Home > cultural commentary > The ad execs’ conspiracy exposed!

The ad execs’ conspiracy exposed!

The secret is out. Advertising execs, scriptwriters and producers are rebelling against the yoke of capitalist tyranny!
Seriously though, I’m noticing a lot of TV ads these days (actually it’s being going on for a while, but it’s got me particularly amused at the moment) where things happen, or music is on the soundtrack, that is totally inappropriate to the image you might expect the adverts to convey.
Two examples.
There’s an ad for some financial product that involves a pile of banknotes that becomes a sort of glove puppet creature on a stage, singing. It opens its arms wide and notes fly off and flutter around it. Now: if I’m buying a financial product I want one that gathers up all the banknotes and keeps them safe, not one that throws them around in operatic abandonment for bankers to pick up when I’m not looking.
Another one is for a sofa company. It has a bouncy, upbeat song on the soundtrack: Lily Allen, LDN (presumably textspeak for London, which is what the song is about). First part of the chorus, which is what they play: ‘Sun is in the sky oh why oh why / Would I wanna be anywhere else?’ However the song continues, in the segment they don’t play (but which I and many other people would know): ‘Everything seems nice / But if you look twice / you can see it’s all lies.’ So I’m sitting watching the advert and thinking ‘Hmm, that’s radical: they’re actually advertising the fact they tell lies about their products.’
I’d tell you which bank and which sofa company these ads are for – except I can’t tell you, because I can’t recall these bits of information. Maybe that in itself tells you something about how good or how bad advertising is these days.
I’ve cited these two, but I’m pretty sure you can find similar off-key connotations or meanings in almost any advert running.
Explanations: (1) advertising producers/copywriters/executives have the attention span and cultural awareness of dwarf hamster (2) they know they’re doing it but don’t care, and the companies hiring them have the attention span and cultural awareness of (etc.) (3) the one I like best, they’re doing it deliberately because they’re all protesting against the existentialist paradox of being paid to give boxes of breakfast cereals or whatever more personality and meaning than they possess themselves (4) the one I like least, they do it because they cynically figure 99% of the population won’t have the wit to deconstruct the ads.
If I’m honest, explanations 1, 2 and 4 are probably the real ones – though I still like number 3, and I suspect number 4 is actually incorrect – there’s a reasonable amount of evidence that people are very media-savvy and cynical these days.

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