we create our advertising: (1) the ad needs to be
memorable, (2) the ad needs to clearly display our advertising message and
(3) the ad needs to be likable. We strive to ensure that our ads fully
reflect these three goals. Any ad considered demeaning or discriminatory
would not fulfill our third objective.
When creating advertisements for television, we undergo multiple steps to
test and measure how well we are doing at achieving these three goals.
These steps include initial vetting and refinement of advertising concepts;
focus group testing with randomly selected Canadian consumers; approval by
several advertising standards organizations and finally, exposure of the ads
to a wider audience prior to airing.
Each step of the process was designed to ensure that the objectives for the
ad were fulfilled. If we had received any indication that this particular
ad would be considered offensive, we would have taken steps to rectify the
situation. I think that you will agree that our process is both exhaustive
This ad was about an exaggerated, “over the top” presentation of an exchange
between two generations who have different values and priorities when it
comes to money, not about disparaging an identifiable group.
We thank-you for taking the time to provide us with your thoughts.
itively by Mike Myers in “So I married an Axe Murderer”, and then it jumped the shark. It’s just not funny any more, as the Toronto Star notes.
Money Mart, a Canadian cash advance company (I won’t dignify them with a link), has an annoying advert where a guy goes to his stingy Scottish uncle for a loan. It plays on every Scottish stereotype.
I’m Scottish. I’m offended.