Certainly we are bombarded by images trying to make us buy through the course of an average day – on mobile phones, computer screens, billboards, at bus stops, on flashing screens in railway stations and public transport. Then as we slump in front of television at night, there are plenty more, and we can soon expect product placement to supplement the ad breaks.Yes, and we can ignore them. Personal responsibility is the key.
We are more brand-driven, more advertised-to, than ever. We are also unhappy, indebted and extremely wasteful; and the two things may be connected.Only insofar as personal responsibility, which is the key, has been replaced by the socialist ideology of 'rights'. A right to enjoy every good, no matter the monetary circumstance. Labour's free laptops initiative, for example, is being promoted where the less well off will naturally gravitate ...
The Compass authors say that during an average day we will see more than 3,500 brand images. The purpose, they argue, isn't fulfilment and happiness – they don't sell products – but "the creation of a mood of restless dissatisfaction with what we have got and who we are so that we go out and buy more". We have become people not, as the religious once said, born to die, but born to buy.Yes, but the natural human instinct is to want more, always has been. This, in the past, has been tempered by self-restraint and an understanding of personal economics. I dunno, one might even call it personal responsibility.
Then, a brief glimmer of understanding in the morass of lefty, anti-business, brain fudge.
We have to be careful of urban myth-making and hysteria. Being exposed to heavy selling from a young age produces cynicism as well as interest. People aren't putty: if advertisers are endlessly adaptable, so are their targets.Yep. Personal responsibility is the key (did I mention that?). People have a very powerful computer between their ears, capable of some quite astounding calculations. One of the most fundamentally basic consists of a simple equation, which I have summarised below:
Where x = bank account + income, y = price of product, 16.9% is notional interest rate of credit, z = hunky dory, and f = fucked.
It really shouldn't be too difficult. Yet this daft bint places all of the world's woes at the door of advertising with ne'er a mention of the individual's responsibility to LOOK AFTER THEIR OWN FUCKING AFFAIRS!
Expectation of the average consumer having been reduced to gibbering imbecile, it's then rather easy to place restrictions on others - who are not privy to their customers' personal finances - instead.
[The Compass suggestions] include – my favourite – a complete ban on advertising in public places, from town squares to train stations, taxis to bus shelters. Shops would of course have to be allowed to display themselves, but there would be restrictions on shop-front marketing too. Imagine how much prettier and more restful the urban world – and the sides of motorways – would be.Which begs the question as to how anyone will know that anything is for sale at all.
Compass also wants all advertising to children under 12 to be banned; and all alcohol advertising; and all viral marketing; plus new taxes and regulations for advertisers themselves.
And all that raft of legislation is apparently required to protect the reckless minority who need supervision in writing a fucking cheque.
Collective punishment doesn't get more egregious, or damaging to a world economy, than a policy which espouses dragging all consumers down to the level of unthinking idiots incapable of performing a few basic mathematical sums.
As Young Karl would say, this isn't quite a revolution. So long as market capitalism and our desire for economic growth exist, there will be advertising and we will find ourselves strangely drawn to new wants, fresh desires for this or that we hadn't known existed. And so long as that happens, some of us will borrow a bit too much, and we will waste at least a little.And if some of us wish to ignore the simple equation above, why is it the business of government to legislate against those who exercise personal financial responsibility?
Personally, I can't think of a better way of punishing wise self-reliance, whilst simultaneously excusing irresponsibility, than this ridiculous, and obscenely illiberal cockwaffle.