So I thought I’d take a break from making attacks on capitalism and greed and instead poke fun at adverts. Errm. OK, that’s not much of a break from an attack on capitalism. But the thought was there.
First off, what is it with those air fresheners things that the advertisers are trying to convince us closely resemble some sort of sculpture. It isn’t a sculpture. No-one will mistake it for some piece of art work they bought on holiday, unless they’re in the habit of collecting air fresheners of the world. And no, I’m not giving it as a present to a friend. They would be horrified. Who gives air fresheners to their friends? It’s like saying ‘your house smells, here, have this piece of plastic tat.’
If I lived in the world of advertisers, I would be convinced that the entire world smelled horrible and that the way to make this better would be to mask it with artificial scent. The thing is though, generally I find the world smells OK and if it doesn’t, I like to open a window. Whatever chemicals it is they put in those things, they give me a headache far worse than anything my bin or someone’s pet cat might be able to muster. And whilst we’re on this topic, Febreze: I don’t care what you say, it’s just an expensive way to hang things out of the window.
The adverts during films bug me as well. Not the actual advert breaks as such, those are handy if you need a pee, I mean the sponsorship adverts, particularly if they jar with the subject matter of the film. There are some little red riding hood ones. I cannot remember what channel they are on or what they are trying to sell. Adverts don’t seem to have the right impact on me, unless it’s on a subconscious level and actually I buy loads of shit when I’m not looking. Which would be as if, in some bizarre consumerist version of the biblical take on charity, my left hand didn’t know what the right was doing. Anyway, watching something about wolves, grandmas and small children being eaten by lupine predators seemed particularly inappropriate whilst watching The Lovely Bones (if you don’t know the plot, small child gets killed by paedophile).
Then there’s those bloody adverts for Wonga. Actually, they are quite funny. Deceptively funny until you have a little think about what they are selling you. The basic premise seems to be that your lovely granny will lend you a fiver. Or, well actually, she’ll lend you a few hundred quid for a few days. But this grandma has teeth. At 4000% apr, it’s enough to make any wolf blench. And lets be honest here, if you had a choice of an overdraft at 10% or a payday loan at a few thousand %, you would opt for the overdraft. So these type of loans are generally for the desperate and nowhere does granny tell you how you get through to the next payday, when you will have the same shortfall you had before, plus a loan, plus interest. Take my advice. Don’t go near a granny selling a loan, unless you think there might be someone with an axe nearby to help you out.
As a group (I can’t really tell the fine differences between brands) the adverts I hate the most are the ones for sanitary products. My least favourite tag line of all time has to be ‘Just because it’s your period, we still believe you can be beautiful’. Great idea, thanks for that. Let’s play on women’s often low sense of self esteem and use it to sell them products. Wonderful. Feeling a bit shit for a couple of days a month? Don’t worry. There will always be someone low enough to use that fact to sell you something.
But the thing that really, really annoys me about those ads, is the fact that 9 times out of 10 they are trying to sell their product on the basis that it’s somehow more discreet than anyone else’s. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about discreet as in you can’t see them when they’re in use. This isn’t the roller skating in white shorts thing, mad and annoying as that is. I mean the way the products are sold as somehow quieter and less visible. Ooo they’re so quiet no-one will ever know you’re unwrapping a sanitary towel. Ooo, they’re so small no-one will see them in your handbag unless one of them gets stuck to your Chihuahua. Ooo, you can insert them in the dark if you’re frightened of moths or whatever the fuck that ad was about.
Here’s the thing. Half the population will menstruate at some point in their lives. We spend as much of our time menstruating as we do sitting at traffic lights, a fact I just made up entirely. So, if the woman in the next cubicle to me thinks I might be mid period because she hears a rustle of plastic, I don’t give a stuff, and I don’t suppose she does either. Frankly I’ll empty my pockets out on my desk at work and if that happens to be a tampon or two, I don’t give a monkeys. It’s an entirely natural bodily function and I resent advertisers playing on the idea that it’s somehow shameful.
If there are any other ads that come close to annoying me that much, it’s generally high street opticians. There’s the whole specsavers schtick of ‘oh I know, let’s take piss out of people who can’t see properly without their glasses on’. How? How the hell does that ever work as a strategy? Taking the piss out of the very people you are trying to sell to. How? Why god, why? Anyway. The other one that also pissed me off was whichever company used to tell me that they could make my glasses in an hour. I don’t want you to make my glasses in an hour you fuckwits. They’re my glasses. I can’t see without them, remember. Get them wrong and you could make my eyesight worse than it already is. So do me a favour, take your time and make them properly.
Actually, if I’m really honest, I don’t go through hell in the advert breaks. I mute them, wander off and do the washing up, make a cup of tea or go and change my sanitary product of choice. I assume they have some effect, all those ads, or why would anyone bother making them. But right now, Go Compare are doing their best to ensure that I never use their website, on the grounds that their ads are the kind of sexist drivel that make me want to shoot someone. Oh my eyes. It’s like feminism never happened. And what is it with the Lloyds TSB music? Is it some kind of trigger? Are we being programmed so that in future generations we’ll all go out on some kind of rampage when we hear it? Right, that’s it. Time for a nice cup of camomile.