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Tuesday, February 01, 2005

A foul humour

At least that's what I'm in after witnessing Arsenal go down at home to the "Team-that-shall-not-be-named". I'm hardly in a mood to trifle with, much less sincerely think about the hallucinogenic wonderland known as television advertising, much less the million-dollar lizard-fests that pass for witty marketing during the Super Bowl. That is, of course, the perfect mood from which to comment on them in this particular blog.

I'll go Stew two better and say that there seem to be 5 different techniques that the trained marmosets employed by advertising agencies use to attract people to a given product:

1. Sex
2. Really stupid people who love the product in an unreasonable, and slightly perverse way
3. Attacks on the self-esteem of those who, for their own generally sound reasons, think the product is a big waste of time. I'm talking about an even bigger waste of time than say, buying Lindsey Lohan a turtleneck sweater, or giving Michael Douglas "The Joy of Celibacy" for a vacation read. I should point out that most of these attacks take the form of making people feel insecure about their own attractiveness to the opposite sex. In other words: sex
4. Wacky animals and other cartoon characters
5. Sex

So one conclusion a sensible person could reach is that advertising agencies are not trying to sell their products to the general public, so much as they are trying to sell them to Caligula.

Besides the appalling Cialis ads (Note to the ad agency: The sight of senior citizens informing us about the renewed vigor of their love lives, while no doubt personally fullfilling to them, is having the exact opposite effect on the rest of us that your product is intended to produce ...on second thought, I suppose that's a brilliant business move), my least favorite commercials are the ones where two idiotic young males devise ways in which to cheat each other out of beer. These methods usually involve a complexity that would make Wile E. Coyote's head swim. However intricate the plots though, this type of ad only appeals to desperate alchoholics, as the rest of us are intelligent enough to realize that we can simply drive to the nearest liquor store, supermarket, or convenience mart and choose from one of the 750 brands of beer on sale there.

Super Bowl ads are of course a breed apart from regular advertising. Because so much money is being spent to acquire time slots guaranteed to be viewed by millions of people, who aren't otherwise occupied wiring their ale-laden fridges with high-voltage inducing booby traps, the commercials are designed to be of the highest quality.

This is, of course, rubbish. Advertising executives are like the children in primary school who are solely interested in attention and don't care whether it's good or bad attention. Even as we speak, I'm certain there are furry advertising executives plotting various "wardrobe malfunctions", ways to combine the cuteness of a taco-scarfing chihuahua with the charm of an insurance-selling gecko, and calculating just how many severed limbs people can stomach as two blokes lock down their last six-pack of brew.

Of course, if they leave anything out, the Oscars are just a few weeks away.


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