Thursday, 19 September 2013

Advertising Sunnies

Someone told me once that there's a company solely dedicated to putting advertisements on car airbags. Yes, you read it right, car airbags.  That's kind of a niche market, don't you think?

Seriously, folks. Is the moment after an accident a time when you're likely to think about shopping?In that moment, will you be saying to yourself  "Hmm, I've just been in a serious crash, but for some strange reason, I have a craving for a Big Mac. Oh, hang on, I know why - those giant golden arches, that are now embedded in my forehead.

Personally, I find the whole thing a bit hard to swallow.  I mean, what products would feature on airbags? Insurance, head ache tablets, tow truck services, new cars, maybe just a better optician than the one you've been using.

If I've learnt one thing about advertising, from my ex, it's that the more far-fetched something is, the more likely it is that someone's thinking about doing it, if they could.  I think ad gurus would tattoo the inside of our eyelids with logos, so that every time we blink, we'd receive a subliminal message.

Assuming the airbag ads are legit, what's next?  Are we going to see promos on the inside of coffins, so the deceased don't miss out on sale pitches? 'Dead tired? Try a Red Bull'.

I know that, for some people, ads are just gaps in a show that allow you to put the kettle on or duck to the loo, but I've always been fascinated by the power of the persuaders.  One of the main motivators they use to sell us crap we don't need, is fear.  And before you say "Well, we live in a free market, Katie, and if you don't like it, why don't you and your latte sipping friends, get a boat back to Russia, or wherever you came from."  All I'm asking is do we really need to make people feel bad in order to sell them stuff?

There are ads for health insurance, car insurance, house insurance, dog-house insurance and don't forget the insurance against getting a paper cut from filling in the insurance forms. Turn on the TV for half an hour and you'll quickly be convinced someone is going to steal your car, burn down your house and go for a joy ride on your dog.  It's no wonder we watch so many crime shows. We just want to see someone worse off than we are.

But the ads that really make my blood boil are the ones  - usually for cleaning products - that constantly drum home the message  "If you don't buy this, you're a bad parent".

I'm the first to admit that there are plenty of ways someone can be a bad parent (hey, let's not open the whole kids-on-a-leash can of worms again) but buying the wrong type of Toilet Duck doesn't rank high on my list.

I really can't imagine someone saying "My old man was a real bastard. He drank too much, had affairs, and clipped us around the ears regularly, but at least he bought the lemon-scented Spray N Wipe".

There's one particular fear based ad that really gives me a case of the ....... well, the very thing the product is used to clean up.  I think you'll know the ad.  Aussies will, at least.  It's the one where a woman has friends over to visit, but suddenly realises she hasn't cleaned the toilet.

The clear implication seems to be that if she hasn't used a certain cleaning product, her friends will see her dirty bathroom, judge her, reject her friendship and possibly make her walk through the main street of town, with a big "I'm dirty" sign hanging around her neck.

While everyone likes a clean toilet, isn't this a tad extreme?  I mean, if my friends are going to dump me because my bathroom isn't clean enough to dazzle them, then good - it's better I find out how fair-weather they are before they find out the really disturbing stuff about me. (Steady!!!!!!)

While we're being honest, I have to confess that I've never understood the supposed compliment, "She has a toilet so clean, you could eat off it".


When I told my friends recently that I was going to Los Angeles, they said "Well, at least the weather will be nice".  But the first thing I realised when I landed, they don't actually have weather in LA.  You can't call it 'weather' when it's the same temperature every single day.

There are casinos with more varied weather patterns than the City of Angels.  The only clouds I saw while I was there came from people puffing medicinal marijuana.  

'Medicinal marijuana'!!!!! Don't you just love that.  Imagine stoners asking for a prescription.  When the doctors ask what their symptoms are - "Ummmm I don't seem to be enjoying play station half as much as I used to, and there are not many colours in the world".

On my first morning in La La Land, the sun was shining, so I started looking for where I'd left my sunglasses. Suddenly I realised exactly where I'd left them - Australia.  It was time to go shopping.

Stumbling upon a shop called Hollywood Eyes, I was greeted by a guy wearing so much fake tan, I didn't know if he was going to try to sell me sunnies, or give me a tour of his friend, Willie's, chocolate factory.

Without waiting for me to speak, he squealed, "I think these ones would look smashing on you, darling" and handed me a pair of glasses even Elton John would consider a little over the top.

But I thought seeing I was there, I might as well humour him and try them on.  And I confess, he was right. They did look OK.

Well, at least until I checkout out the price tag!

Eleven hundred dollars, plus tax.  And that's not even taking into account the exchange rate.

Call me tight, but as a general rule I don't think you should pay more for your sunglasses than your computer.
This was way too much, especially for something I was going to leave in a cafe or sit on and break.

Seeing the look of indecision on my face, and sensing he was losing a sale worth at least six sessions on the sunbed, Slick Larry decided to play his trump card.  "You know Angelina Jolie came in last week and bought the exact same pair."


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