Advertising (HLD 211)

19 Oct 2020

I heard on the radio the other day someone discussing advertising during the COVID pandemic, about how advertisers jumped in very quick referencing ‘unprecedented times’, and ‘times of hardship’, and ‘vital importance of communication’ etc – but don’t mention the pandemic itself. The person interviewed described the style of advertising we are currently seeing as care-mongering rather than fear-mongering.

And it’s true. Advertising must be one of the few industries who were still going gang-busters while other businesses shut their doors. And by golly did they like to let you know how this or that company is with us every step of the way in our journey of not being with each other in the steps along the way. Obviously the companies who sold stuff that could be useful for folk isolating in their own homes made sure their voice was heard. Loud and clear. But always in a touchy-feely sort of way, to let you know that they are just like you, and they realise how difficult your life is at the moment. And how you should probably buy life insurance. Or drink Coke.

Every advert you see is telling you either that we are all in this together, or that they are doing something to help – and by the way they really want to acknowledge all the frontline workers who are keeping us all safe. Of course you should buy their product because they are just so community minded.

Of course, nowadays with fancy things like remote controls and a thousand different tv channels, of course, it’s quite easy to avoid the adverts on the telly. But every now and then you become very aware of a particular ad for some reason – for us it’s an RAC insurance advert that features dogs in a back yard. It sets off our dog who barks ferociously at those foreign dogs in her house. She could be sound asleep on the couch one second and Attila the Hun the next. We are very aware of this ad, and look forward to the day they stop playing the damn thing.

While on the subject of advertising, though, on social media it often seems to assume you live in America, or at the very least in the Northern Hemisphere. We are starting to get advertising for lovely clothes and things that are going to keep us warm, at a time when we here in the Southern Hemisphere are finally thinking about putting those lovely clothes and things that keep us warm in a cupboard in the spare room! And trying to find the lovely clothes and things that keep us cool!

Those out of season ads are extremely easy to ignore.

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