Hello from the Cote d'Azur, playground of the rich and famous and home to the wealthiest of the wealthy. Monaco itself boasts the world's highest GDP per capita (for that, read everyone earns shed loads) and, as a by-product, Monaco residents also have the world's highest life expectancy, a whopping 90 years old.
Chuck in the world's lowest unemployment rate (0%), lowest poverty rate, and a banking centre worth over $100 billion, and one actually wonders whether it literally rains money in this heavenly haven. Well, it might do if it ever rained, but the residents communally own all the clouds and have slapped them all with an injunction till November.
But there is one thing completely rubbish about living in Monaco, or the French Riviera in general. So rubbish, in fact, that it made me choke on my Camembert today. So utterly useless that I stopped eating altogether (after I'd finished choking) and froze, holding the rest of my baguette to my mouth mid-chomp for a good couple of minutes.
So banal, sad, cringe-worthy and annoyingly amateur that I might move here just to roll up my sleeves and help them make amends.
I'm talking about English-speaking radio advertising for Monaco, Cannes and the rest of the Riviera.
I don't know who these people are who write commercials for these stations, but I wouldn't be remotely surprised if it turned out that they are students writing them as a project for their international baccalaureate. And failing.
Due to the fact that the audience is essentially the mega-rich, most of these commercials are either based around money or what you can waste it on. But so bad are they that they somehow remind me of my favourite episode of Only Fools And Horses. You know the one; Del and Trigger have gone to a yuppie wine bar in the City. Del Boy, mid-Filofax-flaunt, advises Trigger that to impress this shallow clique of self-congratulating ponces he needs to talk about money. Leading the way, he spies two young lady rah-types:
DEL: Yeah, it's all go in the City, innit, girls. By the way, how do you spell Harrods?
WOMAN (condescendingly): Capital A.
DEL: [starts writing] ..Oh, right, yes. Beam me up, Snotty!
Although they're not as openly affected or pretentious as this, the commercials are so maddeningly lame that they might as well all end with "please, thank you sorry for troubling you your royal richnessness."
One investment bank, with some cliche classical CD playing in the background, simply assures their wealthiest customers that they will do everything they can to help them spend their wealth wisely.
Big deal. Not exactly groundbreaking stuff, is it?
Another commercial for a carpet showroom, of all places, boasts that [quote] Her Serene Highness Princess Grace has even given them her royal seal of approval. So hurry down and buy a rug so you can be like her. And no advertising of gym memberships on this radio station. No, now they're advising you to own your own custom-designed gym.
Wait, what's that sound? (You'll love this one.) It's silence. Silence because the captain of your luxury yacht is not speaking,because he's too stressed by filling in the ship's log, completing personnel records, making reservations, and paying the rest of the crew. Oh, the poor dear! Sounds like he needs the help of ABC yacht management specialists to take the stress out of his job so that he can get back to buffing his epaulettes.
All of these commercials I wouldn't actually mind if they weren't so poorly executed. I mean, with that amount of money available, surely they can hire the best advertising and PR agencies on the planet, can't they? But there's no imagination, no draw-you-in, no clever vocabulary, no play on words. It's all just about: you're rich; we love you because you're rich; please give us your money.
So as I say, I've half a mind to move here myself and give them a helping hand. Anyone want to join me?
Ashley Morrison is a copywriter, blogger and editor.