I think it’s fair to say that I have a casual interest in the upcoming election.

‘Really?! We couldn’t tell!’ I hear you cry.

I’m not interested because I want to push a political agenda. I mean, everything would be better if people just lived in the benevolent dictatorship of Adornopia- the  magical world without hunger, poverty, disease and those smarmy pandas… I am interested because I HATE (yes, all caps) advertising.

What’s that now? ‘You cannot hate advertising!’?

Au contraire… I no longer watch live television so that I can ignore the advertising, I remove labels from my clothing with surgical precision and I spend my work days actively hunting and ‘neutralising’ advertising. Well, two out of three above statements are true.

I suppose it’s not that I hate advertising. I just take umbrage at being told what to do, how to think and which products to buy based on thirty second snippets or glossy images on non-recycled paper (Adornopia- it’s a wonderful place). I suppose my deep seated cynicism and ‘media’ background has given me a healthy level of disdain for ah, ‘unimaginative’, advertising.

So, when the election was combined with ‘unimaginative’ advertising, I lost my shit.

One of the best features of the 2007 Federal election was that slogan, plastered everywhere. Yes, ‘Kevin07′ was more than a catchphrase.. It was poppy, pervasive and plied into the porous mind of first time voters and those who had long forgotten its Whitlam inspired predecessor. It was a movement.

This campaign, however, is different. It seems to matter less. Nobody seems to care and I blame the advertising.

Crap like this:

And this:

Honestly, who do they think they are fooling? These are poorly constructed attempts to establish ethos in a field that has been eviscerated by the evangelical chorus of ‘Yes we can!’

Doesn’t the electorate deserve advertising (often equated with ‘awareness campaigns’ and ‘educational programs’) of a better quality than has been delivered?

I mean, advertising can do wonderful things. It can coerce people to buy and consume something to which they have a moral objection. Recently, the grocery chain Coles has decided it will no longer source pork from providers that use sow stalls. Would people be disinclined to buy pork if they knew how pigs were treated? Obviously. Do images of sow stalls appear in pork advertisements? No. Coles have formed their decision on an appeal to pathos.

The advertisements from both the ALP and the (incorrectly named) Liberal Party are based on flawed processes, appeals to reason and the establishment of ethos.

This advertisement is more efficient in getting me to reconsider my preconceived notions:

It makes some valid points. I mean, people tend to prefer lamb to mutton… Just saying.

But really, why can’t advertising for this election be more exciting? It’s not all about being serious, ‘economic conservatives’ and tilting your head jovially as you speak. Where is the fun? The bare-knuckle fighting? The explosions? Seriously.

Final example. If the Brontë sisters were this cool when I was in high school, I would have actually read their books rather than pretend to read so I could sit next to the cute girls in English class.

Postscript: In the land of Adornopia, all writers would be given the opportunity to turn into dinosaurs and bring down the ‘system’. Well, everyone except Stephenie Meyer.

On the persistence of bad advertising

2 Responses to “On the persistence of bad advertising”

  1. 1 ernid

    Now who is trying to fool whom? Politicians fooling the public, or Thembu trying in vain to convince us that Adornopia is a possibility even more likely than Dantopia. They’re really just the same, aren’t they? You do not remove labels with surgical precision, I’d say more like a butcher. And if you avoid advertising so, how do you chance upon all of these brilliantly thought out advertising campaigns? So do you hate advertising or not? Do its educational pro-pig benefits outweigh its cliched political hairbrainers? I fear it is a necessary evil… like school, brothers and brussel sprouts. Come to think of it, I actually don’t mind brussel sprouts. If you cook them with this sauce and roast some hazelnuts, they’re not half bad. If Australia’s politicians added hazelnuts to their campaigns, maybe they wouldn’t be so bad. Realistically though, in terms of advertising, I don’t think there’s much to be done for political campaigns. It’s either give the public the long and boring details, or a catchy slogan… And take us to the leader. Na na na na na na na na leader!

  2. 2 Blasé

    Instead of railing against the ads, how about just seeking some honesty in advertising? Like, “we’ll stop the boats, send them for offshore processing, then resettle them in Australia anyway, in the meantime spending millions in a foreign country that could be spent here employing Australians, for a meaningless exercise in grandstanding, scaremongering, political point scoring, and pandering to the lowest common racist denominator”. Playing in the background would be the words “What do they know of Ipswich, who only Ipswich know?” (apologies Billy). Of course honesty in advertising occurs all the time. My arteries are feeling much better since I started eating those McDonalds ‘heart Foundation tick-of-approval’ nuggets. The sad thing is that we want to believe the ads, we need to believe the ads. If we don’t know what to believe in, then what would that make us? Agnostics, probably. But that’s besides the point. We need advertisements, if for no other reason than they give us the opportunity to get up and make a cuppa, or go to the loo, the latter perhaps being a cause and effect situation.

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