Ad Nausea

I’m putting a stop to watching the news at lunchtime. After fifteen minutes of talk about Icelandic volcano ash and pictures of people lying on metal benches at various British airports, the news finally gave way to a litany of terrible television advertisements – so bad, they actually made me run from the house…

The first ad was for an air freshener – Glade Touch.

It would appear to be an interesting bunch of people watch the midday news. They not only have an interest in current affairs but in room smells too…

The premise of the advertisement was a familiar one. Three ladies sitting around on a settee discussing rocks – when it turns that one of them is, in fact, a craftily-disguised air freshener. (The rocks, not the ladies.)

Hey, we’ve all been there.

I’m regularly beset by friends requesting that I go to their houses on some flimsy pretext, only to find a carefully-positioned rock collection on some occasional table somewhere, ready for my appraisal. That’s just the way life is…

Couching an advertisement in such a readily understandable ‘real-life’ situation is designed to create empathy. And it’s paid dividends here.

The next advertisement is also about room smells. Clearly, some market research has gone on here…

We entered the grubby bedroom of some slack-jawed, 14 year-old boy for a Febreze advertisement.

He’s been doing something in his room and – whatever that might be – it’s created an almighty funk! Mum descends on the scene, but wisely decides against spending much time inside his fusty four-walls – and, instead, just wafts a bit of spray around.

“Let’s give your room a wash!”  she says.

“A wash?” balks the teenager; clearly overdubbed by a middle-aged woman.

Thankfully, for the boy, ‘the wash’ turns out to be going over the worst bits with an aerosol. (Hell, he could have done that himself…)

Worryingly, his bedroom chair is singled out for special attention.  He grimaces; his slovenly teenage silence speaking volumes…(You get the impression that sitting in the chair would be a little like entering a Joey’s pocket…)

With the hard work done, Mum then invites a gaggle of young ladies into her son’s room – and the pay off comes when they are hit by the wall of ‘fresh’.  From one girl’s staggered reaction, it’s clear that the room has the sort of nostril-burning, overpowering ‘freshness’ of a urinal cake.

As an audience, we are supposed to approve of this, sharing in the boy’s guilt at duping these girls – and knowing that his real smell is still in there somewhere…lurking beneath the floral gas!

The last advertisement was for a product called Tena Lady.

Thankfully, it had moved on from stinking rooms. That much was clear from the offing.

It opened on a glamorous woman staring into the camera – all flicky-hair and sensitive Cybil Sheppard soft lighting.

“What’s the first thing people notice about me?” purrs a voice-over. “My piercing eyes?”

She flicks her hair in full appreciation of herself.

Then the action cuts to her on a dance-floor being thrown around by a bendy Latino gentleman with a T-shirt and python-tight slacks.

“My salsa moves?”

Then she’s walking down the street; shoulders back; hair wind-machined to critical mass…

“Well, it’s not my occasional bladder weakness…”

I got up and turned the television.

Recent research suggests that – in the UK – the average person is subjected to more than 1500 advertisements in the course of a single day. Their constant omnipresent influence has become such a ‘white noise’ in our lives that we have, as a matter of course, started to tune out and not notice them. 

If that’s true, what’s wrong with my brain?


~ by wordwrites on May 18, 2010.

One Response to “Ad Nausea”

  1. a joey’s pocket? Er…what?

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