Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Yes, I Think They Are/She Is Serious

That a left wing think tank should come up with laughable ideas isn't a surprise, but that someone can actually believe they talk sense certainly is.

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Only insofar as personal responsibility, which is the key, has been replaced by the socialist ideology of 'rights'.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 local authority mobile phone shops.

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.

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.
Which begs the question as to how anyone will know that anything is for sale at all.

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.


JuliaM said...

Saw this yesterday and thought I couldn't possibly do it any more justice than the commenters, who have united to give her an almighty kicking.

Glad to see you rose to the occasion! ;)

Bucko said...

Advertising is becoming more directed towards the mindless citizens of a socialist society.

We are now spoken to (as adults) in terms of "good bacteria" and "bad Bacteria". We are told to "search online" rather than be expected to remember a web address. We are shown images of happy cars having a good time rather than being told what the car actually has to offer.

If these adverts compel you to buy a product and then complain that it is all the fault of the advertiser, and then blame your debts on the credit card company for allowing your sorry state of affairs, then you are the feckless lazy result of allowing yourself to slip under the control of a dictatorial socialist state. Of handing all your personal responsibility over to the government and then complaining that life isnt fair.
Well fcuk you, you deserve whatever happens.
The rest of us; those who have kept our hands firmly on the tiller of our own lives do not deserve to be regulated and controlled, just in case something bad (bacteria) happens to you.

If we see an advert we say "ooh thats good, i'll have one if I can afford it" or "nah thats a load of tat". In other words we make our own informed choices.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Julia: Ta muchly. :-)

On the money there, Bucko. Very good point in your second para, especially. It does tend to suggest a dumbing down of advertising, 'tis true.

Anonymous said...

I found a use for the Guardian at last.
I tear it up into small strips.
Punch a hole in one of the corners.
Insert a piece of string .
And hang it up in the "shithouse".

Sinful Soul said...

Proverbs 22:7

The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.

Sam Duncan said...

“We are more brand-driven, more advertised-to, than ever.”

Somebody needs to look at photos of Victorian Britain. Buses were plastered with adverts, shops had signs above them higher than the entrance itself, and railway termini were like an unlit Times Square (no doubt they would have been lit if it had been invented). There was an inscription carved into the wall of Glasgow's St. Enoch station, there until it was demolished in the 1980s, advertising fountain pens.

“a complete ban on advertising in public places, from town squares to train stations, taxis to bus shelters”

Yeah, because the bright bustling atmosphere of Pyongyang is what we're all after for our cities.

This is the endgame, not a new idea. The process started decades ago. People have always advertised their wares, and there's more restriction on it today than ever.

BTS said...

'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.'

Err.. that's more than two, isn't it?

Unless someone's redefined 'synonym' at the Guardian without bothering to inform the rest of us..?

And whilst most commenters did have the good sense to tell the stupid bitch where to go, the odd mentalist still found time to evacuate their foetid brains via the keyboard:


14 Feb 2010, 10:16PM

no doubt this article will draw many voices, mine is raised to request we remember that advertising could be used for good and its known powers could become benign. In itself it is only a tool.

For example recently there's been an "advert" on TV to publicise the effect all of us driving 5 miles less a week. Plenty more where that one came from, I trust.'

No, mothmoth, thank you..

I had never thought of advertising as some kind of Jedi Force before. You've really enlightened me.





w/v: mingo - says it all really..

bnzss said...

The royal 'we' I presume?


Sam Duncan said...

Just thought of another one: look at the front page of almost any newspaper before the 1960s. No front-page headlines. Adverts.

“More advertised to than ever”. Hah!

Dick Puddlecote said...

Your talking about the 1960s reminded me of something I saw recently, Sam. :-)

bayard said...

"People have always advertised their wares, and there's more restriction on it today than ever".

Not so, AFAIK. In mediaeval England, the church (which had a stranglehold on society) banned advertising of any sort.
Back to the future, eh.
Mind you that Compass lot have got one thing right - the bit about the purpose of advertising being "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". This is where post-war advertising differs from pre-war. And the author of this revolution?
Dr Goebbels, I presume. (pace Godwin)

Curmudgeon said...

I recall seeing a film of road traffic in Gloucester around 1960s and there were far more advertising hoardings and display advertising than there is now.

Without advertising, you end up with an information deficit and many people are likely to make worse purchase decisions. Spending your money in ignorance can't be a good thing.

And, as someone said "There can be no true freedom of speech without freedom of commercial speech."

Mark Wadsworth said...

Re what BTS says, I normally only drive about five miles a week when I can't be arsed taking the train on a weekend.

With the snow and everything, I didn't actually drive at all for the whole of January.

My reward for being such a thoroughly decent bloke and inadvertently trying to save the planet was an £88 call-out charge to get the car to start again, the battery being stone dead.

The funniest bit is, the mechanic said I had to leave the engine running for an hour and a half to recharge it, which I duly did :)

David Chiverton said...

I posted on my blog earlier in the week. Not as thoughtful as yours!http://crazyelmont.blogspot.com/2010/02/when-we-they-ever-stop.html

David Chiverton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MU said...

"all viral marketing."

What? Sorry?

What the fuck?

These people want to police the internet for youtube videos, ban mock protests, poster campaigns, publicity stunts, pretty much any form of expression that's intended to sell something?

Banning viral marketing = Creating thoughtcrime.

Viral marketing is pretty much commercialised meme creation, creating a catchy idea, phrase, or phenemenon that percolates through either the internet or mass media into the collective conciousness. The most successful viral marketing campaigns are where the consumer base tags onto the meme and generates sufficient hype and activity as to provide free advertising - A la activist bodies picking up on global warming garbage and then pushing the message as their own gospel.

Suffice to say, the whole ideal of "viral" marketing is that it relies on person-to-person and consumer-to-media interaction that takes place outside of a commercial transaction.

Which means any intent to outlaw viral marketing is an intent to police what people say, think, print, write, produce - Anything.

I can't believe they just admitted to wanting to police the entirity of human existence. It's a testament to the doublespeak that that statement exists, in all its stark insanity.

Angry Exile said...

Pavlov's Cat, I suspect the idea to ban viral marketing was one of those authoritarian brain farts that occurred without real understanding of what it was they wanted or how the fuck it could possibly be policed.

Sam Duncan said...

Heh! That's just beautiful, Dick. I have a dental appointment later; I wonder if you can get that stuff on prescription...

bayard said...

Isn't "viral marketing" what used to be called "word of mouth"?