The awful insincerity of advertising...
I cannot understand the fact that advertisements are now totally associated in our minds with fiction…we treat them as a form of entertainment, and often remember ads even when we don’t remember the products they are supposed to be promoting.
An ad, in the distant, innocent past, started out to be a description of the goods to be sold; but now, between fraudent and exaggerated claims, celebrity endorsement, slick ad film-making, and special effects, ads often purvey more fantasy than other forms of fiction.
Why have we condoned this dishonesty? We know that Mr Show Rook Cone is most certainly NOT driving a Santro, that Ms. Amma Moll Ini is not thinking of the purity of water in her home being dependent on ABC water purifier…then why do we look at these stupid ads? Why do celebrities get obscene six-figure amounts for lying about products that they do NOT use?
I also take exception (though I love reading the dreamy prose) to the hyped-up descriptions on the cartons of stuff that we buy. Have you ever seen a shampoo bottle that says it will clean your hair and that’s it? No, of course not, every shampoo will add sheen and gloss and make your hair thicker and stronger until Tarzan can use it instead of his jungle vines….I challenge any shampoo to make my hair fly like that, when it’s all of 3 inches long…
What brought this on were the boxes of cereal at home. Do the boxes just list the ingredients as just oatmeal, or banana, or pecan, or whatever? Oh noooooooo, how could the copywriters survive then?
Here’s a quotation from two of the cereal boxes:
Apple Caramel/Pecan Crunch:
“Welcome to where apple orchards and pecan groves meet. A sweet, flavorful harvest of crisp apples and roasted pecans, made even more delicious with the added richness of caramel baked oat clusters and nutritious whole grain wheat flakes. An indulgence that comes from a canopy of shady trees…”
Apple orchards? Pecan groves? Here in the suburbs where each family has a small plant-trying-to-be-a-tree and 1.5 cars and 1.75 kids? I am NOT in any canopy of shady trees, the only thing that I see that’s shady is the ethics of prose like this…
Cranberry Almond Crunch:
“It’s a curious fact. The firmer and fresher the cranberry, the higher it bounces. That’s why cranberries under the ‘bounce test’. If you drop cranberries onto wooden boards, the best berries bounce into the air. We specially select cranberries to accompany….buttery-tasting almonds…”
I totally REFUSE to believe that at the assembly line in this cereal-making factory, there are dozens of people throwing cranberries, and picking up the ones which have bounced off the wooden floor and adding them to the pack. Yeugh, I don’t want the bounced-off-the-floor berries in any case.
Great Grains (Raisins, Dates and Pecans):
“Funny thing about raisins. They just love hanging out there on the vine (oh, Happy Raisins!) basking in the sun. Because the longer they stay o the vine, the sweeter, plumper and juicier they get. …we specially select our raisins for our flavorful (oh, favorite word!!) medley of naturally sweet dates (you mean there are some with sugar injected into them?), nutty pecans (not as nutty as the copywriter)….” Oh, and what happens to these Happy Raisins when the pickers come? You can probably hear them screaming for mercy, miles away, shouting, “Let us get just a little more sweeter, plumper and juicier!”….
Every single product on the supermarket shelves carries some romantic, sugar-spun tale like this and it makes me wonder…where DO all the ordinary (or sub-standard)veggies and produce go? If EVERY tomato that I buy is sun-ripened and “lives on the vine until it’s bursting with flavour” (makes me think of a terrible red explosion), if every piece of meat is tender and juicy, where are all the rest? What do you mean, there is NO b-grade produce any more?
And the photography for the ads….I read that often they use completely different stuff (NOT the food that it’s supposed to be) so that the food will look good…look better, in fact, than the real thing!
And I have plenty to say on the subject of the oh-so-artistic ads where the dreamy, vaselined storyline, with some single-word caption at the end, gives you NO clue if the ad is for a shampoo, the bedlinen, the furniture, the wall paint, the lingerie, liposuction, or….! :)
Excuse me, my grand-daughter (naturally raised and organically delivered) is awake (no stimulants used) and demanding her all-green (er, sorry, white), Mother Natur produced dairy product from the honey-brown…er…skin…of her Earth Mother…
One of her dresses announces on the front, “My baby loves green”…HER baby? she’s all of two months old herself…and anyway, if it’s she who loves green, it’s no wonder that she often fills her nappies (organically grown, unbleached, pre-used to a fine softness, Indian cotton…which means, KM and a friend’s old dhoties) with a lot of green…
What irks me more is, why can’t I get a job writing this kind of bilge? I could laugh all the way to the beautiful, shady, eco-friendly, save-the-wildlife bank…