Rants on all the ads that suck. Updated whenever it tickles my fancy to do so. Now moved to http://adsthatsuck.ca

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You're filthy.

Advertising has never had a reputation for being a bastion of ethics, but there are a number of trends in advertising that quite bother me. This one in particular I got thinking of after my last post about negative pitches in advertising copy - the kind of "you'll die if you don't have our product" sort of pitch.

This one bothers me because it plays on paranoia, and it usually ends up screwing something up that should have probably been left alone. A good example is anti-bacterial products. If you believe the the soap people, you're teeming with bacteria at all times. This is true, of course, but not nearly as life-threatening as they make it sound. In fact, the widespread use of these products is actually making things worse for us.

There is an ad for Clorox bleach that takes this approach, and for my part, I think it sucks.

The television spot shows a sparkling clean white bed and a guy running and leaping into the air as the announcer announces that if you're not bleaching the crap out of your bedding, you're sleeping in your own filth. With that, the guy hits the bed, which promptly turns to septic slime.

"Body soil." Gross.

The message here? Even if you're clean, you're not clean enough. The funny thing is that we buy it. We wear out our $100 sheets early because we're bleaching them every time we wash them for fear of being swallowed alive by this dreaded body soil.

Advertising is an interesting social marker. It shows what concerns us most at any given time in history - with increments so small, you can almost tell what was on our minds fifty years ago to the day.

The corollary to this is that advertising plays a large role in determining what we think about. When this turns to general fearmongering, it makes me hope that at least some people are smart enough to see through it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am proud to say I never got sucked into the anti-bacterial hype. I never bleach my sheets or boil my towels, and the only room in my house that has anti-bacterial soap is the kitchen. Just because I'm not so good at making sure chicken junk doesn't get spread around.

But yeah, I agree that advertising like this sucks. I think we're all going to die without tooth whitening products too. The angry mobs of chicklet-toothed people will mow the rest of us down :(

5/03/2005 09:48:00 p.m.


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